Mariana Cortez is the type of character who reminds me of my homegirls from around the way. She straddles this invisible line of book and street smarts, which causes internal confusion. I love her. She very quickly became one of my favorite characters to write and to introduce to the world.

My writing circle loved her, too. They loved her probably more than me. It was one of those moments that made me so proud to be a writer, like everything just made sense.

But what’s more astounding is that these folks are from Kansas. They’re not Houstonians or New Yorkers or even LA folks, they’re Kansans where its flat and so different from anywhere urban. So very different. Mariana is obviously not Kansan but they saw her, who she was and what her life is like.

It just goes to show you, despite geography people still respond to a good story. That’s why being a writer is best job in the world. Hands down.

And now, in the words of Mariana Cortez (like the conquistador) adios chicos!