See An Interview with the Author here.
| David Steinberg in Albuquerque Journal’s Life in New Mexico magazine
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Rudy J. Miera is a rara avis in the arts world because he wears so many hats. Miera is an Albuquerque actor, poet, painter, essayist, playwright, songwriter and screenwriter.
“One field fuels the other,” he said.
That’s certainly been the case with his latest creative endeavor. What started as a screenplay 20 years ago morphed into a novella. Over the past 10 years, the novella evolved into a novel.
Miera’s debut novel is the recently published “The Fall and Rise of Champagne Sánchez.” CONTINUE READING
The Pasatiempo Magazine
“If you enjoy reading a story with authentic characters and a brilliant narrative style then I highly recommend “The Rise and Fall of Champagne Sánchez.”
Rudolfo Anaya, author of Bless Me. Última, Heart of Aztlan and Alburquerque
“A vivid and, lively and compelling tale of life in Albuquerque’s barrio. Rudy J. Miera knows his subject inside out and his characters are rich, colorful and complex. I was hooked with the first chapter.”
Alan Arkin, winner of Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for Little Miss Sunshine and author of An Improvised Life
“Reading Rudy J. Miera’s prose is like eating the best carne adovada burrito on 4th Street. This book gives us the urban Chicano experience in all its rasquache exuberance.”
David Richard Jones, founding artistic director of the Vortex Theatre, professor emeritus, University of New Mexico Department of English
“Rudy’s art form speaks of, and through, Spirit. His use of metaphors emphasizes the language both in word, and in soul, of the Chicano community.”
Gloria Zamora, author of Sweet Nata
“Long before ‘Breaking Bad’ and crystal meth, a collection of colorful characters lead by ‘Champagne’ Sánchez takes us into the upside down world of Albuquerque, New Mexico in the seventies … Drugs, politics, a little magic and the prison system line up with love, ambition, government corruption, practical wisdom and a little Zen and spiritual awakening….”
Joan Tewkesbury, screenwriter for AcademyAward-nominated Nashville, director of The Acorn People
WHAT READERS ARE SAYING
“This poetic gift was written with genuine respect and accuracy of life in Albuquerque, NM. The author’s choice of words and descriptions takes you within the emotions and lives of the characters. Thank you Rudy…….”
Cathy Chavez, Nurse (Pediatric Oncology)
Rudy has written a novel that goes to the hearts of his characters as they experience trust and betrayal and doing what needs to be done. It is a story about faith and fidelity through circumstances that would cause one to choose an easier path and realizing the futility of doing so. It is a story about determination of character, beating the odds, of bringing the story’s characters back from a place of death of spirit to the joy of a life redeemed.
Jennifer Houidobre, Educator and President of New Mexico Interfaith Dialogue
“Champagne Sanchez” is a real and true capturing of the essence and soul, and, above all, humanity of all that New Mexico embodies in word, deed and action.
I most especially wanted to express my deep appreciation for your very thoughtful depiction of some very real and uniquely human and shining examples of what I consider to be some of the very best of New Mexico “true.”
Margaret Palumbo, former Bernalillo Public Schools Board Member
Rudy Miera captures the unique barrio flavor of Albuquerque (Old Town, old Downtown, North and South Valleys, etc.) through his character of Champagne Sanchez with a firm hand and a loving touch. Sanchez is,at once, a street scoundrel and a loving husband and father. What brilliant mix. You’ll stay late to finish it, I promise.
Champagne Sanchez is a character worthy of a series. His picaresque character and bright street smarts whet my appetite enough to see more. ÓRALE, when does the movie come out?
I know personally the dedication that Rudy put into this book. Years of toil and some moments of tearing his hair out. All worth it, my man. Your book is a brilliant work that defines ‘Burque like none before. I’m reading it for the 3rd time. BRAVO! Do it again!
Frank Zuniga – Retired Disney Director and former Film Commission Director
Rudy J. Miera’s “The Fall and Rise of Champagne Sanchez” documents the downs and ups of a rascal who gains wisdom via rejection and humor. It reads like “A Confederacy of the Dunces” (by John Kennedy Toole) meets James Boswell’s “Life of Johnson” in the barrio.
David Dirks – Entertainment Attorney
“We all know someone with a heart of gold who tries one thing after another and fails. Miera’s novel revisits that well-known character as an Albuquerque native in the 1970s. While we watch Santos Sanchez struggle to earn a living driving a car that needs push starts, we are also treated to characters well-known in the local community. Beyond the overlying comedic antics in the novel, a running internal dialogue and journal entries of savvy cousin, Adelita Chavez, lets the reader in on another dimension of the larger barrio community. She records societal and personal issues including the roles of bilingualism, the Church, workers’ rights, as well as the struggle with her mother’s breast cancer. Miera takes his readers on a ride – hop on !”
Micaela Seidel, Artist and Art Educator
“The Fall and Rise of Champagne Sanchez” is much-needed literature, it’s up-to-date, deals with reality and something that needs to be shared. Another thing real important about this book is it shows what it’s like growing up without a father…but in the end, the main character ends up a ‘Hero.’
Rick Catanach, Woodworker and Builder
“Growing up in the Barrios of Los Angeles (Califas), ‘The Fall And Rise Of Champagne Sanchez’ was easy to relate to. The temptations and distractions were similar in the general context of youth, culture and identity. The characters of the book depict a path of choices made by the head; sometimes by the heart; and triumphantly by Spirit.”
Ismael Ortiz, Organic Gardener and Musician
“Santos’ conversion details had come from a place of deep serenity and peace…Las Comadres, Maribel and Doña Delfina were a stabilizing force in all the chaos with Santos….Los Vatos Locos and the prison goings on…
Action-packed, full of colorful characters, full of cultural drama, nuestra religion con todo y la Curandera and a story line that kept me reading !”
Jiny Durán-Ginn, retired Public School Educator
“The New Mexican traditions written about and found throughout the book were so important to include – This is certainly a chance to reminisce or to learn our history! The different areas in our city that you wrote about caused me to march back in time… the restaurants, theatres, stores, etc. made me proud to be from Burque! I cried for Santos (‘Champagne’) – his transformation was beautiful AND inspiring! Bless you, Rudy, for writing this exquisite piece of literature! ”
Margie Baca, Bi-lingual teacher and Reading Specialist
Rudy J. Miera’s wonderful book “The Fall and Rise of Champagne Sanchez” is a literary masterpiece.
I could not put it down! The characters, storyline, language, and places are locations people have been to, and can relate to or identify. Incredible! Everything seemed to fit and mix well, like a fine New Mexico Green Chile Stew. The more I read, the more I was hungry for more.Kudos to you my compadre, on a fine-as-wine crafted story!
Bien Suave y rica!
Manuel R. Roybal sr., bi-lingual actor and musician (guitar, requite, etc.)
Capturing a snapshot of the culture of Albuquerque’s “valle del sur,” The Fall and Rise of Champagne Sanchez weaves together a fascinating tapestry of the young life of Champagne, the main character, juxtaposed against the women in his life, su madre, sus vecinas y su novia. Often it elicits mirth at this young man’s escapades; other times, tears over his misery. A provocative read highlighting the universal truths of “coming of age” and taking responsibility for one’s actions.
Sue Abare-Gritter, teacher, Technology instructor and retired school Principal
“Through the whimsical journalism of his prima Adelita, Champagne Sánchez navigates his nine lives around the barrios and boulevards of Burque that Rudy J. Miera knows like a stage set, like the palm of his hand. In the thick of the action, whenever the Angel de la Tranquilidad opens her wings, all the characters come to their senses in this down-beat, up-beat ‘Breaking Good’ of Chicano novels.”
Enrique Lamadrid, Professor at the University of New Mexico, literary folklorist, editor, author – Tesoros del Espíritu, Hermanitos Comanchitos and Rio.
“How does Rudy Miera, a grown man, manage to infuse his novel with so much optimism and energy, love and generosity of spirit? Aren’t they what we lose when we grow older? Guess not.”
Arthur Alpert, Journalist, Actor and Writer
“Champagne Sanchez takes you for a ride. The sights, the sounds, the smells, and most importantly the “voice” of the Southwest beckons seductively. The quirky, keen and sensitive characters provide a clean clear look into life in an urban culturally diverse setting. This “sense of place” permeates the novel and it is because of this place, not despite it, that the characters overcome the challenges and pitfalls of their lives and emerge – brandishing faith, hope, and grace.”
Debbie Golden, Teacher and Instructional Coach
“The Fall and Rise of Champagne Sanchez” took me back to the South Valley where locos, vatos, veteranos, rucas, and fast-talkers – all with a good hearts and the very best of intentions – plied their movida -driven lives.
I liked everything about the book – the diary entries, the plot, and the good natured way Rudy fleshed out his characters.”
Harvey Buchalter, Yiddish translator & instructor, and contemporary Sculptor
“New Mexican author Rudy J. Miera has written an exciting new novel set in late twentieth century Albuquerque with memorable characters, not the least of which is the charismatic Champagne Sánchez.”
Jerry Gurulé, Ph.D., research assistant Professor, Spanish and Portuguese at the University of New Mexico
“Rudy J. Miera has finely crafted the essence of the Chicano spirit in the seventies, which is still palpable in Albuquerque today, however, more nuanced. His granular descriptions of both the setting and each character’s inner worlds bring vivid textures that the reader that will endure. The use of personifications of the Fates (good and bad luck, temptation) throughout the story gives one a unique view of such fortunes. Miera paints these transparent but lively Fates as often teasing but playful ghosts which taunt us mortals when we are most culpable , a most interesting view to ponder in our daily life choices.
His characters are vibrantly carved out, which only could have been done from having lived inside this barrio as both observer and participant. Both the dark side and light side of the human condition is offered here, for all of us to witness, and not condemn, as we may find ourselves on either side. The earthy survival skills of the females in his story bring out the strength of women across all time and cultures. In the end, faith and hope are the roots of all transitions toward the whole, no matter what side of the fence you find yourself on. Mucho kudos, Rudy, mi amigo.”
Sheila Nemeth, Medical Research Technologist, Visionquest Biomedical
“The Fall and Rise of Champagne Sanchez” is an entertaining romp through Albuquerque’s North Valley. I recommend it to anyone who is from Albuquerque or who has an interest in the Indo-Hispanic culture of the area. Rudy Miera speaks from the heart of ‘Burque.”
PAZ (Mapitzmitl) , Founder & Leader of EHECATL (Mexica/Aztec Dance group)
“Just finished your book. What an accomplishment!! It kind of reminded me of an extended corrido — travails and triumphs of the hero, with commentary from one central and several peripheral characters. Love the sense of time and place — could imagine myself running around those 1970’s Albuquerque neighborhoods and streets…
Also like the way you dealt with politics and corruption in a historical context — the stuff that’s all too relevant — and worse!!! — today… And of course I like the fact that the second main character is a woman — and a writer! Looking forward to further adventures.”
“The thing I love about the Novel, “The Fall and Rise of Champagne Sanchez” is that I really got hooked with the characters because I can relate to them through my own family. I also was hooked on the book because it was fun recognizing the areas in Albuquerque. I knew I had been in those places many times and it was fun reading Mr. Miera’s descriptions of the areas.”
Larry Ramirez, Retired Public School Educator