Posted by: nancyisanders | June 17, 2011

Author Interview: Mayra Calvani

Meet Author Mayra Calvani!
Website: Mayra’s Secret Bookcase
Blog: Mayra’s Secret Bookcase

Featured Book: Frederico, the Mouse Violinist
by Mayra Calvani
Illustrated by K. C. Snider

Q: Describe a highlight for you personally while you were writing this book.

A: For me, it’s always a highlight when I write a picture book. The entire process–from idea, to writing, to editing, to polishing–is a highlight.

Finishing that first draft is always a high point, of course.

Q: Describe the journey you’ve taken as a writer.

A: I started writing stories when I was about twelve. In junior high I wrote plays which were acted out at school shows. In high school, I wrote my first novel. Creating stories was my favorite hobby. I would choose staying at home and writing than going out to a party anytime. Yep, I was a weird kid.

Later I majored in Creative Writing at college and wrote short stories for literary magazines. I continued writing novels throughout my twenties and thirties. Some of these novels were published, others weren’t.

It wasn’t until I was in my mid thirties that I began writing for children…. and I have never looked back.

Q: What is one word of advice you received as a writer that you would like to share with others?

A: I have always found Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way and The Right to Write, incredibly inspiring.

She says: “Writing is about getting something down, not about thinking something up.”

These powerful words were very revealing to me and changed the direction I had with writing. If I have to ‘think something up,’ writing becomes something lofty, something I may not be able to grasp. I’m straining. On the other hand, if I focus on getting something down, I have a sense of attention but I’m not straining. It’s like I’m taking dictation. Or like I’m watching the movie in my head and writing down what I see.

This simple philosophy completely freed and revolutionized my writing.

Q: Share one goal you have as a children’s writer and the steps you are taking to achieve it.

A: My main goal right now is to get a contract from a big publishing house.

Last year I landed an agent and she’s hard at work pitching my manuscript to editors, so I think I’m on the right track. In the meantime, the best I can do is keep learning the craft and honing my skills so I can create stories that will delight children.


  1. Totally! I love that saying about dictation…it makes writing so much easier and fulfilling too. Smiles!!

    • Yes, I agree about the quote. Thanks so much, Mayra, for sharing that with us!

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