A runaway bride. Sisters. Adultery. Witchcraft. A Woman doctor.
The Sandoval diaries.
When Alma flees with her young lover to Texas to escape an arranged marriage with a much older man, she sets in motion a drama that will put the sisters and their legacy at risk.
Pilar, a 14-year-old tomboy, is offered as a replacement bride, and what follows is a sensuous courtship and marriage clouded by the curses of her husband’s former lover, Consuelo. She will stop at nothing, even the use of black magic, in her effort to destroy the Sandoval family.
The Mexican-American war begins and the Americans invade Santa Fe. The sisters survive the hostilities from two important fronts-New Mexico and Texas. Their money and ancient knowledge offer some protection, but their lives are changed forever.
“This story of love, mysticism and betrayal tests the ultimate boundaries of sisterhood. I loved this brave, lushly written tale of life in old Santa Fe.”Jill Smolinski, author of Objects of My Affection and The Next Thing on My List
Sandra Ramos O'Briant's work has appeared in Café Irreal, Flashquake, riverbabble, LiteraryMama, WhistlingShade, La Herencia, latinola.com,Label Me Latina/o and The Copperfield Review. In addition, her short stories have been anthologized in Best Lesbian Love Stories of 2004, What Wildness is This: Women Write About the Southwest (University of Texas Press, Spring 2007), Latinos in Lotus Land: An Anthology of Contemporary Southern California Literature, (Bilingual Press, 2008), Hit List: The Best of Latino Mystery (Arte Publico (2009), and The Mom Egg (Half Shell Press, 2010).
Q & A with Sandra:
Why Santa Fe?
could say I wrote what I know, but it's more accurate to say that I
wanted to understand what I know. Writing clarified not just that, but
also what I didn't know: about the people and their history, about dreams and superstition, about love. I
was born and raised there, except for summers in Texas with my dad.
Is Texas a villain in your story?
Texas wanted control of the Santa Fe Trail and most of New Mexico. This overland passage
was a trade pipeline to Mexico and the West. The U.S. wanted it, too. They were both in expansionist moods.
The diary of "the first white woman" to travel the Trail survived, and there is anecdotal mention of her from that time in letters. Also of a famous madam who was friendly with the American military. Not much has been written about New Mexican women. I wrote characters who are interesting to me.
Why diaries? Why three points of view?
grandfather had an ancient adobe shed with discarded items: a burro's
harness, a chest brace from when my aunt had polio, and a leather pouch
filled with letters written in Spanish. I wanted them to be a diary, but they were details of
financial transactions with a few personal notes. Flash!
Just came to me: maiden, mother, crone. Pilar is the youngest and her
spirit is youthful; Alma gives birth; Oratoria was wise and mature
beyond her years.
You didn't plan that?
Hmm . . . of course. *shakes head*
Any family history in your novel?
Some of Alma's Texan sojourn is based on my mother's experience with her mother-in-law, who also happened to be named Bertha. My dad was a lanky cowboy named Bill whose eyes were turquoise.
Why do you say New Mexicans?
a reflection of my age and the brainwashing every Northern New Mexican
receives. We were taught to call ourselves Spanish. Restaurants
advertised Spanish food, but they weren't serving paella, just chile
verde, tacos, tamales and spicy hot enchiladas which were flat, not
What do you call yourself now?
a Latina, which sounds young and sexy. I'm a Chicana, which sounds
60's. I'm a Mexican, but don't tell my mom cause she'll tell you that
her daughter may be Mexican, but she's Spanish.
What are nethers?
"He stroked my lips with his tongue, then probed deeper, and my mouth sent its wet message to my nethers." Does that help?
I get it. Thank you.
Scene Read at the Autry Saturday, September 15, 2-4 p.m.
May 18 Tia Chucha's Celebrating Words Festival
The panel is slated to begin at 3:00 and will end at 3:45 on Saturday May 18, 2013 at Los Angeles Mission College, 13356 Eldridge Avenue, Sylmar, CA. 91342.
April 20 & 21: Los Angeles Festival of Books
Join me at Vromans Bookstore in Pasadena, Sunday October 7, at 4:00 p.m.
I'll be on two panels at the Latino Book and Family Festival Saturday October 13.
October 22, private bookclub signing.
November 14, private bookclub signing.
November 10, Historical Novel Society, Fairfax branch of the L.A. Public Library.
"An outstanding family saga." Historical Novel Review
"Woven among the stories of love and life is eroticism,
mystery, witchcraft, folktales, superstition, political intrigue,
corruption, and violence." Dr. Michele
Shaul, Co-Editor of the e-journal Label Me Latina/o
Copyright 2005 Sandra Ramos O'Briant. All rights reserved.