Five Minutes with Dallas’ Award-winning Mixed Latine Author, Alex Temblador

by Kaye Phelps on July 18, 2022 in Entertainment, General,

Earlier this month, Blackstone Publishing released Half Outlaw, the second novel by Dallas-based award-winning author, Alex Temblador. The magical realism novel explores the experience of a half-Mexican, half white woman who was raised in an outlaw motorcycle club and goes on a cross-country motorcycle ride that will change her life forever.

Temblador explored her Mexican American identity through the process of writing her first novel, Secrets of the Casa Rosada, a multi-award-winning YA book published by Houston-based, Arte Publico Press in 2018. With Half Outlaw, Temblador delved into her experiences as a half Mexican, half white woman through a character named Raqi with the same racial and ethnic identity.

Her first novel, Secrets of the Casa Rosada, is a multi-award-winning YA book. Photo Shelbie Monkres.

In a recent conversation with Temblador, we learned more about Half Outlaw and the connection it has with Texas and the author’s identity.

Where did the inspiration for Half Outlaw come from?

When my uncle called me a ‘half outlaw,’ many years ago, I found that phrase intriguing. It instantly made me think of my Mixed identity and how I ached to tell a story with a Mixed character.

The uncle who called me ‘half outlaw’ is white, gruffy, and rides motorcycles. I’m half-Mexican, half white, so we look nothing alike, and our beliefs differ widely, but we love each other as uncle and niece, nonetheless. When I sat down to write the book, I thought about what it would be like for a Mixed girl with dark brown skin to be raised by a white man who was gruffy and rides motorcycles. The story grew from there and turned into a heart wrenching, magical realism, and adventurous story about an unconventional family between Raqi, her uncle, Dodge, and his motorcycle club members, the Lawless.

Temblador draws on her experiences as a half-Mexican, half white woman to help develop characters for her novels. Photo Shelbie Monkres.

Your main character Raqi has the same racial and ethnic identity as you; you are both half-Mexican, half white. Why was it important for you to have a main character that is Mixed?

One of the first things you’ll notice when you open the book is that I’ve dedicated it to ‘Mixed kids.’ It’s a wonderful feeling to see characters that look like you or have a similar background, and unfortunately, a lot of Mixed people have not had the opportunity to read stories written by Mixed authors that feature Mixed characters. So it was important for me, as a Mixed woman, to write this story.  

I also think it’s imperative that we start publishing more books that feature Mixed characters born of parents in interracial relationships because Mixed people are one of the fastest growing populations in the U.S. – especially in Texas. Even if you’re not Mixed, you could find yourself related to a multiracial or multi-ethnic child, grandchild, cousin, niece, nephew, sister-in-law, or brother-in-law. I’m hoping Half Outlaw can help families with Mixed members to understand each other and build better relationships.

The recently released Half Outlaw is a magical realism novel that explores the experience of a Mixed woman raised in an outlaw motorcycle club who goes on a cross-country motorcycle ride that will change her life forever. Photo courtesy Alex Temblador.

Your novel is set between 1963 and 1990. Why did you choose this era?

Half Outlaw features a one-percenter motorcycle club called the Lawless. You’ve probably heard of one-percenter clubs and seen them depicted on TV in shows like Sons of Anarchy and Mayans M.C. This term came from the American Motorcycle Association who in the late 1940s, claimed that 99 percent percent of motorcyclists were law-abiding citizens. Certain motorcycle clubs began to identify as ‘one-percenters’ after this, indicating that they were that one percent of ‘outlaws’ or ‘non-law abiding’ sorts.

These outlaw motorcycle clubs arose in the late 1940s and were very active between the 60s and 90s. To try to be authentic to history, I decided to set the book in these decades.

Temblador was born and raised in Wichita Falls, and currently lives in Dallas. Photo Shelbie Monkres

The novel begins in California and ends in Texas. How does Texas play a role in Half Outlaw?

I was born and raised in the north Texas city of Wichita Falls, and currently live in Dallas, so I thought it’d be fun to highlight the northern part of the state. In the book, Raqi is born in Texas and leaves for California when she’s four. On the cross-country motorcycle ride, she makes stops in Amarillo and my hometown, Wichita Falls. I enjoyed highlighting some of the most notable aspects of Wichita Falls – like the Red Draw drink (beer and tomato juice!), Bar-L drive-in bar, my alma mater, Wichita Falls High School, and of course, the waterfalls that the city is named after.

Half Outlaw is a magical realism novel. Can you explain what that is to our readers and how it presents in the story?  

If you ever had to read One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez in school or watched the film Big Fish, then you’ve experienced magical realism, a genre that combines magical elements with realism. I always refer to writer Lois Parkinson Zamora who said magical realism is “envisioning ordinary things in extraordinary ways.”

In Half Outlaw, the magical realism presents itself in a myriad of ways. On the first page, a motorcycle growls at four-year-old Raqi and lunges at her, trying to snap off her leg. In a later chapter, Raqi watches memories being replayed in a cloud of cigarette smoke that hangs below the ceiling of a bar. These ‘fantastical’ experiences are real and normal for Raqi and readers are intended to think of them as such.

Magical realism is a literary genre that was created by Latino writers, and I wanted to honor this part of my heritage and Raqi’s heritage in the book. Plus, the magical realism works on a secondary level to show you the pain and trauma that Raqi endures and to highlight how racism, sexism, homophobia, colonialism, and discrimination impacts the family structure.

Temblador will spend the next few months promoting Half Outlaw at in-person and virtual events. Photo Vanelis Rivera.

What’s next for Alex Temblador?

Through the rest of the year, I’ll be promoting Half Outlaw at in-person and virtual events. For instance, I have a launch party at Collective Coffee in Wichita Falls, Texas, on July 20 at 7 pm. I’ll also be reading from my novel at the Inner Moonlight event on August 10th at 7:30 pm at The Wild Detectives.

Beyond that, I have a couple of books that I hope to sell soon. One is a novel, a retelling of a popular myth, and the other is a non-fiction writing craft book. I’ve been ruminating on the idea of writing a love story, perhaps with a gritty twist that highlights the effects of the reversal of Roe v. Wade.

If you’d like to follow me on my author journey, you can do so on Twitter and Instagram (@Alex_Temblador) or through my website,


Order your hardcover, e-book, or audio book copy of Half Outlaw today through your local independent bookstores, Amazon, Audible, Bookshop, Barnes & Noble, library, and more


Cover photo from Shelbie Monkres