Did The Monsters of Chavez Ravine hit the bestseller list? No.
Did I make a lot of money publishing the urban fantasy novella? Hell no.
Did I get all sweaty and clammy waiting for the first reviews to roll in? Oh yeah.
By the little plumed hat of El Santo Nino de Atocha himself, I’m glad I stuck to my original vision, a story about forcible evictions with monsters. I knew it was weird. I knew some people wouldn’t like, or approve of, my adding the supernatural to an already traumatic real-life event that displaced thousands of mostly Mexican American residents from their Los Angeles neighborhoods. (My mother and her family among them).
I never wanted to tell the story straight on. It never interested me. But I’ve loved and appreciated the research and work that went into Stealing Home by Eric Nusbaum and Shameful History by John Laslett. Don Normark’s photographs and stories in Chavez Ravine: 1940, a Los Angeles Story, breaks my heart, then fills it, every time I crack it open.
It takes a long time for some of us to get around to writing. To finishing a book. To take a chance and share it with the world.
When I think of the girl I once was: the hopelessly awkward only child; the girl the nuns decided had no academic potential who got stuck in the secretarial track; the young woman working full-time, night shifts, while going to college; I’m amazed and overwhelmed. This book is proof that believing in yourself is the first step to achieving your dreams, no matter how small or how big. My dream was to get this story down on paper and share it.
The Monsters of Chavez Ravine won a 2021 International Latino Book Awards gold medal for Fantasy/Science Fiction-English. It also made CrimeReads 2021 Best Horror and Best Historical Fiction lists. These honors made me tear up, from surprise and thankfulness, if I’m being honest.
So as 2021 wraps up, I’m celebrating with a heart full of gratitude for anyone who’s taken the time to read this book, who’s left a review, who’s sent a message of support.
🌹Thank you, and may 2022 bring you health, happiness, and muchos books. 🌹