Three questions from Liz Huerta regarding her debut novel, The Lost Dreamer.

I first met Lizz Huerta in the summer of 2005 when Jim Ruland invited us to read on a series called “Vermin on the Mount” in Chinatown in downtown Los Angeles. While she was reading, Huerta had somewhat stopped the raging crowd at the effect of her words and her wonderful presence. Honestly, I was amazed at Huerta’s talent and in such a confident and easy way. Over the years, we’ve seen each other at literary events, and every time we talk, I know I’m in the company of a smart and thoughtful artist.

Located in San Diego, Huerta is a widely admired writer who calls herself Mexican Rican in honor of her mixed heritage. She writes short stories, poems and articles published in many magazines and literary magazines, including: light’s speedAnd the shearingAnd the Portland reviewAnd the rambusAnd the And the Miami Real, For example, but not limited. Huerta was a 2018 Bread Loaf Fellow and was a five-time VONA Fellow. In choosing Huerta as the winner of the Lumina In a fiction competition, judge Roxanne Gay called her writing “an inescapable seduction.” It was a Guest On C-SPAN’s TV book To discuss the erasure of Mexican American studies in Arizona, and the science of creative writing for non-domesticated youth through the San Diego nonprofit So I say we all.

And now we have the first novel by Huerta. lost dreamerPublished by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux in March 2022, it is a young fantasy film that tells the story of two women with special powers. There Indir – known as “The Dreamer” – has the gift of seeing beyond reality by entering the world of dreams. Until the death of the king who respected her gift, Indir’s ability was honored, but the heir to the throne has little patience for such supernatural actions. Then there is Saya, who is also talented but is known as “Ayrah” because she has never formally trained as a dreamer. Her powers are exploited by her mother, who travels from village to village to present her daughter’s gift as a gift to her. The paths of Inder and Saya collide in a dazzling fantasy world drawn from Mesoamerican culture.

Huerta’s stunning world-building is rich in detail, bringing to life a compelling tale of two young women who grapple with forces and identities that others don’t quite appreciate. lost dreamer This is a fantastic debut novel by a fully in control author.

Lizz Huerta agreed to take some time away from a frantic book tour to answer a few questions Larp about her book.


Daniel A. Olivas: Creating a whole new world for your novel must require a tremendous amount of thought, research, and planning. Can you talk a little bit about this process, especially regarding both the challenging and exhilarating aspects of this job?

Liz Huerta: I did a little research but at the end of the day I decided to totally fantasize. I did not want to take anything directly from any living or transitional culture. I wanted to create a world that looked like ancient Mesoamerica but was fictional, with the kinds of characters I wanted to see in literature. I struggled for years, wondering if I could make it happen, but the story and characters wouldn’t leave me alone. I decided to trust myself and, more importantly, to trust the story that chose to emerge through me. There was so much joy when I gave in to the story and let it pull me in. Writing, at times, can be bliss, euphoria, and euphoria. There are times that can be difficult. I accept both, knowing that both are part of not only being a writer but having a human experience.

Indir and Saya come with very different history and backgrounds. They are, in some ways, contradictory. What inspired you to create them, and who would you rather spend time with if they were real people?

Both Indir and Saya were born with the same gift – they are dreamers, women who can enter another dimension in their sleep and return information to their communities. Indir was born into a family of dreamers who live in a temple in the treasure city, where there are long traditions, ceremonies and protections built around the gift of a dream. Saya was born in a remote location and had no training or guidance on how to use her gift; Her abusive mother uses her gift for her own benefit. I wanted to explore how gifts appear within and outside of traditions and practices. I think it’s a question many of us have; We come from these long and often broken dynasties who have wisdom that we try to reintegrate into our lives. Do our talents and abilities live within us? What are the talents of living within inherited traditions, and what are the challenges? Can we inhabit and use these gifts even if we have no training or guidance? What does that look like and is it safe? I probably would have spent some time with Indir, but it’s the same at the end of the book, not the beginning.

Even though you’ve created a fictional world, your characters’ desires and conflicts are similar to those we see in the real world. Why did you choose fiction to explore human struggles and emotions?

I wanted to play and have fun. This is not to say that this is not possible in contemporary fiction, but I the love Fiction, I love secondary worlds, and I wanted to write within a world that I felt was part of my own bloodline. Imagination has allowed me to explore the experiences and blessings of this human life while also being able to incorporate magical items/gifts that allow humans to integrate with the living world around them, showing how they (and we) are all interconnected.


Daniel A. Olivas is a playwright, book critic, editor, and author of ten books, including How to Date a Mexican Bird: New and Collected Stories (University of Nevada Press, 2022). It was written for New York timesThe Los Angeles TimesThe Los Angeles Book ReviewAnd the Alta JournalAnd the no blog. Follow him on Twitter: Tweet embed

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