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Interview: Maria J. Andrade, Author of Heart Magic: Keeping Love Alive & Well

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Join me as I delve a bit deeper into the psyche of licensed therapist, author and poet, Maria Andrade.  Though not a new release, Ms. Andrade's book Heart Magic: Keeping Love Alive & Well is a book that easily can withstand the years and be a resource for generations, as it focuses on important “Select Principles” and “Do’s and Don’t's" of communication for a loving and lasting partnership.

Born in Ecuador, South America and raised in New York and California, Ms. Andrade now resides in California with her husband.  To learn more about Maria Andrade and her works, please be sure to visit her website.

Could you please tell us about your writing process?

I get an idea then I sit down and begin to fill the empty page. I write anytime I get the chance, but I like writing in the morning best of all.

Do you have any particular habits that you take part in while writing? By that I mean certain music you like to listen to, foods you like to eat, environment that helps you write better, etc.

I like to write near a window where there is light, and I can see nature.

Where do you get your ideas and inspirations?

I write in different genres so it varies. Most of my children’s stories come out of the fun I have with children, especially my grandkids. The eco-social book for children which was published last year, Youngen Finds Her Song, was my attempt to make kids laugh while teaching them about self-confidence, nature, earth stewardship and hope.

The self-help book, Heart Magic, Keeping Love Alive & Well, came out of the realization that love needs help and the divorce rate in the US is reflective of that! How can we have peace in the world if two people can’t have peace under their own roof?

The poetry book, Singing My Self Home, was a celebration of life and a catharsis. It touches on what transforms our lives and the work still to be done on this planet.

Tell us a bit about, Heart Magic, Keeping Love Alive & Well. What is the story about, who are the characters, etc.?

As I mentioned earlier, this is a book to help people become successful in what I call the greatest of all arts — the art of relating. The main characters are you and you out there, me and anyone who has ever been in love. It lets you know about the skills involved in a healthy, loving, relationship. In fact, the book advises us that just as you are taught to dance, drive a car, learn your job, etc. people In society can get preparation in order to have a truly healthy and happy marriage!

How do you come up with the names of your characters? It almost seems as though, as an author, you have the continuous fun of naming children!

Well, in this case, where case histories are given, true names have been changed to guard the privacy of the clients whose stories are used as examples. It is a privilege to share my clients’ lives from which I have learned a great deal these 25 years.

What do you want readers to take away from reading Heart Magic?

I hope readers will learn and apply the skills for good communication and for resolving conflict because these are what builds trust. Trusts nourishes love, so I certainly believe if they apply these good skills they will have a good chance to remain together! I give everyone who buys my book a chance to write me with their personal concerns and we discuss it.

What was the most fun about writing Heart Magic, Keeping Love Alive & Well?

I think hearing from couples who have applied the Select Principles and the Dos and Don’ts of relating. It is a joy to hear they are getting along with the person they care about! This is, after all, the purpose of writing this kind of book.

What was the hardest part about writing the book?

Proof reading. I am not good at it. Also, I wrote this particular book on a PC, and when I did the Spanish translation my PC broke down, so we got a MAC, and I had some frustrating program issues!

If you had to summarize your life and give it a book title, what would that title be?

Love, Across an Ocean of Time

What are you reading right now?

Your Choice by Al Gore

The Open Veins of Latin America by Eduardo Galleano

Poetry The Poetry Foundation’s – Jan. 2010 edition

Who are some of your favorite authors?

Authors such as Deepak Chopra, Howard Zinn, Eduardo Galleano are some of my favorites.

If you could have lunch and chat with any author, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

Anyone of the above mentioned, but I will choose Howard Zinn because he is not only a great historian, but in interviews he appears to be a simple, down to earth type of guy with a sense of humor. I like that.

What were some of your favorite books as a child?

I loved, Ben and Me, a book about the life of Benjamin Franklin told from the prospective of the mouse that lived in his home. I also enjoyed memorizing limericks, poems and songs I learned in childhood. I would have been a singer, but I heard Barbara Streisand and I gave up the idea.

What do you hope to accomplish within the next five years?

I have written a novel, which I hope to see, published this year. I would like to: finish a play I have started, publish the three other children’s books I have written and a lullaby I wrote in my teens. I would also like to get my house finished as I envision it in my head. I think that should keep me busy for a while.

What are you working on right now and can you give us a sneak peek? A small excerpt?

I am working on a children’s book about a cat that runs away from a home where it is not appreciated and goes to live with a witch. It would be fun to give you an excerpt of Jennifer The Runaway Cat. There is a scene where Jennifer’s family is determined to bring her home once they have found her. They track her to the witch’s house, and they demand she return with them, but the witch insists Jennifer is now her cat, and she politely invites them in for soup. They reluctantly acquiesce. Once they have tasted the soup the mother and father don’t like it at all, but they are too polite to say so. However, their young daughter imprudently blurts out her feelings:

“I don’t like it because it smells like dirty socks and tastes like lizard guts!”

Her parents gasped, and the old woman let out a shriek of laughter.

“Why it is lizard guts, among other things. What a clever child you are!”

The father stood up and dropped his napkin on the table. The mother’s eyes where like two saucers as she held her napkin to her lips and covered her nose. Jennifer’s ears stood upright. She jumped off the chair and hid behind it.

“Why did you serve us this ghastly soup and what else is in it?” the father demanded to know feeling over wrought, his voice booming.

The old woman smiled sweetly and she answered.

“Sir, the soup is made of the finest ingredients:

Six cups of clear pond water in which toads have kept their feet cool for three days.

A cup of lizard innards grilled to perfection with a bit of sweet moss.

Four tablespoons of wild dandelion and nasturtium blossoms with a tad of honey.

A pinch of mosquito wings and a few seeds of the Mandragora officinarum."

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