A Cafe For Authors and Avid Readers
Maritza Martinez Mejia a bilingual substitute teacher born in Colombia currently lives in Florida with her husband and their two teenagers. She graduated from Universidad Mayor de Cundinamarca in Commerce and Foreign Language and Florida Atlantic University in Arts and Humanities with a Certificate in Women’s Studies.
Maritza published her memoir "Hazel Eyes" in 2010. She actually works in a Bilingual Children Books Collection called “Lessons for Living.” She published in 2012 “Vanilla and Chocolate” and “Grandma’s Treasure” in 2014. He first poetry book will be release with the title “Poems, Thoughts and More” published by WRB Publishing in 2015.
Maritza has translated into Spanish "Temporary Permanence" by Yashi Nozawa, "The Legend of the Colombian Mermaid" by Janet Balleta, and "Hazel Eyes" as “Ojos Avellaneda.”
For her active participation and service to the community, she is the recipient of the “Crystal Apple Award 2006.” Maritza continues writing and serving in her church and school to inspire others to be a better person.
What makes you proud to be a writer from Bogota, Colombia? I am from Bogotá, Colombia and came to Florida, United States 20 years ago. I am proud to be a writer not only representing my native land, but the country that gave me the opportunity to become a writer. I publish my first book and memoir in 2010 and continued with a collection of Bilingual Children Books called Lessons for Living. The first story Vanilla and Chocolate was published in 2012 and the second tale Grandma’s Treasure in 2014.
What or who inspired you to become a writer? It seemed natural to me; I don’t recall a person to inspire me to write. I just started writing letters to my relatives abroad since young age, acrostic poems to my friends as a teenager, and children stories to teach my kids a moral as a mother. Later in life, I decided to write my memoir to leave a legacy to my family and friends.
When did you begin writing with the intention of becoming published? While I was writing my memoir, my mother passed away and at that moment I decided to finish my book and make it public. I was delaying this project for a long time and this sad and unexpected situation was the trigger to become a published author.
Did your environment or upbringing play a major role in your writing and did you use it to your advantage. Writing itself is a challenge; time to research, write, edit, and find an editor or publisher play a major role in the writing process. What I use to my advantage is the opportunity to meet new people at Reading Festivals, Signing Sections and Social Media to promote my writing effort.
Do you come up with your title before or after you write the manuscript? My memoir started without a title, it was until the last chapters of the story that I came out with the name. However, the Bilingual Children Books, Collection started with a name since the creation of the stories more than ten years ago. The title in the story depends on the project; it may come after you develop a theme, characters, setting, and plot or simply as the moment you have the idea in your mind. I never have a problem finding the title for my stories; it comes as part of the writing process.
Please introduce your genre and why you prefer to write in that genre? My writing style focus on inspirational stories and supernatural events I had experienced. I write them to inspire teenagers and adults live an enlighten life. I also write bilingual children books to reach not only my Hispanic community, but also to use English as a universal language to reach other ethnicities to bring a Lesson for Living and a Moral for Life.
What has been your most rewarding experience with your writing process? My writing process started as a mean to share my thoughts and journey of faith. I never thought about to become a published author. My most rewarding experience is to finish a project, publish a book, and obtain positive insights from the readers. When I receive a good review or comment on my Author page or Facebook pages is a rewarding experience, but I am also ready for critics as a positive experience to grow in my writing style.
Have you had a negative experience in your writing career? If so please explain how it could have been avoided. During my writing career, I was finishing my Bachelor degree and decided to take a Creating Writing Class to improve my writing skills. It turned out as a negative experience since the professor was not open to my genre style. It was too childish for a College class to have a student writing Children Books. It was hard to have a good grade in her class, and her comments about my poems, or stories were always rude, but when I shared my pain with my writer’ group, they all had experience the same situation with their professors. I took it in a nice way after that.
What has been your most rewarding experience in your publishing journey? In my publishing journey I have enjoy the most reading my Children books to students during Reading Sessions, Reading Festivals, or when I was invited as a guest speaker to Public School at Young Author events. When I look at the faces of those children, I remembered the reason I wrote the stories and the importance to bring back moral values to young children in this complicated world. I enjoy their honest critics and beautiful compliments.
Have you had a negative experience in your publishing journey? If so please explain how it could have been avoided. Once, I was presenting my memoir and I heard the comment “I am sick of memoirs.” I was surprised of that honest comment, but at the same time, it was an unexpected impact on my writing effort. Rejection is one negative experience in my publishing journey that I try to turn around as a good outcome.
What one positive piece of advice would you give to other authors? Perseverance and practice is my advice. It is necessary to have patience in this writing world of competition, but practice makes it perfect. It is important to keep writing to polish the writing style and explore new genres to expand knowledge.
Who is your favorite author? It’s difficult to mention just one in particular since I love to read all kind of genres in English or Spanish, but I would say Karen Kingsbury is my favorite author. She knows how to lead readers to enjoy their stories and added character’s thoughts that make you cry and laugh at the same time. She knows how to manage the writing skills with style.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with us? I would like to share my future projects such as translation of my memoir Hazel Eyes into Spanish as “Ojos Avellaneda.” In addition to finish my collection of Bilingual Children books. The next three titles are “The Boy and the Bird,” “The Girl and the Trees,” “The Purple Shelf.”
An inspirational book for teenagers and adults.
Also by Maritza Martinez Mejia’s Published Books:
Poems, Thoughts and More