Interview, Reina Luz Alegre, Middle Grade Author of THE DREAM WEAVER
April 28th, 2020 by Liza Wiemer

The Dream Weaver, an #ownvoices novel by Reina Luz Alegre

Buying Links: IndieBound |Bookstop | Books-A-Million Amazon

From Goodreads:

Twelve-year-old Zoey comes from a family of dreamers. From startup companies to selling motorcycles, her dad is constantly chasing jobs that never seem to work out. As for Zoey, she’s willing to go along with whatever grand plans her dad dreams up—even if it means never staying in one place long enough to make real friends. Her family being together is all that matters to her.

So Zoey’s world is turned upside down when Dad announces that he’s heading to a new job in New York City without her. Instead, Zoey and her older brother José will stay with their Poppy at the Jersey Shore. At first, Zoey feels as lost and alone as she did after her Mami died. But soon she’s distracted by an even bigger problem: the bowling alley that Poppy has owned for decades is in danger of closing!

After befriending a group of kids practicing for a summer bowling tournament, Zoey hatches a grand plan of her own to save the bowling alley. It seems like she’s found the perfect way to weave everyone’s dreams together…until unexpected events turn Zoey’s plan into one giant nightmare. 

Now, with her new friends counting on her and her family’s happiness hanging in the balance, Zoey will have to decide what her dream is—and how hard she’s willing to fight for it. 


Question: Was there anything that surprised you while writing this novel? If so, what?

Answer: Yes! I was surprised how much fun I had writing the conflicts, and filling in the characters’ personalities so that everyone—even the bully on the rival bowling team—had some nuance to their personality, reasons for their perspectives, redeeming qualities in addition to flaws. Happily ever afters are my favorite, and the book does end on a positive note, but I was surprised by how much I enjoyed writing the drama and bumps in the road along the way too. 
Question: Any novel secrets? Something that readers wouldn’t know just from reading your book like special inspirations, places or people you interwove into the text? 

Answer: I wove a lot of my Cuban Latinx heritage into the story in ways that felt meaningful to me—from treating characters to foods like ropa vieja (a shredded beef dish) and pastelitos to pinning Azabache charms to sprinkling in Spanish phrases I grew up hearing to the bigger culture clash between Zoey’s Cuban grandpa and her non-Cuban dad’s attitudes about privilege and family.  

Question: What do you love about your cover and how does it connect to your story?

Answer: I LOVE the cover so much. Hugest of thanks to Lucy Ruth Cummins and Lizzy Stewart for designing and illustrating such a beautiful, eye-catching cover, that shows a bustling boardwalk and the entrance to grandpa’s beachside bowling alley! I especially love how much motion the cover conveys—from the super fun Ferris Wheel in the background to the ocean waves at the bottom to main character Zoey running off while seemingly calling back to her friends. It really conveys the story’s fun, fast-paced plot and Zoey’s determined, resourceful personality.

Bonus round:

Coffee Tea or Hot Chocolate? Coffee! By the pot or cafetera. 

Winter, spring, summer or fall? Usually winter. I love the holiday season! But as a kid, summer was definitely my fave. And this year, I don’t think I’ve ever thought more about summer! 

Fries or onion rings? Fries—I make fries at home at least once a week (the frozen kind—full disclosure—I’m not whipping them up from scratch). 

Movie at a theater or watch a movie at home? At home! And probably a romcom I’ve already seen 100 times.

Ice cream: chocolate, strawberry or vanilla? All of the above! And also pistachio. Or cookie dough. Or cookies n’ cream. Now that I’m thinking about it, I can’t think of a single ice cream flavor I don’t like!

About Reina Luz Alegre

Reina Luz Alegre lives in the Miami area with her family. She’s dreamed of becoming an author since the second grade, and grew up to work on various other professional dreams–including as a freelance journalist and lawyer–before debuting her first novel, The Dream Weaver. When she’s not writing, Reina loves to read, sing, and salivate over baking shows. Follow her on Twitter at @ReinaLuzAlegre

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