By Meredith Knight
2020 provided the perfect opportunity for career changes for many people. As life slowed and some of us found ourselves working from home, it was a great time to look around and reconsider the direction our lives had taken. When the world reopened, while some returned to life as usual, a few brave souls seized the opportunity to redirect their passions. Monica Garza was one of them.
An 11th generation Texan/Tejana, growing up in Houston and Sugar Land, Monica followed a path from Clements High School to Houston Baptist University to the University of Houston. There she graduated magna cum laude with a BBA in Accounting. She then completed her Doctor of Jurisprudence at UH Law Center and shortly thereafter, launched a successful corporate finance career.
Next came 2020. Monica was working from home and, without her daily commute, had extra time on her hands. Having always dabbled in writing, she was curious to revisit some of the writings she’d done between undergraduate and law school.
There she found a story she’d penned loosely based on her own experience as the only girl on a Little League baseball team. “I remember writing it in one night and I hadn’t looked at it in years,” Monica said. “It’s a rhyming book and I thought this could be something kids might enjoy reading.” Still, she’d be crazy to step away from a successful corporate career to pursue children’s literature. Wouldn’t she?
Well, step away she did. After making some tweaks to the text, Monica began looking for an illustrator. She found Mike Cañas online and was amazed that his illustrations perfectly matched her vision for the book.
“I didn’t really tell Mike much, just let him read the book,” Monica said. “When I saw his preliminary sketches, we were absolutely on the same page.”
She found an editor and a formatter and it wasn’t long before Emma and the Championship Game was a reality. Then, once the book became available online, it began selling itself. “I looked at my online sales and the book was also selling in Poland, Germany, and France,” she said. “It’s crazy.” Clearly, Emma’s experience is resonating with her target audience of six to
The book is based on Monica’s own experience. “I was athletic growing up,” she said. “In 1987 when my dad signed up my brother, Stephen, to play baseball at Braeburn Little League, he came home and said, “Oh, I signed you up, too.” I played baseball with the neighborhood kids every day after school and didn’t realize until I got to our first practice that I’d be the only girl on the team.” Monica soon proved herself playing first base, batting in the cleanup spot, and playing with the boys until she was ten.
What’s next for Monica and Emma? “My brother and I inherited our grandparent’s ranch in Cuero,” Monica said. “It might be fun to take Emma to the ranch to see what adventures she’ll face.” I’ve no doubt her young audience will be waiting to enjoy these adventures with her as well.