The Making of a Middle-Grade Masterpiece

Written by: Alliah Rayne Mingcay | 3 weeks ago

Marie Miranda Cruz is a Fil-Am author and scientist, in which she is also famously known for her works in children’s and young adult literature. 

Marie was born in Cavite City, Philippines. She grew up there until her teenage years. She then moved to the United States, where she was able to obtain her degree in biology and is now working as a medical technician. 

Photo by Kathy Metz on Macmillan

Marie loves to read and has had an artistic side ever since. She does quilting, knitting, and even crocheting. She has done a lot of crochet projects, from fingerless mittens to socks, and even expressed an interest in making a ruched yoke tee. Yet never had she known that she had the knack for bringing characters to life.

Marie started writing in 2005. She realized she had a knack for writing through her friend’s comment at the time, where her friend said she was a good storyteller. At first, it was just disbelief that struck her, yet the possibility of becoming a writer grew within her as days passed by. And thus she started to write.

‘But what could I possibly write?’, she thought. Her works were inspired when she visited the bookstore with her kids. She wanted to write and introduce Filipino characters or Filipino culture. She began writing picture book stories. She won a lot of awards for her various works. She became more inspired and drafted stories, where Everlasting Nora was born. 


Photo by Macmillan

She spent years finishing her book, Everlasting Nora. She revised it countless times with the help of her critique partners. She attended writing conferences and workshops, pushing her limits to get the best out of the book she created. 

Marie’s years of hard work paid off; she was able to find a home for her masterpiece. Starscape is the home of Everlasting Nora. Everlasting Nora was published on October 2, 2018. It can be found on Amazon and can even be purchased at the National Bookstore, which costs ₱426.

It was in 2019 when I first discovered her book. There was a big discount in various National Bookstore outlets, and I found her book during that time. When I first saw the book cover, the first thing that came to mind was that it was based on Mexican culture. But boy, was I wrong. The blurb screams that it's a book based in the Philippines. It screams our culture. My mouth instantly formed an o as I felt excited. I didn't hesitate and took the book with me.

When I read it, I couldn't believe how good the book was. It was a book worth reading, as it made me open my eyes to how difficult Nora's life was. It wasn't just fiction to me; it was also happening to thousands of Filipinos. Despite the unfortunate events that have occurred to other Filipinos, they continue to hold on to the hope that they have. They are still looking forward to tomorrow.

Nora's and other characters' ways of facing their problems and challenges in life are admirable. Everlasting Nora is a book that I'll surely remember for how touching the story is. It will be one of the Filipino novels that will be my favorite, as this is the first Filipino novel I've read.

Even after years of being published, Marie’s book is still being featured at different events. She is currently active on her Instagram account, @authormariecruz, where she always posts about her life and her book. Marie has also a blog of her own (, in which she posts blogs about her writing and knitting journeys. There are also a few book reviews there. Marie is one of the Fil-Am authors who has been able to share Filipino culture throughout the world. Even though she is now residing in the U.S., her work will always be a reminder that she is still a Filipino at heart.