Author portrays history through characters
March 12, 2015 at 7:39 p.m.
In 1836, amid a blizzard during a cold winter in Mexico, Toluca soldiers saw snow for the first time.
This is the scene author Stephen Harrigan depicted in his book "The Gates of the Alamo."
Harrigan described the harsh weather conditions Mexican soldiers endured on their way to battle in his historical fiction novel.
The Abilene native was the 78th speaker for the American Book Review, hosted by the University of Houston-Victoria.
Harrigan began his career as a journalist and continues to write for Texas Monthly.
He said he first became fascinated with the Alamo while watching a Disney film at the age of 7.
"I was really transfixed by it," he said. "I remember later that year (after watching the film) going to the Alamo. I was shocked going into that building made in the eighth century. It looked like it had risen out of the earth."
Though some of the characters are fictional in Harrigan's novel, he said he always strives to be as factual as possible.
"It has always been a struggle for me since I have been a journalist for most of my career," he said. "I take the mission of historical novelist very seriously."
UHV student Clarence Walker said he walked out of the presentation with a new perspective about history.
"I never really have studied the Alamo," he said. "But now I feel an interest for it."
Walker said representing history through fictional characters can grab someone in a way that reading facts cannot.
"It was really enlightening, and I enjoyed hearing his descriptive story through the depiction of the characters," Walker said.