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  • Lisa's Kids' Book Reviews

Succeeding Against All Odds


Rarely, a dream or goal comes true easily and effortlessly, without delay, problems arising or hurdles needing to be jumped. It is far more common, however, that you have to overcome many obstacles and suffer much pain before achieving any meaningful goal.

The bigger your dreams, the tougher your challenge, the more ambitious your goals, the more likely it is that you will face difficulties on your way towards it.

When this happened to Maritza Martinez Mejia, what did she do? She persisted and struggled and succeeded.

It depended a lot on her attitude. Past experiences aided her to navigate against trials and contributed toward climbing over hurdles, knocking down walls, and bringing herself to a place of accomplishment. The one thing she did not have is a stubborn unwillingness to give up.


Maritza Martinez Mejia is a bilingual substitute teacher. She was born in Colombia, but moved to the United States and currently lives in Florida with her husband and two teenage children.

Having graduated from Universidad Mayor de Cundinamarca in Commerce and Foreign Language, she later obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Humanities with a Certificate in Women's Studies from Florida Atlantic University.

In addition to being a bilingual substitute teacher, an author, a wife and mom, she also translates books from English to Spanish for fellow authors.

Much further in her quest for succeeding as an author, Mrs. Mejia was invited to participate in a radio interview with Rick Waid. Once you begin listening to this hour long show you'll be able to hear to her beautiful voice as she discusses a little about her childhood, her book titled Hazel Eyes, among other interesting topics.

This is a lively and interesting show and is an opportunity to gain another aspect into the life of this talented author. One interesting fact you'll learn by tuning in is that Mrs. Mejia is an only child. Growing up she was alone, but one particular year a cousin came for an extended visit. She remembers having to share things with her, which was something she was not accustomed to doing. After a year her cousin left, she truly realized just what their time together meant to her. The interview can be found at

Personally, one of the reasons Mrs. Mejia writes is to inspire others to be better persons.


“Moving from Bogotá, Colombia to the United States 20 years ago gave me the opportunity to become a writer. I published my first book and memoir in 2010, Hazel Eyes, and continued with a collection of bilingual children books titled Lessons for Living, first is Vanilla and Chocolate published in 2012 (concerning tolerance and acceptance) and the second is Grandma’s Treasure published in 2014 (concerning appreciation), and most recently released a new book of poetry titled, Poems, Thoughts and More published in 2015 by MRB Publishing.

I've never felt inspired by anyone in particular to write. At a young age I started writing letters to relatives, then sending poems to friends during my teenage years, and as a mother I began penning children's stories to teach my kids morals. Later in life, I decided to write my memoir to leave as a legacy to family and friends.

While writing my memoir, my mother passed away. I decided to finish the book and make it public. I delayed this project for a long while, though this sad and unexpected situation triggered my becoming a published author.

I found writing to be a challenge; needing time to research, write, and edit. What I used to my advantage is taking the opportunity to meet new people at reading festivals, signing sessions, and social media to promote my writing.

Selecting a title for writing projects occurs differently for many authors. My memoir started without a title. It wasn't until the last chapters of the story were written that I came up with a name. However, the bilingual children's book collection started with a name since the creation of the stories. I believe the title depends on the project; it may come after you develop a theme, characters, setting, or plot. I never have a problem finding a title for my stories; it comes as part of the writing process.

My writing process started as a means to share my thoughts and journey of faith. I never thought about becoming a published author. My most rewarding experience is finishing a project, publishing the book, and obtaining positive insights from readers. When I receive a good review or comment on my author page or Facebook pages it is a rewarding experience, but I am also ready for critics as a positive experience to grow in my writing style.

I found while finishing up my Bachelor's Degree I decided to take a creative writing class to improve my writing skills. It turned out to be a negative experience. The professor was not open to my writing style. It was too childish for a college class to have a student writing children's stories. It was hard to achieve a good grade in the class, and her comments about my poems, or stories were always rude, but when I shared my pain with my writer’s group, they all had experienced the same situation with their professors. I took it in a nice way after that and went forward.

In my publishing journey I have enjoyed reading my children's books to students during reading sessions, reading festivals, or when I was invited as a guest speaker to public schools for young author events. When I look at the faces of those children, I remember the reason I wrote the stories to begin with and the importance of bringing back moral values to young children in this complicated world. I enjoy their honest critiques and beautiful compliments.

Once, I was presenting my memoir and heard the comment “I am sick of memoirs.” I was surprised, it was an honest comment, 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.

Perseverance and practice is the advice I give to anyone wishing to write. 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 writing skills and style. It is also important to explore new genres to expand in knowledge.

It’s difficult to mention just one author in particular who I love to read since there all kind of genres in both English and Spanish, but I would say Karen Kingsbury is my favorite author. She knows how to lead readers to enjoy her stories and adds in the character’s thoughts which make you cry and laugh at the same time. She knows how to manage her writing skills with style.”


Mrs. Mejia's main focus is on inspirational stories and supernatural events she has experienced. She writes them to inspire teenagers and adults to live an enlighten life. Her bilingual children's books she hopes to reach not only the Hispanic community, but also to use English as a universal language to reach other ethnicities, bringing her series, Lesson for Living as a moral for everyday life.

The Lessons for Living collection include her publications titled, Vanilla and Chocolate/Vainilla y Chocolate (2012) and Grandma's Treasure/El Tesoro de la Abuela (2014). Her first poetry book has recently been released titled, Poems, Thoughts and More (2015) by WRB Publishing.

Mrs. Mejia has translated from English into Spanish Temporary Permanence by Yashi Nozawa, The Legend of the Colombian Mermaid by Janet Balletta, and Hazel Eyes as Ojos Avellaneda.


For her active participation and service to the community, Mrs. Mejia is the recipient of the "Crystal Apple Award 2006."

She has published her memoir "Hazel Eyes" in 2010 and won the FAU Treasure Coast Poetry Contest Spring 2010.

And most recently for her two books, Vanilla and Chocolate/Vainilla y Chocolate (2012) and Grandma's Treasure/El Tesoro de la Abuela (2014) were awarded the Readers' Favorite Five Stars award 2015.



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