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
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
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
8. What can readers expect to get from this book?
Reading pleasure and knowledge about Antonio Stradivari and
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:
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!