Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Book Blog Tour and Giveaway - Before the Alamo: A Tejana's Story by Florence Byham Weinberg

Welcome to my stop on the book blog tour for Before the Alamo: A Tejana's Story by Florence Byham Weinberg. This tour was organized by Lone Star Book Blog Tours. On my stop, I am spotlighting the book, and I also have a fascinating interview with the author. There's also the tour wide giveaway for a chance to win this book as well as another of the author's books. Be sure to visit the other stops on the tour for more content. Enjoy!
Title: Before the Alamo: A Tejana's Story
Author: Florence Byham Weinberg
Publisher: Maywood House
Publication Date: September 17th 2021
Print Length: 296 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Emilia Altamirano, half Otomí Indian, half pure Spanish, is born in 1814, the year after the Battle of the Medina River, where her father fought as an officer in the Mexican Royalist Army. She grows up in Bexar de San Antonio unacknowledged by her father, raised by her Otomí Indian mother, and “adopted” as an unofficial ward by José Antonio Navarro, hero of the Texas fight for independence from Mexico. She learns to read, write, and acts as a page for the Ayuntamiento (City Council). She learns nursing during a cholera epidemic and later tends the wounded on both sides during and after the Battle of the Alamo. She survives, but as a Tejana, Spanish-speaking, and a loyal citizen of Mexico, she faces an uncertain future.

Florence Byham Weinberg, born in Alamogordo, New Mexico, lived on a ranch as well as a farm and travelled with her military family during World War Two. After earning a Ph.D., she taught for 36 years in three universities. She published four scholarly books. Since retiring, she has written four books in the Pfefferkorn historical mystery series, three additional historical novels and one philosophical fantasy/thriller. She lives in San Antonio, loves cats, dogs, horses, and conversations with great-souled friends.

- Has Texas influenced your writing in any way?
Very much. I have written two books about Texas, specifically San Antonio: Apache Lance, Franciscan Cross, about the coming of the three Franciscan missions in 1731, which brought the total to five missions. It is also a love story between a Franciscan friar and an Apache woman warrior. The other book is Before the Alamo, which includes insights into Texan history from 1813 to 1848.

I was born in Alamogordo, New Mexico, 84 miles north of El Paso. My interest has always centered on the Southwest and especially the two states, Texas and New Mexico.

- Why did you choose to write in your particular field, genre, or sub-genre?
I was a professor of French and Spanish language and literature (and history) for 36 years. My special field was the French Renaissance, and I have written three scholarly books about that period, a fourth book on the cave as a literary device, from Homer to the Italian Renaissance. For more about those books, have a look at my website. After retirement, I turned to writing fiction, something I had longed to do all my life until then. I was equipped to write historical fiction, and I went about that with gusto! I have two branches of books, one concerning the history of the southwest, the other about the French Renaissance. My characters either are real, historical people, or fictional characters modeled on historical people.

- Where did your love of books, writing, reading, and storytelling come from?
My parents were both teachers; my mother taught kids to read and write for 25-plus years, then spent the last thirty years of her working life as a college librarian. (Crowder College didn’t realize how old she was until she reached her 75th birthday.) My father taught at the high school level, also serving as principal of Viola High School for several years. Both parents read to me as a child and themselves read constantly in my presence. I learned from the earliest age that reading was a desirable occupation, full of beautiful or at least important revelations about the world around me. I learned to read at age four, thanks to my environment. Of course, there were few distractions in those days, only radio —no TV, no computers, no Facebook, no cellphones.

- How long have you been writing?
Counting the scholarly books and articles, I have been writing since 1965.

- How do you write? Any backstory to your choice?
I began writing longhand, before I learned to type in high school in a business course. Then, I wrote on an Underwood typewriter, later graduated to a “Selectric” typewriter (was it a Royal?), then, as soon as computers came on the scene, I worked on a PC donated by the college where I was teaching, St. John Fisher College, in Rochester, NY. I swapped that, later, for another PC and now am using a laptop. I occasionally work on an iPad when I’m on a trip.

- What cultural value do you see in books, writing, reading, and storytelling?
There is enormous value, cultural and historical, in writing of all kinds. Our civilization was founded upon it, grows with it, depends upon it. My novels all are written to entertain but also to instruct about historical events and certain characters who lived them. Many of my books have a spiritual element to them also. My books about the Franciscans (Apache Lance, Franciscan Cross and Seven Cities of Mud) provide accurate historical information and show the protagonists as fallible yet admirable human beings. The same is true of my four books about a historical Jesuit missionary, Ignaz Pfefferkorn, SJ, 1725-1798, who served in the Sonora Desert (now northwestern Mexico and southern Arizona) for eleven years. He revealed his character through his own book, A Description of the Province of Sonora, published in 1794.

The same is true of my books set during the 16th century in France: Longs désirs (available only in French) about Louise Labé, a poet and a knight who, disguised as a man, fought in tournaments and in at least one battle, Dolet in English, about a publisher who was burned at the stake by the French Inquisition for having published the Bible in English. It was a time when the Church forbade the Bible to be accessible in anything but Latin. Also, The Choice, (forthcoming) about Jean de Sponde, a poet, lawyer, and knight, who was largely responsible for King Henri IV of France coming to the throne. Again, have a look at my website for a fuller description of all my books. Most of them contain an appendix which tells the reader just what is fictional and what is true history in the book.

The characters I choose to write about set examples of moral courage and probity, without being preachy. I portray all of them as fully human, fallible people, who try to do the right thing even when it goes wrong—and I never wittingly distort the history, which I thoroughly research.
One Winner: Signed copies of Before the Alamo and Apache Lance, Franciscan Cross by Florence Byham Weinberg
Two Winners: Signed copy of Before the Alamo by Florence Byham Weinberg
(US only.)

(All the Ups and Downs is not responsible for this giveaway, its entries, or the prizes. Florence Byham Weinberg assumes all responsibility with this giveaway.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Blog Touring Services Provided By:

1 comment:

  1. Great interview. I especially liked this from the author in response to the question about whether writing is important. "There is enormous value, cultural and historical, in writing of all kinds. Our civilization was founded upon it, grows with it, depends upon it."