TBF Author Q&A with Sergio Troncoso

Sergio Troncoso is the author of the novel NOBODY’S PILGRIMS.

TBF: Why did you write your new book? What was your inspiration? Where did the idea start?

ST: I wrote Nobody’s Pilgrims to bring outsiders together and to tell an adventure story about becoming part of the United States when you don’t belong. I thought about the idea when editing my anthology, Nepantla Familias. There I wrote about how the greatest problem was that we are not a ‘we’ in this country, and so I thought about how a group, whether it’s a family or a threesome of strangers like Turi, Molly, and Arnulfo, become a ‘we.’ Trials, adventures, and fear bring people together. Also, young people (for better or for worse) trust each other more quickly than older adults. That initial trust is always the start of a potential community.

TBF: What’s the last book you read, loved, and can’t stop recommending? Why is it so good?

ST: The last book I read that I loved was Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders. I thought it was so inventive as a narrative form, yet also so deeply kind to the reader in search of the human soul. As a writer I was marveling at the voices and what seemed to me like a play into the metaphysical, yet it was also funny and generous and in a way philosophical. I want to read it again as I write these words. A book like Lincoln in the Bardo is meant to be read many times. Those are my kind of books.

TBF: What’s the first book you remember reading? Who gave it to you?

ST: The first book I remember reading was The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. I’m sure I read other books before that one, but that’s the one that never left my memory years later. I think I stole it from one of the classrooms at Ysleta High School, and I think I also stole That was Then This is Now. I wanted to read and reread those books, because they somewhat mirrored my life in Ysleta. It’s possible Mrs. Newman or another English teacher gave me the book, or ‘left’ the classroom open so that I could steal it. They knew I loved to read, and they also knew I was poor. I had a few great teachers who knew me better than I sometimes knew myself.

Catch Sergio Troncoso on Saturday, November 5 at the State Capitol E2.016 from 2:15 – 3:00 at the 2022 Texas Book Festival!