Welcome to Wednesday Writers. Today’s guest author is Terry Overton who will be sharing an excerpt from her award-winning book, Both Sides of the Border. Welcome, Terry!
Both Sides of the Border
By Terry Overton
Dolores, Ernesto, and Emilio Sanchez are on a quest to America to find work and to save their family. Repeated droughts and a hurricane left their family farm unproductive. The Sanchez family, like so many others in Honduras, could no longer provide enough income to survive. A drastic change had to be made. With only their faith in God to see them through, the teenaged brothers and their twenty-year-old sister, set off for their new home and face threats from the cartel, corrupt police officers, starvation, and injury. Dolores relied on prayer and her own inner strength to protect her younger brothers on the journey.
Meanwhile, American Eva Jordan, shaking off scars from a disastrous marriage, is determined to start a new life by relocating from Virginia to the Texas side of border. Eva recently earned her Ph.D. and was now off to conquer the world and live a life of achievements and accolades. Despite her mother’s concern for her safety, Eva not only moves to Texas, but that very week she decides to take a vacation deep into Mexico to sharpen her Spanish before her new job begins. She boards a tour bus and soon meets a charming man who helps her to learn Spanish along the way. She is struck by the beautiful towns and people of Mexico, but slowly her eyes are opened to the dangers that are knocking at her front door.
Both Sides of the Border reveals the truth about the state of turmoil and threat in Mexico and the untold stories of immigrants, or “travelers” who bravely hopped aboard “el tren de le muerte” or the death train, otherwise called “La Bestia” or the beast. Often starving and afraid, the real-life travelers, assisted by the cartel, face the threat of death and injury or assault, almost daily. In the novel Both Sides of the Border, the fictional teens and their sister, jump aboard for the ride of a lifetime.
Unbeknownst to the Sanchez siblings, the woman from Texas, Eva Jordan, travels nearly the same route. Although their paths cross, Dolores and Eva do not meet until the end of their journeys-and then, after tragedies and near-death experiences, they realize they survived by God’s protection alone. The story is one of faith, strength, and character.
When two sides of the border collide, will there be hatred or unity? See how their lives are changed forever.
This debut novel was the recipient of the Firebird Book Award for Cross-Genre, Socio-Political Fiction, and Women’s Fiction (April 2021).
Eva clearly understood that her mother did not approve of her move or of “those liberal university people.”
“Oh, Mother,” Eva replied, “I’m sure there are conservatives and liberals in south Texas.”
“And don’t you know what is going on down there? I mean, those illegals come across every day. I saw on the news—”
Mom, you have got to stop watching cable news all the time. You need to get out more and, you know, talk to people.”
“Oh, for goodness’ sakes. I see plenty of people! I see people at church and in the women’s prayer group. And even they are worried about you. And me talking to people? You’re one to talk,” her mother said, giving her “the look.”
“Okay, Mom. Let’s eat,” she said, trying to change the subject before her mother could
begin the “When are you going to start dating?” questions.
“Seriously, honey, when are you going to date someone again?”
Too late, Eva thought.
“I know that scoundrel of a husband you had was just awful. But there are others out there just waiting to meet a nice girl like you. Plenty of men out there, you know.”
Eva’s divorce was still raw. She didn’t want to talk about that with her mother again. She was over that dark phase of her life. She was moving on to a better future.
“Mom, I’m hardly a girl. I’m twenty-nine you know,” she said, diverting the conversation.
“Of course, I know you’re twenty-nine. I was there when you were born.” They both laughed.
“This is delicious,” Eva said, taking another bite of mashed potatoes and chicken-fried steak totally smothered in gravy.
“I’ll bet you won’t get food like this down where you’re going,” her mother remarked, taking a second helping of potatoes.
“No, probably not, Mom.” Eva agreed with her mother to keep from going down the road of comparing Mexican food with Mom’s Southern cooking.
“So, as I was saying, when will you start dating? All of that hard work and studying is over. Now you will have time for a social life,” her mother said, patting Eva’s hand.
“We’ll see, Mom. You know I will have to work really hard now to get tenure.”
“Oh, good grief. Don’t use work as an excuse. There’s nothing like a good, strong marriage to help you through everything.”
Her mother talked about perfect marriages as if she’d had one. Eva’s own father had abandoned the family when Eva was quite young. Perhaps being raised by a single mother provided the foundation for her own autonomy. She’d been expected to take on responsibilities from an early age that did not burden most children. She was proud that she didn’t need anyone. She could achieve whatever she set her mind to.
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About the Author:
Terry Overton obtained her Ph.D. in Psychology and her Ed. D. in special education. She taught in public schools and was a school psychologist and a professor before retiring in 2016. Her university experiences included teaching at Longwood University in Virginia, the University of Texas-Brownsville, The University of Texas-Pan American, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, and Stephen F. Austin State University. She held positions as Dean and Department Chair during her tenure in higher education. Her areas of research included behavior disorders, learning disorders, autism, and research in higher education. She currently resides in Laguna Vista, Texas, near the Texas-Mexico border. She enjoys Biblical history and general Bible studies, writing, blogging, and playing golf.
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