Lizz Huerta is the debut author of The Lost Dreamer. A stunning YA fantasy inspired by ancient Mesoamerica, this gripping debut introduces us to a lineage of seers defiantly resisting the shifting patriarchal state that would see them destroyed—perfect for fans of Tomi Adeyemi and Sabaa Tahir.
Lizz shares more about her inspiration for the story and her advice for young writers here! Plus, request a digital review copy of The Lost Dreamer on NetGalley!
When describing The Lost Dreamer, what’s your elevator pitch?
Lizz Huerta: You want fantasy in a Mesoamerican-inspired world? Hold the elevator, I gotchu. Two young seers living in different parts of the world are tangled in a prophecy that will change their lives forever. Why am I in an elevator? I prefer the stairs, better echo when I shout that my book is out March first!
What inspired you to write The Lost Dreamer?
Lizz: I wanted to write fantasy that felt like home. I wanted to see my ancestral homelands on the page with magic, mystery and wonder. I have a very intense dreaming life, I go to the same “world” nightly when I dream. I took that as the seed of inspiration and ran with it. A lineage of seers who can access another dimension whilst sleeping to bring knowledge and wisdom back to the waking world. I kept thinking of teenage me and what she would have loved to see on the page and wrote toward her, for her.
Tell us about a librarian or educator who made an impact on you.
Lizz: My sixth grade teacher, Dee Pomerenke, was my first huge support in writing. She gave our class daily writing exercises and always let me do mine in the form of a poem or short story. She gave me books I thought I would like. She was always encouraging when I shared a new story or poem with her. We reconnected in 2019 and she had poems of mine she’d saved for almost thirty years! I love that we’re in touch, she’s really excited about the book. Funnily enough, one of her children moved into my apartment complex and so I see Dee whenever she comes by to see her kid. Dee and I still talk about books and writing. We’re both huge L.M. Montgomery fans (and both prefer Emily to Anne. . . ) and have tentatively talked about going to Prince Edward Island together when she retires next year, a dream trip for both of us.
What is the first step in your creative process?
Lizz: My creative process usually starts with meditation. I still my mind and invite the story in, I invite the characters in and tell them I trust their story. My writing (and life) mantra is “Trust the story choosing to emerge through you.” After I meditate I go to the page and write, not judging myself, not editing, letting what wants to flow, flow. Sometimes it’s a mess and sometimes magic happens, just like life. I surprise myself constantly when I’m writing and often will go back and wonder “who wrote this?”
What advice would you give to young writers?
Lizz: Never forget: we are natural storytellers, story is what makes us human. When it comes to having a writing practice, experiment. Write at home, or in public. Write at night or early mornings. Music or silence. Find what works for you and know that it’ll probably change. Build community. If you can, attend workshops and classes, find others you connect with. My writing community, built over the last twenty years, has saved me countless times and helped me not only write and edit, but publish work. Know that writing can be very lonely, and that’s okay.
What was your favorite book when you were 10 years old?
Lizz: When I was ten I was borrowing books from my aunt’s shelves. I know I was reading Danielle Steel and probably some Hollywood memoirs. I was also obsessed with the Babysitter’s Club books and felt like those girls were my friends. I wanted Claudia to be my best friend so we could make earrings together and eat snacks she’d hidden in her colorful bedroom.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Lizz Huerta is a widely-admired Mexi-Rican short story writer and essayist, published in Lightspeed, The Cut, The Portland Review, The Rumpus, Miami Rail, and more. Her short story “The Wall” is included in the anthology A People’s Future of the United States. Huerta has also been a 2018 Bread Loaf Fellow, a five-time VONA Fellow, and the winner of the LUMINA fiction contest, selected by Roxane Gay, who called her writing “a menacing inescapable seduction.” She has appeared on CSPAN’s BookTV to discuss the erasure of Mexican American Studies in Arizona, and has taught creative writing to homeless youth through San Diego nonprofit So Say We All.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
The Lost Dreamer by Lizz Huerta
On Sale March 1, 2022
A stunning YA fantasy inspired by ancient Mesoamerica, this gripping debut introduces us to a lineage of seers defiantly resisting the shifting patriarchal state that would see them destroyed—perfect for fans of Tomi Adeyemi and Sabaa Tahir.
Indir is a Dreamer, descended from a long line of seers; able to see beyond reality, she carries the rare gift of Dreaming truth. But when the beloved king dies, his son has no respect for this time-honored tradition. King Alcan wants an opportunity to bring the Dreamers to a permanent end—an opportunity Indir will give him if he discovers the two secrets she is struggling to keep. As violent change shakes Indir’s world to its core, she is forced to make an impossible choice: fight for her home or fight to survive.
Saya is a seer, but not a Dreamer—she has never been formally trained. Her mother exploits her daughter’s gift, passing it off as her own as they travel from village to village, never staying in one place too long. Almost as if they’re running from something. Almost as if they’re being hunted. When Saya loses the necklace she’s worn since birth, she discovers that seeing isn’t her only gift—and begins to suspect that everything she knows about her life has been a carefully-constructed lie. As she comes to distrust the only family she’s ever known, Saya will do what she’s never done before, go where she’s never been, and risk it all in the search of answers.
With a detailed, supernaturally-charged setting and topical themes of patriarchal power and female strength, Lizz Huerta’s The Lost Dreamer brings an ancient world to life, mirroring the challenges of our modern one.
Praise for The Lost Dreamer:
“A transcendent story of community, sisterhood, and resilience set in a richly drawn world. Lizz Huerta is a powerful new voice in fantasy.” —Katy Rose Pool, author of There Will Come a Darkness
“Next Spring’s buzziest fantasy debut.”—Entertainment Weekly