BOOK CORNER: Author pens historical fantasy about Mexican Alta California

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By Marissa Wells

Contributing Writer

In 1846, 16-year-old Catalina Delgado’s dreams about her life in Alta (upper) California are interrupted following the invasion of the Bear Flaggers from the United States and the war they declared against Mexico. After a close friend of her family is imprisoned and others murdered, will Catalina be able to protect the rest of her family and friends?

Find out in “Plague of Flies: Revolt of the Spirits, 1846,” by Laurel Anne Hill.

“Plague of Flies” was inspired by Hill’s interest in her family’s history.

“I thought Mexican members of my family had lost their land to the United States as a result of the Bear Flag Rebellion in 1846,” she said. “I had hoped to write a historical fantasy in their honor.

“Then I discovered they hadn’t come to California until the late 1850s or early 1860s. They had been cheated out of their land through some other means.”

At that point, the character of Catalina had already taken root in the author’s mind.

“Once I acknowledge characters in my head, let them know I’m ready to work on their stories, I’ve stepped over the line,” Hill said.

“Plague of Flies” is intended for young adult women but can be enjoyed by a wider audience.

The protagonist, Catalina, is the author’s favorite character.

“She’s her own person, she’s under all of these pressures and she wants to do the right thing,” Hill said. “She’s an ordinary woman of her time except she’s gone beyond what many ordinary women were allowed to do.”

Readers can relate to Catalina’s story as it addresses topics such as self-discovery, familial and societal issues, identity, relationships, beginning adulthood and much more.

It’s the author’s hope that her book proves to be insightful for readers.

“People have the power to make a huge positive difference in this world, regardless of race, culture or economic circumstances,” Hill said. “To forge your key to true power, stoke your inner fire with love and respect for all peoples, including yourself.”

Hill is an author and former underground storage tank operator. She lives in Orinda, California. To learn more about the author, visit her website

“Plague of Flies: Revolt of the Spirits, 1846” is available for $18.95 (trade paper) and $4.99 (Kindle) via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borderlands Books in San Francisco,, and a variety of other book store websites.


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