“I always intended to get serious about writing fiction at some point,” says author, environmentalist, activist and Latin American folk-art dealer Martha Egan. “But it took a hideous experience with U.S. Customs to force me into it.” Clearing Customs, a semi-autobiographical novel written in 2005, was the award-winning result that explored the war Customs wages on small business owners such as herself.
Following the success of that first venture into fiction, Egan went on to write another serious novel, Coyota, about the youngest sibling in a large Mexican-American family and her struggles with similar governmental bureaucracies. Now she returns with a new book, La Ranfla & Other New Mexico Stories, a collection of shorts in which place itself plays a major role in the development of her narratives. Strong women are often at the center of her stories, including gringa Mary Louise Kowalski, who drives her “cool ride” through the title piece.