We had the good fortune of connecting with Lilliam Rivera and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lilliam, what do you attribute your success to?
I’ve always worked as a writer, first as an entertainment and fashion journalist. Freelance work is part of the norm when you are a writer. Now I spend my time writing novels, mostly for children. I love the work that I do. I spend a lot of time in this state of creating, of visualizing new worlds, and trying to translate these stories onto a blank page. It’s all I ever want to do even when it’s painful. But of course you can’t separate the creative side with the business side. Like most artists, I’m always hustling. It’s vital to know your worth, to schedule time for your art, and then for your business to continue to grow.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’m an author of mostly children’s books (middle grade, young adult), graphic novels, and short stories. I love writing young adult novels in different genres including speculative fiction and contemporary. I’ll even dabble in horror. I’ve been lucky to have published five novels in the past four years, with more to come. But I’ve been in this grind to be a published author for more than ten years. I started with taking fiction classes at UCLA and just pursued what I could in learning about my craft. Although my background is in journalism, writing novels is a whole other beast. I’m still learning but I’m a strong storyteller and I meet my deadlines no matter what. Originally from the Bronx, New York, I wasn’t really meant to be in this creative field but somehow I’ve managed to carve a life. And I continue to break down whatever stereotypes connected to the Bronx or to being a Latina. My work is proof of that.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
For the past twenty years I’ve lived in Los Angeles. Here are some spots I love: Griffith Observatory- It’s iconic for so many movie and television shows being filmed here but also just because you can see and learn about the stars. House of Intuition – Owned by a Latinx couple, this spiritual place is where you stock up on all your energetic needs, your candles, your stones, your tarot cards. Little Tokyo Marketplace – I love shopping here. You have a great supermarket, Diaso for cheap gifts, great restaurants, and then you head to Max’s Karaoke Studio for karaoke action. El Mercadito – Dueling mariachi bands. That’s all you need to know. Palm Springs – I always drive to Palm springs. I love seeing those large windmills and the mountains. It’s so close and I can always find a decent Airbnb.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I strongly believe in aligning yourself with creative womyn who are on this path. I don’t hang around social vampires or climbers. There’s a game to play and I can play it for survival but I only speak the truth to only a very select group. My inner circle begins with my group called Nah B Productions aka Las Mal Criadas. We’re just mothers who are in the creative field. I’m able to speak to them daily about my fears and my joys. I also love my author friends, a strong circle of Latinx authors and Young Adult authors who I turn to at every turn.