Interview with Mom’s Choice Award-Winner Laura Williams-Burke

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Mom’s Choice Awards is excited to announce another post in our interview series where we chat with the inventors, designers, publishers, and others behind some of our favorite family-friendly products.

Hello, Mom’s Choice readers! We’re so glad you could join us for another interview with one of our spectacular honorees. For this interview, we sat down with author Laura Williams-Burke and spoke about her award-winning book, A Friend for Milton! A Friend for Milton is a heartwarming story about cats and friendship. When Milton’s owner leaves for work, Milton gets lonely and decides to look for the purrfect companion in his apartment building. But when no one meets his expectations, Milton starts to wonder, will he ever find a friend? A Friend for Milton is a precious story filled with beautiful illustrations that is sure to be a favorite of your little readers! Keep reading to find out more about Laura and her award-winning book!

MCA: Hi Laura, thank you so much for joining us today, and congratulations on your Mom’s Choice Award! A Friend for Milton is such a sweet and fun read for children and adults alike. I’d like to start the interview by finding out more about the author behind such an endearing story.

Author Laura Williams-Burke with her MCA award-winning book, "A Friend for Milton!"

Author Laura Williams-Burke with her MCA award-winning book, “A Friend for Milton!”

Laura: This may come as a shock, but I love animals! I am a proud cat lady, and I adore dogs as well. Usually, I’m reading two to three books at the same time. A Friend For Milton is my first book, and I’ve also seen my name in print as a newspaper reporter. You can usually find me wandering in and out of libraries or bookstores, walking.

MCA: What a wonderful first book to have written! What inspired you on your path to becoming a writer?

Laura: I’ve been a writer my entire life. As a kid, I loved to write stories and dreamed of becoming a published author. My childhood bestie and I wrote notes back and forth to each other, pretending we were a pair of identical twins! That was my first experience writing character perspectives, and it’s taken off from there.

MCA: It’s always amazing when childhood dreams become adult realities! Was it your love for animals that inspired you to write A Friend for Milton?

Laura: A Friend For Milton is based on the real-life story of my cat, Milton, and the apartment building we lived in together when I first adopted him from the Humane Society. We lived in a tight-knit community where a few neighbors left our doors open in the evening, and our pets would roam the hallways and explore the different apartments. My next-door neighbor had a few pet cats, and they weren’t kind to Milton. They wouldn’t play with him, and I could tell he was lonely. That experience is what made me want to write about how he found true friendship.

MCA: I love the idea of leaving your doors open and letting your pets roam free, that is so adorable and sweet! Can you tell us about some of the key lessons that readers can expect to find in A Friend for Milton?

Laura: The most important takeaway is that not every person is the right friend for you. We go through phases and stages in life, and I think children especially tend to believe that being accepted by popular people will make them feel special. Once you grow up, you see that not everyone is meant to be your friend, or if they are, it might not be a relationship that lasts forever.

MCA: What kind of response from readers have you received?

Laura: When friends I’ve had since elementary school send me photos of their children reading A Friend For Milton, my heart just soars. I can’t even explain it. Seeing kids that are completely absorbed by Milton’s story is the highest compliment!

MCA: How are the lessons of friendship found in A Friend for Milton applicable to all age groups?

Laura Williams-Burke with her pet and the inspiration behind her book, Milton!

Laura Williams-Burke with her pet and the inspiration behind her book, Milton!

Laura: A dear friend who’s about my age told me as she read the book to her son, she felt a sense of piece about one of her own friendships that had recently ended. People and cats are social creatures, right? We want to spend time with others, but not every creature out there is the right friend for you. And that is okay! It’s worth waiting to find the friends who will bring out the best parts of you and be there with you in hard times.

MCA: If you could ensure readers of your book walk away with one main lesson, what would it be?

Laura: Honoring your authentic self by being “choosy” or selective about your friends is so important. Just because a person wants to spend time with you doesn’t mean you’re obligated to be their friend. Friendships are a two-way street. That’s what Milton learns, and in the end (spoiler alert!) he finds the purrfect friend!

MCA: That is a wonderful message, thank you for sharing it with us. Please be sure to keep us posted on what is next for you in your writing career!

You can learn more about Laura Williams-Burke and her award-winning book, A Friend for Milton by visiting her MCA Shop pages.

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