Good morning campbellsworld visitors.
This week’s featured author is Meredith Leigh Burton who has taken the time to be here today to answer my interview questions.
I hope that you’ll enjoy getting to know a bit more about her.
Once you’ve enjoyed her interview I encourage you to go and pick up a copy of her book. You’re sure to enjoy it quite a lot.
If you’ve read Meredith’s work please be sure to let us know in the comment section.
Hello Meredith and thanks for sitting down with me today. First, tell us, in your own words, a little about you.
Thank you so much, Patty, for allowing me to be here today. I was born on July 4, 1983, three months ahead of schedule. I developed retinopathy of prematurity as a result of exposure to oxygen. I attended the Tennessee School for the Blind and Middle Tennessee State University, where I received my English hteaching certification for grades 7-12, and a BA Degree in English and theater.
Where do you live?
I live in Lynchburg, Tennessee, a small area with some wonderful people.
Who, are the special people in your life
My parents, Jim and Carol Burton, my brother, Trent, my sister-in-law, Quentina, and my two precious nieces, Aliya Davine and Tristyn Layla Burton. My aunts, uncles and cousins are also very special to me as are the people in my church family. I also have several teachers who have made a lasting impression in my life: Dr. Mila Truan, (my reading teacher who taught me Braille), and my music teachers, Judy Denning and Georgette Seay.
Do you have any pets?
Yes. I have two cats, Stripes and Socks. There are also a few stray cats who hang around, so we have adopted them as well.
What are your likes, and dislikes?
Spending time with family
Reading to young children at libraries and schools
Helping out with church activities
Going to plays of any sort
Going to restaurants
Meeting new people
Impatient or overprotective people
What are your hobbies?
My hobbies are:
Going to plays or concerts
What keeps you going?
What keeps me going is my relationship with Jesus Christ. He has helped me through many difficult times. Also, seeing how the evil actions of certain individuals are daily fought against by people who seek to treat each other with dignity and common curtesy gives me hope. No matter how horrible and depressing the news is, you will inevitably hear about people helping each other. This fact gives me courage.
What is your favorite song?
I have two favorite songs:
“How Can I Keep from Singing?” There are several different versions of this song, but the most famous is by Pete Seeger.
“Someday,” (from the musical The Hunchback of Notre Dame,) written by Stephen Schwartz.
What is your favorite movie?
I have two favorite movies as well.
To Kill a Mockingbird.
I also love thrillers such as:
Alfred Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt. and Strangers on a Train.
The Hand that Rocks the Cradle
What is your favorite book?
Hard question, but if someone held me at gunpoint, I would have to say Number the Stars, by Lois Lowry. It’s a children’s book, but it’s for all ages and tells the story of Denmark during World War II and how that country worked together to save the Jews from the Nazi concentration camps. It’s a story that talks of the true meaning of courage, and I reread it at least once every year. The novel won the John Newbery Medal.
Who is your favorite author?
My favorite author is Anne Elisabeth Stengl, a fantasy author who wrote the Tales of Goldstone Wood series. Her world is so complex, and her characters are beautifully portrayed.
What is your favorite food?
Any type of Mexican food, especially fish tacos or vegetarian taco salad. I am also a chocoholic, and I especially love anything prepared with dark chocolate.
What is your favorite quote?
“One sees clearly only with the heart. The essential things are invisible to the eye.”—Antoine Saint Du-Prie, The Little Prince.
What is your favorite affirmation?
“All things work together for good to them who love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28).
What is your biggest pet peeve?
My biggest pet peeve is listening to able-bodied people complain about minor inconveniences, (such as having car trouble or having to wait their turn in grocery stores). I try to be grateful and patient, and it frustrates me immensely when others only want to constantly drag others down.
What do you think your best strengths are?
My best strengths involve listening to others, completing tasks I am asked to perform, seeking to make the best of any situation and thanking others for assistance when it is given to me.
How do they help you in your work?
My strengths help me to offer advice to other writers. Being able to complete tasks I am asked to perform helps me to meet deadlines. I am also able to listen to constructive criticism and try to make changes to my work that will make it better.
What are your weaknesses, and, how are you working on making them stronger?
I have problems with being too passive at times. I am not confrontational and seek others’ approval a bit too often. I am also impatient when it comes to waiting on others to complete tasks they say they will do.
For my passivity, I am trying to write down what I need to say first in order to make certain I am making my needs and concerns clear without sounding overbearing or conceited.
For the desire to meet others’ approval, I am praying and honestly examining my work to see if it meets the standards I desire. If I can please God and myself, that should be enough.
For my impatience, I make myself promise not to harass the person, and I try to write more or perform other tasks to keep my mind on something else.
What is your dream for the future?
My dream for the future is to find a way to teach students self-expression through writing and to open up the world of literature to them through introducing them to some relatable and amazing characters. I would love to teach in a classroom or teach creative writing correspondence courses. I would also enjoy working with blind students.
How, does that relate to your work, as a writer?
Through my stories, I want to show the sighted world that people with disabilities have much to contribute. We were created for a purpose and have much to offer the world. If narrow-minded prejudices and misconceptions could somehow be proven false, then we would all be given dignity and respect.
For the blind community, I want people to love my characters and to find within them reflections of themselves. While not all my stories have disabled characters, they have characters who struggle with internal conflicts. Nevertheless, my characters fight to make a difference in the world. Although my genre is fantasy, I want my books to have enough reality within them that the characters are relatable.
Regarding my dreams for the future: My writing is a doorway that allows me to speak at different places, (schools, churches, clubs, ETC). So, my writing helps me meet many people and to keep persevering toward finding a way to communicate with students.
Why do you write?
I write because I love to tell stories. After graduating from college, I applied at many different schools for a teaching position and went on several job interviews. However, I would always receive the same response; the schools wanted someone with more experience. I would ask them if there was anything I might do to improve my interview skills or if I could provide them with more information regarding classroom management, and they would always reply that the interviews went very well but they just had more experienced applicants for the positions.
So, I experienced a period of deep depression. Like Anne of Green Gables, I was in “the depths of despair”. But, I did not like myself when I was angry and downtrodden. While everyone experiences these emotions, I felt like I was doing nothing to contribute to the world and was instead causing more harm than good. So, I thought of other things I could do with an English degree. I had always loved writing, (even writing stories just for fun), but had never seriously considered it as a career. But, the more I thought about it, the more I realized how much I loved fantasy books. I also realized that I wanted to write books with disabled protagonists. So, I decided to combine the two. Blind Beauty and Other Tales of Redemption is my retellings of fairy tales that seek to present characters who may be different but who can still fight to combat evil. Blind Beauty in particular is my story about how the sighted community looks at the world and how we all can learn to see with our hearts instead. I write because I love to tell stories of heroism, sacrifice and love. I want to give people with disabilities a voice.
What inspires you?
Music inspires me. It is such a universal language and brings so many people together. Also, my family inspires me. Taking walks outside inspires me and makes me contemplate nature’s beauty.
What is your preferred way of communicating?
I enjoy receiving emails and phone calls.
Is there anything about you or your work, that you’d like to share, that I’ve not covered here?
I am a person who enjoys trying new things, and I will try to do all I can to make the world a better place.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Meredith Leigh Burton was born on July 4, 1983. She attended the Tennessee School for the Blind and Middle Tennessee State University. Graduating in December of 2007 with a Bachelors’ of Arts Degree in English and theater, she then obtained her teaching certification for grades 7-12. She enjoys working with students, helping them to explore their own talents and learn self-expression through writing. She also enjoys helping with church activities. She resides in Lynchburg, Tennessee.
Meredith is an author of young adult fantasy. Her recent release, Blind Beauty and Other Tales of Redemption, is an anthology of fairy tale retellings that seek to explore the familiar tales in unique ways. Most of her works feature disabled protagonists who are called upon to fight against evil. All her characters face difficult obstacles and must find strength to fight. Meredith hopes to show her readers that disabilities are really blessings, that we all have gifts and long to make a difference in the world.
To see and buy her book visit her at:
Find her on Goodreads at: