Greetings from Sarah Sundin! Today I have the joy of interviewing one of our newest CAN members, dynamic author and speaker Rosalinda Rivera. You’ll love Rosalinda’s heart for Jesus and people!
Welcome, Rosalinda. Please ell us about your book, The Seductive Slayers of Success: Harness Your Strengths to Take Control of Your Destiny.
Using stories from her own life as well as Scripture, Rosalinda offers encouragement to help you kick the negative aspects of life to the curb and jump start your way to a brighter tomorrow. Like a close friend, she gives inspirational, down-to-earth advice with a dash of humor thrown in.
What inspired you to write this book?
I have counseled and coached so many people who wanted their lives to change but had no idea where to start to make it happen. Once we muster the courage to really see ourselves, we realize our circumstances are not the starting point. Our thoughts and beliefs—what we tell ourselves about what we’re capable of; how we relate to others—that’s the catalyst for change. With God’s Word as our roadmap, we have to choose His direction, lose the distractions, and get moving on it. The truth will set you free, girl. You can get free from what holds you back, and free to become the person God made you to be. Helping people get there is my heart’s passion.
That sounds fantastic! Why did you write this book?
I love helping people accomplish their dreams and reach their goals. It can be challenging when people don’t want to hear the truth about what’s holding them back. I’ve found that people come to me because, as hard as it may be to hear, they know I’ll give it to them straight. If you’ve read the book, you already know that.
I’ll pull back the rug and reveal the stuff you swept under there so you can be free of it. I’m that bold, not because I don’t care, but because I do. If you get a little miffed at me, but in the end, you’ve made it—well, then—my work here is done. And I believe that comes through in my writing. I pray it does.
Under my rug…uh, yeah. All that… So what is the primary focus of your book?
If I’d had it all together in every area of my life all my life, I wouldn’t be so painfully aware of the destruction our distractions cause. Most of us can identify with feelings of being stuck, disappointment, heartbreak, and our own frustrating flaws and failures. We need someone to come along, identify with our struggle, be the friend that shakes us out of our unconstructive thinking. I will be the friend that rolls you out of that comfortable bed onto the hard floor of the truth that propels you to DO SOMETHING. If that’s what you want in 2020, I’m your girl and this is your book.
We all need straight-talking people in our lives! How has God used the message of your book in your own life?
Specifically, there was a season in my life when I was overweight, depressed, hopeless about reaching any future goals. I was overwhelmed–my marriage was falling apart, and I didn’t care about how I looked or felt. I couldn’t get myself up out of it. Then I cried out to the Lord, and He lifted my outlook and steadied my footing. Was my healing automatic? No. Did everything change immediately? Absolutely not.
God required me to put in some effort—I’m still working at it. But He gives me the strength, and knowing He’s got me keeps my tank full of hope and faith. I overcame and am overcoming the stuff that weighed me down. I want my readers to embrace a new, joyful way of getting over… or battling through whatever life throws at them.
What was your greatest challenge in writing this book?
It was such a fun book to write. From what I hear, it’s just as entertaining and powerful to read, but I feel like there’s so much more to say. Limiting the content to fit into one book was tough. In fact, we had to cut a chapter. Who knows — maybe there’ll be a Part Deux.
How do you share Christ in your writing?
I am absolutely an inferno for the Lord. I love going after the lost who don’t know the power of a relationship with Jesus Christ. I want my writing to be easy to understand by seasoned Christians, new believers, and people who think trusting God is just a crutch for weak people. To do that, I have to be completely willing to lay aside my agenda and be sensitive to God so I’ll be on-target about what and how I deliver this message.
Don’t you know, God is both powerful and practical, so giving practical advice while never diluting the Gospel message – this is essential to introduce Christ in a way that doesn’t overwhelm the unbeliever.
I love that! How has being a writer impacted your relationship with Christ?
My answer is an extension of the last question. I take the responsibility of communication very seriously. I don’t know who will be reading my books or sitting in the seats hearing me speak. How do you prepare for those unknowns except to trust in the One who does know?
Girl, God’s already got a record of the future library cards of those who will read my books. He knows which truths will impact each person. He knows. I pray a lot – a lot – for my readers and the people who come to hear me speak.
Love that about the library cards! So true. What is one thing about writing that you wish non-writers knew?
The hardest thing is to get going – the first typed words are the trickiest. Writing is hard work. The mental fatigue can make me beg for my leopard-print PJs and a pillow. Oh, and the editor is an author’s best friend. I hope my editor is reading this.
Editors are the best! Rosalinda, do you have an unfulfilled dream?
I have a desire to speak at coliseums full of people. I picture them leaving the event uplifted and equipped to reach their goals.
What ministries are you involved in, and why?
I am the Executive Director of New Life for Adults and Youth. We have The Mercy House for women who come to us after being involved in sex trafficking and addiction. I founded Mercy Mom’s House six years ago, where single moms can live with their children in a safe, healthy environment. And we have a men’s home.
People who are broken and hurting stay in our program homes, free of charge, for an entire year. We clothe them, feed them, and give them hope through Jesus Christ. They learn life-skills, receive vocational training and education for their futures. And it is all Bible-centered. Over 20,000 have graduated the program since my mother and father, an ex-gang member and heroin addict, began the ministry in 1971. My parents are the best examples of compassion and grace, and my husband, Carlos, and I continue to run the ministry with that same standard today.
What a fabulous ministry! Tell me—do you have any talents aside from storytelling?
Buying shoes. No, honestly, I am a speaker before I am a writer. And I went to school for vocal performance.
What’s your favorite bookstore—and why?
The giant chains have their advantages, certainly, but anyone who knows me can tell you how passionate I am about supporting local booksellers. I make sure to schedule time to pop into those little stores when I’m traveling. I think it’s important for us to support our neighborhood businesses.
Amen! Tell us about your favorite library memory.
As a child, I loved Storytime. Every Tuesday afternoon, we would sit in a circle around the librarian as she read to us – Laura Ingalls Wilder, Tom and Huck’s adventures, Nancy Drew, and Beatrix Potter — those great, timeless stories. When I became a mom, I introduced my kids to the wonders on those shelves. I always felt like the library was a magical place. You could go anywhere there. Funny, isn’t it — God knew that one day I would hope to have my own writing cataloged there.
What a sweet story! I have such fond childhood library memories too. You are quite a busy woman. What do you have planned next?
My 90-day devotional, Wonder Women: Becoming a Hero for Christ, was released in 2018. It got such a great response, we are continuing the Wonder series. Wonder Mom will be unveiled in May, just in time for our Bella Women’s Conference.
I founded Bella Women four years ago in Richmond, VA. We have monthly gatherings, and we see over 800 women at our annual event. This year’s conference will be May 1-2, 2020.
Wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing with us today.
To learn more about Rosalinda, her speaking ministry, and her books, please visit Rosalinda’s website and Rosalinda’s blog.
Writing for Him,
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