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April 25, 2024

Former local teacher pens first novel

WATSONVILLE—A new book has hit the shelves, “Fruit of the Devil,” by retired Pajaro Valley Unified School District teacher Mary Flodin. 

The novel unfolds between the exclusive golf courses of Pebble Beach to the world-famous surf breaks of Santa Cruz and the fertile lands of Steinbeck country. It uncovers the hidden underbelly of California agriculture, telling a story of love, greed, murder and redemption.

After earning a teaching credential with an emphasis in environmental education from UC Santa Cruz, Flodin worked as a naturalist in an Outdoor Science School for two years before teaching in the classroom. From the mid ‘80s until 2000, she taught in an elementary school in Central California surrounded by strawberry fields and became involved in the struggle to protect her students from pesticide drift, helping to found the environmental justice group Farm Without Harm, now known as SASS (SafeAgSafeSchools). She taught English, social studies, art, environmental education and digital media for over 25 years in California K-12 public schools before settling into the writer’s life.

“Fruit of the Devil,” Flodin’s first novel, was a finalist for the PEN/Bellwether Award for Socially Engaged Fiction and the Pacific Northwest Writers’ Competition. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters In Crime, Romance Writers of America and Santa Cruz Women of Mystery. 

A native Californian, Flodin lives in a cottage on the Monterey Bay with her husband — a retired NASA climate scientist.

Kelly Pleskunas, owner of Kelly’s Books, 1838 Main St., in Watsonville, said the book in “coming soon” to her shelves.

Tony Nuñez
Tony Nuñez
Tony Nuñez is a longtime member of the Watsonville community who served as Sports Editor of The Pajaronian for five years and three years as Managing Editor. He is a Watsonville High, Cabrillo College and San Jose State University alumnus.

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