Juni Fisher takes literary stage

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Tulare County native and western music star Juni Fisher publishes her first book, The Girls from Centro

By Nancy Vigran
Reporter for the Sun-Gazette

LINDSAY – Juni Fisher is well-known for her songwriting and musical performances, but in December her first book came out and it appears to be a hit! The award-winning musician still calls Tulare County home, along with a second home just outside of Nashville. Her roots in the South Valley are key to her first novel, The Girls from Centro, although the storyline takes place close to Nogales, Arizona while starting across the Mexican border.

“People say, ‘I think I’ve got a novel in me,’” Fisher said. She didn’t want to be one of those people who said that, but never got around to writing it.

A few years back Fisher decided to attend a writing workshop being held at a musical festival where she was performing. She told the facilitator she wanted to attend the workshop, but didn’t want any notice of her being there to the other participants. She simply wanted to be another student.

Following the workshop she got involved in an online writing group. There, writers were given some type of prompt to write about, such as a photograph. One day there was a word prompt, “My father never forgave me for . . .”

Fisher’s response was, “my mother drowning at the border.” While that particular line never made it to the book, the concept did. Fisher writes from the heart of two women a generation and three decades apart.  She wrote while on the road touring – it took her three years to get her first draft done, well ahead of the recent political rhetoric about immigration at the southern border.

A friend and mentor told her to edit it three times, and then to let her see it.

“Well,” she told Fisher, “we have a lot of work to do.”

The two reworked it about seven times, Fisher said. She also figures she had edited it herself about 17 times in total. She landed a publishing contract after receiving two offers.

A writer friend intervened at Pen-L Publishing, where she herself had been published. She felt Fisher’s work and the small publishing house would be a good fit. They weren’t taking new submissions at the time, “but I think you’ll want to take a look at this,” she had told them. They offered Fisher a contract, which she took.

Her book is purely fiction telling stories of child trafficking. One protagonist is a 12-year-old Mexican girl, Teresa, who with her two sisters and their mother attempt to cross the border. Their mother drowns, and the girls decide to keep on going forward rather than back.

The other storyline involves a 20-year-old woman, Ana, who works as a cook at a Catholic convent. She is offered a good-paying job by a wealthy rancher, an offer she cannot turn down.

“There is no political side to the book,” Fisher said. “I am just telling a story.” She hopes it brings awareness to those people who are trying for a better life.

“I hope that is how it will feel to people,” she said.

The Girls from Centro was published in December. It is available through Fisher’s web site, Pen-L Publishing’s web site, The Book Garden in Exeter, and through Amazon where it is available for Kindle.

She will be performing at the Lindsay Theatre on Saturday, Feb. 16 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are at lindsaycommunitytheater.com/junifisher.html.

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