Mariana R. Silva-Buck is a photographer, a writer and a mother who has worked with children since she was a teenager, from teaching summer camp to volunteering at the orphanage in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where she was born and raised. She received her B.A. in Communication from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and currently lives in Wales, MA with her husband, her daughter and their big bud Zandor. She is a SCBWI member and has also earned the title of International correspondent from the Brazilian Sovereing Academy of Arts of Rio de Janeiro Estate. Her passion for children, literature, multiculturalism and learning inspired her to write the children’s book, The Adventures of Zandor.
Stephanie: Hello, Mariana! Congrats on winning the B.R.A.G Medallion. Please tell me about your book, The Adventures of Zandor.
Mariana: Hi Stephanie. Thank you so much for interviewing me. Well, The Adventures of Zandor is the story of a little dog who teaches us to believe in the power of imagination, the importance of overcoming our fears and what can happen if you simply try.
Zandor is a dog who loves to play in the yard, however his biggest dream is to go on a real adventure. One day he goes on a trip with his family to explore nature and everyone is thrilled, but what he didn’t realize is how quickly the unknown can become overwhelming when it is right in front of you. Although the little dog is afraid, he doesn’t give up, instead Zandor transforms into a super hero (because super heroes can do anything) through the power of imagination, overcomes his fear and have the adventure of his dreams.
Stephanie: What inspired you to write your story?
Mariana: My inspiration to write this book came after seeing so many kids, especially young kids, like my 4 year old nephew being so caught up with new technology and not spending time to be creative with play time. Some of my best childhood memories are building forts, climbing trees and playing pretend. 21% of today’s kids regularly play outside, compared with 71% of their parents’ generation at their age. I certainly want to inspire children to have those experiences too. I thought to myself “what has happened to playing outside, using your imagination?” I felt I should do something about it. During my 2 years observing my friends and family’s children and teens I notice many of them didn’t have an interest in playing and being creative because they didn’t know what to do and quite honestly they were afraid to try or afraid to fail, it was much easy to play a game that was telling them what to do and how to play.
Soon after my other nephew was born and the following year my daughter was born, then everything changed. I felt it was the right time and I had a purpose, I was looking with the eyes of a mother and an artist, I truly believe that made the perfect combination, beside I had all the ingredients of good kid’s story, our awesome dog who has been to all kinds of crazy adventures with us, a focused message and a child.
Stephanie: Have you written in the children’s genre before?
Mariana: No, I have never written in the children’s genre before but I am a bit of a story teller (giggles), I write articles for a whole different target group but children’s genre is my passion.
Stephanie: Is there a message or a lesson you would like your readers to come away with?
Mariana: Although I believe technology is very important, I also believe that learning problem solving skills and being creative is extremely necessary for child development. Some of my best childhood memories are playing pretend, building forts with sheets and chairs, making paper swords or playing with my dolls, I do understand things have changed but I want to at least try to inspire kids to use their imagination, believe in themselves and overcome their fears. According to experts, a lack of outside time can have a great impact in a child developmental growth. This unwanted side-effect is called Nature Deficit Disorder (NDD), a term coined by the writer Richard Louv. “Kids who do play outside are less likely to get sick, to be stressed or become aggressive, and are more adaptable to life’s unpredictable turns.”
Stephanie: How long did it take for you to write your story?
Mariana: It took me about 3 months and 8 drafts to figure out how the story should go.
Stephanie: Did you work with an outline or just write?
Mariana: I just started to write and let my imagination take over based on the message I wanted the book to have, the story kind of took its own direction, it is very different from what I had originally imagined.
Stephanie: Who designed your book cover?
Mariana: Her name is Marissa Perna, she is an amazing illustrator who really understood what I wanted and what tone the illustration should have, it was a perfect marriage, she did all the art work and I did the layout of the book and the cover title. I couldn’t have done it without her.
Stephanie: What is up next for you?
Mariana: I have just finished writing the second book from Zandor’s series, I am working on my publishing company Pink Boto Publishing and I am also the new editor in chief at CBP Magazine, an online luxury magazine. (www.cbpmag.com)
Stephanie: Is there a message you would like to give to your readers?
Mariana: Always believe in yourself, if you want to do something but you are afraid do it anyways. Try, dare to be brave and if you fail that’s ok, you get up and try again but don’t let fear stop you from doing your best and most important of all, have fun while doing it.
Stephanie: How did you discover indieBRAG?
Mariana: I spent a lot of time online researching for ways independent book authors were getting support and connecting, I came across IndieBRAG and as soon I saw the organization’s commitment to promote indie authors I knew right away I had found the right place.
Stephanie: Where can readers buy your book?
Mariana: My book is available as a hardcover and e-book on www.amazon.com, www.barnesandnoble.com, on my blog www.marianasilvabuck.wordpress.com
My book was also published in Brazil, so the portuguese version is available on my blog also and on www.allprinteditora.com.br
A message from BRAG:
We are delighted that Stephanie has chosen to interview Mariana R. Silva-Buck , who is the author of, Adventures of Zandor, one of our medallion honorees at www.bragmedallion.com . To be awarded a B.R.A.G. Medallion TM, a book must receive unanimous approval by a group of our readers. It is a daunting hurdle and it serves to reaffirm that a book such as, Adventures of Zandors, merits the investment of a reader’s time and money.