A Selena Fan Writes....

Here's an e mail from a Selena fan and my response.

Selena: Como La FlorSubject: Selena book fan with a question

Hi Mr.Patoski,

I read your books about stevie ray vaughan and selena and thought they were very well written. I'm sure you get complimented all the time so I'll get on with it. I bought your book on selena when it first came out and recently re-read it again a little after the most recent anniversary of her death.

Some issues about the selena "events" leading up to her death always nag at me. First of all before we get to the issues, I want to say thankyou for writing a book that spoke of her with real human qualities. It seems her family, with all due respect are determined to only put out information about her that they feel is proper. I guess it's their right as her family, but I know no one person is perfect and as squeaky clean as they have built up her image. I'm sure she had more good qualities than bad but I would like to know what got on her nerves, did she ever walk around her house looking terrible, or did she ever lose her temper for whatever reason. We know she did but her family seems bound and determined for us fans never to know any details like that.

Why do I or other fans want to know this? I don't know I guess because then we'll feel closer to her in more realistic ways. I'm tired of the same old facts we know about her. Yes she loved pepperoni pizza and had a pet snake but did she have any quirky habits or phobias? I guess I'm too nosy. Anyway, I know probably all the people who knew selena and spoke about her having the utmost respect for her family are true but don't alot of kids (whatever age ) keep certain information from their parents. You still love them but you don't want them to know certain things going on in your life perhaps. The idea that selena kept yolanda working for her after the meeting with her dad and sister and herself with Yole always struck me as odd.

Yoland spoke of a diary that selena had. I understand that anything that woman says is to be doubted and yet isn't there a saying that in every lie is a grain of truth. Maybe among the garbled version of lies yole told was a grain of truth. Think about it. On a cable t.v court reanactment (that was said to be based on court transcripts) chris said that on that first night going out to the hotel to get papers from yole it took them awhile to find the place. Wasn't Q-Productions very close to that area? How could they have not known where to find the hotel quickly. I'm sure she wanted her paperwork for taxes but wouldn't her diary been important to get back too.

I'm not saying there were words in that book alluding to her having an affair or anything, maybe just things she would have found damaging or hurtful to her career or family. Maybe yole was holding something over selenas head. Even just saying she could turn over the diary to her dad or mom personally could have made selena keep her on longer til yole gave the items back. I almost got the feeling selena was talking to yole and not wanting her dad to find out. I know yole stated this but maybe in this it was true. I know this is all speculation but I guess alot of us have had friends that parents forbid us to see and we still talk to them behind our folks back.In hispanic households it's common for parents to still try to make them do what they want you to do even as adults. Why would she send a woman to mexico to do business for her when she more or less believed that particular woman was stealing from her? I know she was a little naive but it's hard for me to believe she would have kept yole on having known this unless yole was threatening her perhaps.

Selena was strong at many instances in her life. When she came out wearing her bustier and told her dad it was her style, and cajoled him until he gave in to her. When she made up her mind to marry chris, when she opened the shops. So then she suddenly caves to a short little lady and says sure you can still work for me even though I don't trust you. It just seems like she had more gumption than that. I feel there might be the chance yole was threatening to tell her dad or chris things selena wanted kept private. How could yolanda have all the connections in Mexico when it came to the fashion line? That doesn't make sense. She was an ex-nurse. What fashion connections was she going to have ? Perhaps recently made but those could have been handled and re-established with someone competent with a little finess. There are alot of other things in the selena story that don't fit but I've already gone on too long. (I'm sure your nodding).

Lastly I think it's sad that the family who has obviously flourished fiancially for the most part , with all due respect, could not keep selenas fashion dream alive. The boutique in S.A closed and the one in C.C as one spanish mag wrote about,doesn't look well maintained. Now they only sell clothes for teenagers and alot of memorabilia. Somehow I think even if it wasn't bringing in a ton of cash it could have still been kept a real clothes store with clothes for all sizes and also still kept the hair salon open. If I had the money and she was my sister I would have kept it as fabulous looking as possible because that was her "baby". Will you ever write another book, a follow-up to selena?

Also before I forget, did you ever interview chris perez's family (mom, dad, siblings)? It would have been interesting to read how her relationship with them was. Do you have any idea why Chris didn't go forward with The Chris perez project band? I thought it had alot of potential and was sorry to see him slip back into the tejano scene instead of pursuing rock. Idon't listen to tejano ironically. I was enchanted by Selena because of a similar love of fashion not so much the music. Although she was a great singer. I love rock and loved your book on S.R.V. Don't get scared I won't talk about that one today. If you write back I'll be honored if not it's o.k I know your busy. Thanks for listening.

Christina.Torres.Garza

********

Dear Christina,

Thank you for the e mail. It's obvious that Selena is a subject of great interest to you, as it is me.

You raise many good questions. I will try to answer those that I feel like I'm able to.

You are correct that there are many unresolved issues regarding Selena's last days and the aftermath of her death.

I can't speak for the family, and I would never want to be put in the position that they have been put in, trying to preserve their daughter's memory and handle her estate in a responsible fashion. Without Selena, I believe all of them with the exception of her brother AB would be experiencing financial difficulties. So they have much to gain by controlling Selena's empire and how she is remembered. Because of that, they are not inclined to be open about all aspects of Selena's life. As you observe, no one is perfect or squeaky clean. I'm sure Selena had bad days, was not a nice person at times, and maybe even was a difficult person to deal with. These details are likely to be shared only by those who knew her but no longer stand to profit from her. Fans want to know as many details as possible. Those around the stars aren't so quick to give that information up.

As a fan, that desire for knowledge speaks to being curious and wanting to know everything about the artist. So while I tried to learn as much as I could and share that with readers, I'm sure there are more details none of us know or will know.

You're right, all kids have their own secrets that aren't shared with family, as I'm sure was the case with Selena. Certainly, in the last month of her life, she was indeed seeing Yolanda against her father's and her sister's wishes. Yolanda was still her friend, perhaps her best friend. Which speaks to the reality Selena didn't have many friends, but rather acquaintances from the music world.

I do think there was a diary and if we saw that diary, we'd learn new details about Selena, her feelings, and her relationships. But I don't think we'll see it. The hotel location is close to Q Productions, but because of freeways around it, it isn't easy to get to, if you don't know it. So I attribute that to the honest answer they didn't know where it was.

I am convinced that Yolanda did indeed have materials Selena wanted before Selena could cut ties with her. And by withholding those items (the diary? Monterrey store details?) she remained valuable to Selena. But I am also convinced Selena wanted to believe Yolanda up until that last morning; when the nurses informed Selena that Yolanda had not been raped, I think she began to realize that Yolanda had not been up front with her for a long time. Until then, Selena had faith Yolanda knew how to run her businesses. In that respect, Selena was very naive.

Both Selena and Yolanda were afraid of Abraham but for different reasons.

The family kept the fashion stores open because they were bringing in money. They never supported Selena in her desire to be a fashionista. That was her deal, and hers alone, which is why Yolanda was able to operate so long with being scrutinized. The family focus was on the band.

So while Selena may have been naive about running a retail store, her family, particularly Suzette, knew even less. It's sad that one closed and the other is barely open.
Again, this speaks to the fact the other family members were no better business minds than Selena was. And fashion was her "baby".

I have secured rights to my book from Little, Brown, the publishers. University of Texas Press has agreed to republish the book in English and in Spanish if I will update the material. Perhaps in the next year or two that will happen.

I never did interview Chris' famiily. You raise a good question about Selena's relationship with them. The Chris Perez Project folded mainly because of poor sales and an inability to draw crowds on the road.

You are not alone in not listening to Tejano as much. I have since written that the sound pretty much died when Selena did. It's sad, but it's true.

Best,

Joe Nick


More about Selena

Selena's Murder Ten Years Later

The Queen Is Dead Selena Quintanilla Perez, tejano's first superstar, was about to become an international pop sensation. Instead, she's another victim of gun violence in Texas. [Texas Monthly, May 1995]

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