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Phyllis De la Garza (1942–) Biography

Personal, Addresses, Career, Honors Awards, Writings, Work in Progress, Sidelights

(Phyllis Morreale-de la Garza)


Born 1942, in Woodstock, IL; Ethnicity: "Italian/German." Politics: "Independent." Hobbies and other interests: Handweaving, vintage clothing.


Office—5311 E. Arzberger Rd., Willcox, AZ 85643.


Writer and weaver. Former owner, with husband Luis De la Garza, of equestrian school in San Miguel Allende, Mexico, c. 1970s.

Honors Awards

Spur Award finalist for short nonfiction, Western Writers of America, 1995, for "Apache Kid."


Chacho, New Readers Press (Syracuse, NY), 1990.

The Story of Dos Cabezas, Westernlore Press (Tucson, AZ), 1995.

The Apache Kid, Westernlore Press (Tucson, AZ), 1995.

Charissa of the Overland, Royal Fireworks Press (Unionville, NY), 1998.

Bounty Hunter's Daughter: A Western Story, Five Star (Unity, ME), 1998.

Camels West, Royal Fireworks Press (Unionville, NY), 2000.

Phyllis De la Garza

The Iron Horse, Silk Label Books (Unionville, NY), 2002.

Death for Dinner: The Benders of (Old) Kansas, Talei Publishers (Honolulu, HI), 2003.

Silk and Sagebrush: Women of the Old West, Silk Label Books (Unionville, NY), 2004.

Gun Barrels: A Steed Wilson Mystery, Silk Label Books (Unionville, NY), 2005.

Short fiction included in anthology No Place for a Lady, Thorndike Press. Contributor of articles and reviews to periodicals, including Handwoven, Seasons, Chronicle of the Old West, Spin-Off, Sombrero, Tombstone Epitaph, Cochise Quarterly, Sunsitter, True West, Old West, Wild West, Roundup, and Seasons.

Work in Progress

More books in the "Steed Wilson Mystery" series, for Silk Label Books.


A resident of Arizona for over a decade, Western writer Phyllis De la Garza has made a name for herself in a field dominated by male writers. Her books include the young-adult novels Charissa of the Overland and Camels West, the latter an historical novel about a young woman named Graciela who, in the 1850s, becomes involved with an attempt to introduce camels into the American Southwest at Camp Verde, Texas. Orphaned as a newborn when her parents were killed at the siege of the Alamo in San Antonio, the Mexican teen was raised by a healer and has learned the healing trade. Unable to speak, Graciela communicates to those she heals through sign language; when a wounded camel is brought to her for care, the teen joins the group endeavoring to herd a group of the unusual creatures west to Los Angeles.

Other works by De la Garza include the 1995 biography The Apache Kid, the nonfiction title Silk and Sagebrush: Women of the Old West, and Gun Barrels, the last a novel beginning the author's "Steed Wilson Mystery" series. A talented weaver who has studied at the Instituto Allende in Guanajuato, Mexico, De la Garza also enjoys horseback riding, and in the 1970s helped her husband, former Mexican cavalry officer Luis De la Garza, in operating an equestrian school in Mexico. She explained of her craft to Jane Eppinga for Arizona Senior World: "I tell those who have yet to be published to have patience, keep writing and don't give up. In the long run the only real proof of your talent is your perseverance."

Biographical and Critical Sources


Arizona Daily Star, July 2, 1999, J.C. Martin, "Patience Pays for Willcox Author."

Arizona Senior World, January, 2001, Jane Eppinga, "A Busy, Successful Western Writer Has This Advice."

Roundup, December, 1995, review of The Story of Dos Cabezas, p. 20; June, 1996, review of The Apache Kid, p. 21; August, 1998, review of Bounty Hunter's Daughter: A Western Story, p. 29; August, 1999, review of Charissa of the Overland, p. 28; December, 1999, review of Camels West, p. 29; February, 2003, review of The Iron Horse, p. 29; October, 2004, Jane Eppinga, review of Death for Dinner: The Benders of (Old) Kansas, p. 23; February, 2005, review of Silk and Sagebrush: Women of the Old West, p. 27.

School Library Journal, March, 2000, Ellen A. Greever, review of Camels West, p. 237.

Additional topics

Brief BiographiesBiographies: E(mily) R. Frank (1967-) Biography - Personal to Martha Graham (1893–1991) Biography