ABOUT

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About Mercer

Mercer is the daughter of a real cowboy and a real hippie, born in far west Texas in 1975. She enjoyed an unorthodox childhood, hunting for arrowheads in dry creek beds and searching the clouds for stories. She spent a large portion of her summers in the Marfa Public Library, of which she is still a member, where she read the entire Texas Bluebonnet reading list year after year.

Since she could string together a sentence, she knew she wanted to be a writer. After too many years of dabbling, she finally committed herself in 2016 by enrolling at VCFA. 

When she's not writing, she can be found traveling the country in her converted school bus - named Ladybird - with her ten-year-old son and their chocolate lab and a cat who is too smart for her own good. They like to hike and watch the birds. Mercer still hunts for arrowheads and watches the clouds for stories. And she still reads a lot. 

About MY Writing

I am currently an MFA candidate at Vermont College of Fine Arts seeking a degree in Writing for Children and Young Adults and scheduled to graduate in July of 2018. In 2017, I was the winner of the SCBWI Winter Conference Student Writer Award. In that same, year I was also a finalist for the SCBWI Austin Cynthia Leitich Smith Award and I received an honorable mention for the VCFA Marion Dane Bauer Award. In January of 2018, I won the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Award at VCFA.

As a writer and a reader, I tend toward middle-grade fantasy fiction. I currently have two works-in-progress in this genre.

The first, entitled CRICKET SCARLING, is a portal fantasy adventure featuring 12-year-old Cricket who has the ability to see a person's secrets and lies with just a touch of their hands. This story explores the concept of family in its many shapes, sizes, and flavors, as Cricket leaves the comfort of her comfortable 1950s Fifth Avenue home in search of her missing friend, her only friend, the shadow who lives in her closet, Mister Inkpen. That search leads her to a forgotten island where magic still exists and children are being hunted by a carnivorous flock of blackbirds. Cricket takes a position with a traveling carnival reminiscent of those in the Dust Bowl era in hopes of finding Mister Inkpen. What she discovers instead is the family and home she hadn't known she was searching for.

The second work-in-progrss is a story based loosely on my childhood growing up on the Texas-Mexican border. It's set against the backdrop of a real-life tragedy - the murder of a teenageMexican-American boy by US Marines on the border in 1997 - and tackles the inescapable life lesson that there are some things that cannot be undone, no matter how unfair they might be. This story, working title MARLY BONES, incorporates fantasy elements drawn from the legend and lore of the borderlands, and was inspired by my master's thesis on the history of borderland literature and mythology.

I am also working on a collection of passed notes and letters that I hope to turn into a book that examines the emotional breadth and vulnerability of adolescence. Have a note from your childhood you'd like to submit? Please mail it to: P. O. Box 1466, Marfa, Texas 79843 along with your email address. If you prefer, you may scan the letter and email that to mercer@mercerblack.com. I'm happy to return the originals, if you wish.