When: June 1 and 2, 10am to 4pm
Location: El Rancho de las Golondrinas
Hard Country author on the historical research behind his newest book.
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The event is free with admission; Sundays are free to NM residents.
Join author Michael McGarrity for a discussion of the research underpinning his latest book, Hard Country, a novel documenting a family's struggle to settle in the untamed territory of New Mexico. McGarrity will speak at 2 pm on Sunday, June 3, in the History Museum Auditorium and sign copies of the book afterward. The event is free with admission; Sundays are free to NM residents.
With the recent success of True Grit and Justified, Westerns are having their moment at the Cineplex, and there are few people better than McGarrity to revive the genre in books. An Anthony Award-nominated, New York Times bestselling author, he created the popular Kevin Kerney novels, drawing on his past careers in law enforcement and psychology.
Of the new popularity of Westerns, McGarrity said: “I think it’s on the upswing because we need reassuring reminders of something heroic and larger than ourselves, especially in a time when our wars never seem to end, the influence of the rich and powerful never seems to wane, and the vast majority of our citizenry is protected from mandatory national service and sacrifice.”
In Hard Country (Dutton, 2012), the first installment in an epic Western trilogy, McGarrity fictionalizes the history of the American Southwest from 1875-1918, narrating the story of Kevin Kerney’s forebears through years of drought, economic boom and bust, world war, tempestuous relationships, and uneasy reconciliations. The result is a riveting tale of survival and sacrifice, personal tragedy and redemption.
The book opens with the death of John Kerney’s wife at childbirth and the murder of his brother on the West Texas plains. Forced to abandon his ranch and leave his son behind, Kerney strikes out to find the murdering outlaws. He heads west to the post-Civil War territory of New Mexico and struggles to survive in the face of Apache raids, cattle rustling, hard times and frontier lawlessness. It is both the story of one family’s history as well as the history of America.
McGarrity’s previous books include Tularosa, Mexican Hat, Serpent Gate, Hermit’s Peak, The Judas Judge, Under the Color of Law, and The Big Gamble. He formerly served as the deputy sheriff for Santa Fe County and established its first sex-crimes unit. A trained psychotherapist, he specialized in treating high-risk populations and re-established mental health services for the New Mexico Corrections Department after the 1980 prison riot. He lives in Santa Fe with his college sweetheart, Emily Beth (Mimi).