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    Reviews: Argyle novelist taps into her own cultural balancing act
    Posted on Tuesday, March 02 @ 09:22:59 EST
    Topic: Nudist Info
     Argyle novelist taps into her own cultural balancing act
    Dallas News
    SARAH M. PERRY

    Imagine uprooting your culturally mixed family from their home in a diverse neighborhood and moving halfway across the country to a town where nearly everyone looks and talks the same. People are puzzled when you have a last name like Ramirez, but you're as pasty as the paper in your printer.

    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, in 1990. "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.Lola, 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.




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    Argyle novelist taps into her own cultural balancing act
    Dallas News


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