Paula writes quirky YA novels under the pen name E.J. Mara. Check them out below!
"Identity"- The Origin Story
It’s 1997 in the tiny town of Peake, Alabama and everyone’s talking about Unseen, a supposedly invisible superhero who kicks cow-tipper butt! To Unseen's credit, the hero is also known for taking on more serious criminals like the occasional gas station thief and …well, that’s pretty much it.
But this story isn’t about Unseen, it’s about one of the vigilante's fans- Karen Lyles. Sixteen-year-old Karen Lyles lives in Peake with her Deaf parents and little sister Tessa. The four of them are a relatively happy family until Karen’s mother inexplicably loses all of her memories and eventually, her will to live. Things get even worse when Karen’s little sister, Tessa, is kidnapped by one of Unseen’s enemies.
Determined to save Tessa, Karen teams up with her father and her best friend, Nathaniel, for the rescue mission. As the three of them dodge gunshots, memory-erasing devices, and the punishing blows of extraordinarily powerful mutants, Karen discovers that her parents have been hiding a tremendous secret about their past - a secret that links their family to Unseen!
Unmasking your town vigilante is one thing, but to discover your own identity- that’s the real adventure.
Identity is the origin story to The South Louisiana High Book Series, Identity takes place in 1997 and can be described as a slow reveal, its first half focusing on who the three main characters are and what kinds of families they come from. Bit by bit, each character's story unfolds into a science fiction adventure that’s tinged with hope and leads readers directly into the series!
"Almost Friends"- Book One
Swamp Rose is a small town that’s been shrouded in mystery ever since a vigilante called “Unseen” began making headlines. Unseen uses seemingly supernatural abilities to thwart criminals and rescue their innocent victims. But Almost Friends isn’t about a superhero named Unseen, it’s about three unheroic high school students named Mia, Kyle, and E.
Mia, Kyle, and E are the most popular girls at South Louisiana High and being a part of this mean girl trifecta is anything but easy. As the three friends embark on their junior and senior years at South Louisiana High, they find themselves facing extraordinary challenges. Mia doesn’t tell her two besties that she’s developed a disturbing super power, Kyle, meanwhile, struggles to keep her eating disorder under wraps, and E isn’t sure she can trust her two best frenemies with what she’s learned about her father’s connection to their town’s vigilante.
Clearly, Unseen isn’t the only mysterious figure in Swamp Rose. Mia, Kyle, and E have their fair share of secrets to protect. Can their friendship survive hidden abilities, extraterrestrial discoveries, and closet upon closet of skeletons?
Find out in, Almost Friends, the first book within the South Louisiana High series!
"Almost Twins"- Book Two
Via Nguyen and Gia Moretti have similar names and polar opposite personalities. Despite their differences, they’ve been best friends
since Junior High.
Now that they’re sophomores at South Louisiana High School, their friendship isn’t what it used to be. Gia is preoccupied with keeping her younger sister out of trouble, and Via finds herself busy with her new boyfriend.
Can their friendship survive tenth grade? Find out in "Almost Twins," the second book in the South Louisiana High series!
"Almost Famous"- Book Three
Fifteen-year-old Drew Everett loves acting almost as much as she loves herself. It’s a wonderful escape: every time she steps into the shoes of a character, she’s able to forget about her mother’s worsening alcohol addiction and the problems that come with it. But when Drew’s mother decides to leave Los Angeles and move their family closer to a renowned addiction treatment center all the way in Louisiana, Drew realizes that her beloved acting career must come to a standstill.
From the moment Drew steps foot in Swamp Rose, Louisiana, she hates the place. She can immediately tell that it's as backwards and full of racism as she expected. There are, however, two aspects of Swamp Rose life that take the young actress by surprise. For one, nearly every local Drew meets believes in the existence of a supernatural vigilante called “Unseen” who supposedly acts as a local superman. Even stranger, though, is the fact that Drew finds herself falling for her new school’s biggest geek, Ben Morris.
Though Ben’s fashion choices are questionable and his every other sentence contains a Star Wars reference, his warmth and sincere interest in others deeply impress the Hollywood starlet. The closer Drew gets to Ben, the more she realizes she shouldn’t have judged him -or anyone in Swamp Rose- based on looks alone. In fact, when Ben has an encounter with a supernatural being and is soon thereafter captured by a group of officials who say he’s “seen too much,” the young actress realizes that she'd give anything, including her own life, to save Ben. Armed with love and the kind of courage only an actress can have, Drew is determined to find out where Ben’s been taken and rescue him.
Almost Famous is Book Number 3 in The South Louisiana High Book Series
"Almost Brave" - Book Four
Cowardice is blind. It often prevents us from seeing ourselves as we truly are. Just ask Gina Russo, Amelia Hearth, and Luke Kennedy. These three citizens of Swamp Rose, Louisiana appear to be very different, but share one common quality…
Gina, a twenty-two year old who’s watched her closest friends move away to college, wishes she had the courage to pursue her dreams. And when she’s not wishing for this, she’s enjoying a drink or two or ten while trolling bars for a quick hook-up. Acclaimed filmmaker, Amelia Hearth, has a shelf full of Academy Awards and a gaping hole in her heart. In front of cast, crew and employees, she fakes a courage that she doesn’t truly feel. And, as a handsome twenty-something, Luke should be enjoying his life, but he lacks the courage to live. Instead, he fades into the background, becoming a minor character in his own story.
Gina, Amelia, and Luke aren’t exactly cowards, but they all struggle with being almost brave.
That said, when their entire town is threatened by a visitor from another planet, the three unlikely heroes must decide how they’re going to fight back… or if they even will fight back.
Almost Brave is the fourth book in The South Louisiana High series. It allows readers to follow the perspectives of all three main characters as they come face to face with the powerful beings who’ve threatened their town.
As Gina, Amelia and Luke struggle to pinpoint and overtake their own fears, they also face the opportunity to unlock their courage and become the bravest version of themselves possible.
Almost Brave is book number 4 in the South Louisiana High Book Series.