We had the good fortune of connecting with RosaLinda Diaz and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi RosaLinda, where are your from? We’d love to hear about how your background has played a role in who you are today?
I’m a native Los Angelino. Shocking, I know. We are rarer than a traffic free Friday night on the 405. Being from Los Angeles gave me a vast scope of the world. Which may seem odd, since it is just one place, but it is an incredibly diverse and multifaceted city. I grew up in the Silverlake area. As I look back I realized what an idyllic childhood I had. I perfected bike riding on the sidewalk in front of our apartment complex, agonized over my single stem flower purchase at the Aloha Flower shop down the street, and roamed a one square block radius completely autonomously. It was my domain. I loved it.
However, we moved, quite a few times, and thus I don’t consider myself just from Los Angeles. I’m also from Oahu, Hawaii, and Littleton, Colorado where I finished high school before returning to Southern California for college. Each of these very different places gave me a new perspective of the world. There is indeed life outside of Los Angeles, surprise. Each new city taught me different things about how place shapes who we are as individuals and as a community. Of course, I came to these realizations years after living in these places. Being from sophisticated Los Angeles, I had a rather large chip on my shoulder when we moved to slower-paced Hawaii half-way through middle school. To say I got that chip knocked off quick is an understatement. In Hawaii I learned humility. For all the Aloha we hear about, Hawaii is wary of outsiders and a tough nut to crack. I never did. I’m shy and stuck close to other transplants, while cultivating my love of reading–which would serve me well, since I’m now an author.
Colorado taught me different lessons. Firstly, I do not like snow. At all. Secondly, it showed me small town life, as I had never experienced it before. And not the quaintness, either, the monotony, the sameness, the smallness. I am at my core a Los Angelino, I love individuality, but Colorado, at least when I lived there, embraced sameness. In some ways I thrived on being the ‘exotic’ girl from Hawaii, but as with my time in Hawaii I was, once again, an outsider. More time with books for me. Since I wasn’t in the midst of the action, these experiences allowed me to observe my peers in a way I would not have had I been part of their groups. Being an outsider gave me the freedom to pursue my own interests away from the glare of peer judgement. I am not who I would have been had we not moved, and despite the painful experience of not quite fitting in, I am a more well rounded individual because of it.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My declared major upon entering university was creative writing. I graduated four years later with that degree. I never wavered, even though my ultimate career goal was acting. In my Introduction to Creative Writing class with Dr. Shamas, we had a guest speaker, Winnie Holtzman (My So Called Life, Wicked etc.). I raised my freshman hand in the air and asked how one knew which career to focus on acting or writing. Ms. Holtzman replied “when one takes over your life”. For me that wasn’t in the form of a New York Times Bestselling Novel, but a quiet moment. When I was in the process of readying my first novel, Bee Stings, for publication. I did not have the bandwidth to continue to focus on both artistic pursuits. That is the moment I devoted myself to my writing. Although, it would be some time before I really admitted I was finished pursuing acting. It was that moment that my career as an author was born.
The moments since that career defining moment haven’t been smooth sailing. The Joseph Campbell quote about following your bliss and doors will open, yeah, still figuring that one out. This has felt like an up hill both ways kind of journey. I’m still learning, growing, challenging myself, my writing, and my ability to reach new readers all the time. I suppose, though, if it were easy, I wouldn’t be striving to get to the next level. This journey has taken a lot of time, missteps, course correction, and realizing no one was going to step in and do the hard stuff for me. I was going to need to figure out how to do this myself.
As melancholy as the above seems, my work is deceptively light hearted. I tell real-life stories with humor, that have deeper meanings than simply the happily ever after at the end. It’s as much my desire to entertain as it is to help my readers discover their own truth. At least that’s the goal.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Since we are still in the midst of a pandemic, I’m finding this one tough to answer. But I will say I’d for sure make it a priority to stop at Yuca’s on Hillhurst for carne asada tacos. My father started taking me there when I was a baby. It is one place in the city that has remained unchanged by progress, and it still feels like home. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’m going to be a little contrary and give a group shoutout to the bullies, the mean girls, misers, and the naysayers who underestimated me. It’s through our challenges we find our strength. Thank you for helping me to discover mine.
Other: Author Page on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/RosaLinda-Diaz/e/B00IXAIAZQ
Maria and Co (headshot)