I love history.
I majored in it in college. When I graduated I became a newspaper reporter. There were no job listings for “historians.” Writing about current events seemed like the next best thing.
One of my professors had urged me to write local history. He knew I was a sixth generation Californian and said “stories waited to be told.”
He was right. A half dozen books later—some with multiple editions—I could call myself an historian.
Life sidetracks us. In my case, it was a divorce. I changed careers, got a master’s in public administration, and spent an entire career in public service.
Free to pursue an old dream once I retired, I turned to writing novels. I write multicultural romance novels about an Hispanic family in Napa Valley. Three of those novels are in print and the fourth is in edits.
But my history roots kept calling.
I answered. I just completed my first romance novel set in early California right before the war between Mexico and the United States. It’s about a rebellious Mexican girl who threatens an American spy with exposure if he doesn’t help her escape an unwanted arranged marriage. The sequel is underway.
I don’t know if these books will find a market—they’re bigger than my other books—and
I won’t abandon my wine country novels. I have two more to go. But I’m back in my comfort zone, a place where hidalgos dwelled in haciendas and marketed hides and tallow, a place where ranchos spread over a thousand hills and celebrations lasted for days.
The Mexican hidalgos lived in a world of their own, often oblivious to the plight of those who were less fortunate. When the Americans came, everything changed…even in Southern California, away from the goldfields.
As Manifest Destiny reached California fortunes changed, life became complicated, and the old order—totally unprepared—was pushed out. My history professor was right, there are stories to be told.
Maybe I can tell them.