So Finally it’s 2023. Wishing everyone a prosperous New Year. We hope the start of this year is filled with happiness and prosperity for you and your loved ones.
In the beginning of this year, I’ve come up with an interview of an amazing author, who is not only known for writing STEM books but is also known to write children’s books along with illustrations. Today we present you our chit chat with Author Carmela Dutra.
Me: As you have vast knowledge and experience in writing STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) books, what made you interested in writing general fiction books (for kids)?
Carmela: I’m a giant kid at heart. I’ve never grown out of my love of picture books, something that I hope to pass on to my two boys. Before STEM education became part of the California curriculum, we had magnet schools. The elementary school I attended was a magnet for science, and that was where everything blossomed. I had a science teacher who was a living embodiment of Ms. Frizzle from the Magic School Bus, from how she dressed to how she spoke. I owe my love and inquisitive nature of all things science to her. Taking that love, I wanted to create something for kids to enjoy. A blend of fiction and nonfiction to encourage and inspire future generations.
Me: Now that you are finally processing your adult novel, the mystery one, what was your motivation behind it?
Carmela: While I have always loved children’s literature and it’ll forever hold a special place in my heart, I’ve always had the desire to write adult fiction. Mystery is my favorite genre, especially cozy mysteries, so I figured why not try writing one myself?
Me: As you have written books already, are you a full-time author? Also, how long does it take you to write a book?
Carmela: Yes, I am a full-time author. It took a long time to achieve that dream, but after seven years, I started working with school districts and eventually quit my job as a wedding photographer. It depends on the genre and length of the book. If it’s a STEM picture, it’s usually three months of research and then anywhere from a few hours to a month for the first draft to be completed. But the illustrations take longer, usually a couple of months. For an adult mystery novel between two to four months, for the first draft.
Me: We know that to become a good writer, you must read a lot. Who are your favorite authors? And what are your favorite books?
Carmela: That’s a hard question. I love Emily Henry’s rom-com, I’ll devour almost any cozy mystery that comes my way. The fantasy world that Matt Haig created in The Midnight Library will forever live rent-free in my brain. Anything that Alex Michaelides writes, I’ll read.
Me: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? What is your writing process like?
Carmela: I’ve always loved creating physical art, whether that was drawing or painting. In high school, I took a creative writing class and knew from that moment on I wanted to create something in the world of writing. Even if nobody else read it, I wanted to craft a world unique to my view.
Me: Have you ever come across criticism? If so, how did you handle them?
Carmela: Of course! There isn’t a single author who hasn’t experienced criticism. Be it constructive or non-constructive, it’s inevitable. Writing is very subjective, but rejections are never personal. Some people enjoy coffee, while others prefer tea. It doesn’t mean one is better than the other, it just comes down to preferences. An area I see a lot of authors struggle with negative feedback is through reviews. I never read reviews of my books. Reviews are for the readers, not the author. If you focus and pick apart everything that is said in a review of your work, you will quickly lose the joy of writing.
Me: Now, coming to the marketing process. So, as you are already an established author, when was the last time you had to do marketing for your book?
Carmela: Marketing is one of those areas that (almost) every author hates but must engage in daily. Marketing can be anything from setting up a social media plan to walking through the front door of a brick-and-mortar store and selling yourself. The last time I directly engaged in marketing my books was yesterday.
Me: So, when can we expect your new book?
Carmela: That will depend on the querying process. I am currently deep in the query trenches for my adult manuscript, but I have several irons in the fire and can see the light gleaming at the end of the query tunnel.
Me: Any suggestions for aspiring authors?
Carmela: Write what you want to write. It’s your story and you should have joy in what you create. Not everyone can write a book from start to finish, so when you do, celebrate that milestone. Celebrate all of your achievements along the way. Did you come up with an idea? Celebrate! Do you have a working title? Celebrate! Did you write your first chapter? Celebrate! Everyone will see the tip of the iceberg of your success, but few will see everything under the surface. All the hard work (yes, there will be sweat, tears, and sometimes physical blood) you spend writing is never in vain, even if you only write for yourself. You’re a writer. There will be difficulties and you just have to roll with them. But most importantly, don’t compare. Comparison is the thief of happiness. Don’t compare yourself to other authors in your field. Remember, you don’t know what’s under their iceberg of writing.
Now that everyone was Carmela. You can reach out to her at CarmelaDutra.com.