Texas Book Fest Q&A with Lilliam Rivera

Lilliam Rivera is the author of the new YA novel Dealing in Dreams

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

Lilliam Rivera: My young adult novel Dealing in Dreams was inspired by a book I read over and over again when I was in High School: The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton. I loved the book and its depiction of family, class, and violence. Although the book was set in a place so outside of my own upbringing (I’m from the Bronx, New York) I could relate to the characters. When I was writing Dealing in Dreams , I kept thinking of what life would be like if girls were forced to grow up in a violent world. I wanted to explore a dystopian setting where girls are regulated to fight in gangs as their only way of life.

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

LR: The last book I read was the young adult book The Patron Saint of Nothing by Randy Ribay. It’s a heartbreaking story about a Filipino-American boy who travels back to the Philippines to find out what really happened to his cousin who was suddenly killed as part of President Duterte’s war on drugs. It’s so timely and beautifully written.

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

LR: The first book I remember reading was Babar Visits Another Planet by Laurent de Brunhoff. The picture book was so beautifully illustrated. I remember being in awe of the planet Babar visited and how his visit was a bit of a disaster. I’m sure my parents must have given me the book.


Lilliam Riverais 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.