Interview with Mayra Calvani

Where can people find out mroe about you and your writing?,,

Begin by telling us a little about yourself:

I started writing when I was about 12 and have been hooked ever since. Though my favorite genre is the paranormal, I also write children’s picture books, nonfiction, and other categories like horror and satire. I’m also a regular contributor to various online publications, such as Suite101, Blogcritics Magazine, and American Chronicle. Together with mystery author Anne K.. Edwards, I co-edit a monthly newsletter for writers and book lovers: Voice in the Dark. When I’m not writing, I love reading, playing the violin, blogging, reviewing, and spending time with my family.

Where are you from and where are you now?

I’m originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico, but I live in Belgium now.

What motivated you to become an author?

The magic of bringing the worlds of my imagination on the page.

Were you an avid reader as a child? What type of books did you enjoy reading?

I was not an avid reader until I was about 11. That’s when I discovered Agatha Christie. By the time I was 14 I had read all of her novels. I had her entire mystery collection in Spanish translation. So I never really read children’s or YA books. I went straight into the adult books at a pretty early age.

Tell us a bit about your latest book, and what inspired you to write such a story.

This is kind of weird because my latest novel, Sunstruck, is actually one of the first books I ever wrote—about fifteen years ago. It is a parody/satire and the style is very different from what I write now. I grew up in San Juan with an artist mom and from an early age visited many art shows and went to artist meetings. A quiet child, I mostly observed. My book was influenced by what I saw. Artist circles can be very interesting and quite strange at times! J

Here is a blurb:

Twenty-four-year-old Daniella is an architecture student living with her narcissistic artist boyfriend in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Abandoned by her father at an early age, Daniella always falls for the wrong type of man. Her most enduring male relationship so far is with her 30-pound Turkish angora cat. Thankfully, Daniella’s mother is always there to offer a shoulder.

Several strange mysteries are threaded through Daniella’s everyday life: her ex-husband, Ismael, has just opened an outlandish hotel for animal lovers that has her distraught; Ismael’s wife, a rich woman Daniella fondly refers to as “Lady Dracula,” has some gruesome ways to keep her skin looking young; Daniella’s mother is founding a revolutionary, feminist society called The Praying Mantises; the island’s national forest is being depleted of hallucinogenic mushrooms; meanwhile, young girls are disappearing and there’s a nut loose dressed as Zorro slashing the rear ends of women who wear miniskirts.

Oppressed by all these crazed, eccentric characters, Daniella feels herself falling into an abyss. Then something horrendous happens, making Daniella wake from her stupor and take charge of her life.

Readers may find more about it at

How would you describe your creative process while writing this book? Was it stream-of-consciousness writing, or did you first write an outline?

Definitely stream-of-consciousness, and I think it shows in the writing. Back then, my inner critic wasn’t as strong, so I wrote more freely. I didn’t say no to any crazy ideas… and it is an unusual, crazy book. People either love it or hate it. One reviewer called it ‘Brilliant’, and another said she had never read another book even remotely like it.

Agatha Christie got her best ideas while eating green apples in the bathtub. Steven Spielberg says he gets his best ideas while driving on the highway. When do you get your best ideas and why do you think this is?

I’m constantly getting new ideas—they attack me like the plague. I can be at a table with dinner guests and getting ideas at the same time. I know, poor guests! If only they knew that sometimes I can’t listen to them, only because those imaginary characters take control of my mind. It’s like being taken hostage. But I love it and wouldn’t have it any other way.

Do you get along with your muse? What do you do to placate her when she refuses to inspire you?

My muse loves me and I love my muse. It’s my inner critic I despise! My muse gives me plenty of ideas but then my inner critic gets in the way and says: What stupid ideas! This often blocks me and I have to be very strong and order it to shut up.

Do you write non-stop until you have a first draft, or do you edit as you move along?

Did I mention how I hate my inner critic? As much as I try to write a first draft non-stop, my inner critic gets in the way and forces me to edit here and there. I try to avoid it, but sometimes it’s very hard to resist. This is why I love the National Novel Writing Month—or Nanowrimo. It is a wonderful exercise in shutting down your inner critic.

They say authors have immensely fragile egos… How would you handle negative criticism or a negative review?

Easy: I don’t. If I never get negative reviews, it means not enough people are reading my books.

As a writer, what scares you the most?

Not being able to produce work; not being able to write.

When writing, what themes do you feel passionate about?

I’m fascinated by moral dilemmas, such as the idea of a higher good, the idea that the end justifies the means. I tackle this on my supernatural thriller, Dark Lullaby. I’m also intrigued and pulled by the concept of vigilantism, the concept of ultimate justice vs. human law. These themes that obsess me, that have obsessed me since I was very young.

Are you a disciplined writer?

Not as much as I would like to be! I have my ups and downs. I try to be organized, which helps a lot, and manage to accomplish a number of goals each month. This helps me feel I’m progressing and keeps me motivated.

Do you have an agent? How was your experience in searching for one?

After searching on a off for the last 15 years, I landed an agent last November. She’s currently trying to sell my work to the big publishers. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

What is the best writing advice you’ve ever received?

Write for yourself—not for the market.

Do you have a website/blog where readers may learn more about you and your work?

Yes I do!

Children's Books:

As an author, what is your greatest reward?

The wonderful feeling of accomplishment I get when I finish writing and publishing a book.

Anything else you’d like to say about yourself or your work?

I’d love to invite readers to visit my sites and blogs, especially my fun, new blog,, where my golden retriever, Amigo, interviews authors’ pets.


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