Mary A. Pérez was born in the Bronx, raised in Miami, and now resides in Texas with her husband of twenty years. Her award-winning essays have appeared in La Respuesta and Sofrito for Your Soul.
Q & A with Mary Perez
A&RBC: Where did the concept for Running in Heels come from?
In wanting my children to know something about the struggles that I endured as a child, and the perseverance it took to come to the place of inner-healing. Naturally, they had their own pre-conceived ideas, but not in quite grasping the painful circumstances that were involved. They just took things for granted and were accustomed to seeing their momma strong and capable, as if some kind of super-woman, never realizing the sacrifices she endured.
A&RBC: Why did you feel you had to write this book?
I lived it. I am a survivor and I have a voice. What may have started out as something only intended for my children, turned into something greater, thereby wanting to inspire others who were walking through similar circumstances that I once walked.
A&RBC: Which chapter of Running in Heels was the hardest to write?
More than one chapter, for sure. The chapter regarding the death of my baby sister was definitely hard. I wrote that chapter through a lot of blinded tears and plenty of re-writes. Also writing about the heartbreak I felt when I gave up temporary custody of my small girls to CPS was another.
A&RBC: Did writing this book provide a type of therapy for you?
I would say writing my memoir was most certainly therapeutic. Although I wrote candid ly, I purposed in my heart to do away with any blame or bitterness.
A&RBC: If yes, how has writing this book helped you?
Writing not only brought perspective and reflection for me, but also invoked some candid discussions and closure for my children regarding unresolved issues.
A&RBC: What do you want readers to take from Running in Heels?
I would like for them to take away two things. First: There is hope for the hopeless and forgiveness for the inexcusable. Second: My story depicts a girl’s refusal to be defined by her environment while seeking the inner-healing from her brokenness.
A&RBC: What 4 tips can you give an author wanting to write a memoir?
- Everyone has a story, why not you? Begin jotting down those snapshot images and memories that come to you. Add fillers later.
- There’s a time to “tell” and a time to “show”. Add imagery to your sentences and paragraphs whenever possible. Include the five senses. Don’t just write a report or a news piece. Add dialogues. Take the reader with you and get them lost in the story.
- Find like-minded writers and join a writer’s class or a critique group. Be prepared to have thick skin and able to take constructive criticism, but don’t lose your voice along the way.
- Finally, have your work professionally edited.
A&RBC: Who is Mary A. Perez?
She is a child of God, an overcomer, a survivor, a person of great worth. She has found her purpose and her voice. Her past does not dictate her future. She is not a product of her environment. She knows she has something to share with others that they might be inspired to live their lives to their full potential no matter what walk of life they may come from.
A&RBC: Are you an avid or occasional reader? If so, what is your favorite genre of books?
I did a lot more reading before I started writing. But I still enjoy a good book, especially if it tugs on the heartstrings such as memoirs of survival or Christian-fiction.
A&RBC: What has been your biggest achievement/challenge as an author?
My biggest challenge is to remain discipline to write and not become distracted. When my mind is at ease and my body is at rest, I find I am most creative than when I’m too busy or tired.
A&RBC: Where can readers find you?
Blog – http://maryaperez.com/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/MarysReflection
FaceBook – https://www.facebook.com/WriterMaryAPerez
Pinetrest – https://www.pintrest.com/yellowrose4ever/
“More than a memoir—this book is a promise of hope for anyone who was abandoned as a child, to anyone who woke up hungry and went to bed hungrier every day, for every wife who has loved a husband who left bruises on her heart and on her body.”
Somewhere between stealing cold cuts from stray cats and watching a stranger leave her mother’s bed after breaking in through their bedroom window, Mary figured out that her family was dirt poor. Worse than her empty stomach, she was hungry for acceptance and love. She thought she found it when her baby sister was born and she became her “mommy”, taking care of her needs as best she could at the age of seven. Then she had to say goodbye over a small white casket.
Mary’s grandparents, first generation immigrants from Puerto Rico, took her in and gave her a glimpse of faith and stability. For a brief, shining spell, she had a real home—until they decided that Mama needed her. They may have been right, but Mama needed more than a little girl could give and Mary lost her way again.
Just out of Juvy Hall, Mary found a knight in shining armor to take her away. She became a teenage bride to a man twice her age—a man as deeply enslaved to booze as every “step-dad” she’d had as a child. She loved him anyway, even wearing the bruises he gave her, even when she tried to leave him to give their children a better life. Despite her fear and loneliness, she never imagined it would take a gunshot in the middle of the night to teach her courage. She was even more surprised when rediscovered faith paved the path to forgiveness after so many years of pain.
Running in Heels is a memoir of the grit and grace that carried a young girl through the shadows of her mother’s choices and on through an abusive marriage. Mary A. Pérez narrates an incredible story of survival in the face of hopelessness, and learning to forgive against all odds.
A story of coming of age, and coming into grace.
Amazon ebook: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00SO20LFK