“Instead of treading water trying to stay afloat, and feeling like you’re always drowning, you must learn how to breathe underwater,” says April Salazar, super-busy Houston author and mother of seven — “three bonus babies,” as she calls them, and four of her own. Salazar, a first-generation college graduate with a B.A. degree in Communications and Media Studies from St. Mary’s University, married her husband, Dr. Jorge Salazar, pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon at Memorial Hermann Children’s Hospital, at age 24, and by 25, her first baby was on the way. The other three closely followed in a span of five-and-a-half years, launching Salazar headfirst  into the beautiful chaos of motherhood. She found community and comfort by aligning herself with strong women, and pursuing her creative genius again. “It is natural for a mother to console and keep her children occupied by telling stories, and it came natural to me,” says Salazar. “I took that innate feeling of storytelling and started writing them down.” Her first three children’s books, ranging in genre from traditionally whimsical to culturally educational, have been published within the last year: “The Night the Stars Fell,” “Alebrije, Alebrije, Alebrije!” and “Super Boy Maximo in Underwear!” “The influence an author can have on a young child’s mind is immeasurable, and it can be used for absolute good,” she says.

Conscious of the constraints traditional publishers place upon writers, Salazar launched RAZALAS Publishing LLC, where she gets to wield complete creative control over how her books are presented to her readers, and she can express herself without restriction. “You need to stay true to what you believe you are writing, and do not allow anybody else’s influence until you at least have the story out of your system,” says Salazar. “Afterwards, try to get as much constructive criticism as you can.” Although Salazar’s creative genius does better when she’s got time to be alone with her thoughts, nowadays that’s a tall order to fulfill. “I’m learning how to adapt to different methods of writing,” she says. “You have to embrace your chaos and let go of the idea that you’re going to write four hours Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. If you only get two hours of writing done, that’s OK.” That being said, allotting a set time for work is Salazar’s biggest trade secret, especially now that kids are engaging more in remote learning. The trick is cutting a chunk of time that’s absolutely for work, and nothing else, and let everybody know that from time A to B, you’re off limits, and then put on a movie that lasts two hours, or whatever you do with your children that works.

“My success as a professional does not mean failure as a woman and as a mother”

“As women, we have a tendency to judge or break down as opposed to lift up, and it’s rooted in this bizarre idea that we have to maintain a perfect image, but it’s so important to support and build up one another,” she says. “When you get a group of intelligent savvy women together, the amount of energy and synergy that comes off that is incomparable.”

Salazar and her husband are super involved in causes that support children — physically, emotionally and intellectually — and they’re long-time supporters of the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation, and the American Heart Association, among others. 

At the moment, she’s embarking upon her next writing chapter: novels, one which has already been sent off for edits, and another one in the works. She can’t reveal much more at the moment, but she cites her big bustling family of nine as her biggest muse and inspiration. “The reality is that we create [children’s] realities … why not make them wonderful?”

Rapid-fire questions with April Salazar

Most important item in your bag?
Right now, it’s lavender-infused hand sanitizer spray. Before COVID, it was Bobbi Brown’s lip balm with SPF.

Favorite power woman lipstick?
Chanel’s Rouge Coco in Gabrielle.

Your favorite podcast?
Directionally Challenged, by Candice King and Kayla Ewell 

Last book you read?
The Goldfinch

Favorite author?
Paulo Coelho

What’s something you can’t leave the house without?
Ha! Right now an “outfit-matching” Lele Sadoughi mask and lanyard.  Before covid, it was Benefit’s Boi-ing Hydrating Concealer…although I still make sure it’s in my bag.

What are your favorite lyrics of all-time?
“Wish You Were Here,” by Pink Floyd

What’s heavily played on your music playlist right now?
‘90s grunge!

What is something you wish you could be good at?
Speaking French

Where are you booking your next vacation?
No vacays booked just yet but I’m thinking San Sebastian.

Favorite item in your beauty arsenal right now?
Dr. Lara Devgan’s Hyaluronic Serum

Favorite TV show?
Gilmore Girls

Advice you’d give to your children?
It doesn’t matter what people say or do to you. All that will matter is how you respond to them.

Life motto?
Instead of fighting to stay afloat, learn how to breathe underwater. — April Salazar 😉

Favorite inspiring quote of all-time?
“The two hardest tests on the spiritual road are the patience to wait for the right moment and the courage not to be disappointed with what we encounter.” 

Paulo Coelho, “Veronika Decides to Die

Heels or flats?
Heels, but kids and COVID are swaying me big time.

Coffee or tea?
Moringa, sage, and spearmint tea, unless post-dinner. Then, it’s a macchiato shot … either way, ALWAYS decaffeinated.

Mr. Big or Aidan?
Mr. Big all the way!