It is not often that music and television come together to create a work of literature-but such is the case of the recently released novel¬†Camelia, la Texana, published by Vintage Espa√Īol. The song¬†Contrabando y Traici√≥n¬†(Smuggling and Betrayal), a “narcocorrido” (drug ballad) by the bestselling Mexican-American band Los Tigres del Norte, inspired the popular telenovela,¬†Camelia, la Texana, and the telenovela became the inspiration for the novel.
But it all started with the song. Los Tigres first heard the drug ballad in 1971 being sung by a mariachi singer in Los Angeles. The iconic norte√Īo group recorded their version in 1974 and it quickly became a major hit on both sides of the border. The cinematic tale of a woman smuggler named Camelia la Texana and her drug trafficking lover Emilio Varela has been inspiring movies, books, and telenovelas ever since.
The novel¬†Camelia, la Texana¬†tells the story of Camelia Pineda, being played in the telenovela by Sara Maldonado. Camelia is a beautiful, young woman who immigrated to the United States from Mexico and begins her new life working in a variety of humble jobs. The novel narrates her financial and emotional hardships along the way as she aspires for a better life. Camelia has always been a “good girl” but circumstances in life begin to change her and she becomes increasingly attracted to dangerous situations, and equally dangerous men.
The book takes the reader through a series of imaginative and captivating circumstances where Camelia meets Emilio Varela, played on the show by Erik Hayser, and vividly describes her attraction to him. Far from an idyllic romantic paradise, it is an epic journey through the underground drug world of Northern Mexico where the couple encounters life-threatening situations, mortal enemies, treachery, and unexpected alliances.
The once shy, innocent girl slowly gives way to the strong, confident woman. Camelia not only lives in the male-dominated world of drug cartels but actually thrives in it. So much so, her name becomes legend. The theme of a female drug leader was also tackled in the bestselling novel¬†La Reina del Sur¬†by Arturo P√©rez-Reverte, which in turn inspired a telenovela of the same name.
Although the novel is set in the world of cartels and gangsters, Camelia herself is a relatable and likeable protagonist. The book gives a more in-depth look at the characters than the telenovela, including Camelia’s role as a mother and sole provider for her family.¬† She evolves from an innocent victim of circumstance to the master of her own destiny, and takes the reader on the journey with her.
About the authors
Diego Ram√≥n Bravo, originally from Tamaulipas, Mexico, has always been fascinated with the history and mythology of this region.¬†Camelia, la Texana¬†is his first novel.
Hilario Pe√Īa, born in Culiac√°n, Mexico, is the autor of three novels:¬†Malasuerte en Tijuana¬†(2009),¬†El infierno puede esperar¬†(2010), and¬†Chinola Kid¬†(2012).