Monday, March 16, 2009

Southwest Senior article

Here is a nice article published in Southwest Senior, a free monthly with a circulation of about 13,000 here in  Las Cruces. Reprinted with permission.

Local author Bob Sanchez will debut as SWS book reviewer

By Cheryl Fallstead

Bob Sanchez’s book, When Pigs Fly, is an absolute delight and, I must admit, a bit of a surprise. I knew that he had written a book about some bumbling outlaws trying to pull off a heist in the Southwest, but didn’t realize how entertaining it would be. You see, I know Sanchez from when we were both members of a local writing club and I just didn’t give him enough credit for having such a devilish sense of humor. Now I know better.

Perhaps if I had studied the jacket notes by other authors I would have grabbed this book for a read sooner. Kathryn Mackel, author of The Hidden, says of Sanchez’s book: "When Pigs Fly is a masterpiece of comic writing combined with a touching story. Quirky doesn’t begin to describe the characters — they’re sometimes terrifying, often hilarious, and always unique. Robert Sanchez has the perfect touch for comedy, delivering a riotous good time while giving us a well-developed protagonist we’ll want to follow for many books to come."

I read the book in just a few sittings, pulled from one chapter to the next because I just had to see what other bits of craziness Sanchez had devised. The characters were developed to such an extent that I could envision them, from the lead bad guy, dubbed Diet Cola, to our hero, Mack Durgin, and his saucy parents.

When Pigs Fly was published in 2006 through iUniverse. He has since sold 500 copies, which is well above the industry average for self-published books, which is about 100. He is currently working with iUniverse to determine if his book will now also be sold in brick and mortar stores as he has reached their Star level of sales. His book is currently available through,,

Bob has written reviews for the internet review of books since its inception in October 2007, and serves as its Web master. Bob will be taking on another role in April when he debuts as the Southwest Senior book reviewer. Each month, Bob will tell us about books he has read that have a connection to our readers: recently published books that are either written by regional authors, about our area, or related to topics of interest to seniors. If you have a book to suggest for Bob to review, e-mail the editor at Authors may send a review copy to Southwest Senior, P.O. Box 1053 Las Cruces, NM 88004, attention Bob Sanchez.

After working as a technical writer for 20 years when he wrote user manuals for non-technical people, Sanchez decided to delve into writing fiction. Long-time Massachusetts residents, Sanchez and his wife had always wanted to visit the Southwest. Over several years they took vacation trips to Arizona, including popular locations such as Sedona, the Grand Canyon and the Tucson area. It was radically different from their home in New England, but they both loved it and kept coming back.

He says, "I started thinking about a character that I had been working with before. I had written several novels before and I had used a character named Mack Durgin, who was originally cast as a private detective in the Lowell, Massachusetts, area."

He even had an agent working to find a publisher for one of the books, entitled Getting Lucky. Unfortunately, that book didn’t sell and Bob set it aside and started a new one. "I decided to move my character to a place that was both new to me and new to him," he said.

The trips to Arizona, where much of the book’s action takes place, served as research, along with contact with on-line friends and through Web sites. Sanchez says that he was able to help make the story details more accurate by asking those friends who live in Tucson. At one point, the javelina in the book was going to rest under a mesquite bush, but his friend in Arizona suggested it would more likely take a nap under a jojoba bush. Another detail he gleaned was that a cactus wren makes a sound like a car backfiring.

Some things in the story came from Sanchez’s life, like an uncomfortable situation he places one of his characters in that has to do with an unzipped zipper. It didn’t happen to Sanchez, but he was the one who had to let the unfortunate man know something was amiss. He filed the situation away in the back of his head to use someday in a book.

Mack Durgin, the main character in the book, is a retired police officer. In the unsold book, Getting Lucky, Durgin was a private detective, which required a fair amount of research for the Sanchez. Since Mack now has two different backgrounds, Getting Lucky has been rewritten with a new central character. That book will come out in the next few months through iUniverse. "I just decided that I would make the central character a different person so I wouldn’t have to worry about contradictions in backgrounds," Bob explains.

He may also do more books with Mack Durgin. "I’ve started something but haven’t gotten too far along with it. It would be based in Pincushion (the imaginary town Bob developed in When Pigs Fly), but would bring him over to New Mexico. It’s going to center on the space port," he says.


L. Diane Wolfe said...

Congratulations Bob!

And isn't your new book a mystery? I found this blog last night -

L. Diane Wolfe

Carter said...

Congratulations, Bob! That article in Southwest Senior ought too give both your books a boost. And you'll have plenty to day in your reviews.

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

What a great review and article! I've added both books to my 'want to read' list.

Jane Kennedy Sutton

Ruth D~ said...

Great review. And so true!

Bob Sanchez said...

Thanks everyone!

Gwyn Ramsey said...

What a great write-up. I will have to look into your book, When Pigs Fly. What a catchy title. Good luck, Bob