Running in Heels:
A Memoir of Grit and Grace
A Memoir of Grit and Grace
by Mary A. Pérez
Running in Heels is currently on tour with Write Now Literary Virtual Book Tours. The tour stops here today for my interview with the author. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.
"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.
Praise for the Book
"Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit and Grace is an exercise in truth and bravery, written by Mary Perez. Running in Heels represents the triumph of the female spirit over the phantom of abuse and instability that follows those of us who are unfortunate enough not to have the benefits of an 'idyllic childhood'. This book is an inspirational exercise in human struggle and salvation. Mary Perez has opened wide the door to her life and welcomed us all in without fear of recrimination. Written in clear and precise language, this is the story of a young girl, neglected to the point of abuse - a situation that is counteracted at times by the opportune intercession of grandparents who are able to plant the seeds of love, Christianity, and self-respect within her. This seed eventually matures and helps to save her life." ~ linrich
"Wow what a book. Could not put it down. Get ready to be moved. Keep tissues handy, lol. You will not be disappointed. Great book for a book reading club. Thank you Mary for your courage to write it. May the Lord Bless you." ~ Grace Ashton
"I honestly believed Nicholas Sparks was the only author who would make me cry with his novels, made up love stories, struggles & thrillers ... but along came Running in Heels that within a few pages had tears running down my cheeks, & to think it was all true, the struggles, the love stories, the shock, circumstances, & stories all lived and experienced in real life by the author herself made it that much harder to read, yet ironically so hard to put down. I literally devoured her book." ~ Silvia Martinez
Interview With the Author
Hi Mary, thanks for joining me today to discuss your memoir, Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit and Grace.
For what age group do you recommend your book?
I would recommend anyone from ages 18 to 80!
Why did you write this book?
My intention for writing my memoir initially was geared more toward my children. I felt they needed to know some things about their mom. The more I wrote down memories from my past, the more passion developed in wanting to inspire others.
What was the hardest part to write in this book?
There were many parts that were hard to write about. Mentioning the death of a loved one or a love lost, brought back some painful memories of that time period in my life.
How do you hope this book affects its readers?
My prayer is whoever reads Running in Heels will come to the realization that there is hope for the hopeless and forgiveness for the inexcusable.
What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
If you have the drive to have your work published, make sure you do your homework. Read all you can about the craft of writing, become part of a group with likeminded writers and authors, and finally, pay to have your work professionally edited.
What does your family think of your writing?
All my family from abroad and afar support my writing. My husband (which is my second marriage going on 21 years) has been supportive of my writing since day one. My children and I have had open hearted discussions mingled with tears that have drawn us closer and appreciate one another even more. My mother warmed up to the idea of her daughter being an author and proudly speaks of it to her friends. She and I have had some heart-to-heart talks as well that have helped to bring closure.
Please tell us a bit about your childhood.
Looking back, I realized I was neglected and forced to grow up too fast. I was ashamed of my childhood and bitter that I was my mama's mother. I sought love and security, thinking I'd escape the poverty and neglect at home with Mama by running into the arms of an older man. I soon found myself as a teenage bride to a ruthless man twice my age. As I matured, settled down, married and had children of my own, along the way I discovered that I was a stronger person because of some things that I endured, even after my marriage ended in painful divorce.
How did your childhood experiences influence your writing?
My childhood experiences have deeply influenced my writing in every sense of the word. Running in Heels is my journey of a coming-of-age girl seeking love and security with a difficult mother.
Did you like reading when you were a child?
I lived for two blissful years with my maternal grandparents. It was there that I grew a love for reading while visiting public libraries with them.
Which writers have influenced you the most?
Writers that pull on the heartstrings along life's journeys, such as: Jan Karon, Charles Martin, Karen Kingsbury, Terri Blackstock, and Richard PaulEvans to name a few. I love the classic story of Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I love hearing from my readers, especially with their reviews of my book coming in. One reader said, "You feel the heartbreak of a little girl, the turmoil of a troubled young woman, and the peace and beauty of the woman she grows into."
Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by today, Mary, and for sharing your story.
Lynda, thanks for having me as a guest today. I hope your readers will pick up a copy of Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit and Grace, and leave feedback on Amazon. You can subscribe to my blog and follow me on Twitter and Facebook.
About the Author
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.