Lailah and the Zepeda Boys


Now that the copyright-ready second book of the planned three book series is finished begins the difficult task of writing summaries and synopses for various advertising and flogging purposes. Half way through the writing of the novel, I created a scene-by-scene synopsis to keep track of what had been written (plot and character developments). It’s sixteen pages long. Eventually I must create a one page summary and then, a one paragraph blurb.

A friend asked me what the book was about and I told him it was a soap opera tearjerker. According to book publishers the genre is properly described as: Historical Fiction. When I had to assign the first book, Tobias and the Angels, to the Amazon categories, I made the mistake of first listing “western” and then “romance” which caused the “also recommended books” banner to display covers of bare-chested cowboys hugged by gingham cladded frontier women.

Lailah and the Zepeda Boys begins about seventeen years after Tobias and Sarah return home to the rancho in Santa Barbara. The year is 1888. The boys of the title are, John, Charles, and Danny, ages seventeen, sixteen, and fifteen. Lailah is brought to the area by her father who runs a traveling medicine show business and is running away from a cuckolded husband in New Orleans. Lailah and her father, David Mendes, are descendants of Sephardic Jews of New York. I’m not Jewish but hopefully no one will mind my inclusion of the characters, just as I hope no one will mind my using my mother’s family name for the Zepeda family who are descendants of Californios whose country of origin was Spain, albeit by way of a Spanish colony, called Mexico.

If I sound defensive about my use of various cultural groups… well, these are strange times. Anyway, back to the story. Of course, Lailah wants better in life and falls in love with Santa Barbara, the rancho, the mother of the boys (Sarah), and one of the boys. One of the other boys falls in love with Lailah as does Sarah who has wanted another daughter since the day her fourth born died.

Each of the boys has a separate and distinct personality and these personalities are brought out as the story goes along for the next two years and as each young man achieves a different sort of adulthood. Being half Irish and half Spanish, the Zepeda’s are Catholic; and the family’s Christianity is something Lailah throughout the story must reconcile herself to as her past is revealed piecemeal by her rather agnostic father and later by her re-discovered grandfather.

If I had to describe the overall tone of the book – humorous in some places and tragic in others – I would emphatically state: The novel is propaganda for goodness.

There are two sub-pages to this page that I’ve provided partly for the readers of this website and partly and potentially for literary agents and book publishers. The first is a synopsis of the novel. I wasn’t sure about putting the synopsis on the website because it could have the effect of spoiling the reader’s enjoyment of the unfolding of the story. It was created mostly as a writing tool for me to keep track of events and characters.

Synopsis of Lailah and the Zepeda Boys

The second sub-page is a nearly final draft of part one of the book. Hopefully it entices readers to want to read more.

Lailah and the Zepeda Boys, Part One