Guest Interview With Mayra Calvani

Hi Mayra.  It is so great to have you as my guest today.

       Thanks for having me as a guest on your blog, Irene.

1.  Tell us a few things about yourself, Mayra.
              
       A few things about me, let’s see…..I’ve been writing stories since I
       was about twelve. I write in various genres, from children’s
       picture books to horror novels for adults. I’ve also been a book
       reviewer for over 10 years. Naturally, I’m addicted to books; I take
       a book with me everywhere I go.  I’m an avid Columbo fan and
       have all the seasons on DVD. I love listening to violin
       concertos my favorite being Tchaikovsky’s. I’ve had the fortune of
       traveling a lot and experiencing the cultures of many countries. 
       
       2.  What’s your favorite book?
       
       It’s hard to name just one. Three of my favorites are Bronte’s
       Wuthering Heights, Camus’ The Stranger, and Chopin’s The
       Awakening.
       
       3.  Who is your favorite author?
       
       I don’t have just one.  Lately, I discovered the middle-grade ghost
       stories of Mary Downing Hahn and I’ve been devouring them.
       She’s a master at creating spooky atmosphere in her novels. 
       
       4.  What Inspired you to want to write for children?
       
       It wasn’t until my mid thirties, when I’d already had children of
       my own, that I fell in love with children’s literature. This seems to
       be a common trait with many children’s authors. I guess this
       happens because we come into contact with so many picture books
       when we read to our children. I used to read to my kids a lot every
       night when they were little.
      
       So, anyway, one day I decided to sit down and write my first
       children’s story, Crash, about a little boy and his first puppy and
       I’ve never looked back. Now I not only write picture books, but
       also middle grade fiction and nonfiction, and I’m also currently
       working on a young adult novel. 
              
       5.  Do your write for other markets as well?  Which ones?
       
       Yes, I also write for adults in genres ranging from fiction to
       nonfiction to paranormal suspense to parody and satire. 
       
       6.  Tell us a bit about your current writing projects.
      
       I’m working on another nonfiction book for tweens which is
       already under contract with Twilight Times Books. That’s my first
       priority right now because the editor is waiting for it. Then, as I
       mentioned, I have a YA novel in progress, which hopefully I’ll be
       able to finish up next spring. I’m also editing and polishing a
       middle grade novel I already completed so it’ll be in top shape for
       submission.                       
      
       Besides that, I’m always working on new picture books. The ideas
       just keep coming so I have to write them down. So, yes, my hands
       are pretty full!
       
       7.  When is your next book coming out?  Tell us a bit about it.
       
       My next book is Frederico the Mouse Violinist, a historical picture
       book about a little mouse who lives in Antonio Stradivari’s
       workshop and who wants to play the violin. It’s a story book but
       also a concept book, and it teaches the parts of the violin to
       children. It will be available from Guardian Publishing this
       November-hopefully! Readers can find out more about it from my
       website.


        8.  What can readers expect to get from this book?
       
       Reading pleasure and knowledge about Antonio Stradivari and
       the violin.
       
       9.  Any tips for aspiring writers?
       
       First of all, I think the best investment aspiring children’s authors
       can make – and I wish I had knows this when I started writing! – is
       to have a pair of professional eyes go over their manuscripts.
      
       Now, critique groups are great, and I always encourage new
       authors to join one, but if all the members in the group are
       beginners, or write in a different genre from theirs, they probably
       won’t be able to offer the right feedback.
      
       A professional children’s book editor that focuses on your specific
       genres (whether it’s picture books, middle grade or YA novels),
       would know exactly what to look for, would be able to point out
       the ms’ strengths and weaknesses, as well as offer the best
       suggestions for improvement.
      
       The second tip I’d give aspiring authors is to write non-stop, to
       write as much as they can. This seems like simple advice but I’ve
       known new writers who have been working on one picture book
       for years, and who have not written anything else. Okay, it’s great
       to edit, edit, edit, but you only get good at something by doing it.
       The more you write, the easier it gets and the better you get at it.
       Its like playing the violin or doing a sport. A violinist won’t get
       anywhere by practicing a few times a year. A runner won’t get to
       the Olympics by running a few times a month. and selling your
       book to a NY publisher could be compared to winning a gold
       medal in the Olympics. We writers have to work it. The more we
       do it, the higher our chances of beating the odds. 
       
       10.  Any last words?
       
       I’d like to invite readers to take a look at my latest release, How to
       Turn Your Book Club into a Spectacular Event, which just came out
       by Twilight Books this past August. 

     How to Turn Your Book Club into a Spectacular Event is a 50-page
       chapbook for girls 9-12 on how to start and manage a book club
       from start to end. It also includes an explanation of the various
       genres and a resource section with a list of popular authors who
       write for young readers, including the titles of one of their books
       and website links. The book encourages a love of books and
       reading and also social and leadership skills.
      
       To find out more about it, readers can visit my website at:
       http://mayrassecretbookcase/Middle_Grade.html
       
You are such a busy and interesting writer, Mayra! It was such a pleasure interviewing your today!      

Thank you, Irene! It was a pleasure being your guest today!

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11 thoughts on “Guest Interview With Mayra Calvani

  1. Irene, thanks for putting together such a wonderful interview! And Mayra…all I can say is wow! What a wonderful adventure you’re having with books. Congratulations on all you do, especially your newest releases.
    -Nancy

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