Beyond the Bars
When 17-year-old Juana follows her boyfriend from Mexico to the United States, she never imagines she’ll end up in prison for manslaughter. Now her boyfriend’s mother wants custody of Juana’s baby and her only chance to prevent this is to clear herself of charges.
Juana doesn’t trust her correctional counselor with the truth of her past without the risk of incriminating herself on another charge. When a gang leader demands she joins up to survive in prison, Juana faces the dilemma of obeying the inmate code, her counselor’s expectations or following her own goals . This forces her to walk a thin line between violence, survival, and freedom. A stranger in a severe new world, Juana finds herself surrounded by young women who seem so different from her – but in this world, she finds hope and help in an unlikely place with unlikely people.
BEYOND THE BARS is a YA contemporary, complete at 76,000 words. I bring professional knowledge to this novel with my 28-year career working in the California Department of Corrections. I received a writing fellowship to A Room of Her Own (AROHO) writers residency in 2013/2015. The Association of Writers Program (AWP) selected me for their 2014 mentorship program. I am a member of SCBWI and local writing groups. Three of my short stories will be published by the University of Nevada, Reno in their anthology about gender violence. Another short story placed in the Ventura County writing contest of May 2016.