Author Maria Ashworth introduces 'My Big Tree'

- A Richmond resident is quickly making a name for herself as a children's book author. She has a new book released and new publishing contract...and a passion to keep it all going.

Step one to launch Maria Ashworth's career was actually titled "Step One, Step Two, Step Three and Four."

"It's about blended families, but really it's about acceptance and cooperation," says Ashworth in an interview with FOX 26 News. "It's really for everyone."

Ashworth was inspired to write the book for her nine-year-old daughter when she couldn't find a story about dealing with the sudden arrival of stepsiblings. She self-published the book just this past February. Her daughter is now 19.

"I had 236 rejections," says Ashworth. "A lot of people would say, 'I'm done.' But I'm not done."

It took 10 years. Her message is, never take 'no' for an answer.

With one book on the market, she got a publisher for her second one, titled "My Big Tree."

"That book focuses on friendship, counting and colors, but also about community and sharing," explains Ashworth. "Getting along with others."

Ashworth is still a budding author though. Book sales are hard to come by. She gets them with hours and hours of making connections through social media and the internet. She's working a network of followers on Twitter who assist her with book reviews.

"I get my coffee. I sit at my desk. My daughter will say, 'What are you doing today?' and I say, 'You see it. I'm doing it.' And I will do it all day."

It's not a fairy tale to do what she's doing, but Ashworth is riding high on a mission.

"I believe in my work," adds Ashworth. "I believe my work needs to be out there in the hands of children."

Whatever Ashworth needed to be successful, she created.

"I formed a critique group in Katy and we meet once a week for 2 1/2 hours," says Ashworth. "We have a really dynamic group."

Ashworth is also creating her own marketing materials to give little hands ways to get involved with the stories they read.

"I want to create something that kids will have forever," Ashworth tells FOX 26. "Probably every author says that same exact thing, but even for my own family, to leave a legacy behind. Even if you do that for yourself, to leave your own legacy, you've made it."

Ashworth's legacy is just forming with what she's already written and work still to come. But she has struck an important chord helping out blended families.

And it all started with "Step One..."

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