What do you do?
If you're Melissa "Misa" Ramirez, you take a deep breath and write about it.
Ramirez, 43, a mother of five in Argyle, writes romantic mystery novels, the most recent of which, Hasta la Vista, Lola!, was
just released by Thomas Dunn/St. Martin's Minotaur. Her heroine, Lola
Cruz, struggles to find a balance between Latino and American cultures.
It's a balancing act that the author knows well.
Ramirez, who describes herself in her official bio as a "blond-haired,
green-eyed, All-American girl with the given name Melissa Bourbon,"
married into Mexican-American culture when she wed her husband, Carlos,
"It has been an adjustment," Ramirez says.
Living in California,
she spent holidays and many dinners with her husband's relatives,
crafting her notes into a family cookbook. The kitchen is at the core
of Mexican culture, she says, and learning about it helped her
understand her new family.
While raising her children, ages 7
to 17, she taught middle-school English. She published a children's
book that didn't sell well. She joined a writers' group and
brainstormed a grown-up character, a spunky woman named Lola, who is
always knee-deep in trouble. Between teaching literature and washing
piles of laundry at night, Ramirez cranked out a book in seven years.
"There were times when I felt like I had to give up the dream," she said of those hectic years.
Her chance came in 2007, when she signed a two-book deal for her Lola series.
a private investigator, lives in California and spends her time
snapping pictures of adulterous couples, yearning to solve a juicy
crime. In Hasta la Vista, Lola!, she saunters into her own
mystery. Someone killed a woman who was using Lola's identity. In the
twists and turns throughout the book, Lola trespasses into apartments
and drug-rehabilitation clinics, searching for answers, while the truth
has been in front of her the whole time.