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.
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When violinists around the world mysteriously vanish, 16-year-old Emma Braun takes notice. But when her beloved violin teacher disappears… Emma takes charge. With Sherlock Holmes fanatic, not to mention gorgeous Corey Fletcher, Emma discovers a parallel world ruled by an ex-violinist turned evil sorceress who wants to rule the music world on her own terms.
But why are only men violinists captured and not women? What is the connection between Emma's family, the sorceress, and the infamous Niccolò Paganini?
Emma must unravel the mystery in order to save her teacher from the fatal destiny that awaits him. And undo the curse that torments her family—before evil wins and she becomes the next luthier's apprentice…
Q) What inspired you to write this story?
I studied/played the violin for 5 years, and my daughter has been playing it for 8 years, so violin music has been a big part of my life for a long time. There’s something darkly mysterious about the violin, and I’m in awe of soloists who have the skill to master it. The making of the violin itself is fascinating to me as well. And, of course, I also love listening to violin music whenever I can. Naturally, violin music has been very influential in my writing. I just find it immensely inspiring. Besides The Luthier’s Apprentice, I have also written several children’s picture books related to the violin. Readers can learn about them here: www.MayrasSecretBookcase.com.
Q) How long did it take you to write?
I completed the first draft in four weeks during Nanowrimo 2007. At that time, it was an experiment. I hadn’t participated in Nanowrimo before. It was an exciting, exhilarating experience, but I knew the manuscript needed a lot of editing and polishing, so I put it aside for a long time. Then I worked on it on and off as I worked on other projects. That’s why it took so long to publish it.
I didn’t plot in advance. I didn’t know what would happen on the next page. I discovered the story and characters as I wrote. Or rather, I let the characters take charge and guide me. Looking back, this was incredibly daring. I don’t work this way now. But, as I said, it was an experiment to shut down my inner critic and it was an exciting challenge.
Q) What is your favorite thing about writing?
Getting paid to daydream. And nothing beats being able to work in your pyjamas with a bad hair day.
Q) What is your least favorite thing about writing?
As writers, we work on our own. We don’t have a boss threatening to fire us if we don’t show up every morning, so I’d say the hardest part is being disciplined and keeping focused on the work at hand and, above all, not procrastinating. I have to create all kinds of systems around me to keep myself disciplined.
Q) If you could be any famous person for one day, who would you be and why?
Anne-Sophie Mutter, the famous violinist. I’d love to experience the thrill of mastering the violin like she does, as well as playing live for thousands of people around the world.
Q) What is the oldest thing in your fridge and how old is it?
I had to check in my fridge for this one.
I’m ashamed to admit I found a yogurt from 2012!
Q) What can readers expect from you in the future?
The Luthier’s Apprentice is the first instalment in the series, so, hopefully, there will be another Emma Braun book some time in 2015.
My agent is currently shopping around book 1 of another YA series (Egyptian mythological fantasy), and I’m presently working on a standalone psychological/supernatural thriller. I’m also putting together a nonfiction anthology.
As far as other titles coming out soon, Latina Authors and Their Muses, an anthology of interviews, will be released by Twilight Times Books in June 2014, and I also have various children’s picture books forthcoming from Guardian Angel Publishing.
So I’m pretty busy and have enough ideas to keep my hands full for the next few years.