Please join me in welcoming debut novelist Diana Holguin-Balogh to talk about her historical fiction Rosary Without Beads.
Rosary Without Beads is a back-hills narrative for the 1800s Lincoln County War. The novel reboots Billy the Kid’s academic legend and gives voice to the silent story haunting the recorded version. Ambrosia, a Mexican sheepherder’s daughter, encounters fast talking Billy the Kid, and her world reverses its orbit.
Where did you get the idea for your novel?
Diana: After a cousin’s funeral held on the Mescalero Apache Indian Reservation, my brother showed me side by side graves of Shotgun Roberts and Dick Brewer, enemy combatants in the Lincoln County War. I grew up with the story and knew that when Billy wasn’t charming Mexican señoritas, the bilingual Kid fought in that war. Intrigued, I began. My fingers typed away as the story wrote itself.
The story was based on Billy the Kid, but the novel evolved into an aggressive woman power performance. From back hills New Mexico, a mentally challenged sister, a disenfranchised Apache curandera, and Ambrosia offer a fierce rendition into their possible involvement in the war.
If you could spend a day with one of your characters, who would it be and what would you do?
Diana: The unforgettable Kid is loved by the locals and hated by those in power. So many unknowns have fueled eternal debate about his true character. Was he good or bad? I’d love to ride horseback with him from San Patricio, Ambrosia’s home, to Fort Sumner. Along the way, he could tell me about his life philosophy, his upbringing, and loves and future dreams. But then, would I have to re-write the book?
Are your characters historical figures or fictional creations?
Diana: As I point out in the Epilogue, members of Ambrosia Salazar’s family are fictional except her brother. He truly lived and was Billy the Kid’s friend. All the players in the historic Lincoln County War were real people. Those living only on the page are Tehde, the Mescalero Apache Indian, Ramon Salamanca, his mother, and Father Martinez.
Tell us a little bit more about yourself.
Diana: I am a product of a multicultural family. My father attended only to the fourth grade, and my mother made it to the eighth. Books, other than an old encyclopedia, were not available in my family. My parents could not offer what they knew not. However, my father was a fantastic verbal story teller, and I remember wearing out the fairy tale section of that encyclopedia. I got a Ph.D. from Colorado State University and taught psychology at a local community college. After retiring, I began writing.