Guest Authors

The Luthier’s Apprentice by Mayra Calvani Interview & Giveaway

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Title:  The Luthier’s Apprentice
Author:   Mayra Calvani
Published:  May 15th, 2014
Publisher:  Twilight Times Books
Word Count:  50,000
Genre:  YA Fantasy
Recommended Age:  12+
Niccolò Paganini (1782-1840), one of the greatest violinists who ever lived and rumored to have made a pact with the devil, has somehow transferred unique powers to another…
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…

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About the Author:
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.

Mayra, Keep Calm and Answer These 18 Questions

1. Do you consider yourself a logophile? If so, have you always been? Yes.

2. What is your favorite color? Indigo blue.

3. Where were you born? Where did you grow up? My environment and upbringing have immensely influenced my writing. I was born and raised in Puerto Rico. Then I went to college in the States. Then I lived in Istanbul and Ankara for four years, and I’m now settled in Brussels. All these different countries and cultures have colored my writing. My supernatural thriller, Dark Lullaby, is set in Turkey and is based on Turkish folklore. My current WIP is a psychological thriller set in a convent in El Yunque, the Puerto Rican rain forest. And, of course, The Luthier’s Apprentice is set in Brussels.

4. Who is your favorite author? At the moment, Donna Tartt.

5. What is your favorite book? The Secret History, by Donna Tartt.

6. What do you do when you are not writing? 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, and spending time with my family and pets. I also love traveling.

7. Do you have a day job as well? I’m fortunate that I can call myself a full-time writer, though I sometimes do some freelance book publicity on the side.

8. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors? Don’t let anyone interfere with your dreams or goals of becoming an author. No matter what anyone says. Do what you have to do to accomplish it. Learn the craft, take courses and/or workshops if you have to, join writer organizations and a critique group. Interact with like souls who actually understand the creative spirit. Above all, read a lot and write a lot, as often as you can. Usually, the longer you stay away from writing, the harder it is to get back to it. And the more you write, the better you get at it.

9. Is being a writer a curse or a gift? Both. I can relate to the following quotes:

“Being a writer is like having homework every night for the rest of your life.” – Lawrence Kasdan

“Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout with some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.” – George Orwell

10. Where do you write? In my little office when I’m alone at home, or in a café with a writer friend, wearing headphones.

11. Do you prefer silence or some noise while you write? It depends on how my muse is feeling at that moment. Sometimes I need total silence, but other times I like to listen to movie scores. Lately I’ve been working on my work-in-progress listening to the music from Interview with the Vampire. When I write in cafes, I’m surrounded by noise, but I’m able to zone out and immerse myself in the world of my characters. In a weird way, the noise helps me to concentrate.

12. What do you typically drink while writing? Tea—green, camomille, fennel.

13. What challenges have you had in regards to your writing life? The greatest challenge: keeping focused and not procrastinate. Keeping confident throughout the process and, like Steven Pressfield says in his fantastic book, Do the Work, “trusting the soup.”

Every book that I’ve written has been hard to write. Though writing is my life and, in a way, like breathing, I have a love & hate relationship with it. First of all, the mechanics of the craft are always a challenge: constructing the plot, creating the characters, balancing all the elements, i.e. description, dialogue, narrative, symbolic imagery, etc. Then there’s the word choice and the agonizing over verbs, adjectives, adverbs.

Besides this, there’s the emotional aspect of the journey: struggling with the inner critic, bouts of self-doubt, writer’s block, irritability over not writing, dealing with negative criticism, remorse due to sacrificing time with family and friends, spending hours, days, months, years sitting at the computer without any assurance that the book will be read by enough people or earn enough money to make all that time worthwhile.

But as writers, we are artists, and the artist’s soul is an interesting, compulsive animal. Writing is our vocation, our drug, and we must have a regular fix or go insane.

At the end, after a good writing day which may happen while still experiencing all of the above, I’m sweetly exhausted and at peace.

14. What does your protagonist think of you? She thinks I’m a hermit, and that I should go out more often.

15. How do you market your book? What avenues work best? I have hired several companies to organize virtual book tours and request reviews. I have also put ads on Book Sender, Kindle Books & Tips, and Book Gorilla. The other day one person left a comment on one of the blogs saying that she’s been seeing my book everywhere, so I guess it’s working. The best marketing tool, however, will be to put book 2 out as quickly as possible.

16. What has been the best compliment? For this book, several reviewers have commented on how creative and original the story is.

17. Will there be a sequel? The Luthier’s Apprentice is the first instalment in the series, so, hopefully, there will be another Emma Braun book some time in 2015.

18. What project are you working on now? 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.

Please fill in the blank: Keep Calm and enjoy life with your loved ones.


Giveaway Details:
There is an international tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:
  • $25 Amazon Gift Card OR Paypal Cash.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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  1. Pingback: LIVE Book Tour - The Luthier's Apprentice by Mayra Calvani

  2. Beautiful cover – very eye-catching.
    Teri recently posted…Your favourite Book CornerMy Profile

  3. Thank you for the interview and for supporting my work! You have a lovely blog.

  4. I agree, Teri, the book cover is gorgeous! Mayra, I loved your answers!
    Kristy Feltenberger Gillespie recently posted…The Luthier’s Apprentice by Mayra Calvani Interview & GiveawayMy Profile

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