Raquel Vasquez Gilliland

Poet & YA Novelist
Indie Next Award Winner
Travels from: Johnson City, TN

“Breathlessly atmospheric…A gorgeous, hopeful book.” —Rachel Lynn Solomon, author of Today Tonight Tomorrow

Raquel Vasquez Gilliland is a Mexican American poet, novelist and painter. She’s most inspired by fog and seeds and the lineages of all things. When not writing, Raquel tells stories to her plants and they tell her stories back. She lives in Tennessee with her beloved family and mountains. Her first poetry collection was Dirt and Honey and the second was Tales From the House of Vasquez. Her debut YA novel, Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything, was published in 2020; her second novel, How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe, was published in 2021.

Raquel was born in West Palm Beach Florida and grew up there with her parents, brother and sister. She studied fine art for many years, specializing in painting, both in high school and college. Raquel a B.A. in cultural anthropology from the University of West Florida and an M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Alaska, Anchorage. Her first poetry collection is Dirt and Honey and her second is Tales From the House of Vasquez.

Raquel’s Authors Out Loud Profile: 

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How Moon Fuentez Fell In Love With The Universe

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers |
YA Novel

“Breathlessly atmospheric…A gorgeous, hopeful book.” —Rachel Lynn Solomon, author of Today Tonight Tomorrow

The Hating Game meets I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter in this Pura Belpré Award–winning novel that’s an irresistible romance starring a Mexican American teen who discovers love and profound truths about the universe when she spends her summer on a road trip across the country.

When her twin sister reaches social media stardom, Moon Fuentez accepts her fate as the ugly, unwanted sister hidden in the background, destined to be nothing more than her sister’s camerawoman. But this summer, Moon also takes a job as the “merch girl” on a tour bus full of beautiful influencers and her fate begins to shift in the best way possible.

Most notable is her bunkmate and new nemesis, Santiago Phillips, who is grumpy, combative, and also the hottest guy Moon has ever seen.

Moon is certain she hates Santiago and that he hates her back. But as chance and destiny (and maybe, probably, close proximity) bring the two of them in each other’s perpetual paths, Moon starts to wonder if that’s really true. She even starts to question her destiny as the unnoticed, unloved wallflower she always thought she was.

Could this summer change Moon’s life as she knows it?

Sia Martinez And The Moonlit Beginning Of Everything

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers |
YA Novel

“In a world where we are so often dividing ourselves into us and them, this book feels like a kind of magic, celebrating all beliefs, ethnicities, and unknowns.” —The New York Times Book Review

Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe meets Roswell by way of Laurie Halse Anderson in this astonishing, genre-bending novel about a Mexican American teen who discovers profound connections between immigration, folklore, and alien life.

It’s been three years since ICE raids and phone calls from Mexico and an ill-fated walk across the Sonoran. Three years since Sia Martinez’s mom disappeared. Sia wants to move on, but it’s hard in her tiny Arizona town where people refer to her mom’s deportation as “an unfortunate incident.”

Sia knows that her mom must be dead, but every new moon Sia drives into the desert and lights San Anthony and la Guadalupe candles to guide her mom home.

Then one night, under a million stars, Sia’s life and the world as we know it cracks wide open. Because a blue-lit spacecraft crashes in front of Sia’s car…and it’s carrying her mom, who’s very much alive.

As Sia races to save her mom from armed-quite-possibly-alien soldiers, she uncovers secrets as profound as they are dangerous in this stunning and inventive exploration of first love, family, immigration, and our vast, limitless universe.

Dirt and Honey

Green Writers Press |
Poetry

The retelling of Mexican family folktales, feminist reclamations of ancient myths, and new motherhood: Raquel Vasquez Gilliland’s debut collection, Dirt and Honey, unearths the connection of these experiences with innovative language. Gilliland writes across myth, describing a woman who grew leaves, the grandmother of God, and the story of her grandfather, who left for Texas as a refugee of the Mexican Civil War. Gilliland’s work centers readers in a place all her own—one in which ancient lineages are drawn with breast milk, seduction begins with feasts of peppers, and “fisherchildren” displaced by wars are always welcomed into new lands.

Sex Positivity in YA

The Publishing Process - How I Did It

Decolonizing Gardening

Representation/#OwnVoices in YA

Latinx Romance

The Importance of Tropes in Literature

The Writing Process

Raquel can answer questions about the writing process in Q&A format, as well as provide prompts for students to respond to with their own writing with optional sharing of what they write.

Identity-Specific Topics

Raquel can tailor a talk to adult groups on any identity-specific topics, especially for those working with marginalized populations.

Essays and Other Writing

Raquel’s Newsletter

Honors, Awards & Recognition

Indie Next Selection
Pura Belpré Award

Media Kit

By clicking the link below your will be directed to a Google Docs Folder
where you can download author photos and cover images.

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