Inspired in part by the Southwest’s mixture of cultures, races, languages, and religions, the new fictional book “Love’s Rebirth: A Tejana Story” tells a tale about love and magic in the mid-19th century. “Love’s Rebirth: A Tejana Story” is Adria Cruz Tabor’s ode to her passion for heritage and history – and it all started off as a dream.
Her passion comes as no surprise; on Tabor’s website, she often writes about Latin American culture. Now, she took it one step further and wrote a historical fiction novel that follows the story of the coming-of-age of the main character, Ana Dolores Peregrino, as she navigates her life in the Southwestern part of Texas with psychic and spiritual abilities between the years of 1830 and 1850.
Before we give the whole story away though, BELatina News spoke with the author to get more details on her life story and how this book came together.
Here’s how the conversation unfolded.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your background.
I grew up in several Latin American countries. Spanish is my native tongue and I identify as Latina. I like to write about our heritage and history. I studied psychology in college where I served in the International Club and chaired the Spanish Club. I have been fortunate to serve my community through various organizations here in Texas. Now, during my retirement, I help homeschool my grandchildren and work on my writing. Currently, I am in the planning stages of a program for the Hispanic Cultural Center where we will facilitate a course in writing about our ancestors, like memoirs, for the Center’s archives.
How long did it take you to write this book?
The first draft of my book “Love’s Rebirth: A Tejana Story” took about nine months to write in 2020.
What is a significant way your book has changed since the first draft?
That is a more complicated question. A few decades ago, I had three consecutive dreams about the life of a Tejana in the early nineteenth century. You could say that the plot was basically given to me. I worked with that story on my first draft. Once that was done, it took me almost a year to work on the pertinent historical research, which served as the background world of the story, time, place, language, culture, etcetera. Plus I consulted with two history professors at Texas State University, to verify the research, and with a friend linguist who helped with the usage of French and German vocabulary. Then, of course, the book went through professional developmental editing, in which I rewrote one whole chapter. It was finally published in January 2022, after copy-editing, proofreading, and formatting.
What is the most difficult part of the writing process for your book?
Making sure that it was historically correct. Finding historical literature of that time period written from the Tex-Mexican point of view was not easy.
Why did you decide to set your book in the 19th century?
First, because that was the time period indicated by my dreams. And secondly, because of my historical interest in the times. That era marked the beginning of the reformulation of the Mexican-American identity from Tejanos to Tex-Mexicans and it was also the time when the dissemination of the Anglo culture was taking place in Texas. Ana Dolores Peregrino, the protagonist of “Love’s Rebirth,” grows up facing the dispossession of her heritage. As a strong, self-sufficient Latina, who learns to use her spiritual guidance, she succeeds in retaining her self-autonomy, helping her community, and achieving contentment in her life.
Is your book, “Love’s Rebirth,” considered a work of magical realism? Was that what you were aiming for?
Yes. Having grown up in Latin America, where magic realism literature was popular, that is my preferred style of writing. I still remember how I enjoyed reading “El Señor Presidente” by Miguel Ángel Asturias, “Merlín y familia” by Álvaro Cunqueiro, and of course, Gabriel García Márquez’s novels.
What do you think will resonate the most with Texans nowadays?
Our present is influenced by our past. I believe most Texans would like reading a more complete version of the state’s past, a history more inclusive of all its people; from the point of view of Tejanos, the Black community, and Indigenous Peoples – and not just the Anglos, which has been the prevalent one. As Américo Paredes explains, Mexican American historical fiction literature was printed in the 1930s but not published until the 1990s. Take for instance novels like María Elena Zamora O’Shea’s “El Mesquite,” or Américo Paredes’s “George Washington Gómez,” and Jovita González’s “Caballero,” all written in the 1930s and printed through Academic Presses, but did not make it to the general public awareness until published in the 1990s. On the other hand, the western novels of the time, written by Anglos, about the same place and time period, have always flooded the market.
Anything else you’d like to share with the BELatina News audience?
I would love to invite our readers to my website, where I share more information about our Latin American culture and history on my blog on a monthly basis.
There’s no doubt that Tabor is helping immortalize Latino culture – the right way. Check out “Love’s Rebirth: A Tejana Story” and become enthralled by the wonders of our culture.