My historical novel, Candlelight Bridge, has just been released by FlowerSong Press. I grew up with my Mexican-and-Chinese American Grandma, and Candlelight Bridge was inspired by the stories she told me: tales of secret immigrants, mixed-race children, and trauma passed down like an inheritance from generation to generation.

My research for this novel took me to China, San Francisco, and the borderlands of the U.S. and Mexico. I wandered villages and archaeological sites, visited museums and historical societies, read histories of all sorts, interviewed family members and locals and historians. All to imagine the story of a young man from China and young girl from Mexico immigrating to America in the early 1900s.

I’ve told the story of one research adventure in front of many audiences, and in honor of my book’s release, today you can read Old Mr. Ma at the literary magazine, Women Writers, Women’s Voices. May it remind us, we need not view the past as either curse or blessing, but rather an opportunity to discover who we are and all that connects us.