The Writing Life is very pleased to welcome the prolific and multi-talented writer, Mayra Calvani, my good friend for over ten years. Early in my writing journey, Mayra was a mentor and her kindness knows no bounds. I am proud and honored to host this talented lady today.
Award-winning author Mayra Calvani has penned over ten books for children and adults in genres ranging from picture books to nonfiction to paranormal fantasy novels. She’s had over 300 articles, short stories, interviews and reviews published in magazines such as The Writer, Writer’s Journal and Bloomsbury Review, among others. A native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, she now resides in Brussels, Belgium.
What is your book’s genre/category?
Mayra, please describe what the anthology is about.
Latina Authors and Their Muses is a very dear, love project of mine which began its long journey several years ago. As you know, since you’re part of it, it is an anthology of interviews with 40 Latina authors living in the States and writing primarily in English, authors writing in various genres from literary to fantasy to paranormal to romance, and then some. It is a celebration of creativity and the artist’s soul, but it also offers savvy advice on the business of publishing and book promotion. I hope that my book will serve to inspire and inform the Latina authors of the future. One thing I should mention, though, is that while the book is especially focused on Latina writers, the topics discussed are of interest to all women writers.
Thank you for inviting me to be a part of the anthology, Mayra! I am honored to be among the talented Latina writers featured in ‘Latina Authors and Their Muses’. How did you come up with the title?
The title came to me early on and in a flash, way before I actually started working on the book. I usually must have a title before I can comfortably start writing.
Why did you decide to put together this amazing anthology?
I think it’s important to bring to light the excellent books Latina authors are producing these days, as well as to showcase Hispanic American literature in general. I’d also like to inspire aspiring writers, the Latina authors of the future.
It’s a very inspirational book. What is your favorite part of writing?
Getting into the zone and immersing myself into the world of my characters. It’s an adventure.
What is the most challenging aspect of writing?
To stay disciplined and keep a regular writing schedule. We depend totally on ourselves to work. We don’t have a boss threatening to fire us if we don’t get the job done. Struggling with the inner critic can be very challenging at times.
Mayra, who are some of your favorite authors?
In my teens, I loved Agatha Christie and Stephen King. In college, I couldn’t get enough of Tama Janowitz’s quirky satiric books. In my late twenties and thirties, it was Anne Rice. Nowadays, my favorite author is Donna Tartt, though I have eclectic tastes and read across a wide range of genres. Lately I’ve been discovering the work of Virginia Woolf, as well as the female Gothic writers of the 19th century.
What authors or person(s) have influenced you?
All the authors I just mentioned have influenced me in various degrees. Anne Rice has probably been the most influential.
Favorite place to write?
I love to write in quiet libraries, but also in noisy cafes. My absolute favorite time to write is when I go to 3-day retreats with my local SCBWI group. It’s incredibly intense and I can get about 4,000 words a day done, which is huge for me. We go on these retreats twice a year. Mostly, though, I write in the quiet of my office, headphones to atmospheric music thunderstorm nature sounds.
Something personal about you people may be surprised to know?
Hmm…I can speak in 4 languages, one of them Turkish.
Any surprises or learning experiences with the publishing process?
I can’t think of anything specific, but it’s been a long, long process, with learning experiences in every step of the way. The publishing world is so dynamic, there’s always something new to learn.
So true. Looking back, what did you do right that helped you with this book?
You are one of the most organized people I know! Any advice for writers looking to get published?
Don’t let anyone deter you from achieving your dream. Stay focused and stay persistent. If you work hard, and you want to become and author so badly that you can taste it on your tongue, you’ll get published. Of course, always keep improving your craft.
Great advice, Mayra. Website and social media links:
www.MayraCalvani.com, and I’d love to invite your readers to join my mailing list.
Connect with Mayra on the Web:
Where can we find the anthology?
On Amazon, B&N, and most online retailers. It can also be ordered from any brick & mortar bookstore.
What’s next for you, Mayra?
I have several. I recently terminated with an agent and I’m in search of another agent for a YA psychological thriller set in Puerto Rico in the 1970s. I’m also self-publishing a series of novels under a pen name.
On the nonfiction front, I just got an offer for a contract for another anthology titled, Born to Write: Honoring Your Gift When Your Partner Doesn’t Support Your Writing. This will be a collection of essays from different authors to be published in the spring of 2017.
Thank you for giving me this opportunity to talk about my book, Ellie!
It’s always a great pleasure when you visit, Mayra! Best of luck with ‘Latina Authors and their Muses’ and in finding an agent for your new book. I look forward to reading it!
Puerto Rican novelist, Eleanor Parker Sapia, was raised in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Europe. Eleanor’s careers as an artist, counselor, alternative health practitioner, Spanish language family support worker and a refugee case worker, inspire her stories.
‘A Decent Woman‘, Eleanor’s debut novel, set in turn of the nineteenth century Puerto Rico, was selected as 2015 July Book of the Month for Las Comadres & Friends National Latino Book Club, and is listed in Centro Voices, The Center of Puerto Rican Studies, ‘Essential Boricua Reading for the 2015 Holiday Season’. Eleanor is featured in the anthology, ‘Latina Authors and Their Muses’, edited by Mayra Calvani, and in the soon-to-be released anthology, Organic Coffee, Haphazardly Literary Society, edited by Allie Burke. Eleanor is a proud member of Las Comadres Para Las Americas, PEN America, The National Association of Professional Women, and the Historical Novel Society. She is a contributing writer at Organic Coffee, Haphazardly Literary Society. When not writing, she loves facilitating creativity groups, reads, and tells herself she is making plans to walk El Camino de Santiago de Compostela a second time.
Eleanor adores her two adult children and currently lives in West Virginia, where she is writing her second novel, ‘The Lament of Sister Maria Immaculata’, and a collection of short stories.