Interview from Writers of the West:
|Sandra Ramos O'Briant|
On May 30, 2013, The Sandoval Sisters' Secret of Old Blood received two awards from the ILBA in NYC: Best Historical Fiction and Best First Book. Fifteen years ago I wrote the following line in an Introduction to Fiction class at UCLA: “Human dreams had been written in archaic Spanish, and terrible sins described in faded brown ink on whisper-thin paper.” The journey to completed novel was chock-full of twists and new beginnings.
Witchcraft and superstition floated in the crisp mountain air we breathed in Santa Fe. My mother didn’t hesitate to tell me scary demon stories at my bedtime as if they were sweet fairy tales. The parish priest asked my aunt to stop conducting seances and rumor had it that my grandmother became paralyzed because a friend who brought daily tasty treats to her was a witch who desired my grandpa. Where I grew up, religion and superstition walked hand-in-hand.
The novel reflects Santa Fe's unique position in history: it was the first foreign capital conquered by the U.S. The war is the backdrop for the sisters' individual love and coming-of-age stories in which they cope with racism, sexism, political intrigue and the power of superstition in that time and place. Thousands of Anglo soldiers entered the town, but not a word has been written from a female perspective. Until now.