Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Ten Questions with Mayra Calvani

Award-winning author Mayra Calvani writes fiction and nonfiction for children and adults. She’s a reviewer for The New York Journal of Books and co-editor of Voice in the Dark ezine. She's had over 300 reviews, interviews, stories, and articles published in print and online. Mayra is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and the Children's Writer's Coaching Club.

1. Hi, Mayra.  Could you tell us a little about yourself?

I started writing when I was about twelve years old and since then my life has been surrounded by books.  During my teens I wrote short stories, school plays, and even tried my hand at a novel.  Later, I majored in Creative Writing in college.  So yes, writing has always been a part of my life.  I've also had the fortune of living in various countries, something that has influenced my writing.  I've done teaching in the past but now I write fulltime, except for when I do replacement teaching once in a while.  I live in Belgium with my husband, two kids and a loveable golden retriever, Amigo.

2. Describe your desk/workspace.

I have a little office all to myself, with a big desk and bookshelves all around.  I like my desk to stay tidy.  I love office supplies and make sure I always have a surplus supply of them.  I sit on a leather swivel chair.  I keep an exercise mat nearby and sometimes take breaks to do situps or stretching exercises.  My neck and shoulders tend to get very stiff when I write.

3. Do you have a favorite quote?

"Writing is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness.  One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand." -- George Orwell

4. What is the best advice you've ever received?

"Leap, and the net will appear."

5. If you could have coffee with anyone (living or dead, real or fictional), who would it be and why?

Fun question!  I think that would have to be either Sherlock Holmes or Lestat, both fascinating characters in their own way.

6. What are your top three favorite books and why?

The Stranger, by Albert Camus; The Awakening, by Kate Chopin; and Come Closer, by Sara Gran.  I love them because they're short and very powerful.

7. What was your favorite book as a child and why?

That's a tough one.  I didn't like to read as a child.  It wasn't until I was about 11 that I discovered Agatha Christie and from that moment on I was hooked.  So I went straight into books for adults.  I didn't read any books for kids for pleasure, except for the ones that teachers assigned at school, which were incredibly boring!  It takes one special book or author to get a kid hooked on reading and that author for me was Christie.  I just loved the way I had to keep wondering who the real killer was until the end.

8. What are your current marketing strategies for Frederico, the Mouse Violinist?

Besides doing this virtual book tour, doing interviews and requesting reviews from mom and kidlit bloggers, I've also contacted music/violin magazines and catalogs.  One of my plans is to go on another VBT later this year where all hosts will be violinists and music teachers.  You have to target your niche market, right?

9. Where can people find your book, Frederico, the Mouse Violinist?

The book is available on Amazon, B&N, and Guardian Angel Publishing.

Link to the publisher:

You can also order the book from any brick and mortar bookstore.

10. Is there anything else you'd lke to share?

I'd like to invite readers to visit my website and blogs at:

Mayra, thank you for stopping by to answer some questions. 



Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Best wishes with your book Mayra! The ladies at GAP seem wonderful! (Im sure there are men there too, but Ive only run across ladies so far...)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Susanne and Mayra .. interesting to find out a little more about Frederico's author! Fun way of teaching kids about the violin and music.

It must be lovely living in Belgium and being able to travel around Europe easily ..

All the best with the book and cheers to both of you - Hilary

Cheryl said...

Great interview ladies. Keep up the great promotional efforts for Frederico. It's a wonderful book.


Susanne Drazic said...

Big hello to Sharon, Hilary, and Cheryl. Thank you for stopping by to check out the interview with Mayra. Glad you all enjoyed it.

Joylene Butler said...

No wonder I love writers! Thank you, Hilary and Mayra.

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

Great interview! I'm also a HUGE fan of The Awakening. It's a novella that reads like a novel with lasting impact much greater than many novels I've read.

Susanne Drazic said...

Hi, Joylene! Hi, Carolina! Thanks for stopping by to check out the interview with Mayra.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Great interview, Susanne.

I just keep learning more and more about you, Mayra. :) Congrats on your new book. It sounds like a neat story kids should love.

Mayra Calvani said...

Thank you so much for hosting me again, Suzanne! It's great seeing so many new faces here, too. :-)

Mayra Calvani said...

Yes, Hilary, that's one of the advantages of living in Belgium. I can have breakfast in Brussels, lunch in Paris and dinner in Amsterdam. :-)

Carolina, i'm so glad you alos love The Awakening!

Thank you veryone for your warm comments!

Lynda Young said...

lol love the Orwell quote and the best advice: "Leap, and the net will appear."

Susanne Drazic said...

Hi, Mayra. I enjoyed having you on my blog. Enjoyed doing the interview.
Hi, Lynda. Thanks for stopping by to check out the interview with Mayra.

Julie Musil said...

Congratulations on the book! This must be so fun. I love the favorite piece of advice...leap and the net will appear. Awesome.

Susanne Drazic said...

Hi, Beverly! Sorry I forgot to say hello earlier. Thanks for stopping by to check out the interview with Mayra. Glad you enjoyed it.
Hi, Julie! Thanks for stopping by and for leaving a comment.

Kimberly said...

Great interview. I love the advice she received - sometimes we just have to do that.

Best wishes to Mayra on the book!

Janet Johnson said...

Sounds like such a fun story! Thank you for the interview.

And Mayra, what a great idea to have an exercise mat nearby! I may have to borrow that one. :)

Susanne Drazic said...

Hi, Kimberly! Hi, Janet! Thanks for stopping by to check out the interview with Mayra and for also leaving a comment. Have a great day!

Stephen Tremp said...

Its always fun to get to know other bloggers a little better. Having coffee with Sherlock Holmes would be awesome. i'd pick his brain for as long as I could keep him awake.

Donea Lee said...

Hello Susanne and Mayra ~ great interview. The writing quote and best advice are great! Best of luck on your blog tour and with your book. :)

Cher Green said...

Susanne, great interview.

Mayra, good luck with the book. I loved your best advice.

Susanne Drazic said...

Hi, Stephen! Hi, Donea! Hi, Cher! Thanks for stopping by and for commenting.

Lola Sharp said...

I'm a huge fan of Camus.

Also, color me green with I wish I lived in Belgium. You're in a perfect central location, an easy train ride down to Paris or up to Amsterdam.

Fun interview, ladies. Thank you.



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