|When the Angels Came
—a novel by Rudy Apodaca
novel, When the Angels Came, was published
(Publication Date: December, 2022) by AuthorHouse,
of Bloomington, Indiana. Please see below for additional information. It is available at most
bookstores, by special order if not
stocked. It is also available at the
websites of Amazon and Barnes &
Noble and other online book outlets (see links below).
AVAILABLE IN HARDCOVER, SOFTCOVER, AND E-BOOK EDITIONS
From Rudy Apodaca comes When the Angels Came, a compelling, nuanced story of a 12-year-old boy and of the old man who befriends him. This engrossing and vividly written tale of characters in the world of southern New Mexico, a culture rarely written about, will engage readers from all walks of life.
The story begins in 1934, in west Texas, when Santiago Dominguez, as a six-year-old, loses his parents and is then raised by his loving uncle. Four years out of high school, as a Marine, Santiago finds himself fighting in Korea, where he’s injured and awarded the Silver Star for bravery.
Two years later, in 1952, he moves to San Miguel, the “tiniest” of villages hidden along the Rio Grande in southern New Mexico. There, for many years, he lives a quiet and private life, earning a reputation as a good man but nonetheless a recluse. Being modest, he tells no one of his past. Not until 2011, when Jamie Almaguer moves into San Miguel with his parents, do the boy and Santiago, now 83 years old, meet. The old man is now known as Don Santiago, the title, a tribute of respect.
Despite warnings from other youngsters to stay away from Don Santiago, “The Hermit,” as they call him, Jamie, by mere happenstance, meets the old man at a grocery store. From that chance meeting, the two begin a relationship that bonds them, despite their age difference. Don Santiago guides and comforts Jamie through difficulties in his young life―his first confrontation with racism, the sexual assault of his close friend, and the sudden illness of his mother.
In time, Jamie comes to treasure Don Santiago, who molds him, providing the tools to tackle life’s issues. This, at a time most youngsters, often with considerable apprehension, are exploring the world around them and what living in it is all about.
Ten years later, when a graduate student, Jamie makes his final entry in his journal, the spirit of Don Santiago within him.
Above all else, Jamie writes, Don Santiago gave me what I considered the greatest gift anyone can give another. He believed in me. That can do much to invigorate and inspire the soul and the mind of a youngster just barely starting out in life.
ADVANCE PRAISE FOR When the Angels Came:
There are two angels in When the Angels Came,, and readers will love them both―Santiago Dominguez and Jaime Almaguer. We follow them from youth to maturity in this double coming of age story and love their struggles and glories.―Norman Keifetz, author of The Sensation
Set just north of New Mexico’s southern border, in the bicultural and bilingual community of San Miguel, surrounded by its rugged desert, its serene pecan groves, and its native Catholic faith, When the Angels Came, an angelic novel, gives the reader a unique, cultural experience. It is a nostalgic return to familiar images and sounds to those who have lived this experience. For others, its storytelling is uniquely and wondrously told through a gentle voice. Perhaps, too, idyllic–only the reader will tell.―Teresa Carbajal Ravet, M.A., Spanish Linguist & Culturist
The title and a quick glance at When the Angels Came suggested to me that a Hispanic experience was in the offing. Yet I knew not what was in store; what I found was a finely written novel about unforgettable characters. Written by a writer who knows how to tell a story, this narrative, among other revelations, reminds us of the bigotry the Mexican American faces somewhere in the United States every day. The book’s only problem is that it ends.―Issamary Simmons Benavides, Author of Vida Ajenas and other books of poetry
BOOK REVIEW OF When the Angels Came:
This coming-of-age cultural story follows the emotional growth and spiritual maturity of two leading characters, Santiago Dominguez and Jamie Almaguer. While an extensive novel, When The Angels Came by Rudy Apodaca follows the complete life of Santiago, his numerable life experiences, the choices made, the person he becomes, and his influence on the community of San Miguel. In contrast, new to the community, twelve-year-old Jamie becomes Don Santiago’s closest friend and ally. An untraditional friendship due to the age difference, the two form an emotional and spiritual bond that helps guide them through their diverse life stages.
Set just north of New Mexico’s southern border, in Dona Ana County, New Mexico, in the bicultural and bilingual community of San Miguel, surrounded by its rugged desert, its serene pecan groves, and its native Catholic faith, this angelic novel gives the reader a unique, cultural experience. It is a nostalgic return to familiar images and sounds to those who have lived this experience. For others, its storytelling is uniquely and wondrously told through a gentle voice. Perhaps, too, idyllic―only the reader will tell.―Teresa Carbajal Ravet, M.A., Spanish Linguist & Culturist
People I’ve met sometimes ask me if the stories I’ve "told" in my novels are autobiographical. I usually tell them that in the pure sense, they are not, but follow it with somewhat of a disclaimer by stating that all writers I know or have met write about their own life experiences, which are then, either consciously or subconsciously, translated into the characters they create and bring to life in their books. In that respect, I take note, I’m no different than other writers.
The story in When the Angels Came grew over the years from my own experiences as a native and resident of southern New Mexico and from the people I knew who lived most of their lives there. San Miguel, the village in which most of the story in this novel takes place, is only a few miles south of Las Cruces, New Mexico, where I was born and grew up. It is a town of about 1,100 inhabitants, and I've known for many years many of the village's residents. Although the story in this novel is fictional, the book’s characters are not unlike the people of San Miguel. It is living among these individuals for so many years that inspired me to write about the characters in this novel.
I once read that it is the fiction writer’s job to evoke the emotions of the reader in the telling of a story. It is my sincere hope that I’ve succeeded doing that with When the Angels Came.
Rudy Apodaca, a native of New Mexico, lives with his wife, Nancy, in Austin, Texas. A graduate of Georgetown University’s law school, he began his career as a trial attorney, practicing for 22 years before serving as a judge on the New Mexico Court of Appeals for almost 14 years, over two years as Chief Judge. He’s the author of three previous novels and many essays, most of which were published as commentaries in daily newspapers, the Austin American-Statesman, the San Antonio Express-News, and the Houston Chronicle. When not writing, he provides mediation and arbitration services. He enjoys spending time with his wife, his four children, and eight grandchildren. For additional information, visit his website at www.rudyapodaca.com.
ISBN Numbers and Suggested Retail Prices:
Hardcover Edition: 978-1-6655-7705-2; $29.99
Softcover Edition: 978-1-6655-7707-6; $18.99
E-Book Edition: 978-1-6655-7706-9; $9.99
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