New Mexico author Melody Groves wins Spur Award with biography Boy Kid

Author Melody Groves is the recipient of the Western Writers of America Spur Award for her book about Billy the Kid. (Jon Austria/Journal)

I wasn’t born in the woods of the Old West, but it’s beautiful to live within it.

My first memories of Las Cruces are infused with the history, movement, color, smell and scenery of the West. The past was pursued with passion hell for justice or something like that.

“I go to the desert and places like Coda and Rincon with my mom and dad,” he said. “I would ride horses and visit ghost towns. My father wanted to listen to western music, and my parents had a friend who came from a horse who was 18 years old. This friend was a very elegant guy. I remember he had a big hat. that was the west for me.

It seems only natural that after a career teaching high school and middle school in Albuquerque, Groves would turn to writing in the West. He has 13 books, fiction and non-fiction, to his credit. One of his most recent, “Before Billy the Kid: The Boy Behind the Legendary Outlaw,” was awarded the Western Writers of America Spur Award for biography.

The book explores the early days in the life of a horse-riding bandit and a dead young man, describing the young forester as urbane, educated and popular, someone who spoke Spanish fluently and liked to sing and dance.

“Buy was fun,” he said to the light. “I would like to know him.”

Melody Groves
Melody Groves’ books include, from left, a novel in the Colton Brothers saga, the Spur Award-winning biography of Billy the Kid and her first Maud Overstreet novel. (Jon Austria/Journal)

Connecting the dots

WWA, founded in 1953, is a national organization of more than 700 professional writers. The organization presents the Spur Awards for excellence in writing about the West in 19 categories. In addition to Groves, this year’s New Mexico Turtle winners include Bob Rosebrough, Gallup, contemporary nonfiction book; Larry D. Thomas, Las Cruces, poem; and Randy Huston, Rociada, for the song. Several New Mexicans were also Spurs finalists. Winners and finalists will be honored at the WWA convention on June 21 in Rapid City, South Dakota.

Groves, 70, lives in Albuquerque and travels the West – from Missouri to Nevada, Texas to Saskatchewan and throughout New Mexico – with her husband, Myke, 70, a secret filmmaker and photographer whose images have appeared in his wife’s books. vessels and magazines.

She vividly remembers the first time she saw Andrea Grzelachowski’s old store in Puerto de Luna, New Mexico. That’s where the Kid, then incarcerated in Las Vegas, New Mexico on his way to prison, ate Christmas dinner in 1880.

“There was this great, old stock, and the threshold was all worn,” said the light in a recent interview in the Eastern Castles. There was this old man there, 100 years if there was a day. His father said he remembered Billy the Kid dancing at the store.

Not far from where Groves sits in the living room is a mahogany plaque that once belonged to Pat Garrett, the Lincoln County sheriff who shot Billy on July 14, 1881, at Fort Sumner, New Mexico.

Melody Groves
Western author Melody recreates the wilds of the Old West as a member of the New Mexico Gunfighters Association. (Courtesy of Mike Groves)

Nemus has no stake in the stories that the man Garrett killed wasn’t Billy and the Kid lying in Mexico or somewhere else.

“He was so popular, he would be resurrected (if he were still alive),” he said.

There has probably been more written about Billy the Kid than any other Old West character. Why did the light move to add another book to that mass of print?

“I have about 30 books about Billy, and they’re all men,” he said. “I am a woman and I see things from another side.”

One thing he brings to his book is new ideas about what moved Catharine McCarty, Hedor’s mother.

“I just kind of connected the dots,” he said.

a gun and a bruise

he is not afraid to go to the extremes of the light as he loves the truer aspects of the West. When he was 48, he went to a bull riding school in Denver.

“The only woman in the class,” she said. The other men and their eldest was 36.

His first bull was named Smiley, perhaps because he knew how he would get away with trying to ride it.

“I was out of the tunnel and on the sand before I came, about a second,” he said. “And I left on my back and my head. I literally saw stars. I got a shock.”

Two years later, now 50, she returned to school. Perhaps she had forgotten how she got there the first time around. That can happen with concussions.

A total of five bulls got two stops in the school, but none of them stayed for eight seconds to score.

“Eight seconds doesn’t seem like a lot of time, but when you’re on the back of that bull it always feels good,” he said. “I entered the bullpen, it was my fault that I was injured because I was not warmed up enough. I tore my shoulders. About 3.5 seconds. “

For 10 years, beginning in the ’90s, he was a member of the New Mexico Gunfighters Association, which was involved in fights in Albuquerque’s Old Town and other locations around the city and state.

“We crossed over to Billy’s home in Fort Sumner, where he had been killed,” he said. “Summer weather clouds build purple clouds. And as Billy got shot, there was lightning. It was amazing.”

Luci said that even if the bullets were bullets, being in those fights gave him an adrenaline rush that helped his sense of what it would have been like.

“I had a harpy wife, a dumb deputy and a bad guy,” he said of his leather days. “And I got to shoot the gun.”

fakes help

Groves’ first book, published in 2006, was “Ropes, Reins and Rawhide: All About Rodeo,” in which he examines the history of the sport and explains its inner workings.

So when he wrote the fiction of Butterfield towards the stage, the historical bars of Western and Western lawyers who were also outlawed. Her fiction includes six stories in the Colton Brothers Saga, about the adventures of four siblings in the West in the 1860s, and two stories about Matilda Overstreet, a woman who becomes a sheriff in a California town in the 1870s. Now a new fantasy series is about a man who wants to be a thief.

“I like fiction,” he said. “It’s not at all as frustrating as nonfiction. Just organizing and cataloging sources (for nonfiction) can be a trial.”

But it is fabricated in a different way. The Colton Brothers books came alive in his head while he was still teaching school.

“The characters sit on my shoulder and talk to me,” he said.

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Ava Grey

Hi there! I'm Ava Grey, an enthusiastic article writer with a passion for the arts, fashion, and staying informed about current events. As a journalism student at the New York Academy of Art, I'm driven to use my writing to create positive change and spark meaningful conversations. I'm particularly interested in contemporary art and sustainable fashion, and I love exploring how people use these mediums to express themselves and communicate their values. I believe that staying informed and hearing different perspectives is essential for personal growth and learning, and I'm always eager to engage in lively debates and discussions.

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