Friday, May 18, 2012


Today I am pleased to bring you a wonderful
new picture book by a talented
multi-published writer, and friend -
Mayra Calvani

by Mayra Calvani
Illustrations: Alex Morris 
Guardian Angel Publishing - Academic Wings
Follow the water droplets in their journey from the clouds to the earth and back to the clouds again. Written in a lyrical style, the book takes a new angle on the water cycle by showing the feelings it evokes in people.

About the author:
Mayra Calvani writes fiction and nonfiction for children and adults.  and has authored over a dozen books, some of which have won awards. Her stories, reviews, interviews and articles have appeared on numerous publications such as The Writer, Writer’s Journal, Multicultural Review, and Bloomsbury Review, among many others. Visit her Website and get the first two lessons of her popular Walking on a Rainbow Picture Book Workshop FREE! 

This author knows a thing or two about writing books that are fun, educational, and also HOOK a child's interest.  The illustrations by Alex Morris marry perfectly with Mayra's words.  Read this to your child - you will both learn that water is not all wet.  

So, now for the inquisition . . . my questions and Mayra's answers:

When did you first begin to write for children?

To be honest, I never thought I’d become a children’s book author. I started writing fiction when I was about 12, but back then I wrote supernatural stories. My taste for the paranormal continued throughout my teens, twenties and early thirties. It wasn’t until I had my second child that, somehow, I got bitten by the children’s writing bug.

Reading all those picture books to my kids at night was the biggest influence. So, one day, I decided to sit down and write a children’s story. That first story eventually became my first published children’s book, Crash!

Since then, I’ve never looked back. I’ve always compared writing for children with walking on a rainbow (in fact, this is the name of my picture book writing workshop). The world of writing for children is a world full of color, imagination and possibilities. I still write fiction and nonfiction for adults, but I have to admit that children’s literature, including teen fiction, is my new passion.

Did you need to do a lot of research for the WATERCYCLE: WATER PLAY SERIES  book?

Actually, I did. I went to the library several times and read all the picture books I could find about the water cycle. I took plenty of notes. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t repeating what was already out there. I wanted to take a different angle.

I see this is Book #1. Have you decided on book #2, and what it will be about?

Book 2, Rain, Hail, Sleet, Snow!  is already written and under contract with Guardian Angel Publishing. All together there will be four books.

Do you find living in Europe (with the language differences) hurts sales of your books?

Yes, I do. I think promotion is very limited for me here because there are few English bookstores, libraries and schools that offer opportunities for writers. I do most of my marketing and promotion online.

How do you manage long distance promotion from Europe?

All I can say is, thank God for the internet! If it weren’t for the internet, I wouldn’t be able to market my books to the world. I can do all sorts of promotion online while sitting at home in my pajamas: interviews, reviews, guest posts, giveaways, virtual book tours. You name it. I haven’t yet done school visits via Skype. I admit I’m more traditional when it comes to school visits.

Are you in a critique group, and if so, did their feedback prove helpful.

I belong to a wonderful critique group here in Brussels. We meet every other Friday. It is a small group, with me and two other American writers. Critique groups aren’t for everybody, but I’ve been lucky with this one. It’s been running for several years now.

Are you planning to write more books with teaching and educational elements in mind, and if so, what do you think the plot and characters must have to GRAB a young child’s interest.

I enjoy writing picture books that are educational but I also like writing books that aren’t what you’d call educational but are just pure fun and humor. Anything to get kids to read and keep reading!

I am planning to write two more educational picture books this summer: one about Antonio Stradivari and another one about cats in Ancient Egypt.

To grab a young child’s interest I think writers should have a child-like sensibility. The language must be appropriate for the age level. It doesn’t matter how original or well written a story is—if it isn’t age-appropriate you’ll lose your readers. I also think that the plot and characters should be ones kids can identify with.  We hear all the time how stories must be original and have a different angle, but kids don’t care about these things. Only agents and editors do. So yes, you need to be original to land a contract with an agent or publisher, but not necessarily to make kids fall in love with your story. Kids don’t know that stories about your first haircut, your first puppy or your first trip to the dentist (just to name a few) have been done a hundred times before, yet they always seem to enjoy these tales. That’s partly why children’s writing is so competitive. We have to please various audiences—the agents, editors and publishers, the parents, and the kids.

Tell my readers something about yourself that you have never shared before. Funny or shocking, they lap it all up, mate.

Hmm. Gosh, Margot. I’m afraid I’m an incredibly boring person. I can’t think of anything shocking or funny. I once fake fainted at a spiritual retreat in order to not answer a question. I was in my teens. Does that count? LOL

Thank you, Margot, for having me here today! I enjoyed your questions.


Genre: Children 4-8
Print ISBN: 9781616332372; 1616332379
eBook ISBN: 9781616332389; 1616332387 
Published: March 15, 2012
Pages: 20
Price: $10.95 print; $5.00 e-Book

Available from:
Publisher: GuardianAngel Publishing, Inc.



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