On the Bookshelf
UNM staff collaborate on cross genre novel
By Carolyn Gonzales
Childhood friends Sue Boggio and Mare Pearl co-authored the New American Library publication “Sunlight and Shadow,” a cross genre book that takes place in New Mexico. The book explores Anglo and Hispanic interactions.
The book also contains mystery. “It’s been endorsed by Tony Hillerman and Judith van Gieson,” Pearl said. The book includes a guide and discussion topics modeled after books featured in Oprah’s Book Club.
Boggio, a UNM employee since 1980, is a registered nurse in Employee Occupational Health Services. Pearl is a mental health technician at the Children’s Psychiatric Center. She has been at UNM since 1989.
Meeting as fifth graders in West Des Moines, Iowa, Boggio and Pearl have been writing together almost that long. They have produced two other novels and a screenplay in the last ten years.
Both Beatles fans, it was the creative collaboration of John Lennon and Paul McCartney that inspired the writing team. “Mare is the musical one. She sings and plays the guitar. She went to New York to conquer Broadway,” Boggio said
“But an astrologer in the Village told me I’d be a writer,” Pearl said.
Pearl discovered that she writes better than she sings, and the two write better still as a duo. They sit down together to discuss the theme of a book, establish setting and characters. In “Sunlight,” the setting is a rural farming area south of Albuquerque named Esperanza.
The novel is a critical process requiring editing as they go. “The vignettes are woven together as a tapestry,” Boggio said, who added that she works primarily on the plot, while Pearl focuses more on subplot.
The novel allowed the women to address many pertinent issues. “In Esperanza, they are concerned about cross-cultural relationships, defying familial expectations for love and the positive and negative consequences,” Pearl said.