The Texas Sweethearts are thrilled to have Melissa Buron as our Featured Sweetheart this week. Those of you in Texas may be familiar with Melissa, or you may have seen her spreading goodness across the Internet, too!
After surviving a childhood spent at suburban malls in northwest Houston, I escaped to Africa and then Europe to teach in various international schools. During my stay overseas I acquired one husband and two children. We now live in Texas where I work as a teacher and writer.
TXS: You run an impressive blog, the Book Addict. Can you tell us a little bit about the blog, and what your goals for it are? Can you tell us a bit about the author interviews you do?
MB: Book Addict evolved from my column The Author Next Door that appears in the Houston Banner newspaper. In my newspaper column, I interview authors who live in Texas with a huge emphasis on writers for young people. It’s been a lot of fun learning from other author about what inspires them as well as their writing and research processes. On my blog Book Addict I include as well interviews from authors outside of the Lone Star State, my own work, publishing news and sometimes a rant or two.
TXS: In addition to being a writer, you also are a mom, teacher and previously were a librarian. What are your secrets to time management and goal setting?
MB: In between teaching, the newspaper, the blog and my fiction projects my schedule is intense. Add my family into the mix and things often reach a fever pitch. I’d love to say that I had a great system or a secret technique for time management but the truth is that many (most!) days I run around like a chicken with its head cut off. I wrote a blog post on time management recently and came to the conclusion that I needed to devote myself to a few of the very most important things in my life. So I set my priorities as my kids, my husband and my writing. Everything else I have to let myself do half-assed. If not, I make myself crazy. Not a perfect or elegant process but the only one I’ve found that works for me.
TXS: What is the biggest surprise you've had since you started reaching out to other authors?
MB: My biggest surprise is that not matter how successful the author, the truth remains that writing as a career choice is challenging and not for the faint of heart. I’ve interviewed major award winners as well as debutantes to publishing and they all face the same challenges of rejection, criticism and self-doubt.
The difference between a successful author and a dilettante isn’t talent, but stamina. If you dig in your heels and commit your life to the craft of writing, eventually you will be successful. You only fail if you quit.
TXS: How do you think reading for kids has changed over the years? People talk so much about kids needing to share their attention with texting, TV, and video games. Is the challenge greater now for getting kids to read?
MB: I think that the greatest challenge is not getting kids to read, but making sure that they have the books available to them. I teach in a school where many of the students’ families do not have either the money to buy books or transportation to get to a public library. If kids grow-up in an environment without access to books, they don’t grow-up as readers. The shortage of books for these children is a bigger hindrance to reading than television or video games.
TXS: If you could make a wish for kids and reading in the future, what would it be?
MB: I have to stop at just one? What about three – like in stories?
I truly believe that we are now in a golden age for Children’s and Young Adult literature so one of my wishes is that publishing houses continue to produce high quality books for young people.
My second wish for all children is that they grow-up in homes with piles and piles of books.
My final wish is that every kid has someone (a teacher, parent or friend) with which to share their piles of books.
And of course that they live happily ever after.
TXS: Thank you, Melissa! We are so happy to feature you!
Please email us your nominations for featured sweethearts.