MARLY BONES is a middle-grade, magic realism story that tackles the inescapable life lesson that there are some things that cannot be undone no matter how unfair they may be. Twelve-year old Marly was abandoned with her grandparents when she was just three years old. No one has heard from her mother since. Marly's grandmother "Chick" is tough as nails and her grandfather hasn't spoken a word in almost a decade, so Marly is left to figure out life with the help of oft-drunk but well-meaning Uncle Davis and her best friend Fed whose Mexican-American family lives on the same property as the Boneses. It isn't until a teenage boy is killed on a neighboring ranch that the truth about what happened to Marly's mother comes to light.
This novel is based on a real-life tragedy - the murder of Esequiel Hernandez, Jr. by U.S. Marines in Redford, Texas, in 1997 - and was inspired by my own childhood growing up in the borderlands. The story draws heavily from personal accounts of Esequiel's murder. It also incorporates fantasy elements drawn from the legend and lore of the borderlands, which I studied extensively as part of my MFA thesis on the history of borderland literature and mythology.
MARLY BONES is in partial draft form. I am currently playing with a major revision that would covert the manuscript to a novel in verse.