Title:The Luthier’s Apprentice Author: Mayra Calvani Author web site: http://www.MayraCalvani.com Publisher: Twilight Times Books,http://twilighttimesbooks.com Genre: YA Paranormal Fantasy Distributors: Amazon Kindle; Apple iBookstore; BN.com Nook; Kobo Books; OmniLit, etc Release date: May 15, 2014 ebook; August 15, 2014 print Pages: 184
The Luthier’s Apprentice by Mayra Calvani
Niccolò Paganini (1782-1840), one of the greatest violinists who ever lived and rumored to have made a pact with the devil, has somehow transferred unique powers to another…
When violinists around the world mysteriously vanish, 16-year-old Emma Braun takes notice. But when her beloved violin teacher disappears… Emma takes charge. With Sherlock Holmes fanatic, not to mention gorgeous Corey Fletcher, Emma discovers a parallel world ruled by an ex-violinist turned evil sorceress who wants to rule the music world on her own terms.
But why are only men violinists captured and not women? What is the connection between Emma’s family, the sorceress, and the infamous Niccolò Paganini?
Emma must unravel the mystery in order to save her teacher from the fatal destiny that awaits him. And undo the curse that torments her family—before evil wins and she becomes the next luthier’s apprentice…
Award-winning author Mayra Calvani has penned
over ten books for children and adults in genres ranging from picture books to
nonfiction to paranormal fantasy novels. She’s had over 300 articles, short
stories, interviews and reviews published in magazines such asThe Writer,Writer’s JournalandBloomsbury
Review, among others. A native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, she now resides in
with Mayra Calvani, author of The
Can you tell us a
little about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?
I’ve been writing
and creating worlds for most of my life, since I was about 12. In
secondary school I wrote stories and plays. At 16, I wrote a romance novel
which was secretly passed around in class. By 20, writing was already a
passion, an obsession. I saw myself doing no other thing than becoming an
I was born in San
Juan, Puerto Rico, but later moved to the US, where I completed a degree in
Creative Writing and History. I have lived in the Middle East but I’m now
settled in Belgium. In addition to Spanish and English, I also speak Turkish
and a little French.
When I’m not
writing, I enjoy reading and reviewing books, as well as helping other authors
promote their works. I love having lunch with friends, going to the cinema with
my kids, and spending time with my pets and my family. I also love traveling.
What was your inspiration for The Luthier’s Apprentice?
I studied/played the
violin for 5 years, and my daughter has been playing it for 8 years, so violin
music has been a big part of my life for a long time. There’s something darkly
mysterious about the violin, and I’m in awe of soloists who have the skill to master
it. The making of the violin itself is fascinating to me as well. And, of
course, I also love listening to violin music whenever I can. Naturally, violin
music has been very influential in my writing. I just find it immensely
inspiring. Besides The Luthier’s
Apprentice, I have also written several children’s picture books related to
the violin. Readers can learn about them here: www.MayrasSecretBookcase.com.
How was your writing process like for The Luthier’s Apprentice?
I completed the
first draft in four weeks during Nanowrimo 2007. At that time, it was an
experiment. I hadn’t participated in Nanowrimo before. It was an exciting,
exhilarating experience, but I knew the manuscript needed a lot of editing and
polishing, so I put it aside for a long time. Then I worked on it on and off as
I worked on other projects. That’s why it took so long to publish it.
I didn’t plot in
advance. I didn’t know what would happen on the next page. I discovered the
story and characters as I wrote. Or rather, I let the characters take charge
and guide me. Looking back, this was incredibly daring. I don’t work this way
now. But, as I said, it was an experiment to shut down my inner critic and it
was an exciting challenge.
Is The Luthier’s
Apprentice the first book in a series?
Yes, it is the first
book in a series, featuring 16-year-old violin student/luthier/amateur sleuth
Why did you decide to set the story in Brussels?
I have been living
here for the past 19 years, and I’m familiar with how the expatiates live—after
all, I’m one myself. I thought it would be interesting to set the story in a
city teeming with international students, children of diplomats from embassies,
NATO, and other international organizations.
Yes, I signed with
Nadeen Gayle at Serendipity Literary at the end of August 2013.
As a published
author, what would you say was the most pivotal point of your writing
This is a difficult
question to answer. There have been many pivotal moments: when I completed my
first book, when I held my first published book in my hands, when I landed an
agent. Each time I finish a new manuscript is a pivotal point for me because I
grow as a writer and become better at my craft.
What is the
hardest part about being an author?
As writers, we work
on our own. We don’t have a boss threatening to fire us if we don’t show up
every morning, so I’d say the hardest part is being disciplined and keeping
focused on the work at hand and, above all, not procrastinating. I have to
create all kinds of systems around me to keep myself disciplined. I’m terrible
at being disciplined, but I’m pretty good at self-imposed discipline. I set an
intention before each writing session, I keep 4 planners and lists, I use timers,
I make people hold me accountable, I set myself deadlines and at times commit
to paying people money if I don’t meet those deadlines, that sort of thing.
Where do you get
your best ideas?
I get ideas while writing. As I work on a novel, there are always
wonderful surprises. I also get my ideas while doing routine, automatic
activities such as walking, driving, washing the dishes, vacuuming, taking a
shower, etc. Also, while listening to violin music and movie soundtracks. The
music ofJames Newton Howardand Wojciech Kilar profoundly inspires me. I
often write while listening to their scores.
Another thing that
really inspires me is reading the rich, baroque works of Anne Rice. There’s
something about her style and language that makes me want to run to the
computer and start typing.
What was your
greatest when writing a book? Do you have any tips that you could pass on which
would make the journey easier for other writers?
challenge: keeping focused and not procrastinate. Keeping confident throughout
the process and, like Steven Pressfield says in his fantastic book, Do
the Work, “trusting the soup.”
Every book that I’ve
written has been hard to write. Though writing is my life and, in a way, like
breathing, I have a love & hate relationship with it. First of all, the
mechanics of the craft are always a challenge: constructing the plot, creating
the characters, balancing all the elements, i.e. description, dialogue,
narrative, symbolic imagery, etc. Then there’s the word choice and the
agonizing over verbs, adjectives, adverbs.
there’s the emotional aspect of the journey: struggling with the inner critic,
bouts of self doubt, writer’s block, irritability over not writing, dealing
with negative criticism, remorse due to sacrificing time with family and
friends, spending hours, days, months, years sitting at the computer without
any assurance that the book will be read by enough people or earn enough money
to make all that time worthwhile.
But as writers, we
are artists, and the artist’s soul is an interesting, compulsive animal.
Writing is our vocation, our drug, and we must have a regular fix or go insane.
At the end, after a
good writing day which may happen while still experiencing all of the above,
I’m sweetly exhausted and at peace.
Three things that
have had a pivotal influence on my journey are:
The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron.
Keeping myself accountable
Focusing on the
little, non-threatening steps instead of the end result. That is, thinking,
“Okay, now I’m going to sit down with my novel for 90 minutes” instead of “I
have to write a 400-page novel.” When you take small steps toward your goal
each day, you don’t freeze and the end result takes care of itself at its
What is a typical
writing day like for you? How many hours do you write per week?
It has taken me a
long time to find my natural rhythm and to face the fact that I’m not one of
those super prolific writers who can cough up a whole novel in 3 months. I’d
love to be one of those! But I’m not. My inner critic is always present,
agonizing over each word, each sentence. I can’t help editing as I write. So
right now it takes me about two years to complete a novel. I write in the
mornings. I set my timer and work in 90-minute increments. So I’ll do 90
minutes, then take a break to do some housework or run an errand, then come
back and do another 90 minutes, and so on. If I’m in the zone, I’ll keep at it
for 3 hours or so without stopping, but on average, I write 2-3 pages a day, or
10-15 a week.
Of course, I work on
other things besides my novel. I’m currently putting together an anthology as
well, so afternoons are for that, along with my freelance publicity work, which
sucks up a lot of my time.
experimenting with ways to speed up my writing process and shut up my inner
critic, like taking part in fast-draft workshops and Nanowrimo, but usually the
end product are pages and pages that require heavy editing or that I have to
Is there anything
that surprised you about getting your first book published?
How absolutely cool,
neat, and wonderful it feels to hold that first print book in your hands!
Can you describe
the feeling when you saw your published book for the first time?
Gosh, that was a
long time ago, when I was in my twenties. I think I screamed. I couldn’t stop
looking at it, inside and out. I kept thinking, “Did I really write this?” It’s
an intense feeling of elation and validation.
If you could give
one book promotion tip to new authors, what would that be?
To keep it going
week after week, month after month, year after year. Book promotion is an
ongoing process. Many authors do one book tour or two after a book’s release
and wrongly assume that the rest will take care of itself, but that isn’t the
case. To see results, you must stay persistent and consistent.
doesn’t mean that you have to engage in social networks 24/7. Only that you
should take one step toward promoting your book at least once a week, then keep
it going, week after week.
However, I’d advise
writers to never let book promotion stand in the way of their writing. As an
author, your best time is spend producing that next book.