For the Love of Writing…
I first fell in love with writing in my seventh grade English class. My teacher, Mrs. Beverly Hoffman, exuded such a strong love of literature that it was impossible not to catch the love bug of reading and writing. For her, imagination was everything. For me, that meant heaven because I loved living in my day dreams. She would read to us. Yes, you read that correctly. In 7th grade, she read aloud to us, and I am so grateful that she did because it was her storytelling that captured me and showed me the beautiful worlds in books. I had read plenty of books by 7th grade, but I had never lost myself in a book until Mrs. Hoffman’s class.
She would also have us write. There were no such things as formulaic essays back then (oh, how I miss those days!). Her one rule: be imaginative! We had to put real thought into our writing. We had to use vivid verbs and descriptive adjectives. We had to show, not tell. I remember one assignment where we had to use affixes and root words to create an imaginary animal and then make a story about him/her. It was then that my love for writing began. I wrote my first short story during that year. It was silly and definitely not worth publishing, but it was mine, and I was proud of it.
I used writing for many years as an escape when I was stressed out or as a tool to express to that young, cute guy how much I would love him forever (or until we broke up…lol). And then something happened…life got busy. I don’t remember the exact moment, but writing and I drifted apart. It wasn’t until I separated from my ex-husband that I realized how much I missed writing. So, I gave it a shot and found that my passion was still very much alive.
As I started writing again, I realized something else. In those years where writing and I weren’t speaking to each other, I had stopped dreaming as well. It was when I started writing again that my dreams came back to me. I hadn’t realized how much I had missed those little fantasies until they returned. Writing and I are now kindred spirits and I have no intentions of letting her drift away again.
Today, I am a high school intensive reading teacher. Unfortunately, that role is more about teaching students certain reading skills in order to pass the state test than it is about enjoying literature, but I refuse to accept that. I take every opportunity that I can find to share my love of reading and writing with my students in hopes that they, too, will become friends with books. After all, it was a teacher who showed me the way. 😉
Interview with Yvette M. Calleiro
- What inspires you to write? I have a very vivid imagination. I tend to day dream a lot. When the thoughts are good, I have to write them down to remember them. I forget things quite easily, but if I write them down, I tend to find them again in my dreams.
- What do you love most about writing? I love allowing the voices in my head to create their worlds on paper. I love the process of seeing it develop from an idea into a reality of sorts. And I absolutely love the feeling I get when readers react to my stories.
- What’s the most challenging part? The most challenging part is finding time to write. The ideas are there, but my life is a nonstop list of to-do’s.
- How do you craft your story & characters? I honestly don’t feel that I craft them. I think it’s more like they share with me what their stories are going to be. I feel like they have a life of their own, and if I try to put too many parameters on them, then my writing falls flat.
- How much research is involved? This series actually did take some research at the beginning. I knew that my characters were other-worldly. I knew that they were connected to the elements, but I didn’t know much about that world at the time. So, I started researching Wicca and the five elements, and all of a sudden, the holes were filled and my series took shape.
- How long did it take from idea to finished book? The first book took about two years because I fought with myself about publishing it. The other two books have taken about a year each.
- Do you have any writing rituals or habits? I wish! I would love to have a habit created, but I haven’t found time to create one. One day…
- Who influences you the most? That’s a hard question. I think books and movies influence my dreams. I think people encourage me. So, I guess authors like CS Lewis and Cassandra Claire and JRR Tolkien have influenced me. My sister encourages me the most.
- What is your favorite theme/genre to write? I love young adult fantasy/paranormal.
- Which character you’ve created is your favorite? Why? That’s like asking a mother to pick her favorite child. I love them all, even the evil ones. If I absolutely had to pick a favorite, I think I would have to go with (Jeopardy theme playing in repeat) Mel. The irony is that I was going to kill Mel off in the first book, and now she’s one of my favorites. Nothing goes right for her, and yet she is sassy and funny and refuses to give up.
- Do any of your life experiences worm their way into your books? I can’t say that they really have. I know I’ve taken locations that I’ve been to and reworked them into something better in my novels. I know I’ve created characters that remind me of people who I know. But I don’t think an actual experience has wormed its way into the book.
- How do you like to connect with readers? I love reading reviews. I love when readers leave comments on my blog or on Facebook or Twitter. I soak it all up (and reply, of course).
- What do you hope readers take away from your books? I want readers to walk away from my books with an understanding that we are all connected and that the choices that we make have consequences for everyone involved. So, be conscience in your decision-making.
- Who helps you with the critique and editing process? I have a few different groups who help me. I have my family and friends, many of whom are English teachers and are experts with the red pen. 😉 I have a professional editor who assists me. I also have several beta readers that help me as well.
- Do you ever hate something you’ve written? I groan at some of my poems from when I was in middle and high school. I was such a hopeless romantic. Gag! lol!
- How do you overcome any nagging self-doubt that inevitably creeps in? I call my sister or best friend and they tell me I’m being ridiculous. It usually works.
- Do you read all reviews? I read every single review, sometimes several times.
- Why are reviews important? Reviews are the lifeline of a novel. Readers won’t take a chance on a new author unless they see that others enjoyed the story. Reviews also help me to see what readers liked and didn’t like. For me, it’s the dream-come-true factor. When I read a review that shows me that the reader truly loved the story and my characters, I feel like a million dollars. It’s the best gift ever.
- What advice would you give aspiring writers? Don’t limit your imagination. Let it flow freely and write it all down. There will be plenty of time for sorting and editing and revising and rewriting. If an idea pops into your mind, write it down. Let it fester, and then write some more.
- What can you tell us about what we’ll see from you next? I am currently working on book four in the Chronicles of the Diasodz series. I haven’t released the title just yet.
To learn more about Yvette M. Calleiro, or to purchase, The One Discovered, please visit: