Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Author Interview & Spotlight Post: Mayra Calvani

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 children's picture book, Frederico the Mouse Violinist was a finalist in the 2011 International Book Awards; her anthology Latina Authors and Their Muses was a First Place winner at the 2016 International Latino Book Awards; her nonfiction book, The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing, was a Foreword Best Book of the Year winner. Her stories, reviews, interviews and articles have appeared on numerous publications like The Writer, Writer's Journal, Multicultural Review, Bloomsbury Review, and others.

She lives in Belgium with her husband of 30+ years, two wonderful kids, and her three beloved pets. When she's not writing, editing, reading or reviewing, she enjoys walking with her dog, traveling, and spending time with her family.

You can learn more about Mayra, and her fantastic books here: 

About the illustrator:
 Sheila Fein Born in Queens, New York and living in Los Angeles since 1987, Sheila Fein has always been inspired by the changing world around her. Earning her BA  in Design from Buffalo State College of New York, her concentration was on drawing, painting, printmaking, and photography. Sheila's education as an artist has taken her everywhere from Fleisher Art Memorial in Philadelphia to Bath University in England. Today, Sheila Fein runs two figurative workshops, Imaginings Sketch in LA and People Sketchers in Thousand Oaks. She has been featured in numerous collections, magazines, books, solo and group exhibitions. Her paintings and drawings reside in public and private collections. Sheila loves to make the imagination of others a reality and has done so through her commissioned Fein Fantasy Portraits and Interactive Paintings. In addition to being a fine artist Sheila works as an illustrator. She just completed the book  "Mama Graciela's Secret" for Maclaren-Cochrane Publishing.
Author Interview:
1. Where did you get the inspiration for this book?
Thank you for having me on your blog, Jessica! The inspiration came from my
grandmother, who at one time had about 30 rescued dogs in her home. She was a
selfless, caring and compassionate person. She also had a restaurant called La Bahia
but she sold pollo frito (fried chicken) instead of codfish fritters.

2. Favorite fictional cat?
Can I choose two? Puss in Boots and Tom (from Tom & Jerry).

3. The best piece of advice you have received thus far?
“Before of advice—even this.” –Carl Sandburg 😊

4. We all need a hero! Tell us about your protagonist(s)? Was there a
real-life inspiration behind him or her? 
In this particular book, Mama Graciela’s Secret, the hero is Mama Graciela because she
will do whatever it takes, even sacrificing herself, her restaurant and her secret recipe,
to save the cats she loves.

5. Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had
on you?
Hmm…I don’t remember the first story I ever read, but I started reading Agatha Christie
when I was about 11 or 12 and this completely change my life. I became a voracious
reader. She was a big influence in my wanting to become a writer.

6. We have to ask, What's next for you? Are you currently working on a
new book?
Thanks for asking! I’m always working on various projects at a time. Currently, I’m working on another picture book that I have to send to my agent soon. I’m also working on a YA Egyptian mythological novel under my pen name Zoe Kalo (www.ZoeKalo.com).

Mamá Graciela’s TENDER, CRUNCHY, SPICY bacalaítos fritos are the best in town...
Local customers (including stray cats!) come from all over the island to enjoy her secret recipe. But when the Inspector discovers that Mamá secretly caters to so many cats and he threatens to close her tiny restaurant, Mamá must come up with a plan to save it—and all of the animals she loves.

Be sure to check out Mayra Calvani astounding books, and Shelia Fein's stunning art illustrations!!! Also don't forget to get a copy of Mamá Graciela’s Secret available for purchase on

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