Thursday, 15 May 2014

Interview + Giveaway: The Luthier’s Apprentice by Mayra Calvani

The Luthier’s Apprentice
by Mayra Calvani

Genre: YA Fantasy/Paranormal
Publisher: Twilight Times Books
Date of Publication: May 15th, 2014
Number of pages: 184
Cover Artist: Renu Sharma

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 as The Writer, Writer’s Journal and Bloomsbury Review, among others. A native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, she now resides in Brussels, Belgium.



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Shut up & Read welcomes Mayra Calvani today! 
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Q:  Tell us a little bit about your main characters.
Emma Braun is sixteen years old. The daughter of American expatiates, she’s been living in Brussels all of her life and goes to the European School of Brussels. She lost her dad when she was very young, so she hardly remembers him, but she’s pretty close to her mom. Her life revolves around school, her violin lessons, her best friend Annika, as well as helping her grandfather, a luthier, at his workshop. When her violin teacher, Monsieur Dupriez disappears, Emma is dreadfully upset, not only because there’s a big violin competition coming up and he must train her, but mainly because Emma loves him and sees him as a father figure. She’s been his student since she was a little girl. Emma is loyal and has a kind heart, but she’s also stubborn and impulsive. Of course, she loves mysteries, is a big fan of Sherlock Holmes, and is always ready for adventure.

Corey Fletcher, 17, of American and Russian descendance, is not only another student of Monsieur Dupriez, but he happens to be Emma’s toughest opponent at the upcoming violin competition. And whereas Emma is a big fan of Sherlock Holmes, Corey is a mad fanatic of the detective, often quoting him word by word. He joins Emma in her pursuit of finding Monsieur Dupriez and solving the mystery of the kidnapped violinists. Unbeknown to Emma, however, he has his own hidden agenda.

Q:  What was your favorite scene to write?
There’s a part in the book where my protagonists, Emma and Corey, are attacked by a pack of wolves and they must fly a small plane—well, Corey flies it (his father was a pilot). This was a fun scene to write. It has action, humor, and a bit of romance.

Q:  What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
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.

Q:  How has your environment/upbringing colored your writing?
My environment and upbringing have immensely influenced my writing. I was born and raised in Puerto Rico. Then I went to college in the States. Then I lived in Istanbul and Ankara for four years, and I’m now settled in Brussels. All these different countries and cultures have colored my writing. My supernatural thriller, Dark Lullaby, is set in Turkey and is based on Turkish folklore. My current WIP is a psychological thriller set in a convent in El Yunque, the Puerto Rican rain forest. And, of course, The Luthier’s Apprentice is set in Brussels.

  Q:  If you could be any character from your book, who would you be and why?
I would have to say Emma, my protagonist. Who wouldn’t want to be 16 again, beautiful and talented?

Q:  What do you do to unwind and relax?
Read, go out to eat with friends or family, exercise, meditate. Once a year our local SCBWI group coordinates a retreat in the Belgian countryside. Though we go there to work and write, it is always such a relaxing and invigorating experience to be away from home and surrounded by like souls. I love it. I wish we could do it every season.

  Q:  If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
Without a doubt, that would have to be Egypt—even though I’ve been there three times already! There’s just something magical about that place. Who knows? Maybe I was a member of the ancient Egyptian nobility in a past life. J

Q:  What book are you reading now?
I’m reading The Secret History, by Donna Tartt. This is the 3rd time I read it, and each time I learn something new about writing, characterization, plotting, etc.

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  1. Thank you so much for promoting my work!


    1. You're welcome! I'm glad to be part of the tour :)

  2. Ahh, I wanted to participate in the giveaway, but discovered this too late! >.< Snif~


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