The truth is, I've had little writing news to share. I have been working on a novel -- and then occasionally taking a break to write a story. Speaking of which, I have a new story, "Tamales for Sale," in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine -- the November/December 2020 double issue.
The story centers on a family of undocumented Mexican immigrants in the U.S. -- a grandmother and her adult granddaughter and
grandson -- who cook and sell tamales. The grandmother is a curandera; originally I toyed with the idea of calling the story, "The Curandera's Tamales."
I wrote the story in 2015, which now seems like a totally different era. I don't know if I would've had the nerve to write it today. I aim to treat my characters with respect -- and to render them with detail. I also try to meaningfully capture the challenges the characters face. At the same time, I am not Mexican and have not personally lived with the fear and pressures experienced by the characters.
In 2010, I had a story, "The Docile Shark" in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine that featured a Mexican tour and snorkeling guide, Felipe. The story turns, I hope, on the pathos of Felipe's experience.
Retrospectively, I find myself muddling through these cultural questions about representation and appropriation. I welcome comments and messages to help me along.