Finally, and at last, I’m interviewing a fellow middle grade author. I love middle grade. I love writing it, reading it, and discovering new and wonderful books. And here it is. Meet Iva Valentino, author of Black Cats and Ballet Slippers. Readers, leave a comment for a chance to win an e-book copy of Iva’s novel.
Iva, your book looks like so much fun. I just love the cover. What’s it about?
Black Cats and Ballet Slippers is a humorous middle grade book. It’s based in diary format, straight from the head of Gemma Mayfield. Gemma is not only an amazing ballerina, but is also awesome at solving mysteries. She thinks her teacher, Ms. Pruett, is a witch—and she’s determined to prove it.
That sounds great. I bet the kids tear up the pages trying to solve the mystery of Ms. Pruett. Are any of your characters based on real people?
Mungo, Gemma’s black cat, is so much like a kitty I had when I was a kid. We called him Mitzko! He was a feisty little guy. He loved to play fetch with a ball, just like a puppy. Mitzko also had a HUGE meowl! It sort of sounded like a combo of a “meow” and and “yowl”. VERY loud and hard to ignore! We just loved Mitzko.
How cute! Does he say, “Let meow-t?” (Excuse the bad joke – ahem.) How did you get this idea?
The idea for Black Cats came about during my last year of teaching middle school. In the book, Gemma’s science teacher, Ms. Pruett, has a really creepy classroom. The classroom has a prep-room with lots of “witchy” things, such as powdered unicorn horn and other ingredients for spells. In my classroom, I also had a big prep-room. My room was actually very nice and not creepy at all, but over time, my imagination took over. I started to envision it as being Ms. Pruett’s. From there on, the rest of the storyline for Black Cats started to brew!
What an imagination. I love it. So what’s your next book?
I’m currently working on a sequel to Black Cats. The gang from Middleton Middle School will all be there, along with some new characters that I’m excited to introduce! The next book’s not a mystery book, but I still think it will be a lot of fun. It’s still in the early stages, but here’s a hint: ballerinas and football!
Ballerinas and football? How fun! Iva, tell us a little about yourself.
I live in Arizona with my husband, and our dog, Lupo. I love living in the desert! We recently purchased a house on the outskirts of town where we see lots of critters—snakes, coyotes, javelinas, hawks, even a bobcat or two. I love animals and we’re planning on having more pets soon, including foster dogs!
I worked as a middle school science teacher for many years. Although I really enjoyed doing fun science experiments with my students, I found my perfect job last year as a science editor for an educational publisher. Hooray for books and science!
When I’m not editing, writing books, or immersed in house projects, I love to take dance classes! My favorites are currently Afro Brazilian (the drums!), Zumba, and an absolutely amazing DJ dance cardio class. I also enjoy yoga, cooking, photography, and singing while driving in my car.
I guess that explains why you’re so slim! Iva, give us your purchasing links so my readers can snatch up this gem. (Excuse the Gemma pun.)
I love the Gemma pun! Please come visit me at the following sites:
Purchasing links for Black Cats and Ballet Slippers:
MuseItUp Publishing: https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore/index.php/now-available-in-ebook/black-cats-and-ballet-slippers-detail
Thank you, Iva Valentino. I look forward to reading this book. And readers, leave a comment and you may be he winner of Black Cats and Ballet Slippers.