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Lost in Oaxaca

Jessica Winters Mireles

July 15, 2020

After an injury to her hand derails her promising concert career, Camille retreats to her mother’s house and teaches piano to mostly desultory students. The years pass, and she finds Graciela, the talented daughter of her mother’s Mexican housekeeper, and Camille focuses on preparing her to live the life she herself was unable to live. Graciela has just won a prestigious piano competition and the chance to jump start her career, but two weeks before she’s supposed to perform with the LA Philharmonic, she disappears. Camille is determined to find her and bring her back before she squanders the opportunity of a lifetime, but a bus accident on route to Graciela’s family village outside of Oaxaca leaves her alone, unable to speak the indigenous language, and without a passport, money, or clothes. Camille, who grew up privileged, finally starts to learn just what it really means to be hungry. 

Born and raised in Santa Barbara, California, Jessica Winters Mireles holds a degree in piano performance from USC. After graduating, she began her career as a piano teacher and performer. Four children and a studio of over forty piano students later, Jessica’s life changed drastically when her youngest daughter was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of two; she soon decided that life was too short to give up on her dreams of becoming a writer, and after five years of carving out some time each day from her busy schedule, she finished Lost in Oaxaca (She Writes Press, 2020). Jessica’s work has been published in GreenPrints and Mothering magazines. She also knows quite a bit about Oaxaca, as her husband is an indigenous Zapotec man from the highlands of Oaxaca and is a great source of inspiration. She lives with her husband and family in Santa Barbara and has transformed her front yard into an English Garden.d

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