Born in the Bronx, raised in Miami, relocated to Houston – I am Puerto Rican descent, blessed to be the mother to four grown children, “Mimi” to a couple of gorgeous grandchildren, and happily married (the second time around) to a phenomenal man for twenty-one years.
Life is not always easy (and I was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth). When you’re going through struggles, you sometimes feel you are all alone. The pain is real. The hurt feels as though your insides will burst, and in your brokenness you feel hopeless, like it will never end. Instead of reaching out, you become a shut-in … medicate yourself with either alcohol, drugs, or even food. But God gives us life, and life is precious and worth living.
Even before attempting to blog, I had begun to write about my childhood journeys into my adulthood. At first I thought it would be something for my kids one day. But then I’d been told that I have a story worth sharing so that others may hear and become inspired.
So what exactly do I share? I share about life’s lessons through some hardships, but also how it is possible to confront your past, live in the present, and look forward to the future. ¡Wepa!
Within the past few years of writing, I joined a writers guild and attended weekly critique groups. The end result: I completed an 88,500-word manuscript and sought representation for publication … God began opening doors! I found Megan LaFollett, Director of Publishing at Chart House Press who introduced me to Jeff Hastings, President of Chart House Press, LLC. I am blessed to be a part of their family.
“Running in Heels” is more than a memoir. This is a promise of hope and survival to anyone who woke up hungry and went to bed hungrier every day, for anyone who was abandoned as a child or an adult, for every wife who has loved a husband who left bruises on her heart and on her body. Find out more about Mary at http://maryaperez.com/
1. What inspired you to write Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit and Grace?
Initially, my inspiration came in wanting my grown children to understand some of the hardships their Momma endured. But the more I wrote, the more I realized that this was a universal problem that needed to be told that others might be inspired to overcome.
2. What was the development process like?
I just started jotting down my memories from as young as I could remember them. Sometimes, those memories would surface by glancing at a photo, other times in listening to stories from family members, and other times by going through a box of letters that I had stored away.
3. What was the hardest part about writing this book?
Since my book is a memoir, re-living some of those stories was tough. No one really enjoys remembering dark times and the raw emotions during those periods. I honestly believe if I hadn’t experience inner-healing, those deep, dark stories would have affected me too much to revisit them.
4. What do you hope readers will gain from your book?
Don’t be ashamed of your pain. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be a product of your environment. My story depicts a girl’s refusal to be defined by her environment while seeking inner-healing from her brokenness. There is help for the helpless, hope for the hopeless, and forgiveness for the inexcusable.
5. What inspired you to be a writer?
I have always loved expressing myself with pen to paper. In the comfort of my surroundings, alone in my thoughts, words come to me which I feel are a gift from God. As a child, my grandmother instilled in me the importance of writing to family members whether by letter or in a card. I enjoyed escaping by reading and doing book reports in school.
6. What do you like best and what do you like least about being a writer?
What I like best about writing is that my train of thought goes uninterrupted where I can calmly hone in on ideas and write down my sentiments without reprieve than if I was in the company of others. What I like least about writing are the distractions and the pressure of deadlines.
7. Who are some of your favorite authors?
Just to name a couple of favorite authors: I was ecstatic the day I discovered “When I Was Puerto Rican” by author Esmeralda Santiago, who had also written a coming-of-age memoir. Our stories are similar in that we shared the loss of childhood innocence even having to gaze upon a baby in a coffin and were expected to take on adult responsibilities. Then “The Glass Castle” by Jeanette Walls was recommended to me by a friend. I was amazed over how our stories shared the survival of terrible parenting and relentless poverty, also finding the grit and grace needed to break the pattern of bad choices and find a “happily ever after”.
8. If your book would be turned into a movie, who would you imagine playing the part of the main character? (Actor can be ANYONE, living or dead.)
Well since I’m the protagonist, a young Rosie Perez and an older Sara Ramirez as me!
9. Are you working on anything right now?
I am a blogger and post new material about heart-to-heart topics about life on a weekly basis. I also enjoy entering creative writing contests and essays. My next published work may be told in a series of vignettes.
10. And, finally, what do you think is in store for the future of Latino literature?
More and more, the Latino culture is advancing strong and finding their place in being recognized and respected as gifted and talented writers, poets and musicians. According to Wikipedia, “Latin America literature has a rich and complex tradition of literary production that dates back many centuries.” As long as we continue to receive education and desiring to advance ourselves in keeping up with the America way – we are here to stay!
Up next: A review of Running in Heels