A new author is emerging with a sense of whit and charm to entrance us all. I met her on Facebook, and am hoping to get to know her better as time goes on. I am pleased to introduce her, and delighted that she has agreed to be interviewed. She currently has two books out, and a third underway.
Here is the transcript of our conversation:
Let’s start with the easy stuff. How old are you, if you don’t mind admitting it? 40
What part of the world do you hale from?
- My parents are both Cuban. My father was in the US Army, so I was born in Germany and have lived all over the world.
Tell me a little about what it is like at home for you.
- I am the mother of the most amazing 8 year old little man. I am very close to my family, and I treasure my friends. I live in the beautiful Miami, Florida, and love the ocean so much that I have a 300 gallon salt water fish tank at home. I teach high school intensive reading as well as sponsor a couple of clubs. I have two Master’s degrees (one in Reading Education and one in Special Education).
Anything exciting happening for you right now?
- I just released the ebook version of The One Enlightened, book two in the Chronicles of the Diasodz series. The print version will be released very soon.
Do you remember when you started writing?
- I began writing in seventh grade when my English teacher, Mrs. Beverly Hoffman, encouraged us to use our imaginations to explore worlds unknown to anyone but us. I have been dreaming ever since.
Was there a special moment or event that made you feel like you were a writer?
- I considered myself a writer after my divorce. I had lost my path of reading and writing for several years, and during my divorce, I stumbled back onto my path of reading. Soon after, my hands developed the itch to write again, and I haven’t been able to stop writing since. Once I started reading again, my dreaming began again. One dream kept repeating itself, so I began writing about it until it became my first book (still unpublished). Then, I wrote another one (also unpublished). And then, the Diasodz entered my dreams and I’ve been consumed with them ever since.
What inspired you to write your first book?
- You might laugh, but it was the Twilight series, or more specifically, Stephenie Meyer, the author. I fell in love with that series, but when I read that Stephenie was just an ordinary somebody who had a dream and wrote about it, something inside of me clicked and I started writing again. After reading the series, I kept thinking about what it would be like to meet the actor who played the role of your favorite character in a book. I couldn’t let go of the day dream, and a crazy story developed from there.
- My 7th grade English teacher, Mrs. Hoffman, asked us to use root words and affixes to create an imaginary animal. Then, she had us create the animal with all sorts of different materials. And finally, we had to create a story about our animal. I remember that my animal had the body of a hippo, three legs, a horse’s head, and I feel like there was alligator in there somewhere. lol! I don’t even remember the story that I came up with, but I do remember the enjoyment that I felt in creating this imaginary creature and the imaginary world in which he had to live. That enjoyment and that passion, has never left me.
Can you describe your writing style or writer’s voice?
- I would like to think I do. (laughs) I am very informal in my writing. I want my works to have a conversational, casual feel to them so that readers can lose themselves in the story. I LOVE cliff-hangers and sprinkling clues throughout the story so that the readers question what is really true and what is deceptive.
Do you have a method to come up with titles?
- For the Chronicles of the Diasodz series, Ar’ch calls Sofia “the one” that will save them all, and that stuck with me. Knowing that there would be several books and knowing that the books would follow Sofia on this journey to self-discovery and enlightenment, I decided to have each book’s title highlight the focus of that book. The One Discovered is where Ar’ch and Angel discover who their savior (the one) is. The One Enlightened is about enlightening Sofia (the one) about her real heritage and the world of the Diasodz. The One Betrayed is about revealing secrets that affect all of the Diasodz. I can’t reveal the other titles just yet. 😉 As for the term Diasodz, I looked up Latin and Greek terms for healing and protecting, mixed a few terms together, and came up with Diasodz. 🙂
Is there a moral or message in your writing for your readers?
- Yes. There are many messages, but not all of them have been revealed yet. Some messages that are already there or are in the process of being revealed are:
Love, all kinds of love, is to be treasured.
Family is not determined by the blood running through your veins but by the love shared within your hearts.
We are all one with the Earth.
Do you have any realistic elements in your book?
- The humanity of the characters is realistic. Caelagios (the world of the Diasodz) mimics Earth with a few eccentricities. 😉 The fact that they have skills (powers) and that there are demons and deminions is fantasy but the battle between good and evil and the struggles that the characters have to face when it comes to decision-making are very real.
Are there any personal inspirations for the series or for your characters?
- Nah, this series is pure fantasy. There may be situations within the story that people will find relatable, but I haven’t written it with anyone particular in mind. The characters have been very loud in my head from the very beginning, and they are each unique and unrelated to anyone I know. Well, except for Kai…a friend of mine who loves my books and is a huge fan of the supernatural inspired the creation of Kai, but even with that said, Kai is very much his own person.
What books have most influenced you?
- The Hobbit by JRR Tolkein, My Sweet Audrina by VC Andrews, The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis, The Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling, the Anita Blake series by Laurell K Hamilton, and I’m sure I’m missing a few.
Do you have a particular author or writer who has taught you, even if you have not met them?
- Oh, wow, this question is a hard one. I think I would pick Laurell K Hamilton. Our writing styles and our worlds are VERY different, but I love her work ethic and her beliefs about being one with the energies of the world and the Goddess. I think I could learn a lot from her in those areas.
What are are you reading now?
- I am currently reading The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. It is an amazing book about focusing on the present moment and becoming whole. I am an avid reader and tend to stick with paranormal/fantasy novels, both YA and adult, but lately, I’ve found myself reading self-help novels as well. Not only are they helping me deal with the stresses of everyday life, but they are also serving as a type of research for helping my characters deal with the situations in which they will soon find themselves.
Who is your favorite author, and why?
- Right now, my favorite author is Laurell K Hamilton. I love how she can have her characters share thoughts and emotions from such a raw area that you connect so easily with them. I love how easily I lose myself in her worlds. I enjoy how she sprinkles in clues of the ending but doesn’t reveal it until she’s ready. And I love that both of her series are in the double digits because it means that I can live in those worlds for a very, very long time.
Are there any new authors who have captivated you with their writing?
- I don’t discriminate between new and established authors. I love reading books by new authors, and usually find great ones through Goodreads’ Read for Review group. That being said, I have an absolutely horrible memory and can’t think of any of their names right now.
Can you tell us anything about your current project(s)?
- I am currently writing The One Betrayed, book three of the Chronicles of the Diasodz. It has all of my attention, and I’m trying to write a little bit every day.
- (deep breath) If I share what I am writing, then it gives away the ending to book two, and I really hate giving away what happens in a book. So, keeping it as vague as I can, I will say that book three follows a character’s discovery of the Diasodz world and how he/she fits into the big scheme of things. The reader becomes privy to the history of the Raizens (the bad guys) and why they have chosen Lucifer’s side over the Goddess’ side. The readers will learn that not everything is as cut and dry as they have been led to believe. Okay, that’s enough teasing. 😉
Did you have to “go this alone” or did you have support from friends and family?
- I have the most amazing friends in the world. It also doesn’t hurt that most of them are English teachers and can paint a rough draft with the red ink of a pen better than an artist with a blank canvas. 😉 Their support and encouragement pushed me through many moments when I felt like keeping all of my work to myself, and I am forever grateful for them.
How satisfied are you with your most recent book? Anything you would want to change if you were to do it over again?
- Nope. Then again, it’s hot off the presses, so I don’t think I’ve had enough distance from it to be able to answer that question honestly. There are things in The One Discovered that I may have changed or added, and I still may go back and come out with a newer edition once the whole series is done. We’ll see. 🙂
Did you encounter any challenges while writing your book(s)? If so, can you tell me what it was?
- Finding time to write is my biggest challenge. I am meticulous in outlining and drafting and making sure that the characters stay true to their personalities and their storylines, but I have great difficulty finding time to write.
- The hardest part was letting go of what other readers might think about my characters and their storyline. There are some controversial issues that will arise in the series, and I was worried for a long time about offending some people, but I am staying true to who my characters say they are because I truly believe that every person should be true to what makes them unique.
Did these challenges help you learn anything about yourself, or the industry?
- I learned to believe in myself. I learned to develop a thicker skin and to be graceful in accepting constructive criticism. I learned to shut off my mind and listen with my inner being.
You have some beautiful covers. Who designed them?
- The talented Tatiana Villa of Vila Designs designed both of my covers, and I absolutely love them. I had a vision in my head of what I wanted the first cover to look like, and she worked patiently with me until perfectly bringing it onto paper. Each book’s cover focuses on the eye of one of the characters. The One Discovered is graced with Ar’ch’s eyes. The One Enlightened focuses on Angel’s eye while hinting at who The One Betrayed will be about.
Do you see writing as a career?
- I see writing as a passion that may one day become a career, but it will always be a passion first. It is my escape from reality, one of my pleasures in life. Career carries a negative connotation with it in my mind’s eye, so I prefer to see it as my passion above all else.
What advice would you give to other writers?
- Write. LOL. Do not focus on the end product. Lose yourself in the creativity that surrounds you and envelops you. Pay attention to the voices in your head and give each of them time to share who they are with you. Do not discard ideas just because you do not think they have a place in a story right now. Write them down and save them; you will never know why they have chosen you or when you may need them if you don’t honor their space.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
- I write because it fulfills me and brings me great joy, but knowing that you read my novels and fall in love with my characters and their adventures warms my heart and honors me in a way that I will probably never be able to rightfully express. As a reader myself, I know how much I value the works of my favorite authors. To think that you have chosen to spend your precious time reading about my characters is the best gift you can give me. I am blessed that you have taken a chance on me, and I will always respect your time and do my best to give you a story worth reading.
Do you have a blog/website? if so what is it?
- My blog is http://yvettemcalleiro.blogspot.com.
- Facebook: http://facebook.com/YvetteMCalleiro
- Twitter @YvetteMCalleiro
If you would like me to host an author/character combination interview for you, please go here, and get in contact with me.