Thursday, August 4, 2022

Book Blog Tour and Giveaway: Rio Hondo (Three Rivers Trilogy #3) by Preston Lewis

Welcome to my stop on the book blog tour for Rio Hondo by Preston Lewis. This blog tour was organized by Lone Star Blog Tours. On my stop, I am spotlighting the book. I also have a fascinating author interview with the author about this trilogy. There's also the tour wide giveaway for a chance to win an autographed copy of the book. Be sure to visit the other stops on the tour for more content. Enjoy!
Title: Rio Hondo
Series: Three Rivers Trilogy #3
Author: Preston Lewis
Publisher: Five Star
Publication Date: May 18th 2022
Print Length: 373 pages
Genre: Historical Western Action & Adventure
With the embers of the Lincoln County War still burning, rancher Wes Bracken must rebuild his life amid the white-hot animosities lingering from the deadly feud. His vengeful brother-in-law vows to kill him, the county's economic kingpin seeks revenge, and the despicable outlaw Jesse Evans, who violated Bracken's wife, intends to murder Bracken and his young family. Two promises complicate Bracken's survival chances: a pledge not to kill his wife's brother and a commitment to help William H. Bonney earn a governor's pardon for his crimes. To survive and fulfill his dream of a peaceful life in 1880s New Mexico Territory, Bracken must fight a corrupt legal system, a duplicitous governor, a ubiquitous political ring, and the evil Jesse Evans. If Bracken keeps his promises to his wife and Billy the Kid, he risks an early grave in the same soil that holds so many of the Lincoln County War's dead. If he ignores those pledges, he will dishonor the good name he hopes to build his future upon.

Preston Lewis is the Spur Award-winning author of over forty westerns, historical novels, juvenile books, and memoirs. He has received national awards for his novels, articles, short stories, and humor. In 2021 he was inducted into the Texas Institute of Letters for his literary accomplishments. Lewis is past president of Western Writers of America and the West Texas Historical Association.

His historical novel Blood of Texas on the Texas Revolution earned a Spur Award as did his True West article on the Battle of Yellow House Canyon. He developed the Memoirs of H.H. Lomax series, which includes two Spur finalists and three Will Rogers Medallion Awards (WRMA) for western humor. Lewis has received two Will Rogers Gold Medallion Awards for his short stories. The Fleecing of Fort Griffin and two of his YA novels have won Elmer Kelton Awards for best creative work on West Texas from the West Texas Historical Association.

Lewis began his writing career working for Texas daily newspapers in Abilene, Waco, Orange, and Lubbock before going into university administration. During his thirty-five-year career in higher education, he directed communications and marketing offices at Texas Tech University, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, and Angelo State University.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Baylor University and master’s degrees from Ohio State in journalism and from Angelo State in history. He lives in San Angelo, Texas, with his wife, Harriet.

-Now that you have finished your Three Rivers Trilogy with Rio Hondo, did you complete what you set out to accomplish with the story?
I think so. As I’ve said before, I’ve always been fascinated by Billy the Kid and the Lincoln County War. My goal was to interject a moral man in an immoral situation, as the Lincoln County War certainly was, and see if he could navigate the treachery and stay true to his values and, in this case, true to his family. For Wes Bracken, my protagonist, the results were mixed because sometimes doing the right thing wasn’t the legal thing. Additionally, how can you believe in justice when the people in political power show no respect for the law? This was an issue my protagonist had to deal with time and again, just as the historical citizens of Lincoln County did.

- What made the Lincoln County War so fascinating to you?
Its complexity. I don’t know of any other Old West feud that can match the Lincoln County War for its tangled threads of complications. You’ve got racial issues, political corruption, Irish versus British prejudices, economic subterfuge, legal shenanigans, military malfeasance, international intrigue, shifting loyalties, miraculous escapes, and a colorful cast of characters. If you like a western or a mystery or a political thriller, it’s all there in the Lincoln County War, and I only tapped a fraction of the fictional possibilities that can arise from the facts of the conflict.

- It’s not like the Lincoln County War hasn’t been written about before. How did you differentiate your trilogy from other books on the topic?
Rio Ruidoso, the first book in the trilogy, is set in the years before the Lincoln County War begins and focuses on some of the racial animosities and killings, with Billy the Kid making his only appearance at the end. The second book Rio Bonito follows events through the Big Killing, which effectively ended the Lincoln County War proper, but not the hostilities. Rio Hondo covers the aftermath of the war and some of the political intrigue that ultimately led to the Kid’s death. How the books differ from many before them is the principal events of the Lincoln County War provide the background but not the main action of the books. In addition to Wes Bracken’s personal struggles, Rio Hondo focuses as much as anything on how Billy the Kid was betrayed in his effort to secure a pardon and go straight.
- You mention Wes Bracken’s personal struggles. What do you mean?
First, as I’ve said, there’s the issue of a moral man trying to navigate a course of integrity when faced with a corrupt system. Second, how do you live with a situation where you are uncertain if your newborn daughter is yours or that of the outlaw who violated your wife? Bracken must live with that doubt and torment. A lot of western novels have a common plot twist of the violated woman, but they focus on the aggrieved husband’s quest for vengeance. My protagonist seeks justice, yes, but he also has to grapple with the potential of an unwanted personal outcome for the rest of his life.

- Which historical character or characters did you most enjoy writing about?
Billy the Kid, of course, because he’s always fun to explore on many levels. In Rio Hondo, my favorite was Pat Garrett. He’s not in the book until near the end, but he manages to conclude the animosities between Wes Bracken and his principal antagonist James J. Dolan in a way that I think was within his character. The historical figures I disliked were Dolan and Territorial Governor Lew Wallace, each villainous in his own way.

- Are you done writing about Billy the Kid and the Lincoln County War?
Certainly, for the time being, but the Lincoln County War is such a rich historical vein for literary interpretation that I may approach it from another angle in a few years. A couple decades ago, I started a mainstream novel on the dispute from the viewpoints of some characters I barely mentioned in my subsequent novels related to Billy the Kid. One day I may dust off that manuscript and see about finishing it.
Win an autographed copy of Rio Hondo by Preston Lewis - two winners, US only.
(All the Ups and Downs is not responsible for this giveaway, its entries, or the prize. The author, Preston Lewis, assumes all responsibility over this giveaway.)

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1 comment:

  1. I really like how you personalize and introduce the blog tour stops. Nice touch. And great author interview today!