I began writing Desert Prophets many years ago and outlined it as a screenplay. As I continued tinkering, I changed it to a book.
Desert Prophets is a genre hybrid combining the
historical family saga and picaresque novel.
According to author Bill Smith, "The family saga is a genre of literature which chronicles the lives and doings of a family or a number of related or interconnected families over a period of time… this is often a thematic device used to portray particular historical events, changes of social circumstances, or the ebb and flow of fortunes from a multitude of perspectives." According to the online encyclopedia, Wiki, "An essential element of historical fiction is that it is set in the past and pays attention to the manners, social conditions and other details of the period depicted.” Picaresque novels combine comedy with satire and include a roguish hero surviving by his wits while navigating a corrupt society.
Historical Family Saga Novels:
Roots by Alex Haley
War and Remembrance by Herman Wouk
Chesapeake by James A. Michener
A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
Don Quixote by Cervantes
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
There are prophets and then there are profits. Both apply to the Amos and Cisco families who migrate from the rugged hills of Missouri and the rural popcorn fields of Iowa to sunny southern California and dusty Las Vegas, Nevada during the 1920s farm crisis and the Great Depression of the 1930s. Seeking prosperity and a life without snow shovels, the visionary Cisco brothers invest in desert wilderness property while engaging in corruption to achieve their financial goals. The Amos women, highly skilled tailors, triumph over prejudice and poverty despite overwhelming hardships and roadblocks. World War II, the Holocaust, the civil rights movement, the Vietnam conflict, and women’s liberation confront the families with challenges and opportunities. Later generations are captivated by the cotton fields and kudzu-draped meadows of rural Alabama. Combining genres of historical family saga and some elements of picaresque comedy, unconventional family dynamics, and love without conditions are common themes as the characters traverse eight decades of adventure, passion, mishaps, success, and heartbreak. A blended family consisting of stepparents, stepchildren, adoptees, close family friends, a loving lesbian aunt, and a famous celebrity, Desert Prophets challenges stereotypes and misconceptions of Roman Catholicism, gender and role expectations, addiction, attractiveness, social status, forgiveness, and starting over.