Monday, September 14, 2009

LVBT Guest Post: Walking on a Rainbow: "How I Became a Children’s Book Author" By Mayra Calvani

Today, as part of BronzeWord's Latino Virtual Book Tour, I turn my blog over to author Mayra Calvani. Welcome, Mayra....

Walking on a Rainbow: "How I Became a Children’s Book Author"

I used to think writing children’s books was boring. Writing for those demanding, whining creatures? Are you kidding? Not for me. No thanks.

That was a few years ago.

Now, nothing fills me with more joy and excitement than writing a picture book or a novel for tweens. Writing for children is like stepping into a fresh, magical, innocent, marvelous world of color and words. Writing for children is, in fact, like walking on a rainbow.

So how did the change happen?

Easy. I had children.

I recently read an interesting post by another children’s author about how in order to write good children’s stories, one must know children. Of course, as always, there are exceptions to the rule, but in general, I find this observation to be true. This doesn’t necessarily mean that one must have children in order to write great children’s stories, but it does mean that one must interact with them, know their fears, fantasies, dreams. In sum, one must have a clear idea of what goes on inside their little heads and hearts.

In my case, having children brought out a tender, gentler part of me to the surface, a part I didn’t know I had. Suddenly, as I read to my little daughter every night, picture books, with their beautiful and evocative illustrations, became very appealing to me. I don’t remember when the exact moment happened, the moment when I thought, ‘I want to write a children’s book.’ But I do know I went from extreme to extreme: from chilling horror to sweet picture books. Two very different worlds, but I’m able to switch from one to the other without much problem. On the contrary, each one serves as a refreshing break from the other. So I may work on a lovable children’s story in the morning, and dive into a disturbing werewolf scene in the afternoon. It’s fun, like having split personalities, without the crazy element (or at least, I hope so!).

So far, I’ve got four picture books out: The Magic Violin, Crash, Chocalín (Spanish edition) and Humberto the Bookworm Hamster. Two more are in the illustrating stages and will be published next year. I also have a middle-grade novel and about ten more picture book manuscripts doing the agent/publisher roundup.

The world of children’s book publishing is extremely competitive, to say the least. It takes hard work, dedication, perseverance and commitment to become a published author. I know the stakes, but once you step into that magical rainbow, there’s no turning back.


Mayra Calvani is a multi-genre author, reviewer, dog lover, and animal advocate. She loves writing for children and adults. She’s a regular contributor to Blogcritics Magazine and Suite101 and the Latino Books Examiner for Visit Mayra at MayrasSecretBookcase.

You can pick up any one of Mayra's books:

I welcome all who stop in to leave comment for a chance to win one ebook copy of your choice (Slippery Art of Book Reviewing, Embraced by the Shadows, or Sunstruck).

  • Next stop for Mayra on this Latino Virtual Book Tour is @ Christina Rodriguez blog on Wednesday, September 16.
  • Be sure to stop in then to continue on this tour. Eso que lo disfruten!


    1. Thanks so much for hosting me, Efrain!

    2. Hello Mayra
      Great post! It is always interesting to learn more about an author and their writing. I wish you all the best of luck.
      Renee Hand

    3. Good advice, Mayra. "Write what you know" is the advice I've always heard, so it does help to know what your readers like.

      You're a wonderful writer, and the advice and support you offer other writers is much appreciated!


    4. Mayra,

      I think a lot of children's book authors discover their love of writing for children after they have their own kids. I can attest to that! There's something about the bonding you have with your children while reading them a book that you want to share with other parents/ children by coming up with your own stories!

      All the best,

    5. Wonderful post by Mayra! It's funny...that's when I became interested in writing children's stories...when I had children! Guess it would make sense. Mayra, is that your doggie? He's cute!

    6. I'm glad you've found joy in children's writing. I'm also drawn to children's writing, although I don't have children. Maybe it's that innocent quality of life way back when that's so attractive. I hope to get my children's book about my dog, Rascal, out soon.

      Morgan Mandel

    7. Enjoyed reading about some of your journey in the writing craft, Mayra---children's writing in particular. It seems kids will do it every time. In my case, my children's writing was deferred until I "grew up" and our grandchildren started appearing.

      Thanks for sharing your story---and your stories---with us.

      Bill Kirk

    8. Always great to hear more about you, Mayra. Children do change you. Each night now I am asked to make up stories where my children perform all kinds of crazy stunts and act naughty. It amuses them to no end.

      Keep up the great work. I'm looking forward to the new book!


    9. Thank you all for your comments. I really appreciate it!

      Yes, that's my doggie next to me, Amigo. He has his own blog, by the way, at

    10. Thanks for a heartfelt look at writing for children, Mayra. Your versatility and talent are clearly rooted in a great heart and a discerning intellect.

      I also want to give a nod of the cap to your host, Efrain. He is a great friend of Latino authors.

    11. Wonderful interview. I always enjoy reading how other authors were inspired to begin writing for children. Makes a lot of sense you need to interact with children to be able to write for them. Your career is fascinating and I wish you continued success.


    12. Thank you all for following my tour! I really appreciate it!

      Thank you again, Efrain, for hosting me!

    13. This comment has been removed by the author.

    14. Wow...Thank you to everyone that took the time to stop in and leave such wonderful comments. Thank you, Mayra for allowing me to have you as my guest. Raul, thank you very much for the mention, I look forward to you touring in NY. Now, for the winner of the e-book I put all the names (except Mayra's) in a random name selector and the winner is (drum roll!!).....Cheryl ....Congratulations!!