The latest segment of “Author’s Corner” in America Tonight with Kate Delaney features Carl R. Brush, co-author of the historical fiction novel The Yellow Rose: A Novel of the Texas Revolution (ReadersMagnet; 2020).
Brush and co-author Bob Stewart finished writing The Yellow Rose not long after the latter passed away on November 16, 2014. They were first introduced to each other through a mutual friend, and they both get along despite their differences. The San Antonio, TX native Stewart invited the Californian Brush to be his partner in a project he had already started, which was The Yellow Rose.
What the novel is all about, or who is “The Yellow Rose”?
Set during the Texas Revolution, The Yellow Rose revolves around a folk heroine called “The Yellow Rose of Texas” whose name was Emily West (or Emily Morgan), an attractive mulatto woman from New York. Legend has it that Emily West was a key participant in the victory of the Texians over the Mexicans.
“The Yellow Rose actually existed,” said Brush. “The woman was a free black from New York. She was a very light-skinned woman. There was a term, ‘yellow rose,’ for an attractive black woman who was very light in color.
“We don’t know historically how she was involved with Sam Houston or she was involved (in the Texas Revolution) at all. Nobody knows what happened to her after the Revolution. She just faded away into history and there’s a lot of speculations, which is nice because I can speculate along with everybody else and turn it into a plot.
“We (he and Stewart) decided that there had to be a good romance between Sam Huston and her. Historically, nobody knows if they ever met.”
The writing partnership
As mentioned earlier, both Brush and Stewart met through a mutual friend, and the latter invited the former into joining him to write The Yellow Rose.
“The inspiration or impetus came from my co-author Bob Stewart. He was born and raised in Texas and he invited me to join him in co-authoring the book. I said, ‘Wait a minute, Bob. You know, I don’t know much about that except that it happened, and I’m a Californian and you’re a Texan, and I don’t know if I’m the right person for this job.’
“We had been corresponding online as authors often do these days. We look to each other’s manuscripts and had conversations on a variety of subjects. He just said, ‘Well, I like your writing and I think that we can collaborate and have a good time with this.’ So, I went ahead, obviously, and we figured out a way of dividing up the tasks and sharing the project. I had to learn an awful lot. He was born and raised in San Antonio and so he grew up with this whole legend and history. I knew virtually nothing, so I had a lot of research to do but it was fun. It was a very interesting event, pretty unique: Texas was an actual nation, a republic before it became a state and how it got there and what happened afterward was just fascinating”
Brush spoke highly of his late co-author in a special tribute in The Yellow Rose.
Sam Houston’s impact on the Texas Revolution
Sam Houston figured much in the Texas Revolution, and the historical novel would be remiss if Brush and Stewart neglected him.
“He actually got involved through (General and future President) Andrew Jackson,” said Brush, turning historian, “who had visions of bringing Texas into the Union. That didn’t happen for quite a while after Texas became a republic and it (statehood) happened in 1845. As I said, the revolution was in 1836, one tumultuous year. He kind of chose Houston as the general.
“There was a constitutional convention before the battle and he was instrumental in that. He wrote the document that established Texas as a nation. The United States was very young, and the nearest state (to Texas) was Tennessee at the time. So, that is the way it got started.”
Brush narrated how Sam Houston led the movement for the establishment of Texas as a republic independent of Mexico and became not just a military hero of the Texians but also the first president of the republic.
Writing historical fiction
“One of the reasons I like writing historical fiction is that you can do a certain amount of history but you can also embellish, so it’s the best of both worlds to me. This particular incident was just made to order because there is not very much known about a lot of the people involved, so we (he and Stewart) were kind of free to invent a great deal.
The Yellow Rose: A Novel of the Texas Revolution by Carl R. Brush and Bob Stewart is available on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Yellow-Rose-Novel-Texas-Revolution/dp/1951775406/