Texas Book Fest Q&A with Daniel José Older

Daniel José Older is the author of the middle grade novel The Dactyl Hill Squad: Freedom Fire

TBF: Why did you write your new book? What was your inspiration? 

Daniel José Older: I was studying Civil War era New York for a rock opera project about old Brooklyn and I ended up with so much info my head that I didn’t know what to do with. When I came across a group of Cuban girls who had been left at the Colored Orphan Asylum, I wondered if they would’ve been good at riding pterodactyls and the Dactyl Hill Squad series was born.

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

DJO: Pet by Akwaeke Emezi is one of the most brilliant, fun, sad, engaging, downright thrilling books I’ve read in ages. It’s so so so great. Read it.

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

Yikes, I’m not sure, but one of my earliest memories of being completely swept up in a book was reading a scene in The Fellowship of the Ring where it was pouring rain and then looking up shocked because it was actually a sunny day outside.

Daniel José Older is one of 300 authors who will appear at the 2019 Texas Book Festival which takes place October 26-27th 2019 in downtown Austin. The Festival is free and open to the public! Check out all of this year’s authors.