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White Powder Fences

Adult; General Fiction (including literary and historical); (Market)

Josefina, the main character, is a young girl destabilized by her parent’s messy separation. She immigrates from Colombia and lives with her mother in a single parent home in Washington Heights, New York. Her intermittent peace is brief as her parent’s on and off relationship continues. Josefina speaks of her life as a young immigrant in New York sharing a series of anecdotes and dives into details of the destructive relationship with a neighborhood boy. She struggles to free herself of the loveless affair as her morals are compromised. She is dragged into illegal negotiations through her father and boyfriend. She takes us on a short ride through the legal system during the 1980s at the height of the drug epidemic. A series of unfortunate events take place before tragedy strikes her family forever changing her belief system. This story is unique because although we have repeatedly heard of the dangers of the drug epidemic, Josefina tells it through the eyes of a young girl who indirectly and somewhat innocently engages in illegal dealings.
Tiffany Curren (Amazon)

I brought this book with me for a weekend away. It was so good, that I didn't even want to go to dinner because I wanted to keep reading. I loved the descriptive way that the story was told, and felt pulled right into the story. I felt as if I was part of the family, really connecting to all of the characters as if it was happening IRL. Josefina is such an interesting girl, and I love the way in which she displays resilience (I would share details but don't want to spoil it!). What an incredible debut for these authors. This book is a must read!

First Time Author Re-Imagines Growing up in 1980's NYC

First-Time Authors Explore Immigration, Drug Trafficking and First Love in White Powder Fences

Betty McAleer has been a familiar face around Mountain Lakes for more than 14 years.  She is often found volunteering, hitting the links, or cheering on her kids, Mikey (15) and Callie (17), from the sidelines. In between pick-ups and drop-offs Betty, has done what many of us only aspire to do – she wrote a book.

In collaboration with her sister, Ingrid Duva, Betty wrote White Powder Fences, a coming of age story about a young girl’s experience as her family moves from Colombia to New York City.  While the story is set in the 1970’s and 80’s, its themes about growing up and fitting in and the compromises that are sometimes made in moving to that big house with the white fence resonate just as loudly today.  

Mountain Lakes Living sat down with Ingrid and Betty for a Q&A about their first novel.  

How did you come up with the idea for the book?

Ingrid: Betty was visiting me in Florida, and we were talking about our experience as Colombian immigrants growing up in the United States in the 1980's. We laughed about some of the unique characters we've come across to and how fun it would be to write about them. The more we discussed, the more exciting the project seemed. Soon after her visit, we began the collaboration.  

Betty:I remember our conversation a bit differently, but I also remember telling Ingrid that I always wanted to write a book and then I told her I was interested in exploring a story about an inter-generational gangster family.  So many of the drug cartels had children in the family business I thought it would be interesting to write a story about how easily that could happen.  

How much of the novel is taken from your own life?

Ingrid:It is related because we are culturally connected to what was happening in Colombia during the 1980's era. Like all writers, we borrowed ideas from the people we know and the places we've been and used the information to create our fictional story. 

How does Josefina’s narrative fit in to today’s story? 
This story is relatable because there are so many kids in this country that are growing up in the midst of two cultures, in two worlds and at times there are important questions they may ask themselves. Where do I belong? Will I go to college? Will I ever entirely fit in with the "norm"?

It’s also a cautionary tale to be careful that youth is not a pass to be reckless. That what we do as young people could have severe consequences in our adult life. I'm almost certain many young adults can relate to this fact.

 White Powder Fences is available on Amazon Kindle and Nook.  Keep your eye out for a book reading and signing in October.