1. In your bio it says you are a native of Brazil. Where in Brazil did you live?
I grew up in Rio de Janeiro. I lived there most of my life, but from the ages of 18 to 20, I lived between Rio and Sao Paulo.
2. What made you decide to leave Brazil and come to the United States?
I was awarded a scholarship to get my BFA in Texas. After that I was accepted at the Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard, where I got my MFA before moving to NYC to act.
3. Your bio says you moved to New York and became an actor. What kinds of jobs did you get while you were an actor?
4. Please describe why you decided to quit acting.
I didn't decide to quit. In 2008 I was suddenly mute for nearly 11 months due to my vocal cords being paralyzed. After my silent period was gone and I could finally talk, I then had to do vocal therapy for a few months. I'm all healthy now, and believe me, I can talk - a lot.
5. Why did you decide to start writing?
As I couldn't speak, I started writing and drawing to tell stories to my goddaughter, nieces and nephew. That's when I realized that being a story teller was what I'd always wanted to be. Especially telling stories to kids - there was something about telling stories to the ones who don't set limits for their imaginations. If they don't like the story, the honest criticism is loud and immediate. However, if they like it, it's a never ending joy.
6. Would you please tell our listeners your writing process?
I'm very new at this, and still discovering my process, but I'd have to say that, if I do have a little bit of a process, it's based on images. I draw these characters, and then they tell me their stories. The stories happen as a sequence of scenes that I need to be able to see, and together they need to tell a story. It's hard though, when I see a scene that I really like, but it disrupts the flow of the story. Well, I keep them in a box with all the other scenes and characters I couldn't use anyway.
7. What made you decide to write Stork, M.I.A.?
I had just seen a Pixar movie called "Partly Cloudy", which tells the story of where the storks get the babies from. I love Pixar, and with this movie it was no different....but I got a little frustrated, and couldn't understand why it was so hard for so many adults, to honestly tell kids, where babies come from. That's when it occurred to me that I could use that character with a different purpose, to make peace with the stork.
8. Your book is an unusual PB for ages 3-6. Would you please give a brief synopsis of your story?
STORK M.I.A. is the first volume of a planned self-published children's book series (Dad Dad Mom Mom). The book follows the story of Dad and Dad, who were tired of waiting for the Stork, and decided to find her and ask for a baby. They search for the Stork around the world, with the help of Mom and Mom, turning this story into an adventure, rather than a didactic book for children of same gender couples.
There's a large number of children reading mostly books from "borrowed" universes. Dad Dad Mom Mom intends to create a universe for these children - their own universe in which the main characters happen to be same gender couples and their kids.
Dad Dad Mom Mom has no political agenda. It was created for the children and to ease communication between same-gender couples and their children. Also a good tool to help heterosexual parents educate their children about a current matter.
Although I say the book is for 3-6 year olds, it is a book for everybody. I've seen people of all ages giggle while reading it.
9. Would you please describe the path to publication for Stork M.I.A.?
When my voice came back, and my health got better, I realized that I had a book that was ready and needed to be seen by many families. But I knew how I wanted the book to be, and due to the subject matter I was afraid that, if I went to a publishing house, I'd have to edit the story or illustrations for commercial purposes. I don't mind editing if it is to tell a better story, but not to make it more commercial - at least not with this book. I did some research on self-publishing, and then started to do it through lulu.com.
10. While I was reading your book I noticed you used Dad and Dad and Mom and Mom to describe the couples. What made you decide to leave out heterosexual couples?
I didn't really leave the heterosexual couples out. They appear a couple of times, but they are not main characters. I didn't decide to do it that way, but I started telling the story from the point of view of the "outsiders", and as this was the first book, I wanted to introduce the main characters of the series.
11. What have you decided to do to market this book? Do you have any book signings planned?
My marketing experience was one of discovery. I had never done anything like this before, and thought that the hard work would be the creation and production phases, but I was wrong. Being a first time self-published author/illustrator, also means no previous public history (credibility). Therefore, making media coverage tougher, and more expensive. As I didn't have much funding, I had to rely on free media, and on being creative. There were a lot of things I wish I knew before the book release, but the most important would have been to start promoting at least six months prior to release date. It was surprising how long it can take to have your e-mails answered, and how quickly news become old.
I did, however, send some hundreds of e-mails to the basic magazines and newspapers that talk about books and children, to schools, but I also did some research on how to reach the LGBT community, specially same gender couples with kids.
I looked for events and conventions to show the book and talk to people, and I always walk with postcards of the book, and a couple of copies in my bag. I think it's important to be creative, and never be afraid to promote a product you believe in. I talk to everybody about the book.
Luckily these days we have Facebook, Twitter, and the opportunity of having websites and blogs.
I'm reading and signing at the Family Matters Workshop, in Philly on October 16th. The info is at http://phillyfamilypride.org/(Sorry Philly residents that you didn't know about this in time.)
12. Do you have any WIPs on which you are working? Are there any other books that are scheduled for publication?
I'm currently working on the second book of the series, and on other two series - one about a little vegetarian vampire girl, called: Lugosi Elementary School for Not So Scary Monsters, and another about a Brazilian mango who travels the world in search of new adventures and the perfect dessert, called The Worldly Adventures of Emilia Manga.
13. Please give our listeners the links where they can find your book and more information about you.
www.DadDadMomMom.com, and they can also join the Dad Dad Mom Mom on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.