Monday, October 8, 2007

Nina Vida's "The Texicans"

The Texicans is Nina Vida's seventh novel.

She applied the "Page 99 Test" to the book and reported the following:
On page 99 of The Texicans the clock is turned back to the Texas of the 1840’s. It is a scene in a Mexican cantina, a piece of the mosaic of Texas history, and is an example of what I had in mind when I wrote the book. I wanted to place the common people of Texas front and center.

The Denver Post review:

For those tired of the old Texas story with cowboys and cattle drives, Rangers with white hats and the Alamo, ‘The Texicans’ is a must read…Spanning 12 years, ‘The Texicans’ is an imaginative and thoroughly researched tale driven by intriguing characters, reminders of the largely overlooked but rich mix of men and women who helped shape the Lone Star State.

In The Texicans I write about Aurelia, a Mexican girl who some people thought could see the future. And about Katrin, a na├»ve Alsatian girl at the beginning of the novel who is the wisest of all at the end. And about Henri Castro, a land-grant entrepreneur from France who brought European immigrants to Texas, founded the town of Castroville in the Texas hill country, then saw his dreams wither. And about the European immigrants who came to Texas with Castro and became Texans as surely and deeply as those who were native born. And about Joseph, a Jewish schoolteacher and trapper from Missouri who came to Texas to settle his late brother’s estate, married Katrin to save her from a Comanche chief, fell in love with Aurelia, and prospered despite himself.

In the research for The Texicans I made many trips to Texas, read Texas history, and interviewed a lot of Texans. Frances Kallison and Connie Crook, descendants of Texas pioneers, opened their hearts to me. Their family histories were invaluable. What I finally came away with was the idea for a book about Texas that would spotlight those people and those corners of history that had been neglected. And, of course, as in all my books, I strive to keep the reader off balance. Nothing is what it seems. Everything grows out of character. And character in The Texicans is tested mightily by adversity.
Learn more about The Texicans and Nina Vida's other books at her website.

--Marshal Zeringue