Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Interview with Mayra Calvani, author of 'Dark Lullaby'

Mayra Calvani writes fiction and nonfiction for children and adults and has authored over a dozen books, some of which have won awards. Her stories, reviews, interviews and articles have appeared on numerous publications such as The Writer, Writer’s Journal, Multicultural Review, and Bloomsbury Review, among many others. When she’s not writing, reading, editing or reviewing, she enjoys walking her dog, traveling, and spending time with her family. She’s currently touring the blogosphere to promote her supernatural thriller, Dark Lullaby.

Thank you for this interview!  I’d like to know more about you as a person first.  What do you do when you’re not writing?

Thanks for having me!

When I’m not writing, I enjoy reading and reviewing books, as well as helping other authors promote their works. I love having lunch with friends, going to the cinema, and spending time with my pets and my family. I also love traveling.

When did you start writing?

When I was about 12. I remember I had written stories by then, and two of my plays were produced at my school’s Christmas shows.

As a published author, what would you say was the most pivotal point of your writing life?

This is a difficult question to answer. There have been many pivotal moments: when I completed my first book, when I held my first published book in my hands, when I landed an agent. Each time I finish a new manuscript is a pivotal point for me because I grow as a writer and become better at my craft.

If you could go anywhere in the world to start writing your next book, where would that be and why?

That’s easy: Egypt! Like Agatha Christie, I’d love to stay at The Winter Palace in Luxor and work on my next book there. It would be a dream come true, the perfect inspiration for the Egyptian mythological series I’m currently working on.

If you had 4 hours of extra time today, what would you do?

Probably work. There are always so many items on my to-do list I never get to catch up.

Where would you like to set a story that you haven’t done yet?

In Sarasota, Florida; in Rio de Janeiro, Cairo, London, and Brussels…

Back to your present book, Dark Lullaby, how did you publish it?

Dark Lullaby was first published by Whiskey Creek Press. After I got my rights back, I decided to self-publish it on Kindle. Although I’m promoting it now for Halloween, the story was written years ago.

In writing your book, did you travel anywhere for research?

I lived several years in Turkey, where part of the story takes place. It was an incredible experience. Not only did I learn to speak Turkish, but I also made wonderful friends and learned a ton about their customs and folklore.
Many Turkish people believe in the cin (pronounced ‘jean’). Not the jinn as westerners know it; you know, the genie that comes out of magic lamps. The cin is a much darker creature that could be lightly compared to the fairy. In Turkish myth, it is a being that lives in the forests. It can be good or evil. It is of spirit form but can shapeshift into an animal or human. Like the western fairy, it is often volatile, mischievous and prone to pranks, some of which can be deadly.
Now, want me to get creepy? It has a bizarre taste for human liver and, when in human form, its feet are set backwards.

I was darkly fascinated by the accounts I heard, fascinated enough to write a novel. Thus, Dark Lullaby was born.

Why was writing Dark Lullaby so important to you?

I’ve always been fascinated by the concepts of good and evil, as well as by moral dilemmas and the notions of justice and a higher good. For instance, is it okay for a man to steal in order to save his little girl, who is dying? In the case of Dark Lullaby, I went a step further: is it okay for a man to kill for the higher good? This question is the central theme in the story.

Where do you get your best ideas and why do you think that is?

I get ideas while writing. As I work on the novel, there are always wonderful surprises. I also get my ideas while doing routine, automatic activities such as walking, driving, washing the dishes, vacuuming, taking a shower, etc.

Any final words?

The other day I received a note from a reader saying that the book scared the daylights out of her. Yet the story doesn’t have any gore or is in any way graphic. If you go for this type of story, I invite you to give Dark Lullaby a try. J


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