Friday, January 12, 2018

Interview with William Darling, author of ANAHUAC: A TEXAS STORY

A Texas Story (Volume 2)
  Genre: Historical Fiction / Thriller
Publisher: Canned Peas Productions
Date of Publication: October 3, 2017
Number of Pages: 244

Scroll down for the giveaway!

The Anahuac of 1972 is more than just an isolated outpost on Texas’s Trinity Bay – it’s a place where greed and justice uncomfortably intermingle, where the evangelical fervor of charismatic preachers resonate, where blacks and whites navigate a fragile co-existence, and where a murder leads to even darker mysteries than murder.

Jim Ward, introduced in Morgan’s Point as a young, idealistic Houston prosecutor, returns in Anahuac as an older, more conflicted, more complicated man, coming to Anahuac to defend a man who appears guilty of a horrible crime. His discoveries lead to entanglements in the very nature of good and evil, in a town that is at once of its time and timeless, steeped in a history that is unexpectedly but definitively drawing Ward in its narrative web.


"Austin writer William D. Darling’s second novel, Anahuac, is an entertaining, engrossing legal thriller that offers both darkly humorous and good-natured thrusts at life, love, and law . . . first-rate reading, especially for readers who enjoy legal thrillers, lawyer procedurals, suspense, Texas settings, and characters who live large." - Lone Star Literary Life

"Darling draws vivid portraits of his setting while also bringing in historical currents like women’s liberation, the growth of container shipping, and the rise of the prosperity gospel, adding interest to what’s otherwise a fairly simple courtroom drama." Kirkus Reviews

I'm a Texan originally from the east coast who's had occasion to meet some of these characters from another planet. Darling weaves us through the minds of lawyers with jealousies, insecurities, questions of faith, honor, and guilt as they tackle the case of a horrible crime that has the potential to put a man of God away forever. I held on tight as we went through the engrossing trial, which did not disappoint! If you love history, crime, passion, religion, and suspense, this is a must read! Kristy Recker (an Amazon reviewer)

Author Interview, Part II: William D. Darling

Are there underrepresented groups or ideas featured in Anahuac?
In 1972, professional women faced barriers that would be unthinkable in today’s world. Anahuac introduces three such women. Aurora Wilson becomes Jim Ward’s law partner only because she is his best friend’s wife. Jim wrongly assumes that his friend will “control his wife.” Jim is married to Cooper Faircloth, who operates a chain of independent newspapers throughout East Texas. (Cooper’s father owns the newspaper chain.) Then there is Chinky Mason, Jim’s former girlfriend. Chinky has worked her way up the ladder in television news reporting. Each of these women faces challenges as they navigate professions that have historically been dominated by men. To Jim’s utter amazement, each of them finds success in her own right.

What book do I wish I could have written?
That is an easy question for me. The Gay Place, written by Billy Lee Brammer in the 1960s, is a book of three short novels. The stories are interwoven, but the first one, “The Flea Circus,” is a story of a Governor, who seems suspiciously like Lyndon Johnson, who calls himself Arthur “Goddamed” Fenstermaker.  One of the great (and there have been many) bad choices I have made in my life was to walk by the Texas Book Co-op one afternoon in 1962 when Billy Lee was there signing books. Damn, I wish I could have met him. I am still hoping that his family can make a movie of the book.

What is your favorite quote?
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” It is not that I find the quote so inspired. On its face, it seems reasonable, but I have a question. Is the world constantly trying to change us, or is this just an excuse when we find ourselves in league with bad companions? “The devil made me do it” is another of those quotes that makes the assumption that our actions are not our fault. Having been an assistant district attorney let me see ever bad thing I suspect that humans can do to each other. I seldom saw a defendant who said, “You got me; I’m a bad man.” Anyway, that is my favorite quote because it makes me think. As for others I like, there is: “For every moment you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind,” and “Love of beauty is taste. Creation of beauty is art.” As you can see, I am partial to old Ralph Waldo.

Are you a full-time writer? Have you had jobs that impact your writing?
I am now a full-time writer. I spent many years as a practicing trial lawyer, and understanding the pressures that lawyers face in defending criminal defendants definitely influenced my writing. The television version of the hard-charging lawyer without fear may be good television, but my experience defending real people who could be handcuffed and taken away for the rest of their lives at the end of a trial was stressful. I felt the awesome responsibility of the Lawyer’s Code of Professional Ethics to represent my defendants to the best of my ability. Anahuac deals with the difficulty of defending an individual who has his own idea of how the defense should be conducted. 

What do your plans for future projects include?
Anahuac is the second book in my A Texas Story series. The first book, Morgan’s Point, ends immediately before the beginning of Anahuac. The beauty is that Anahuac is a standalone book. I sometimes think that it makes sense to read Anahuac first. But that makes many people crazy, so I sort of whisper that idea. I mentioned in my prior interview that I am working on a prequel to Anahuac to tell the life story of Sarita Jo Franklin and her tragic and illegal love affair with a foreign stranger. I guess that still qualifies as part of a series.

I am also working on the sequel to Anahuac that involves the industrialization of Morgan’s Point and the flight of Jim and Cooper Ward to Austin during the mid-1970s as it becomes the “live music capital of the world.” Dope smoking nights at the Armadillo, crazy encounters with the music world that can be rivaled only by the shenanigans of the Texas Legislature. I think it will be about as wild as several books of the Old Testament.

William D. Darling is a lifelong storyteller and very nearly a native Texan, arriving in his beloved state as an infant in 1942. His first novel, Morgan’s Point, introduced readers to both the mid-‘60s rough-and-tumble world of the Houston courts where Darling came of age, and the Galveston Bay region that has long fascinated him. His latest novel, Anahuac, serves as a sequel to Morgan’s Point as well as its own fascinating tale.

Darling, who has lived within the legislative bustle of Washington, D.C. and in the beauty of a Central Texas ranch, currently resides in Austin, where he and his wife have built a longstanding law practice. 



January 12, 2018, 7:00PM
Anahuac Reading & Signing
Deep Vellum Books, 3000 Commerce Street, Dallas, TX, US 

January 20, 2018, 10:00AM
Anahuac Reading in Anahuac
William D. Darling brings it on home! He'll read from Anahuac in the city where the new novel is set for the first time ever. 
Chambers County Library, 202 Cummings Street, Anahuac, TX, US 

February 17, 2018, 4:30PM
Anahuac Houston Release Event
William D. Darling will sign and read from Anahuac, celebrating the release of the book with friends and well-wishers in the city he once called home, as part of a multi-author event. 
Murder by the Book, 2342 Bissonnet, Houston, TX, US 


January 5-January 14, 2018
(U.S. Only)


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