Wednesday, June 10, 2009

IMHO welcomes western historical author Kathryn Albright!


Kathryn Albright has long enjoyed romances with a cross-cultural edge, perhaps because of her upbringing in Southern California and the strong Hispanic/Native American influence there. The very first romance she ever read was Ramona by Helen Hunt Jackson, which was set in the early ranching community there. Zorro—that mysterious, dashing Latino Robin Hood who fought injustice in early California was a favorite, too.

So when she visited the Alamo in Texas and learned about the territory’s fight for freedom from Mexican rule, it was the plight of the Tejanos that captured her interest. Much like the South seceding from the North in the United States Civil War, in Texas the battle brought father against son, brother against brother. Her second book, The Rebel and the Lady, is set against this backdrop.

In The Rebel and the Lady, Jake, a gun-slinging drifter, comes up against the strong ideals of Victoria, a Spanish landowner during the Texian revolt. In the end, he comes to respect her beliefs (and has some swashbuckling Zorro-moments of his own.) Kathryn will put The Rebel and the Lady in the IMHO "Weddings and Beginnings" gift basket for June's giveaway contest.

In Kathryn’s next book and sequel, Texas Wedding for their Baby’s Sake, the story focuses on Jake’s brother, Brandon, a doctor who was forced to tend the enemy troops. After the war, he must battle his own personal demons, but there is a scene where Jake and Victoria get married.

IMHO: Kathryn, welcome to IMHO, and tell us how Texas Wedding fits our "Weddings and Beginnings" theme (although, cough-cough, I think the title gives it away...)

KA: First off, thank you for inviting me to your IMHO blog, TJ! It is a pleasure being here.

In order to write the wedding scene, I learned about early customs of Spanish/Mexican weddings. One thing I particularly liked was the strong emphasis on family. It was considered an honor for the bride to wear her mother’s bridal dress, the pillow she kneels on to say her vows is a gift from another close relative, and the lasso used to entwine the couple is given by another relative. The fan, prayer book, and rosary beads all have significance in the ceremony, too. One of the customs I hadn’t heard of was the brass box filled with coins that the priest blesses.

A very short excerpt: Jake accepted the box, and in turn, presented it to Victoria, pouring the coins into her cupped hands and saying: “I pledge all my present and future goods into your care for your safekeeping.”

Now what woman wouldn’t like that kind of devotion from her husband?

And the other custom—the lasso…

“This cord is a symbol of the love which binds you and the vows you have made today that you may share equally in the responsibility of marriage for the rest of your lives.”

I thought this was a beautiful idea and am happy to learn it is coming back in present-day Latino weddings.

The formal, Catholic service in the story was quite different from my own ceremony which my son calls a “hippie” wedding on my grandparent’s farm (I’ll spare you the pictures). But that’s another story…

IMHO: Thanks for telling us about those fascinating customs, Kathryn. As a fellow historical writer, you know I'm always interested in learning the traditions of other cultures and how they came about.

Now how about you, IMHO readers? Tell Kathryn what wedding customs you would want—or if you are already married—what wedding customs did you have that are unique to you and your family?

Be sure to leave a comment with your answer for a chance to win the "Weddings & Beginnings" Basket filled with autographed novels from Deeanne Gist, Kathryn Albright, Gemma Halliday, Kathy Carmichael, and me, your host, TJ Bennett, as well as a $20 gift card to Target. Remember to come back all month and leave a comment for each of our guests (you'll need to leave two or more to be eligible to win).

TJB

40 comments:

jcp said...

It is very to read some of the cultural traditions for weddings.

Christie Craig said...

Hi Kathryn and TJ,

Great post.

It's not a custom, but it was funny. At my wedding to my hubby, almost 25 years ago, I stood in front of the preacher and when asked if I would accept my hubby, I looked at him and asked him two questions, "Do you really want to do this? Couldn't we just continue to live in sin?"

Because I'd had one very bad marriage, I was scared out of my wits. Poor hubby, took me by hand and said, "I love you. And I will never hurt you or your daughter the way you've been hurt before."

I then said, "I do." But you should have seen the pastor's face during this time.

Thanks for the post girls.

CC

Kathryn Albright said...

Thanks for commenting JCP!

And Christie! I can only imagine the look on the pastor's face! But your husband's comeback was SO ROMANTIC and eloquent. You really have a "keeper" there. Thank you so much for commenting!

Jody F. said...

I wish my family had some traditions I could share, but everyone ends up eloping. Maybe that's a tradition in and of itself.

Anonymous said...

Well, at my wedding, which was to Kathryn's older brother Allan, Kathryn and her younger sister Phyllis did a duet, with Kathy (as we knew her then) playing flute, and Phyllis playing guitar and singing "There is Love"-very special for Allan and I-we both had wanted to include as much family participation as possible in our ceremony, which made it more meaningful to the two of us!

We also had the words "I will obey" added to our wedding vows, something biblical we both believed in. I will say that vow has been hard to keep at times, but we've made it nearly 31 years now!

Kathryn Albright said...

Jody F. -- I would definitely say that eloping is a tradition! Where did this elopement happen? Las Vegas? I think there is a lot more to your story (grin)

JeanP said...

When I got married, my husband's older sister gave me a bracelet to wear that all the women in the family wear on their wedding day. I guess that goes along the lines of the something borrowed

Kathryn Albright said...

Thanks for commenting Anonymous! (As if I didn't know who you were... Hey--you're giving away family secrets here regarding the flute (grin.) "There is Love" is such a beautiful song-- I hadn't remembered that about "I will obey" --I bet that vow has been a challenge over the years. We do tend to want our own way in things, don't we?

Kathryn Albright said...

That's a beautiful tradition, Jean P. I'll have to pass that on to my friend who is getting married Sept. 6th. She's wondering what to "borrow" and we were talking about it just yesterday. Thanks for stopping by.

Gwynlyn MacKenzie said...

My sweetheart and I just celebrated our 34th anniversay, and our trip down memory lane had us laughing at a prank one of his navy buddies pulled.

Dressed in his whites, my dh looked great as I traversed the aisle. Everything went well until we had to kneel.

Everyone in the church cracked up.

I'd had trouble with the zipper foot when I made my dress (it was the 70s, folks) so flexed about trying to see if the zipper had let go.

Distracted, we finished the ceremony and walked through a laughing congregation.

It seems one of dh's groomsmen had offered to polish the white bucks they wear with that uniform. These shoes had white soles. When we knelt, written in red nailpolish on the bottom of my sweeties shoes (one word per shoe) were the words "HELP ME"

Margay said...

I think all wedding customs are good, but the most important is having someone walk the bride down the aisle. With the nervousness of being the center of attention and the import of the day resting on her shoulders, that is one walk she doesn't want to make alone!
Margay

Bridget said...

No need to enter us; just posted about this on Win A Book.

Kathryn Albright said...

Hi Gwynlyn--Those Navy guys--you've got to watch them. (My dad and son are both Navy.) I always have had a thing for those spiffy white uniforms--very classy. Being a bit of an introvert, I would have been mortified to have my guests snickering or laughing at something I didn't know about. Hopefully, you took it in stride (no pun intended)and had a great day.

Nancy Kay Bowden said...

Trying again--oops! ;) Thanks for the help, TJ! I always enjoy your blog!

Waving "hi" to Kathryn! I enjoyed meeting you (and pitching with you--you were such a model of "cool and collected"!) in Chicago a year ago. Can't wait to pick up your new book!

Wow. Weddings. Perfect timing. We're gearing up for our oldest daughter's wedding in Austin in November, and so far the tradition seems to be having the wedding ceremony out doors in a parklike setting with the reception indoors at the same place. Note, we got married outdoors in August in the Chicago suburbs--our daughter's picked November!

As this is the first daughter of our three to get married, I'm trying to come up with a little tradition I can start. Something simple, but precious enough, that won't be impossible to duplicate two more times. :) Not that they'd compare notes... :)

Congratulations on the new book!

Pam said...

My husband is Filipino so we adopted some of the traditional Filipino customs into our wedding. The Filipinos also have a cord as part of the ceremony as well as a veil that is draped over the bride's head and around the groom's shoulders.

melacan at hotmail dot com

Kathryn Albright said...

Hi Margay -- You are so right about having someone walk the bride down the aisle. My father "gave me away" however I've been to weddings where it is a girl's mother, or sister, or brother--someone special in her life. Thanks for posting.

Kathryn Albright said...

Nancy!!!! How great to hear from you. I so enjoyed "hanging" with you at Chicago North's SpringFling last year. What a milestone for you--your oldest getting married. I'm sure this is a whirlwind of a year for you. I'll throw out a suggestion here--one that my step-daughter used and I really liked. At her bridal shower, she had three charms hidden in her cake--one for each of her bridesmaids to wear on a necklace for her wedding. She gave them the chain after they discovered the charm. Of course, she warned them that something was hidden in the cake, so that they were careful and wouldn't choke on it.

Kathryn Albright said...

Hello Pam,
I wonder if the cord is anything like the lasso? Thanks for commenting! Good luck on the drawing.

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed reading the comments.
At the last few weddings I have attended, the bride and groom wrote their own vows. Seems like a trend.
In my family, all of the brides got a wedding quilt that the relatives made and it had squares with their family's wedding dates and children's birthdates embroidered in the squares. That way, the bride had a good amount of history to refer to.
JOYE
JWIsleyATaol.com

Kathryn Albright said...

Joye- Hello! So good to hear from you. The wedding quilt sounds like a lovely tradition. We made a similar quilt once in our family--but not for a wedding--for a 50th anniversary. Hmmm...I'm getting an idea for a new story with this...

Zach said...

The last two books were great and I think this one will be even better! I can hardly wait for it to come out, when is the release date?

Mari said...

My BF is half scottish, and every wedding has bagpipers. So I guess we will have pipers at our wedding also!

Phyllis said...

I like the old adage: "Something old and something new, something borrowed and something blue" Keep it simple! I hope my daugters will be happy with a simple wedding and not want a production -if any of you can relate!

Kathryn Albright said...

Thanks for commenting Mari. I think pipers would be awesome at a wedding! I would love to go to a wedding like that.

Kathryn Albright said...

Hi Phyllis! I go along with a simpler wedding. I'm hoping my boys will consider a destination wedding if and when the time comes they marry. I do love to travel! Thanks for commenting!

Judy said...

Kathryn, very interesting reading about the different customs. The only "custom" in our family is someone always faints. There are 5 siblings in my family and at each of our weddings someone in the wedding party passed out. Luckily it was never the bride or groom.

Kathryn Albright said...

I would have never expected something like that for a custom, Judy! How interesting. Thanks for sharing!

Kathryn Albright said...

Thanks for commenting, Zach. And for the kind words about my first two books. This one comes out Sept 1, 2009 (and on the Harlequin site, in August.)

TJ Bennett said...

Just popping in to say a big THANK YOU to Kathryn for stopping in today. Keep partying, keep commenting, but I'm heading to bed myself. :-)

Remember, IMHO readers, you can keep leaving comments for Kathryn and my other guests all month long to be eligible to win the big gift basket.

Take care,
TJB

Virginia said...

Hi Kathryn, great interview! I am running late today, I have been painting my kitchen. I just want to say I love your books and I can't wait for your new book TAXAS WEDDING FOR THEIR BABY'S SAKE. Your awesome in my book!

Carol L. said...

Hi Kathryn,
So nice meeting you here. I look forward to reading your books.
I love the newest trend that seems to be happening at a lot of weddings. The bride being walked down the isle by either Father, mother or both. I had never heard about the cord you mentioned in your post that joins them together except in the Scottish Highlands. I enjoyed reading your post today.
Carol L.
Lucky4750@aol.com

CherylStJohn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CherylStJohn said...

Kathryn, I would've loved to have seen your wedding photo. I had a hippie wedding for real. I wore white bell bottoms and had long hair, parted down the middle, as was the fashion of the day.

I don't even know if my kids have seen those photos, because they're not exactly on display. LOL

Anonymous said...

Kathryn,

Always a day late, but loved reading the interview and learning about the materials you used for your most recent books.

Like you, I loved Ramona when I first read it and have read it twice since. And Zorro? Be still my heart...

Mary Jo writing as Casey Clifford

Marie said...

This looks great, I would love to read it! And I wish we had these kinds of traditions in our family -- maybe I can start some when my daughter gets married!

marielay@gmail.com

TJ Bennett said...

TJB: This comment was accidently placed on the wrong post, so I'm reposting it here:

Jerrica Knight-Catania has left a new comment on your post "Yummy heroes"

Kathryn, as a fellow historical author, I too love to learn about customs and traditions from other/past cultures. Thanks for sharing those neat tidbits!

As for my own wedding, in spite of being an historical romance author, I have pretty modern sensibilities. So, everything was new, except for my tiara (which I've had since I was 6 years old). My hubby is of Italian heritage, so the buffet was from our favorite Italian restaurant. And we got engaged in Bermuda, so our signature cocktail was the Swizzle. We are both (former) musical theater performers, so not only was all the music in the ceremony from musicals, but we actually sang to one another as part of our vows. Not really family traditions, but things that made our wedding personal and special to us :)

Kathryn Albright said...

Just checked in to see if anyone posted after I went to bed last night. (10pm - like TJ--although I always end up reading in bed until much too late!

Thanks for posting Virginia! Hope you are all done with that kitchen. I wonder what color is "in" now.

Hi Carol. I remember in Braveheart, Mel Gibson doing something with his plaid tartan too--but then I've heard that Hollywood really was very historically inaccurate with that movie.

OMG Cheryl! White bell bottoms? I did own a pair:) but I wore a dress at my wedding. However, I did have the long, straight hair parted in the middle. Times sure have changed! Thanks for stopping by.

Hey Mary Jo- Nice to meet someone else who has read Ramona. I'll have to check out your website.

Thanks for posting Marie!

Hi Jerrica. Glad your post got to the right place! (Thanks TJ.) Your wedding sounds like it was very orginal! I've never been to a wedding where the bride and groom sang to each other. I'd have liked to see that. Thanks for commenting.

Sure sounds like weddings are unique in spite of the traditions according to many of us.

Maureen said...

Those were lovely traditions that you had in the post. I like the idea of a hippie wedding. It sounds so stress free. Our wedding was actually in my parents backyard and was pretty casual although it was catered and I did wear a traditional wedding gown.

etirv said...

Great interview! I'll make sure to check out Kathryn Albright's books!
delilah0180(at)yahoo(dot)com

Susan said...

Every wedding is unique in it's own way.