Both Sides of the Border won the Firebird Book Award for Cross-Genre, Socio-Political Fiction, and Women’s Fiction. In this story, three young Hondurans travel on the death train through Central America and Mexico in the quest of coming to the United States for a better life. Dolores, Ernesto, and Emilio Sanchez love their family and risk their lives to work in the U.S. to improve the lives of their parents who remain in Honduras. They endure confrontations with gangs, the cartel, and the dangers experienced riding on the deadly freight train.
Meanwhile Eva Jordan, an American, survived an abusive marriage and, despite the disapproval of her own family, relocates to the Texas-Mexico border. Eva then travels through Mexico to learn Spanish and the culture of Mexico.
Following tragedies and a deathly hurricane, the Eva and Dolores meet and their lives are forever changed. When the two sides of the border collide, will there be hatred or unity?
Targeted Age Group:: Adult or late teens
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
Living near the Texas-Mexico border for approximately twenty years, it became evident to me that everyone here has a story or opinion about immigration. It is also clear that generally most Americans view the issues of the border simplistically. This book illustrates the issues of the border crisis through the lives of fictional characters in the hope that all sides will begin to approach the border crisis differently.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
The American character of Eva and her mother are partially autobiographical with a great deal of fiction added. The Honduran characters and the Hispanic American characters are based on research and anecdotal accounts.
The sound of faraway footsteps distracted Delores’ thoughts as she sat on a cracked step in the center park of San Pedro Sula, Honduras. In the darkest part of a long, humid night, the moonlight cast strange shadows of the tall buildings. The thickness of the air distorted her senses of sound and sight.
Waiting in the night, the tearful words of her grandmother stormed through her mind again. “Your papa! An accident! He’s badly hurt. He can’t walk,” echoed in her heart. That was two years ago; the last day her father worked.
Delores felt an ache that she could not shake. The painful memories of failure, when she and her younger brothers couldn’t make a living on the farm, were always on her mind. She was no longer a teenager, and she felt a strong responsibility to help her family. But they just couldn’t
make it work.
It wasn’t only the accident that brought the failure. The drought that followed her father’s injury hit the family farm especially hard. The state of emergency declared by the government of Honduras brought no direct relief to the family. Famine for the country was imminent. Starvation
of her family was more immediate.
Fighting off sleep, her head dropped. Startled, she sat up straight to restore her alertness and looked again through the trees in the park for the possible silhouette of a stranger. Four other girls sat with her, all waiting to make their contact. She didn’t know their names. The arrangements of this night weren’t discussed in detail. Less information meant more safety.
Delores heard Emilio, her younger brother, chuckling through the dimness of the remaining moonlight. Always having a good time, she thought. Her brothers, Ernesto, sixteen
years of age, and Emilio, just barely fourteen, sat with a group of other young men and teens across the park. She and her brothers secretly planned their trip with a coyote for weeks.
Some of the teens in the group were in search of their parents, who had left years ago for the United States. Others simply wanted a job and a better life. A few had been tormented by gangs or corrupt officials. But they had one thing in common: they wanted to leave Honduras.
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