I have two reasons for today’s post. First, I would like to thank everyone for their downloads, purchases and support of me and LILY WHITE LIES in the last week. I am happy to say that the giveaway was a success, having given away a little more than 13,000 books in one day, followed by over 4000 sold in the following week. Bigger numbers than I dared hope for! (And my friends in England, you’ve made quite a showing) I’ve been hearing wonderful feedback and can only hope that word continues to spread about a great story. Thank you all.
It looks like I’m coming out of ‘retirement’… at least temporarily. A few weeks ago, when I announced that Arthur Levine would be my last interview, I hadn’t taken into consideration that there would be people who were just finishing up their books or who had just heard of Ink Drop Interviews and were sending me their requests just as I was shutting down.
So, taking that into consideration, I will be posting interviews for at least the next couple weeks. Today, I would like you to help me welcome an author I came across not too long ago, Cassia Martins, author of BORN IN RIO.
IDI – Hi Cassia, I’m glad you could be here today.
IDI – Something every writer is asked to the point of exhaustion – where do you get your ideas?
CM– I think from living, from everywhere, really, because I am not sure that there is a specific place where they come from, but I definitely think that “listening to the silence” and nurturing an “open channel” as to when they come plays a big role. What I mean by that is that I have had the most amazing ideas at times where I didn’t expect them to come at all! And yet, when they did, I welcomed them, built on them. That is why I am not sure there is a specific place where I can find them!
For example, when writing “Born in Rio” I created a schedule and I tried to stick to it: I had a goal of writing at least 700 words a day. But when I reached the end of chapter 39, I couldn’t find the right words to continue! And the more pressure I put on myself, the less writing I would get done. So I learned to respect my time, even though I always kept an “open channel” to be prepared to welcome the words through the silence… and one day, while mindlessly walking in the streets of Rio de Janeiro, I passed in front of a school, and this sentence came to me: “School had started in front of Elizabeth’s building and the sound of children’s laughter slowly broke my deafness.” After that I kept on writing and I was able to finish the book in one shot!
IDI – On that note, tell us a little about your book, BORN IN RIO. When did the idea come to you?
CM –The idea of writing this book was first in my mind in 2007, as I was writing application essays to graduate school. Over the years, the story matured, and finally, in August of 2010 I began writing.
My book Born in Rio tells the story of a woman who goes back to her homeland after spending most of her life away. In a way my own experiences and living most of my life away from Brazil, the country where I was born, played a big role. I wanted to write a rich story of personal growth, and take readers through this journey, not only through Rita’s discovery of her past and her heritage, but also through Brazil, its culture, its history and its soul.
IDI – I’m interested to know more about the title ‘Born in Rio’. Can you expand on why you chose that title?
CM – The tile “Born in Rio” suits the book in so many ways, and it describes perfectly the experience I had while writing this book as well.
First, the book was literary “born” in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, as I also spend exactly 9 months writing it!
Second, Born in Rio is a beautiful story of courage, of life-upheaval and change. The main character goes through a drastic transformation throughout the book, and in a way by being in Rio, the city where she was born, allows her to be able to be born again.
Third, I also really wanted to talk about the culture of Brazil and the soul of Rio de Janeiro; a city that has such a special place in my heart! Brazil will be hosting the 2014 World Cup and Rio de Janeiro will be the next one to host the Summer Olympics in 2016. Additionally, Rio de Janeiro recently has become a home of a World Heritage Site as granted by UNESCO. I wanted to give this gift to the world, and tell readers around the globe why Rio de Janeiro is known to be the “Cidade Maravilhosa”, or “The Marvelous City.”
IDI – Who is your target audience? What aspect of your writing do you feel targets that audience?
CM – Anyone who has a heart, and an interest in Brazil, should read Born in Rio. It’s an engaging and heart-warming story of self-discovery and peace, in Brazil’s most famous city!
I think the plot, the characters and the background in which Born in Rio takes place targets my audience really well. To me it’s fascinating to get to know Rita: a single, driven, 37-year old woman, who had a lucrative career as a banker in Manhattan but no personal relationships – not even with her own mother. Suddenly when faced with unexpected news about her mother, she is thrown off-guard, and is forced to confront the difficult past that closed her off emotionally. You see, Rita had immigrated to the United States with her mom when she was just 10 years old, and she never learned why. Intrigued by the letters she found between her mother and her dear friend Elizabeth in Rio, Rita embarks on this journey, not only back to her foreign motherland, but also to an unchartered territory of her life. The events that soon unfold while Rita is in Rio de Janeiro, will change her life forever.
IDI – We all draw from within and I believe there is an element of ‘us’ in everything we write. How much of you will a reader find in BORN IN RIO?
CM – Everything. Really, I gave my all while conceiving this book! I based the story on experiences I have seen in my life and dedicated myself to carefully crafting this novel to make it ready for the world. I was involved in every single aspect of its creation: I managed the editing, publishing and marketing processes. I paint since I was a child so I painted the cover, posed for the cover photo, shot scenes of the daily life in Rio, created the music, edited the book video and put up the Born in Rio website (www.borninrio.com ) myself. I cared for every facet of this project with much love, as if I were tending to my own child, with my heart and soul.
IDI – What do you do when you’re not writing?
CM – I paint since I was a child (some of my works can be seen at www.artontheheart.com ), a habit I consider therapy, an escape, a way I have learned to deal with life’s many challenges, so that is something that I will always do. I also have been able to reconcile both my pursuits in the arts and in business, I have an Economics degree from Boston University and an MBA from The Wharton School of Business, and I work in finance. I enjoy swimming, dancing (in the moment Salsa dancing!) and spending time with my eight-year old long-haired dachshund Dolce, my loyal buddy.
IDI – Define a great book.
CM – I have always thought of books as a way to live intense in my relatively short life span, through the experiences of others, the minds of others, their existence in other times and parts of this planet… in this extraordinary, yet complicated world in which we live!
So, to me a great book is one that serves exactly this purpose, it is a building block to who I am today, to the human being I am evolving to be every day. Therefore the great books to me are many; like the books that taught me how to master my trade, the books that taught me how to behave, the books that comforted me when I was sad, the books that made me laugh, the books that changed my way of thinking and the books that took my breath away.
But I have to say that Born in Rio has a very special place as an essential “building block” of my being, because I never imagined that I would experience living this intensely… living so much through this one book I conceived to the world.
IDI – It was a pleasure having you with me today. Is there anything you would like to say to the readers in closing?
CM – Yes, thank you to all of the readers for visiting me on Ink Drop Interviews and now that Born in Rio is ready for you to read, I hope you will like this story as much as loved writing it for you!
From my heart to yours,
I would like to include a few links where you can find Cassia and her work:
facebook page: www.facebook.com/borninrio
Next week: An interview with Kristi Ayers. Don’t miss it.
*Winner of the Brighid’s National Fiction Manuscript Contest*
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