James Jennings is a writer and trial lawyer who lives with his wife, Vicky, in Edmond, Oklahoma. He is a fifth-generation Oklahoman and a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation. His ancestors came to what is now called the Sooner State on the Trail of Tears in 1837. He is descended from tribal chiefs, warriors, horse breeders, scholars, judges, and men of the cloth. A great uncle was a Rough Rider and an aide to Theodore Roosevelt.
A founder of the law firm Jennings Teague, Jim is admitted to practice in Oklahoma and before the U.S. Supreme Court. He is a fellow of numerous professional organizations including the illustrious American College of Trial Lawyers, and is a director of Bank2, a $200 million community bank owned by the Chickasaw Nation.
During his undergraduate years, Jim studied Latin American history and politics at Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City, where he fell in love with Mexico: the people and their history. He has traveled extensively throughout the country and has seen the poverty in the state of Chiapas, the site of the Zapatista uprising in 1994 and the setting for Mirador. He has felt the tension between los indígenas and the army, and knows that, for the locals, the Zapatista slogan still applies: La lucha continua! — The struggle goes on!
Mirador is Jim’s second novel. His first, The Light Most Favorable, was published in 2012. His third, Blue Wild Indigo, is nearing completion, and his fourth, Travertine Rim, is in progress.
NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, signed by Mexico, Canada, and the U.S. in the early 1990s, was billed as a pathway to growth and prosperity for the people of the member nations. Not so for Mexico’s indigenous people. Their agrarian way of life received a death sentence when their own government canceled land reforms, ended communal land holdings, and opened their homeland to multinational corporations. The day the treaty took effect an army of peasants rose up, calling themselves Zapatistas and demanding a voice in their own affairs. They refused to be forgotten. In his new novel Mirador (Greenpoint Press; August 1, 2019), Oklahoma native James Jennings tells the story of Nate Hunter, an ordinary man unwillingly thrust into the heart of the Zapatista struggle.
Nate and Sarah Hunter are a golden couple. Nate is established in an upwardly mobile career; and Sarah is a nurse, determined to make a difference in the world by helping people in need.
When Pastor Tom, a Dallas minister, looks for volunteers to join a mission trip to the village of Mirador in Chiapas, Mexico, Sarah quickly decides she’s going. Nate won’t let her go alone. It is only supposed to be a simple two-week trip, but Nate and Sarah are oblivious to the unrest brewing below the surface calm. Nate soon discovers that the cost of choosing to accompany Sarah rather than trying to stop her from going will be high.
Mirador is written in the historic tradition, taking a relatively unknown event and enlarging it in human terms through the lives of its characters. 2019 marks the 25th anniversary of NAFTA and the Zapatista uprising – a perfect time for an epic story depicting the passions of people fighting to protect their way of life and a man who joins their struggle and sees their heroism up-close.