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Maria de Lourdes

Victoria

I am a bilingual writer born and raised in Veracruz, Mexico, currently residing in the state of Washington. I write novels, short stories and children’s books. I wrote my first novel, Los Hijos Del Mar (The children of the sea) because I wanted my sons to know their ancestry and to be proud of their heritage. The story, set during the late nineteenth century in México and in Spain, is based on the lives of my ancestors, the Victorias, who made a name for themselves in México’s pharmaceutical industry, and the Muguiras, Spanish immigrants who found success cultivating and trading coffee seeds. The novel weaves both families’ sagas into a shared destiny and their intertwined tales becomes, finally, the love story of my parents. Click here to read a chapter of Los Hijos del Mar.

My second novel, Más allá de la Justicia (Beyond Justice) is a farewell to my former profession as a litigator. Through the first-person narrative of my three characters, I bring my reader into the harsh world of our criminal justice system, the complex lives of the accused, and the people who work, relentlessly, in the pursuit of justice. While the novel is not a memoir, my work as a public defender influenced my writing, and the process became therapy, allowing me to understand how the experience had shaped me. Click here to preview Mas Alla De La Justicia

A number of literary journals have published my short stories. The theme that seems to permeate my prose in that genre is the struggle that Latinos face in the United States. My characters are often working women trying to survive in a country that is not their own. The inspiration for the stories often comes from the people I try to help in my current work as a mediator.

I particularly enjoy writing for children. I find the process uplifting, and a good source of balance, especially when the substance of my adult work is often dark, and daunting. The more I explore and learn about this genre, the more it calls to me, especially when I am around my grandchildren, who are my best, and most devoted audience.

HUATUSCO - Harvest time

Last year I missed the coffee harvest in the farms of Chiapas. When I finally reached the region of Soconusco (the setting of my new novel), I found that they had already picked all the cherries. I was too late! The temporary workers had already left to look for other "chambas" (work). The “galleras” (housing) where the workers reside were empty. The only workers that were left and that I was able to interview were working to clean the land.

Even so, I learned a lot. I studied the industry and the process, from planting to exporting the coffee. I interviewed farmers, administrators, stewards, caporales and historians. I visited farms, processing and packing plants and I filled my suitcases with books, newspapers, photos and articles. The greatest treasure I found was inspiration J But truth to be told: I still wanted to see the harvest.

This year I returned for that very purpose but this time I visited the coffee zone of Huatusco, in my beloved state of Veracruz. The Huatusco region is the largest coffee producer in the entire state. Due to its privileged geographical situation and the factors such as soil, climate type and altitude, the Huatusqueño coffee presents the exact characteristics of a good high altitude coffee. I had the privilege to taste it freshly roasted and ground. It was exquisite.

Another fact that I found interesting was the presence of the Italians in that part of the state. At the end of the 19th century, waves of Italians arrived and injected a more Italian flavor to the place, with Italian customs and languages. Just as the Germans planted their coffee plantations in Chiapas (the subject of my novel), so the Italians came to this region to work and harvest the field that today belongs to the route called "Ruta Veracruzana del Café".

In Huatusco I was finally able to see the harvest and I also interview the temporary pickers, whose photos and videos I will be sharing in this blog. I want you, my dear readers,to go hand in hand with me in the creation of this, my fourth novel. Above all, I want you to enjoy this stage of research as much as I am enjoying it.

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