Let's begin with my obsession, Carola! Tell me about your favorite donuts?
I love to cook, so I think I would create my own donut. It wouldn’t have a hole since I would fill it with lots of dulce de leche. Donuts are not common here in Brazil. But when I go to the US, I ask for Boston Cream donut.
Ummm, I heartily agree to try any donuts you create! Dulce de Leache. YUM!
I bet there is a different common treat that I would adore in Brazil. Add it to the bucket list!
I guess that is one of the most fascinating things about being a part of the writing community. I have met so many amazing authors from around the world! That being said, tell us, Carola, about where you live. :)
I live in southern Brazil. My city, Curitiba, is the largest and most populous in my state.
My family is from Prudentópolis originally, which is the main Ukrainian community in Brazil.
My two Babushkas (Grandmas) and many relatives still live there.
Another small town is Carambeí, where my husband’s family lives. Carambeí is charming, like a small European town. My husband's family lives on a farm, and I love to go there.
Most people in the south are descendants of European immigrants. The heterogeneity of Brazilian people creates a beautiful blend of cultural heritages, ethnicities, and memories.
Brazil's agriculture is well developed. So, we have fresh ingredients of all kinds even in the biggest cities. At the same time, even the small towns in the south are a bit cosmopolitan. My region seems more like the US Midwest countryside.
Even with recent troubles, I’m optimistic about my country. It’s a relatively new democracy and still in development. The Brazilian people work hard to have a better place to live. It’s much better today than twenty years ago.
I consider myself a hybrid author, because my children’s books are self-published and my scientific books on pediatric oncology are published by Springer Nature (Switzerland/England).
I loved the freedom I had self-publishing my books. I did’t have to follow the expectations of a publishing house so I coordinated the whole editorial process myself. 'And, I had a say in the art from beginning to the end.
I’m also a children’s book reader, so I understand that there are expectations that must be met as a children’s book author. It includes originality and never underestimating a child's potential. Also, a book should have a wonderful and new adventure that readers (not only kids but also adults) can identify their personal stories with. They should be able to “talk” with a book. Share their own experiences and impressions. It’s not a one way street; the reader should be a part of the plot.
When the author is part of the process, these expectations can be met. Meeting the reader's expectancy guides my process.
I liked both self and traditional publishing, and I’m always available for opportunities on both sides.
"A book should have a wonderful and new adventure that readers (not only kids but also adults) can identify their personal stories with. They should be able to “talk” with a book. Share their own experiences and impressions. It’s not a one way street; the reader should be a part of the plot."
I enjoy his versatility. He’s an artist, and makes his living as a musician, designer and illustrator. We worked closely to develop Babushka and Karina. Babushka needed to be a legitimate Ukrainian Babushka and also, at the same time, every Grandma. Babushka is not only my Babushka, she’s the reader’s Grandma, Oma, Abuelita, Nonna, Yaya, etc. The reader carries a strong emotional lace that couldn’t be broken. So we worked together to develop her, and I appreciate his patience and availability, as well as his respect with the emotional heritage the story carries. Karina could be a reader, their sister, or their cousin. So much that it’s the name of my closest cousin.
As a Brazilian writer, the hardest part in publishing is not whether to self or traditional publish. It is making sure the book reaches the little lovely hands of our readers.
That’s why I started to write in English. I came across several barriers writing in Portuguese, which is my first language. It’s almost impossible to make a living as an author in Brazil. Literary agents don’t work with new writers, and publishing houses here don’t want newbies.
So, I studied English. Becoming fluent made it easier to become traditionally published with one of the biggest scientific publishing houses. Even self-publishing my children’s books has given me more opportunities than anything in Brazil.
Thanks to Jeff Bezos, I’m publishing and selling children’s books. This is something very beautiful about the American people: if someone does a good job, is a good person, and pays their taxes, they are very welcome to produce their art and work there. And since English is the lingua franca, I can also reach people around the whole world when writing in English.
My bookcase has a past with classical reading. I love Aldous Huxley, Jack Kerouac, Victor Hugo, Gaston Leroux, William Blake, Milan Kundera, L. Frank Baum, as well as Brazilian literature from 70s: Hilda Hilst, Caio Fernando Abreu, and Clarice Lispector. A Brazilian children’s classical marked my childhood, which is Yellow Woodpecker Ranch (Monteiro Lobato). But lately, I’ve been reading only contemporary writers in order to support their work.
I’m really enjoying various books from Afonso Cruz. He is Portuguese. Many of his books have been translated, but unfortunately not into English yet. I hope his books will be translated soon. My favorite one is “A Boneca de Kokoschka” (Kokoschka’s Doll), which is available in Spanish as “La Muñeca de Kokoshka”.
I’m also really enjoying non-fiction, like Malcolm Gladwell (Business) and Bernd Henrich (nature & biology). There are many writers of all literary genres in my city, Curitiba. They shine but don’t have a real opportunity to become well known. I’m still discovering all that we have here.
I think each book has his perfect moment in my life, so my favorites change a lot.
Who/what inspired you to write your book/s?
The theme of “belonging” has always fascinated me and been present in my writing. When I first arrived from the Ukraine, many people asked me to write my story, as a descendant from Ukrainian immigrants.
So the themes of belonging, home, and family memories were approached in my previous book “Chubby’s Tale: The true story of a teddy bear who beat cancer”.
Each of us has our own stories, history and the desire to belong. I came home from Ukraine with the perception that our memories are like a living tissue that intersects with other people and lives. These intersections form who we really are, our families, and our homes.
Chubby had a good reception. His story even landed on the BookAuthority list of “81 Best Leukemia Books of All Time”, For my next book, I wanted to write outside the theme of cancer.
“Tell me a story, Babushka” was written with my soul. It’s my own voice, and I’m happy to see people relating their own personal stories with this book.
Can you tell us one of your favorite lines from any of your books?
“She hugged her matryoshka and her memories.” (Tell me a story, Babushka)
Carola, it has been a true pleasure having you on my blog. Your perspective and journeys are truly unique!
You'll have to tell me readers, if you don't eat donuts, what do you eat in the mornings?
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