Today, at Chitchat we have Mayra Calvani, horror fiction author and we are here to talk about her latest book, Dark Lullaby. Mayra writes non-fiction and fiction in a variety of genres—horror, paranormal, satire, mystery, literary fantasy, and children’s.
Mayra, thanks for joining us at Chitchat, that’s quite an impressive list of genres.
Is there anything that you do that allows you to switch writing between genres?
Actually ‘switching modes’ is the key phrase here, but it happens pretty much automatically. I could never write in only one genre. Many things inspire me and I write what I love. When I write children’s stories it’s as if a switch turns on and I’m in my children’s writer mode. When I write horror, the horror switch turns on, and so on with the other genres. I love the idea of being a multifaceted author and don’t really care about branding my name specifically with one genre. Switching genres is fascinating because it’s like visiting different worlds.
Which genre did you start writing in first and what was your first published piece in that genre?
Paranormal suspense has always been my favorite genre. My first published piece, a short story titled, “Things to Do on a Hot Day,” was in that genre and it got published in a small literary magazine now extinct. I screamed and jumped up and down when I received the acceptance letter. I was a sophomore in college then.
Do you have a process for developing your characters?
I don’t do detailed character profiles, though I may jot down some notes as a way of doing some brainstorming. I usually have a basic idea of what the characters will be like, but more often than not the characters reveal themselves as a write their story. I’m more of a stream-of-consciousness writer, I guess. For me, writing a novel is a discovery process. Many times the end result is totally different than from what I first envisioned or planned.
Do you plan your stories first with an outline or does it come to you as write it?
As I said, I’m more of a stream-of-consciousness writer, so, no, I don’t usually work with a detailed outline. Every time I’ve done an outline in the past, the book ends up being different from it. My best ideas arise while I’m actually working on a book, so that pretty much defeats the purpose. In fact, it can be restricting and cause writer’s block. I like feeling totally free when I write. But many authors swear by the outline and I agree that with some genres, like detective/mystery, an outline can be very helpful in keeping the facts/clues straight. More than working with an outline, I prefer scribbling notes before writing each chapter, just to keep me focus and not straying away from the plot.
Do you know the end of the story at the beginning?
Yes, I usually have a basic idea of what the ending will be like. It’s the middle I’m never sure of and the part that gives me the most trouble.
It is said that authors write themselves into their characters. Is there any part of you in your characters and what would that be?
There’s always a part of me in my protagonists. In the case of Dark Lullaby, the protagonist shares my fierce passion for justice and my love for science and philosophy. It’s fun to combine real and imaginary stuff in my fiction, though, of course, most of it is make-believe.
What is your most favorite part about this book?
My favorite part in this book is when the protagonist is lured into the Turkish woods by the anti-heroine and begins having (or believes he’s having) hallucinations. There’s a feeling of unreality to the whole situation that I really enjoyed writing about.
When in the process of writing your book did you begin to look for a publisher?
I began sending off queries to agents and publishers before I finished writing the first draft.
What struggles have you had on the road to being published?
It hasn’t been an easy ride and I’ve had a few stumbles along the way, first with a small press that turned out to be phony, and later with an agent who, after having accepted my work (Dark Lullaby), was forced to abandon the project because of personal/family problems. She was honest but she had to quit her job as agent; this was a big blow for me. I advise aspiring authors to be extremely cautious when approaching publishers and agents.
What has been the best part about being published?
Holding the book in my hands, reading the positive comments from readers and reviewers, and knowing that people out there are reading my work. It’s quite an amazing, warm feeling.
What do you want readers to remember and carry with them after reading your novels?
In the case of Dark Lullaby, a feeling that they have been transported to a dark, eerie, bizarre place. A feeling of surprise. I want readers to be highly entertained for the length of the book, but also to think about the moral dilemma I raise in the story: Does the end justify the means?
Where can readers find a copy of your book?
My book is available on Amazon at:
ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1189507282&sr=1-4 and from the publisher:
More information about my works can be found on my website: www.mayracalvani.com.
Thank you Mayra for joining us today
Thanks for having me on your blog, Rebecca! It was a pleasure being here!
Mayra’s virtual book tour is brought to you by Pump Up Your Book Promotion at http://www.pumpupyourbookpromotion.com