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Saturday, April 5, 2008

Details with Mayra Calvani


Tell us the book title and your author name.

Dark Lullaby, by Mayra Calvani

What inspired the book?

This particular novel was inspired by my fascination with moral dilemmas and by Turkish folklore. I lived several years in Turkey, so this was a big influence. Listening to stories about the mysterious—and scary—beings called cin (jihnn) was an unusual experience for me and I always knew I would eventually write something about them in a future book.

What makes this book special to you?

The aspect of this book which makes it more special to me is that the protagonist was inspired by my brother (of course for plot purposes I pushed it to the extremes!). It is also my first novel which has a male protagonist; this made the writing both more interesting and challenging.

What makes this a book that other people MUST read and WHY?

Dark Lullaby is a bizarre tale about a young astrophysicist who is lured into the Turkish countryside by a strange and beautiful girl—of course, the girl ends up not being what she first appears to be. Ultimately, he is faced with a moral dilemma: Does the end justify the means? People who must read this book are people who enjoy strange paranormal fiction set in exotic locales, and who also get a kick out of philosophy and controversial moral issues.

What people NEED to read this book and WHY?

Interesting question. Who would need to read this book? People who are idealists and believe ideals cannot collapse. Why? To see that ideals can indeed collapse.

What sparks your creativity? Any tips to help others spark their own creativity?

Walking alone, haunting violin music, a good book or movie, a conversation, a person’s face, free writing, keeping a journal.

I would recommend people to get a copy of The Right to Write and The Artist’s Way, both by creativity guru Julia Cameron. Also to write at a cafĂ© once a week, either alone or with a group of writers.

What has been the biggest stumbling block in your writing? Can you share some tips to help others get past similar problems?

Definitely lack of discipline. I try my best to write everyday, but the truth is my style is to binge. Not writing everyday can lead to many problems—insecurity, self loathing, stagnation. It used to be very hard for me to actually start that first chapter—it still is, but now I trust my voice more, I’m kinder to my inner self and less critical. Of course—this inner critic, that awful voice that whispers in your ear that you’re no good, gets worse when you don’t write everyday. So both are connected, both feed on each other. The trick is to keep writing, to do it every day, even if just a few sentences. Studying the works I mentioned before (Julia Cameron’s The Right to Write and The Artist’s way) were a tremendous help, as well as joining a creativity workshop. Journal writing can be very useful to keep you writing and to clean your mind of all the useless and negative clutter that gets in the way of your creativity.

What do you think motivates people to become authors? What motivated you to get into this unusual industry?

In my case, it was not a conscious decision. I simply loved writing since I was a child. Writing was something I was particularly good at and it got me attention, so I kept at it. Later on, as I grew older, it became a natural way to get rid of all the voices in my head, a way to bring to life my imaginary world filled with mystery and adventure. Also, I’ve always been attracted by the image of the antisocial, ‘intellectual’ author—pounding on an old typewriter and smoking at a messy desk—not that this is my style! It is, after all, a great job—you’re your own boss, have your own hours, etc.

Tell me about the most unusual things you have done to promote any books?

So far nothing unusual, I’m afraid. I’m quite traditional when it comes to promoting—author interviews, reviews, article distribution, having a website, blog and newsletter, etc.

FICTION - If there is a setting, tell us how you decided on that setting and what you did to create a complete and vivid setting for your readers?

Although at the beginning of the novel the characters are in Baltimore, most of the story takes place in the Turkish countryside; in Rize, to be exact, which is a small, tea-planting city on the north eastern coast of the country. I spent hours doing research on the internet and studied many photos that made me create the right atmosphere for the place. The stories I had heard about the cin were from people who originally came from that area, so choosing that particular setting came natural. I wanted to put the protagonist in an exotic setting, in a place where he would feel like an outsider, thus being in a disadvantageous, weaker position.

FICTION - What inspires you about the hero or heroine in your book? What makes them memorable for the reader? What motivates the hero and/or heroine? You can include information about both if you want.

There’s no heroine in this novel. The story revolves around the hero and the anti-heroine, though the hero, Gabriel Diaz, is the center of the whole thing. I love that the hero is an astrophysicist because I love science, especially astronomy and cosmology. It was fun doing research to make sure I was getting the facts correctly. As I said earlier, the hero was inspired by my brother. He’s an astrophysicist, so he was there to answer my questions as well, which was convenient. I combined my love for science with my love for philosophy and made him a philosophy aficionado as well. All throughout the book Gabriel is motivated by an idealist sense of justice and by doing the ‘right’ thing.

FICTION - Is there a villain or something that causes friction in your story? Tell us about what or who it is and how that contributes to the story. Any details about conflict and friction is good information to know.

The anti-heroine or villainess in Dark Lullaby is a young and beautiful Turkish girl named Kamilah. When Gabriel meets her at the tavern on that first night, she claims to be a biology major. Of course, once in Turkey her true nature emerges to the surface and she ends up being something very different from what she presented herself to be. She is the catalyst that brings Gabriel to face his demons; she the reason that propels him to the extreme, because Kamilah isn’t just a threat to him, but to his twin sister as well, who is very vulnerable right now expecting a baby. In all modesty, I think Kamilah’s true nature will take many readers by surprise.

Thank you for visiting with me and in closing, give us your website address and a link to order your book.

Thanks so much for having me as your guest, Nikki!

My website is www.MayraCalvani.com and the book is available from Amazon
http://www.amazon.com/Dark-Lullaby-Mayra-Calvani/dp/1593749074/
and from the publisher http://www.whiskeycreekpress.com/store/index.php?main_page=prod

Interview Presented By
Nikki Leigh - Author of Book Promo 101
www.nikkileigh.com/book_promo_101.htm

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