Author Interview: Sharon Lee de la Cruz – author and illustrator of I’M A WILD SEED

id: blog banner with the book’s cover as the background and a text box with “interview with sharon lee de la cruz- writer and illustrator of i’m a wild seed”​
id: blog banner with the book’s cover as the background and a text box with “interview with sharon lee de la cruz- writer and illustrator of i’m a wild seed”

“I feel deeply that until Black trans women are free I will not be. They are among society’s most vulnerable,” states Sharon Lee de la Cruz in the introduction to her first non-fiction and memoir graphic novel hybrid, I’m a Wild Seed: My Graphic Memoir on Queerness and Decolonizing the World. A vivid journey into exploration of identity mixed with essential gender and queer theory, it’s a primer for readers who might be questioning their sexuality and/or gender but don’t know where to start.

To celebrate the release of Sharon’s book, I talked to the author and illustrator about the creation of this memoir, the art, activism, and what community means to her. (This post includes affiliate links to Indiebound)


What urged you to write and create I’m a Wild Seed?

“I’m a Wild Seed” was inspired by a question my friend Jessica asked me over dinner. She asked, “What does freedom look like to you as a queer BIPOC woman?” and although no one had ever asked me that question before, I knew the answer. I immediately shouted, “When Black trans women are safe.” Because the answer is so layered, I knew I wanted to attempt to write a book about it, and the more I thought about the book, the more I realized that the answer was a memoir of my life. I take for granted the connection that lives in my mind, and what’s so powerful about comics is that you can visualize those connections and share them with others through story. 

I’m a Wild Seed isn’t just a memoir, but it traces your journey into coming to terms with your identity and all the layers that come with it. Do you think this memoir marks the end of that journey or does it help you keep discovering things about yourself?

Not an end. “I’m a Wild Seed” is simply a memoir of my life up to this point. Writing this book was a way to organize my experiences, and hopefully, it can act as a tool for others to grow. It certainly helped me grow! 

cover of I'm a wild seed by Sharon Lee de la Cruz, it has yellow, pink, blue, and green shadows in the background and an Afro-Latina on the cover with a short wavy bob haircut, white tshirt, grey sweatpants, fist raised in the air, white glasses, pink lipstick, and gold earrings.she's also wearing chunky black sandals.

In the process of creating I’m a Wild Seed, did you research other graphic memoirs? You mention in the acknowledgments that it began as a zine, so what made you want to expand it?

“I’m a Wild Seed” is short but packs a punch. For my first memoir story, I wanted to give you a glimpse of what my brain looks like and the connections I make daily. The format was inspired by Sandra Cisneros’ “The House on Mango Street.” I loved how she used vignettes and the unspoken to build her world. I hope to get other folks to make connections and pay attention to how history informs and has normalized our daily practices. Honestly, this still feels like a zine, and I hope to expand on these stories and others as I make more books. 

Who do you hope picks up your book?

Weird BIPOC queer babies ❤ 

In the book, you highlight the importance of community in learning more not just about yourself but about the world that we inhabit. During this time of physical isolation, how has your community helped you? What are you doing to keep in touch with them?

Over the past year, I’ve stayed connected through many comics events; not the same, but it’s fantastic to see people come out. Beyond comics, I’ve joined an exercise group with friends, which has helped since most of my work is on the computer. I’ve been on social media A LOT, but I’ve had to slow down because it is a time killer and not the best for my self-esteem!  

One of the themes your book touches on is the legacy of trauma, be it in terms of gender, race, ethnicity, or sexuality and the insidiousness of it when it all bundles up together. Why was it important to highlight these topics?

It was vital for me to present this book through an intersectional lens. The reality of my life is that all of my identities are in conversation with each other. Our trauma informs those conversations, and it was essential for me to make that clear. One of my biggest take-a-ways of the book is realizing that my memories didn’t necessarily have to be traumatic to be impactful; it’s about accumulating minor and significant memories. 

Your art style mixes “traditional” and even “graffiti” at times. How do you decide which style best conveys what you’re trying to say in a specific moment?

I love that you picked that up. My background is in graffiti, and I love the art form so much. There are points in the book where I felt like there was no other way to present this memory or energy without scratching and drawing messier and outside the panels. I love graffiti because of its lack of permission to exist. It feels like a collective consciousness artform; someone NEEDED to say something. When I travel, the first thing I look for is the country’s graffiti; it says a lot about the culture. 

At the beginning of your book, you express that freedom to you means Black trans women being able to live safely. What urged you to promote that vision and what can the rest of us do to fulfill that mission?

I drew out the “Toxic Masculinity” poster (on page 13 of the book) to illustrate the point. I wanted to convey the connection between toxic masculinity and the growing and disproportionate attack on Black trans women. It is a concoction of toxic desires and expectations of race, sexuality, and gender. Black trans women do not follow those harmful expectations and hence are the very obvious targets and our most vulnerable population. When they are safe, we are all safe. Until then, we will continue to be under the scrutiny of colonial constructs of race, sex, gender, and sexuality. 

Is your hope to keep creating books like I’m a Wild Seed or are you exploring other modes of creation?

I NEED to make more memoir-inspired books, but lately, I’ve been experimenting with more magical realism. I love Octavia Butler and want to challenge myself to tell more fictional stories. 

Is identity formation and discovery its own form of creativity and art?

FOR SURE, there is so much that goes into identity formation that is visual. I went through many outward-facing identity formations, including but not limited to not ironing my clothing, not combing my hair, not wearing matching clothes, and shaving my head, which sounds ridiculous. Still, even those little things helped me step into myself. There were many forced norms growing up, so when I started making conscious decisions about my outward appearance, I didn’t care if anyone could tell because I could!


Sharon Lee De La Cruz is a multi-disciplinary artist and activist from New York City. Her thought-provoking pieces address a range of issues related to tech, social justice, sexuality, and race. De La Cruz’s work ranges from comics, graffiti, and public-art murals to more recent explorations in interactive sculptures, animation, and coding. She graduated with a BFA from Cooper Union and a MPS from NYU-ITP. She is the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship, Processing Foundation Fellowship, and a Tin House Summer Workshop participant.

You can buy I’M A WILD SEED now!

(I was reached out to by a publicist and was sent a free review copy in exchange of promo. Thank you to Sharon and her team for the opportunity!)

Spring 2021 Latinx Book Releases

id: blog banner with blue wood background, it reads “Spring 2021 Latinx Book Releases” and as a subtitle it has my @ boricuareads. on the right hand side, there are hearts with the covers of different books that are on this list inside of them, rotated all around. the books in the hearts are: Fearless by Mandy Gonzalez, Migrant Psalms by Darrel Alejandro Holnes, Goddess of the Filth by V Castro, Latinitas by Juliet Menéndez, Toucania by Marianne Ferrer, Oculta by Maya Motayne, I’m a Wild Seed by Sharon Lee de la Cruz, Anchored Hearts by Priscilla Oliveras, The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, The Mediterranean Wall by Louis-Philippe Dalembert, Cece Rios and the Desert of Souls by Caela Rivera, and Your Mama by NoNieqa Ramos./end id

Hello! No weird hashtag this time, no summaries either, but still a quality list full of incredible releases written and/or illustrated by Latinx. I’ve been recovering from wisdom teeth surgery, which meant sacrificing my free time to healing instead of doing free labor. Though this quarter’s not as long as Spring lists usually are (they usually encompass May releases as well), that just means I’ll have enough time to plan out my Summer releases list and it’ll be a monster of a post.

This post encompasses books being released by Latinx writers and/or illustrators between February 15th, 2021 and April 30th, 2021. There are about 130 books in this list, which is divided by age range (Picture Books, Middle Grade, YA, Adult) and genre (Contemporary, SFF/Speculative Fiction, etc.) and organized by release date. Each book entry has its title (which is linked to Indiebound, Goodreads, or the Publisher’s website), author and/or illustrator, and release date. A Huge thank you to Latinx in Kidlit, their 2021 releases list for kidlit was incredibly helpful. Make sure to give them a follow as well.

Disclaimer: This compilation is by no means exhaustive or comprehensive; it only contains titles I’ve been able to find through extensive research. If you know of a book I didn’t list, or have a correction to make, don’t hesitate to let me know. I also add books at my own discretion, as I have no intention of boosting sexual harassers, racists, homophobes or transphobes, but if you noticed I slipped and added a book by someone who shouldn’t be here, let me know so I can take them out of the list. This list is in no way an endorsement of the contents of each book, as I don’t have the knowledge of what is in each and every book. All (or, at least almost all) links lead to indiebound.org as I am an Indiebound affiliate. Support your local bookstore!

Continue reading “Spring 2021 Latinx Book Releases”

2020 and 2021 in Reading: A Look Back and What’s Next

id: swirly sort of yellow and orange watercolor background with​ a cream-colored text box in the center, the black text reads “2020 & 2021 in reading - a look back and what’s next” /end id
id: swirly sort of yellow and orange watercolor background with a cream-colored text box in the center, the black text reads “2020 & 2021 in reading – a look back and what’s next” /end id

2020: A Look Back

This year has been a whirlwind, and not in the whimsical way. From earthquakes to storms, all the way to a full-blown pandemic, 2020 was suffice to say, a rollercoaster. Even with all that, I somehow managed to read a lot this year. I ventured into audiobooks for the first time and enjoyed it, all while trying to wrangle my ever-growing TBR-pile. Let’s delve into what this year brought.

Continue reading “2020 and 2021 in Reading: A Look Back and What’s Next”

Winter ’20-’21 Latinx Reads

id: background of brown bricks with a a wooden sign pointing in four different directions in the foreground; the four directions are alternating red and blue and have different cities written on them: Chicago, Houston, San Juan, and Sao Paulo. One the top in a red banner is the title of the post “Winter ’20-’21 Latinx Reads List” and in smaller font in the bottom right of it is the handle @boricuareads.Scattered around the banner are the covers of A Sled for Gabo, Muted, Brown Trans Figurations, A Spy in the Struggle, Shaking Up the House, and Pedro’s Theory. /end id

40+ books to hunker down with for the winter, whether by a fireplace or by the beach

There are over 40 books on this list, which consists of books written and/or illustrated by Latinx that are being released between November 27th, 2020 and February 14th, 2021. Because it’s a shorter list, it will be divided by age category only (Picture Books, MG, YA, Adult). Each book has a link to its Indiebound (or Bookshop.org) page, the names of the author, illustrator, editor, or contributors, the release date, and a short description of the book in my own words (or copied and pasted from the back jacket copy). Each part is sorted by release date.

Disclaimer: This compilation is by no means exhaustive or comprehensive; it only contains titles I’ve been able to find through extensive research. If you know of a book I didn’t list, or have a correction to make, don’t hesitate to let me know. I also add books at my own discretion, as I have no intention of boosting sexual harassers, racists, homophobes or transphobes, but if you noticed I slipped and added a book by someone who’s been accused of harassment of any kind, let me know so I can take them out of the list. This list is in no way an endorsement of the contents of each book, as I don’t have the knowledge of what is in each and every book. All (or, at least almost all) links lead to indiebound.org as I am an Indiebound affiliate. Support your local bookstore!

Continue reading “Winter ’20-’21 Latinx Reads”

Dimension 20’s Fantasy High Characters as YA Books

id: royal blue banner with black heaxagons in the background, the title of the post is at the top, and a picture of Riz Gukgak’s character art is on the left, a twirly arrow in the middle that points from riz to a blurred image of a book cover. at the bottom it says “created by Adriana @boricuareads

Not many people might know that amidst the quarantines and lockdowns, this year I’ve gone down the rabbit hole and come out a giant fan of Dimension 20. Dimension 20 is CollegeHumor’s response to the rise of Actual Play Dungeons and Dragons shows, placing a group of talented comedians and improvisers playing a tabletop roleplay-game in front of cameras. The anthology series tackles different characters and settings per season, with the first one focusing on a group of first year students at a fantasy high school focusing on adventuring. The season is full of mysteries, discoveries, and teen angst, all while the comedians play as elves, half-orcs, gnomes, and more fantasy races. It’s a show close to my heart, which is why I decided to do a book recommendation post based on the core group of characters, also known as The Bad Kids, in the first season of Fantasy High. I’ve kept it to YA books for the characters, seeing as they would be the target audience of YA books. (All books link to Indiebound, which I’m an affiliate of. By clicking and buying through Indiebound links, you support independent bookstores and your local book blogger.)

Continue reading “Dimension 20’s Fantasy High Characters as YA Books”