Lilliana Rios was born in Puerto Rico and raised in New Jersey. She is a Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) and Rutgers University graduate.
- What inspired you to write Things Latinos Love or Hate?
Things Latinos Love or Hate stemmed from the blog. There was nothing like it on the web so I gave it a shot with the intent of only writing a few things, but with my experiences and surroundings I gathered so much material that I now have over 700 posts. I decided to write a book version.
- In a few words, how would you describe this book?
Funny, real, and entertaining!
- Do you feel this book stereotypes Latinos with clichés?
TLLOH is based on my personal experiences and I encourage people to read it with an open mind. Surely, two people can look at the same object and see totally different things. If you look for the bad in something, you’ll find it and if you seek the good in it, you will find it as well. If one feels their culture is embarrassing, they may see this book as stereotyping Latinos, but for those who are comfortable in their skin they may relate to it in some way.
- What are some of the main issues that you explore in this book and why did you explore them?
TLLOH is a humor book, but I did touch up lightly on some serious topics affecting Latinos from systemic racism to people thinking we depend on public assistance. This is something I elaborate on in the book. I thought it was worthy of exploring since we’re portrayed so unfairly in the media. Latinos are constantly being targeted because people refuse to acknowledge things such as facts and stats.
- What was the hardest part about writing this book?
I’d say the toughest part was length, deciding which things to omit and which ones made the cut.
- What do you hope readers will gain from your book?
I’d like for readers to focus on the positive things about Latinos and learn a little about us.
- What do you like best and what do you like least about being a writer?
What I like about being a writer is having the ability to connect with my readers, to engage and awaken something in them. What I dislike? Writer’s block! There are days that everything comes to you at once, whether you’re driving or getting ready to go to sleep and there are times that the inspiration and ideas become dormant. It can take time to get it back.
- Who are some of your favorite authors?
I have so many, but I’d say strong Latina writers truly inspire me such as Sandra Cisneros, Gloria E. Anzaldúa, Cherrie Moraga, and Judith Ortiz Cofer. As for male writers, I love Elie Wiesel, Miguel Piñero, Justin Torres and Paulo Coelho’s work.
- Are you working on anything new right now?
I started working on a fiction book series, but I’d like to perfect it. It can take anywhere from a few months to years for its completion.
- And, finally, what do you think is in store for the future of Latino literature?
I think there’s a brighter future for Latino literature and for more Hispanic authors to be included in the literary canon. I don’t think we’re seeing rapid change, but America’s slightly catching up. They’re just warming up to us now.
Up Next: A review of Things Latinos Love and Hate