She wrote her first novel, Esperanza’s Box of Saints and its Spanish version, Santitos, published in late 1999 by Simon & Schuster and Random House respectively. Her novel has been the number one best seller in the Los Angeles Times Best Sellers List, it has 21 foreign editions and has been read in over 86 countries. Her new novel, González & Daughter Trucking Co. and its Spanish version, Transportes González e Hija, was published in 2005 by Random House. It has been in best sellers lists around the country and is the publisher’s “Book of the Year” in Spain. She has been named Writer to Watch by Newsweek magazine and by the Los Angeles Times. Her books have been chosen as the annual book selection for several Community Reads public library-funded projects, One City One Book, A Novel Idea. Also, many of her short stories have been published in journals and magazines, both in English and Spanish.
María wrote the screenplay Santitos, on which she based her novel. The film was produced by John Sayles and successfully released in Latin America in January of 2001. To date, the film has received awards in 14 international Film Festivals, such as the Latin Cinema Award at the Sundance Film Festival, Special Jury Award at the Rencontres Cinémas de Toulouse, France, and Best Opera Prima by the Critique Française.
She founded The Other Truth Productions, LLC, a content production company, where she has a pipeline of film and television projects in various stages of development. She is currently developing the television mini-series, Mudflap Girl, based on her second novel, González & Daughter Trucking Co. and a screenplay she co-wrote with Pepe Stepensky, Moishe is Moishe.
María has taught numerous Creative Writing courses and workshops at UCLA Extension since 1994: Magic Realism, Written Voice and Short Story Writing. She has been an advisor at the Sundance Film Institute Screenwriters Labs in Mexico and Brazil. She has been a novel and screenplay advisor at the Creative Content Foundation in Barcelona and she has been a mentor for the PEN Center Emerging Voices Program since 2000.
She graduated from Universidad Nuevo Mundo in Mexico City in 1982 where she studied Communications with an emphasis on Linguistics and Semiotics. She is invited regularly as keynote speaker, lecturer, and panelist at numerous colleges and universities, national and international writing conferences, writing seminars in Mexico, Spain and Brazil, film festivals in several other countries, book expos, fundraisers, and other events.