My guest today, Cinta García de la Rosa, has written a wonderfully original children's book, The Funny Adventures of Little Nani, and just like all the classic and best children's books, this is a collection of stories that can be enjoyed by all ages. I thoroughly enjoyed the stories, and would recommend the book to everyone.
After reading the book, I was keen to invite Cinta here so that I could introduce her to all of you. She has generously agreed to give away a copy of her fabulous book (print or e-book -- winner's choice) to one lucky reader of my blog. To enter to win a copy, all you have to do is leave a comment below, or simply 'like' this blog post. A winner will be picked on the 16th December 2012.
Here's my interview with Cinta:
I absolutely fell in love with The Funny Adventures of Little Nani. What or who inspired the main character, Little Nani?
Little Nani is based on myself. I wrote the first Little Nani story as a challenge, to prove to myself that I could write something funny. I posted that story in my blog, people liked it, some of them asked me to continue the story, and I decided to write the book. One thing led to the other, really. But Little Nani is totally me.
Little Nani is a girl who tries to help people by casting spells but the spells often go wrong with unpredictable results. Although you have a lovely author photo where you are holding a wand, I am assuming that you yourself are not a witch LOL. If you were, and you knew that your spell wouldn't go wrong, what spell would you cast and why?
LOL no, unfortunately I’m not a witch. But if I were, I would certainly cast a spell to provide an endless supply of food and water for every children in the world. There are millions of children who die of starvation every day. I would like it that stopped happening.
That's a great answer, Cinta
What age group would you say Little Nani's adventures are most suitable for?
I think that Little Nani can be enjoyed by people of all ages. But if I have to restrict the age group, I think that it would be quite suitable for children from 3 to 12. However, I insist, people of all ages are enjoying Little Nani’s silly adventures.
I agree; I'm glad I read it!
I like the way you include paragraphs every now and then in the book asking the children who are reading the book to draw a picture of what they imagine certain characters in your book would look like, or what certain scenes would look like. Have you had any feedback from children about this, and have you seen any of the drawings they have done?
A lovely 3-years-old has lots of fun while drawing on my book, and I know because her mother told me. I haven’t seen any of her drawings yet, but I would love to. However, I have seen a drawing from another reader... although this reader is a boy and fully grown-up LOL But I am always happy when I know that children, and adults too, are having fun with my book.
One of the aims of your book seems to be to develop a child's imagination and creative skills with the little exercises asking them to draw pictures. Do you like drawing/painting?
I like drawing, but I am terrible at it. However, as a teacher I think that developing children’s imagination is essential. That’s why I thought it was a good idea to include that space for drawing with the small prompts.
The illustrations in your book are beautiful. How did you go about finding an artist to illustrate the book, and did you have any ideas as to what the characters should look like, or did you leave that up to the artist to decide?
I found my illustrator quite by chance. I posted on Twitter that I was looking for an illustrator for my children’s book and some people contacted me. I didn’t like their style. I am very picky and I had a very clear picture in my mind of what Little Nani had to look like. People think my author picture was taken after Little Nani’s picture was created. Quite the contrary thing. I sent my author picture to the artists telling them to create Little Nani just like me, but with the specific features I told them to add to the character. Then, one day, one of my followers told me that her sister was a very good illustrator. I saw her art and I liked it, then she drew a first draft of Little Nani and I exclaimed, “It is her!” It was amazing. Almudena, my illustrator, had created the very same image I had in my mind. So I gave her the job :D
Your bio says that you write every day, compulsively. Is that true? If so, how many words per day on average do you think you write?
Yes, it is true. I don’t know how many words per day because I write by hand. I only type my stories once they are finished. Writing is something that I need to do. I keep notebooks all over my house. Even if I just write a couple of paragraphs, I need to write every day. Sometimes I write a couple of sentences, and other times I write almost 10 pages. It depends on the inspiration I get at that time or if I don’t get too much distracted by real life. If, for any reason, I cannot manage to write one day, I go to bed feeling quite miserable.
LOL, oh dear! I can relate to the need to write, though
Are you working on any more Little Nani stories?
Yes, right now I am working on the second volume of Little Nani’s adventures. This book will be titled “Little Nani and her Friends”. At the same time, I am also working on a set of short stories featuring Little Nani and some other characters from the first book. These stories will be “choose-your-own-adventure” stories, since I think they will be fun for everybody to read. At least it is being funny to write.
In your book, you have a little girl who likes casting spells, a horse who likes to read, a caffeine-addicted zombie, and a whole host of other lovable and original characters. Are any of the characters based on real people, or are they totally made up?
Some characters are based on friends or situations I have lived. If we look around, we find lots of inspiration for writing in our daily lives. Most of my characters are made up, but a couple are based on real people, especially one of them LOL
What do you hope that children will learn from The Funny Little Adventures of Little Nani?
Well, basically, most of the stories talk about being kind and keeping positive. I hope children can learn that you need to be kind in order to make people be kind to you. Also, I want them to learn that, no matter of how hard we try, sometimes people don’t have the expected result, but we mustn’t feel bad for that. We must stay positive, seeing the bright side of life, and thinking that next time we can do better.
In your bio, it states that you first started out as a writer by writing in Spanish. Did you publish any books in Spanish, and if not, do you intend to do that in the future?
I have never published anything in Spanish except for a couple of articles for a didactic magazine for teachers. And mainly what I wrote in Spanish were journals. I feel much more comfortable writing in English, and I don’t have any intention of publishing books in Spanish in a future. Maybe the translated version of Little Nani, but I don’t think I can write a whole book in Spanish.
I understand that you are currently working on a novelette based on the British Regency period. Can you tell us a bit more about that and when it is likely to be published?
This is a project that has no date of publication yet, since I am focusing more on Little Nani right now. As a result, my novelette is making very slow progresses. It is a story about an heiress in the Regency period, and the conspiracies that start happening around her when some suitors appear. She must struggle with society, since at that time women’s rights weren’t quite developed, and with those suitors, who are not all good. And I cannot tell more :D
Do you have any tips for someone who is thinking of self-publishing his or her own book?
Get a good editor and don’t assume that you can format your book either for paperback or e-book form. If you trust on professionals to do those tasks, your book will have a very professional look and readers will be happy. As Indie authors, that is essential, since if our readers are happy, they will spread the word about our books, and that’s perfect marketing.
Who were your favourite authors when you were growing up, and what was it about their writing that you liked?
It is very difficult to decide who my favourite authors are. The list is quite long. But if I have to choose, I would say Jane Austen,J.R.R. Tolkien, and Gabriel García Márquez. About Jane Austen, I love her subtle irony and her witty remarks; most people think that she wrote girly love stories, but her novels are much more than that. I love Tolkien because he was great in creating new worlds; he helped me quite a lot to open my imagination. Gabriel García Márquez is a fantastic writer, and I love his treatment of magical realism in his books; I strongly recommend everybody to read One Hundred Years of Solitude.
I agree; I loved that book!
Have you read any good books lately that you can tell us a bit about?
I have read lots of good books lately, so it is difficult to choose. If you like poetry, I would recommend From Where I Stand by Robert Zimmermann, an extraordinary and heart-felt poetry collection. If you like plays, I would recommend Ten Minutes in Heaven, by Ben Ditmars, which is a delightful collection of ten-minute plays about diverse topics. If you like short stories, I strongly recommend Blissfire, A Story Collection, by D.e.e.L, just because the stories will blow you away with their power and their poetic style. But if you prefer reading novels, I can recommend Blood Land, by R.S. Guthrie; seriously, this thriller is unputdownable. I couldn’t stop reading it until I finished.
I understand that as well as writing, reading, reviewing, and blogging, you are also a Spanish teacher. Do you have any tips for writers as to how they can balance their day to day work with their writing?
Well, it is all a matter of organisation. While I am at work, I keep a notebook next to me, just in case that I have some idea for my stories. I really cannot think of any useful tip for this. It depends on the organisational skills of every person. I just try to follow a schedule and, in that way, it is easier to do everything I have to do every day. Sorry, it is very difficult for me to answer this question.
I agree, it's a tough thing to balance work life and writing
Where is the best place for readers to find you and connect with you online?
Right now, the best place for readers to find me and connect online is Facebook, both on my personal page and my author page. I am always glad to talk to people there. I also have a blog and two websites, where people can also interact with me thanks to the contact forms and the forums.
I designed some pretty wall calendars, featuring the illustrations of the book. I was thinking that maybe I can gift them to people if they buy a paperback copy of The Funny Adventures of Little Nani. I will announce that very soon in my blog, but here you have a heads-up ;)
That sounds like a wonderful idea
Thanks a lot, Maria, for featuring me in your blog. It has been a pleasure. Thanks!
Thanks for answering my questions, Cinta! I wish you every success with your book and future writing