Luis Alberto Urrea is the best-selling author of 13 books. Born in Tijuana to an American mother and a Mexican father, Urrea uses his dual-culture life experiences to explore greater themes of love, loss, and triumph. His most recent book is Into The Beautiful North, which follows a group of Mexican women determined to save their village by recruiting immigrant men to return back across the border with them. Read more about Urrea below.
Q. What inspires you?
A. I’m inspired by the soul of the experience. I’m from Tijuana, and the endless tide of thousands of stories of people’s journeys really moves me. I’m trying to represent them.
Q. What is your favorite way to procrastinate?
A. Driving around the country. I’m obsessively fascinated with it. I feel like the U.S. has become my neighborhood, so I drive around to see what’s going on.
Q. How would you describe yourself in five words or fewer?
A. Closet mystic.
Q. If you could live in any other time, when would it be and why?
A. Around 1893. I have some ancestors that I write about, and one of them was known as the Mexican Joan of Arc. I would like to meet her face to face.
Q. What is your greatest extravagance?
A. I buy a lot of books.
Q. If you could take only one more journey, where would you go?
A. Back to London.
Q. What is your fondest childhood memory?
A. My godparents’ home, because I was a ghetto child and they had a garden. They had an acre, and it was Mexicano all the way – full of chile and aguacate and fruit trees. Being there I realized there was a place of grace in the world.
Q. Who is the one person living or dead you would most like to meet for dinner?
A. Emiliano Zapata.
*Photo by Allison Glenn.