I recently had the pleasure of speaking with new author María Cecilia “Ceci” Borja-Van Zitter to celebrate the release of One Joyful Scoop at a Time! and ¡Una Alegre Porción de Helado a la Vez!, Miriam Laundry Publishing’s first book published in both English and Spanish. You can read our interview below.
MIRIAM LAUNDRY: Congratulations on the release of your very first children’s book, Ceci! Can you tell us when you started this book?
CECI BORJA-VAN ZITTER: The idea to write the book I got in January 2021 during Reignite Your Life 2021 with Jack Canfield and started writing it right away as I signed up for Children’s Book Masterclass.
ML: I’m glad to hear CBM made a positive difference in your life. And of course, I’m very familiar with how amazing Jack Canfield’s teaching is. His Breakthrough to Success seminar inspired me to write my first children’s book! Why did you choose to become an author after attending Reignite Your Life?
CBVZ: Jack Canfield challenged me to do something difficult and scary. This challenge provided me the opportunity to do something to honour one of my deceased husband’s last requests — to do something for Bowman, our grandson, and consequently for children in general. My husband passed away March 21, 2021 and some of his last words were “take good care of Bowman, he’s a very sensitive boy”. Then we met during Reignite 2021 and I decided to take your Children’s Book Masterclass.
ML: Thank you for sharing, Ceci. It’s amazing to know your children’s book is empowering Bowman and other children too. Speaking of Bowman, your story follows the adventures of a young boy named “Bo”. Where did the inspiration for this idea come from?
CBVZ: The inspiration to write this book came from a deep desire to have Bowman know he is a perfect creation of God and he is deeply loved just the way he is, full of energy and abundant joy.
ML: I love that you’ve focused on showing children just how incredible they truly are. That is wonderful. Is there a particular reason why this message is important to you?
CBVZ: It’s important to share this message because as adults we have the responsibility to teach children to love themselves as they are no matter what other people think about them or if they are bullied. As adults sometimes it is a challenge to enjoy and deal with a child’s high level of energy and joy, yet it's our responsibility to love them and teach them to love themselves.
ML: Absolutely. Sometimes we forget the importance of having fun in adulthood as well! Did you experience any fun or memorable moments as you wrote One Joyful Scoop at a Time?
CBVZ: A memorable moment is when I got very ill, ended up in the hospital and Publishing Mastermind provided me the mental health care I needed to keep me joyful and not falling into depression. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!
ML: I’m so glad Publishing Mastermind could provide that support. I truly believe every successful person needs a support system backing them up. Other than the support, what was your favourite part about Publishing Mastermind?
CBVZ: My favourite part about Publishing Mastermind was seeing my classmates’ books printed, being able to buy them, read them and then share them with my grandchildren.
ML: Definitely. One of the great things about a mastermind program is that you can connect with like-minded people and create strong connections. I’m sure your grandchildren appreciate all the new books they have now! Of course, a good support network needs to also carry you through the lows. Did you face any difficulties during the publishing process?
CBVZ: My biggest challenge was to write a book that was not didactic but relatable to kids. The other challenge was to take in my mother to live with me and also to take care of my two-year-old granddaughter — things I was not planning on doing when I started the program. Life got in the way, and I’m grateful I got all the support and help needed from you and your staff.
ML: It’s our pleasure to provide support to our authors. Did you learn any valuable lessons through the process?
CBVZ: To be grateful and appreciate the publishing process until it's completed. To BELIEVE it will happen no matter what obstacles life puts in my way. I asked The Lord to be with me and bless me with this project to show love to my grandson and to honour my deceased husband. And HE was with me all the way!
ML: Absolutely. Now you can find peace in knowing your book is out there in children’s hands! What do you hope parents and children take away from this book?
CBVZ: I hope parents and kids can take away that they can overcome adversity, practice patience, and develop listening skills and that it will inspire readers to think for themselves, strengthen their self-esteem, and appreciate their God-given gifts. Whatever kids can learn, we as adults can also learn and/or improve.
ML: You got that right! Before we sign off, can you give a piece of advice to the aspiring authors tuning in?
CBVZ: BELIEVE in your dream, don’t give up and believe in the process and assistance provided by Publishing Mastermind.
ML: Thank you, Ceci, and congratulations!
Watch the Full Interview:
María Cecilia “Ceci” Borja-Van Zitter
María Cecilia “Ceci” Borja-Van Zitter is a retired school teacher and author from Tulcán and Quito-Ecuador. After relocating to Los Angeles, California in 1966, Ceci earned a Master’s Degree in Education at Point Loma Nazarene.
Ceci believes that every child, no matter how young, can make a difference. In addition to writing empowering children’s books, Ceci enjoys substitute teaching, traveling, and spending time with her friends and family. Her favorite ice cream is pineapple coconut!