Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Long, Winding Road to a Novel


See link above for interview: "Long, Winding Road to a Novel" from Santa Fe Journal


Ortego, who has a Ph.D. in American studies from the University of New Mexico, said she had to teach herself how to write a novel. “I’ve written most of my life, poetry beginning in high school,” she said. “I was working the whole time I was writing it. There were a lot of false starts, self-study and workshops. The Writers’ Digest books on plot and character were helpful.”

Ortego’s book is loosely based on a period of her life in the mountains of New Mexico. “I was trying to write about how an emotionally dominated situation is not good and women should find the strength to move out of that,” Ortego said.

“People would say women aren’t oppressed like that anymore, but my contention is that they are,” Ortego said.

Ortego, who was born in New Orleans, is of Acadian heritage. Her Spanish heritage dates to Joaquin Ortega in the 1700s who was married to a French woman in Louisiana.

“They had nine sons, and she taught them all to speak French,” Ortego said. “It’s much more natural to pronounce the last syllable in French, so probably within the last generation, it became Ortego.”

Her next book will focus on her Acadian roots. Since becoming president of the community college two years ago, Ortego hasn’t had as much time to write, but is fitting in time for research and reading and drafting out some skeletons of chapters on the weekend.

Ana’s shift at St. Joseph’s had ended. The road ahead was a familiar ordeal. At La Cueva, 30 miles from town, the battered cattle gate had come into view, chained and padlocked on its cedar post. A late November snow had come, turning the road to muck. She had to get out to open the gate, slogging anke-deep in caliche, then back to the Wagoneer to drive through, and out again, to shut it.

— opening lines from “The Road from La Cueva” by Sheila Ortego

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Breaking Her Fall - by Steven Goodwin

Will try to post a link on this great book - if it doesn't work, just look this book up on Amazon.com
It's a good one!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

From: http://www.readingnewmexico.com/Fiction.html A new review!


The Road From La Cueva
Sunstone Press, ISBN 978-0-86534-588-1
$26.95 Amazon
This beautifully done novel pulls the reader along through the trials of a young mother, unhappy in her marriage yet reluctant to do anything about it. Her home is thirty miles out in an undeveloped area. She resents the inconvenience, her husband’s lack of respect for her, his obsessive controlling, and the fact that he hasn’t provided the home he promised.
Working as a lab technician in a Santa Fe hospital, she meets a male nurse who is attracted to her. She sneaks an affair into her life which goes on for some time, until her lover breaks it off because she won’t leave her husband, being afraid of a confrontation.
She then gives up her job at the hospital to avoid her estranged lover.
During this time she becomes friends with a fiercely independent Indian woman who lives alone in the same neighborhood. From this friendship she derives strength of her own and builds her independence, finally divorcing her husband and starting a new job and a new life.
After taking care of her friend through a terminal illness, she finds herself no longer afraid to face life. She decides to reconnect with her lover.
This is a well-written story with only occasional typographical errors, the most disconcerting of which was the use of hyphens in place of commas in many places which makes the reader stumble over the meaning of the phrase. However, all in all, well worth reading for its examination of a woman’s psyche and her spiritual growth.
12/08 Reviewed by Lola R. Eagle, author of From the Eye of an Eagle