THE WEST TEXAS PILGRIMAGE
Genre: Contemporary / Coming of Age
Publisher: River Grove Books
Date of Publication: February 29, 2015
Number of Pages: 220
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Hunter’s friend Ty survived war in the Middle East only to succumb to cancer at home. On a quest with his college buddies and Ty’s father, Hunter journeys from South Texas into the mountains and desert of West Texas to bury his close friend. During this trek, they’ll drink, hunt, party, and encounter unexpected people and enthralling landscapes as Hunter deals with his grief, compounded by his struggle with depression and obsessive–compulsive disorder.
The West Texas Pilgrimage is a love letter to West Texas and the wild culture that defines it. Author M. M. Wolthoff vividly depicts the regional landscape, exploring intriguing stops along the way and the authentic context of music, food, and language integral to this generation of Texans, while frankly and thoughtfully addressing relationships, mourning, and mental illness, with characters as unforgettable as the region itself.
PRAISE FOR THE WEST TEXAS PILGRIMAGE:
I laughed. I cried. This is a book that is real, honest and reminds all of us that life is filled with ups and downs. The only way to keep moving forward is to get real with ourselves about whom we are and accept our beauty and our pain. This young author has amazing wisdom that is so articulately shared with readers of all ages.
— 5 Stars, Amazon Verified Purchase
The West Texas Pilgrimage was insightful into the mind of a privileged, pre-adult male who tries to self-medicate his OCD condition with alcohol. While reading, I felt the main character’s vulnerabilities as he struggled with his feelings regarding his career choice, the loss of a good friend to cancer, and the complications of his search for the right female life mate. The book was a quick read…only because I could not put it down! There were several “ah-ha” moments when I thought: oh my, that’s really how a pre-adult male thinks??!? I never knew!!
I read the first half of the book in one night; it draws you in with believable characters and real challenges they face. Could have been written about people you know or have met. It covers some tough topics but is an enjoyable read. — 5 Stars Peter Day
Really nice read. Very detailed description of so many things made me feel like I was right there with them. 2 nights to read for a non reader like me makes for a really easy and entertaining time. Thumbs up.
— 5 Stars Nunya
The book brought me right back to the border towns of my youth. Step outside any bar and be hit with the smell of fajita and sewer. Glorious! — 5 Stars Amazon Verified Purchase
What was the hardest part of writing The West Texas Pilgrimage?
I struggled with the ending. This is a story that doesn’t really have a conclusion, and that is intentional. There are no easy answers to the issues the main character faces, and the only thing that ends is the party. As much as it pains me to admit it, Robert Earl Keen was wrong when he said that “….the party never ends.”
What did you enjoy most about writing the book?
See above about the nostalgia.
Are there under-represented groups or ideas featured if your book?
This story is written from the perspective of a twenty something young man who comes from a privileged background in south Texas. There are a lot of unrepresented groups in the story, but again, that was intentional. I hope that readers from all different backgrounds will appreciate it for what it is and enjoy a look into that perspective.
Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How does that affect your writing?
I’m a part-time writer, at least for now, and I think that is what makes it enjoyable. The little time I do find to write is an escape for me from the crazy corporate world. It’s typically late at night, on weekends, or even better yet on vacation when I can really detach and pour myself into writing.
What do you like to read in your free time?
I go back and forth between military history, biographies, and critically acclaimed novels. In true form, my last three books have been Without Getting Killed or Caught The Life and Music of Guy Clark by Tamara Saviano, Hemingway’s For Whom The Bell Tolls, and Killing Patton by Bill O’Reilly.
What projects are you working on at the present?
I’m currently working on a story based upon a trail of corruption in healthcare in South Texas. One of the few places you might think would be devoid of corruption in South Texas, a not for profit faith based hospital, actually turns out to be the center of it.
What do your plans for future projects include?
I have a few other ideas I would like to get to, but the most developed is a story about a salt water fishing guide. I’ve got to know a lot of them and they all make for interesting characters.
What book do you wish you could have written?
The list is long, but I’ll tell you what, my most recent read, a biography of Guy Clark, would have been an amazing story to put together. I’m extremely jealous of Tamara Saviano to have connected with one of the premier poets of our time. It wouldn’t have been a bad deal to write Old Man and the Sea or Lonesome Dove either.
How important are names to you in your books?
The names were very intentional in this story. South Texans seem to really favor unique names. If you notice, there’s not a lot of common names in this one. The Mexican influence is also apparent. I personally know four “Cuatros,” two “Cincos,” and six “Hunters.” My own kids’ names are Hunter Ann, McCoy Martin, and Kerr Dunkin, while our dogs are Uno, Chula, and Gordo. We wouldn’t stand for a normal name in this household.
Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before?
Cuba; I hear the flats there haven’t been overfished yet. I would travel anywhere to catch a fish on a fly.
What’s your funniest flaw?
I have a little bit of an issue with red wine; I really like it. I probably like it more than I should. I blame my Mom for that one as well.
Matthew Martin Wolthoff lives in McAllen, Texas, with his wife, Lucy Ann, and three children, Hunter Ann, McCoy Martin, and Kerr Dunkin. He grew up in a military family, living all over the world until finding home in South Texas, where he went to high school in San Antonio. He is a graduate of the US Air Force Academy and has a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Texas at San Antonio. His parents instilled a passion for reading and writing in him early in life that grows stronger every day. An avid outdoorsman, he finds his inspiration—and peace of mind—in the shallow waters of the Lower Laguna Madre and the wilderness of the South Texas brush country. His first West Texas pilgrimage was in 2010. It was a life-changing event.
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