Solomon Pope, my mom’s dad, was a rough, tough, Irish cowboy who boasted of riding alongside Pancho Villa. You will get to know him as Tata O’Brien in LET THEIR SPIRITS DANCE.
Stella Dressed Up
Mom liked to dress up her seven girls in frills. Here I am, as a hopeful, in our barrio’s, ‘Most Beautiful Daughter Contest.’ I won 2nd Place.
Francisco Moreno Duarte “Chico” was my father. Here he is walking down old downtown Phoenix, circa 1950.
Rosanna Pope, Irish, Latina beauty, taught me dreams, visions, and the hope that light can overcome the darkest night.
Dad on a mountain
My dad is posing, very debonair, at the South Mountains in Arizona.
My old childhood memory of the passion flower, miraculously took shape, rising to my rescue, so I could begin my novel.
The Weeping Woman, our official ghost never tired of looking for her children. Her story was used to get us home early, and keep us indoors at night. The first story I ever wrote was, of course, about her!
Book Signing Denver, CO 2002
Here I am on tour with SPIRITS, in Denver, Colorado, 2002. I could see bright stars at night in Colorado–what a treat.
The alley next to our house on 7th and Pima was a thoroughfare for every character under the sun. It was those characters who held the key to the collection of short stories in, FRAGILE NIGHT
Our old house on 7th & Pima was built by my dad. It looked different back then, covered with plants, bushes and flowers, testimony to my mother’s gardening skills.
Farewell to MOM
This is the last photo taken of Mom, sitting in her kitchen. Three generations of Duarte women appear: Mom, me, and my little granddaughter, Elaine.
Billboard on Central Ave.
It’s nerve-racking to see yourself twenty feet high. I kept concentrating on my mother’s ring that I wear on my left hand. Go Mom!
I can’t live without the ocean. The blue-green waters of Rocky Point in Mexico, mesmerize me, and lull me to sleep.
Shadows on the Mountain
Shadows on the Mountain: I love solitude, long hikes, the sheer power of mountain tops.
Celebration! I was stunned. Only two years after the dream of my father, I held my first book in my hands.
Someone was absent the day the glamour shots were done at the high school where I was a counselor. No problem, they put me in the slot–and Wa-la–this was the result.
Stella mountian closeup bw
You can’t have too many mountains in Arizona, they are everywhere. Makes me think–“for purple mountains, majesty.”
My “official pose” like Dad’s, at the South Mountains. It was hard climbing up with my boots. I was lucky, I didn’t become part of an avalanche!
My son, John, and I in a book store in Saigon, 1998. Check out the ao yai I’m wearing. When in Rome do as the Romans.
This cyclist took me and my son round and round (bon, bon) until we were totally lost. Folks on the street thought I was a Mexican actress, as they watch the Mexican Soap Operas EVERY day on TV.
Thom and Nieces
My tutor, Thom, and her nieces in Phoenix. I joined them for a traditional, Vietnamese wedding, and the bride changed her clothes three times before the day was over.
South China Sea
On the shore, I met this terrifically strong Vietnamese woman. I couldn’t lift her pails, if I had tried all day.
I took off my shoes to enter “holy ground,” at a magnificent Buddhist Temple in the jungles of Vietnam. I learned: “Many Buddhas, but one God.”
Thom, my tutor
Her name means, beautiful fragrance. I named one of my characters after her.
She was a class act.
Vietnam Memorial Wall
The Vietnam Wall with 58,000 names on it. I visited there five times to complete SPIRITS, each time going back to “check with the guys” to see if I was on the right track.
I knelt at the Vietnam Memorial Wall, overcome by its sacredness, and the names of the men, held tight in its granite confines. Every fifth name, or so, is a Spanish surname. I promised our guys that I would tell their story to the world.
Tallest to Smallest
Every name counts, from those etched up high, to those etched close to the earth. Each man has a story to tell.
Sgt. Tony Cruz
I had to jump up, and even climb a ladder to touch Sgt. Tony Cruz’s name. The prophecy he told his family came true: “Someday you’re gonna read about me in a book. I’m gonna make history.” He does in SPIRITS.
Elia and Family
I had lunch with this humble mom and her family in Juárez. Her daughter, Erica, was one of the murdered women.
My Juarez Family
Aren’t they beautiful? Javier, Piedad and their children welcomed me to Juárez and helped me learn about the city.. Gracias to all!
Esther Chavez Cano
One of the heroes of Juárez. She founded the best women’s shelter in 1999, Casa Amiga Centro de Crisis.
My parents lost a child to polio before me, so they took my birth very seriously, and apparently, I did too!
Fr. Garcia de San Francisco
Established this cathedral to honor La Virgen de Guadalupe in 1659. Juárez is over 400 years old! You will see it front and center in: IF I DIE IN JUAREZ.
The faith of the people is evident in eeryday life. The spirit of el mejicano is one of humility and service.
Elia and Son
Before I left Juárez, I once again joined the Escobedo family, to say farewell.
At el Edificio Municipal, I joined in a panel of investigators, citizens and mothers of the murdered women.
Diana Washington Valdez
The premier reporter of the Juárez murders, and author of The Killing Fields: Harvest of Women. What an honor to speak with her!
A fellow border writing. He gave me a wonderful interview. Author of: Juarez: The Laboratory of our Future Gracias, dear amigo, Charles!
Esther Chavez Cano
To be in the presence of this heroic woman was indeed a pleasure. She is a tireless fighter of women’s rights.
Piedad and Esther
Piedad and myself, bidding farewell to Esther Chavez Cano. Her brilliant light shines on.