Mayra Calvani is an award-winning multi-genre author — and frequent Blogcritics contributor — for children and adults. Her work, The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing, was a ForeWord Best Book of the Year Award winner. She's had over 300 reviews, interviews, articles and stories published online and in print. How to Turn Your Book Club into a Spectacular Event is her first nonfiction title for middle graders. She's a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators and the Children's Writers Coaching Club.
What got you into writing for children?
Ten years ago, I’d never have guessed that I would be writing children’s books today. I was into horror and the supernatural. I think my love for children’s literature began when I had children of my own and read to them at night. I wanted to make reading a priority for my children so I read to them every night… and I fell in love with picture books. I don’t remember the moment when I thought, “I want to try writing one of these,” but I guess the thought came one day and I just sat down and decided to give it a try. I also read all I could about the craft and joined a picture book critique group. I learned tons in the critique group. I think a good critique group is vital for a writer, especially one who is just starting. I also began reviewing lots of children’s books, and this also helped me improve my craft.
Tell us a little about your latest book, How to Turn Your Book Club into a Spectacular Event?
How to Turn Your Book Club into a Spectacular Event is a 50-page chapbook for girls ages 9 to 12 on how to start and manage a book club from start to end. It also includes an explanation of the various genres and a resource section with a list of popular authors who write for young readers, including the titles of one of their books and website links. The book encourages a love of books and reading and also social and leadership skills.
To find out more about it, readers can visit my website at: http://mayrassecretbookcase.com/Middle_Grade.html
The second edition of The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing was released this last August. Why should an aspiring reviewer read your book?
The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing offers practical, specific guidelines on how to write a thoughtful, intelligently written review. It also discusses the value of reviews within a wider spectrum as to how they relate to librarians, booksellers, publicists, authors, and publishers. Some of the book’s topics include the five most important keys of a book reviewer, the basic elements of a review, how to rate a book, how to start a book review site, how to differentiate the various types of reviews, and how to prevent amateurish mistakes, among others. The book also has a resource section that lists dozens of sites (by genre/paying/nonpaying) and publications where reviewers may submit their reviews.