This past week when I read that former crime reporter, author, journalist, and screenwriter Patricia Santos Marcantonio’s recent published critically acclaimed legal thriller "Verdict in the Desert" (Arte Público Press) landed on Amazon's Latino best seller list, it was a great moment. Not that I’m surprised, the book is an absolute page turner. Michael Shaw and Toni Garcia are destined to become iconic literary characters.
For everyone not yet familiar with Patricia’s work her children’s book, “Red Ridin’ in the Hood and Other Cuentos,” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) won an Anne Izard Storyteller’s Choice Award; was named an Americas Award for Children’s and Young Adult Literature Commended Title and a Wilde Awards Best Collections to Share; earned a Starred review from the American Library Association; and recommendations from Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, Kirkus Reviews and Publishers Weekly. The book also hit Amazon’s Latino children’s books best sellers.
Her screenplays have won, placed or hit the top percentage in several contests, including MORE Women in Film, Screenwriting Expo 5, Women in Film Las Vegas, the Phoenix Film Festival, and Reel Women of the West.
Coincidently being a judge on a screenwriting contest was how I had the good fortune to meet Patricia Santos Marcantonio and the opportunity to start enjoying her literary genius. Among the scripts submitted was "Down at the Cactus Lanes" to this day it is one of the best scripts I've ever read. When a script is really good the reader can picture actors in the roles, while reading “Down at the Cactus Lanes” Jennifer Lopez immediately came to mind. What made it stand out from the rest of the several hundred scripts submitted is the writer’s gift, of creating fully developed, self-actualized and realized strong women, who happen to be Latina.
The stories Patricia has been telling transcend stereotypical barriers and give audiences and readers the opportunity to feel and experience how much 99.9% of us have in common. That circumstances and situations are universal and we all can learn from each other.
During a time when Hollywood is publicly struggling with diversity, logically they might consider looking outside the box of Los Angeles and producing some Patricia Santos Marcantonio work. For more about Patricia visit:
*Images Courtesy of Patricia Santos Marcantonio and Arte Público Press.