Not-so-tall tales of New Mex­ico

Pasatiempo - - In Other Words - — Robert Nott

Bar­bara Spencer Fos­ter’s his­tor­i­cal nov­els of­ten fea­ture strong-willed heroines try­ing to make their way through an ever-chang­ing West, be it the min­ing town of Ter­erro in the 1930s ( Pe­cos

Queen), a ranch in the Río Grande Val­ley in the 1970s ( Fire in the Bosque), or the Man­zano moun­tains in 1912 — the year New Mex­ico achieved state­hood ( Girl of

the Man­zanos). These sto­ries are based on real-life events and peo­ple the au­thor en­coun­tered as she grew up in the state.

“I’m not re­ally one that just makes up a story out of mid-air. Most of my writ­ing is based on some­thing that re­ally hap­pened,” she told The New Mex­i­can in 2003. But, she also ac­knowl­edged, “I changed most of the names if they were mod­eled af­ter peo­ple.”

She has also co-writ­ten a bi­og­ra­phy, Fre­mont F. El­lis: Last of Los Cinco Pin­tores of Santa Fe, about the (1897-1975) New Mex­i­can land­scape artist. In this en­deavor she had the co­op­er­a­tion of El­lis’ daugh­ter, Bambi El­iz­a­beth El­lis.

Fos­ter signs copies of all four books (pub­lished by Santa Fe’s Sun­stone Press) from 5 p.m. on Fri­day, April 29, and at noon on Satur­day, April 30, at Hast­ings in DeVargas Cen­ter, 542 N. Guadalupe St., 988-3973.

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