Sunday, November 28, 2010

MEET MAYRA CALVANI:
AUTHOR, BLOGGER, & BOOK REVIEWER EXTRAORDINAIRE!

One of the most exciting things that is happening in our American literary world today is the increasing numbers of Latina bloggers. Many of these bloggers are published authors who utilize their blogs as additional forums for their creativity. In addition to posting a new poem or article, writers often discuss their books and other works, their writing routines, their book tours or speaking engagement calendars, their reviews of other authors' literary creations, and generally take time to show themselves to their public as fully-rounded folks with many interests and passions in addition to writing:  families and pets, authors they idolize, their travels far and wide, etc.  

Through these increasingly sophisticated and numerous blogs, authors are continually rediscovering themselves and sharing these journeys with us. In the pre-internet era, learning about the backgrounds and personalities of authors whose books we read could be challenging. When we found such information, it was often dry and locked in cement, brief and accompanied by faded black and white photos. Now, Latina bloggers (and a goodly number of male Hispanic authors as well!) are putting recognizable, amiable, respectable human faces on their literary selves and showing us the people they are in engaging, dynamic, constantly updated ways. What a delight it is to know the human spirit behind the artistry!

                  Mayra: A "Renaissance Woman" Among Writers

One of my favorites among this relatively new, evolving cadre of Latina writers is Mayra Calvani, a native of Puerto Rico and a longtime New Yorker. As I've read her blogs throughout this year and kept up with her publications, I've come to regard Mayra as the epitome of a “Renaissance Woman” regarding writing. When you think of a versatile writer, you might imagine someone who writes poems as well as novels. Or someone who creates dramas as well as short stories. And so on. Mayra goes beyond this.

She’s been writing since the age of 12, when she began creating paranormal stories. She majored in Creative Writing in college, where her passion for writing solidified, but she never limited herself to one genre of writing. In fact, as she has evolved as an author, so has her predilection for publishing in different genres.  She has written "literary" (as opposed to "commercial") short stories; parody/satire, as exemplified by her novel, Sunstruck; paranormal vampire fiction, represented by her novel, Embraced by the Shadows; nonfiction, focusing on book reviews and culminating in the recent award-winning book, The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing, which Mayra co-authored; and 6 children’s books.

Mayra is most enamored of children’s literature, which she describes thus: “I love writing for children. It’s like walking on a rainbow. A world of color where I can exaggerate and let my imagination run totally wild.” Her latest child’s book is Frederico, the Mouse Violinist, to be published this fall. She has six children’s books scheduled for publication in 2011-2012!  Mayra is also working on a young adult novel and is halfway finished.

Writing books in multiple genres is challenging enough for any author, and one might think that this keeps Mayra too busy for anything else. Not so. She has written over 300 book reviews, author interviews, and articles in the past decade, publishing these in print media as well as online. She reviews for The New York Journal of Books, the National Latino Books Examiner, SimplyCharly.com, and Blogcritics Magazine.

In addition, Mayra maintains her two author websites and writes four blogs (addresses are below). She says: “It’s fun switching from one genre to another depending on my mood. I love it.” A lifelong high achiever, Mayra also speaks four languages: English and Spanish, of course, plus French and some Turkish. She lived in Turkey for a while and is now based in Belgium.

Visit Mayra’s websites at http://www.mayracalvani.com/ , http://www.mayrassecretbookcase.com/ . Her blogs include http://www.mayra’ssecretbookcase.blogspot.com/ , http://www.thedarkphantom.com/ , and http://www.violinandbooks.wordpress.com/ . Her book reviews appear most often in www.examiner.com/latino-books-in-national/mayra-calvani . Please drop by her sites and leave her your comments. It will be time well-spent for you!

In future posts here, I'll discuss other bloggers, male and female. Also, keep your eyes out for my upcoming book review of Mike Padilla's rousing, humorous, big-hearted novel, The Girls from the Revolutionary Cantina. Take care, check out all these authors' wonderful work, and make literature an eternal part of your and your families' lives!
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10 comments:

Teresa Dovalpage said...

Over three hundred book reviews, plus her own books! AY, que chica activa!!
A Renaissance Woman indeed!

Chica Latina said...

Read THE GIRLS FROM THE REVOLUTIONARY CANTINA. You're gonna love it. And, hey, if you're interested in submitting reviews on books or authors, you should think about sending them to Livin' la vida Latina at http://livinlavidalatina.blogspot.com

David Perez said...

Now that's one inspiring Latina - and you too Thelma for posting the informative profile about Mayra on your blog (great writing by the way). It never ceases to amaze me how prolific and creative our people are.

Palante!

Caridad Pineiro said...

Thank you for sharing Mayra with us! She truly is an inspiration to other bloggers and writers.

Mayra Calvani said...

Dear Thelma,
Thank you SO MUCH for this wonderful profile! I really appreciate it!
Warm regards,
Mayra

Laura Aldir-Hernandez said...

Thanks for giving us all the background on all the Hispanic authors we've got working out there today. So nice to see the creative variety.

Maria Ferrer said...

Hi Thelma. Great post on Mayra. She is a dynamo. I don't know how she does it all. I want to be her when I grow up. :-p

And, just so you can see how great minds think alike, THE LATINA BOOK CLUB will feature a Q&A with Mayra on Dec 13. Do check us out at www.latinabookclub.com.

Feliz Navidad!

Thelma T. Reyna said...

Hi, friends. Thank you all for dropping by and leaving your comments. Well-said! We are so fortunate to have such a variety of talent out there, and Mayra is a great role model! I appreciate you all!

Mayra Calvani said...

Dios mio! I leave one day and come back to find all these super nice comments! Thank you so much!

Mirta E said...

Thelma,

You are superwoman! How do you do it all? I am happy to report that I received the book and I am starting on it this weekend. Among the Ramirez clan we have three or four copies of your first book somewhere as Chuy never gave me my present...your book! :0)

Well, it's in my collection now! I will write a short review and post it on my blog. I can't wait to see you soon hopefully in Texas. I probably won't be in California at least for another year when baby is older to travel without so much maintenance. I will definitely contact you when I visit Cali.

Thank you for your continued correspondence and support!

-Mirta
mirta_espinola20@hotmail.com