Allow me to present Mary Feliciani. She’s the author of the following titles:
- The Magic Leaf
- Humanitarians, Visionaries, Heroes, and You
- Big and Small in the Mirror
(We’ll learn more about each book later on in the interview.)
1. Tell us about yourself.
I am a Canadian independent author and publisher of children’s books. I attended the University of Toronto at the Mississauga campus and still live in Mississauga, Ontario. After receiving a Bachelor of Science from UTM, and then a Bachelor of Education from the University of Toronto, I became an elementary school teacher.
I have two passions; writing about topics that interest me such as bullying, and the other is travelling and photography. I literally have thousands of travel photos.
- Could you elaborate on why writing is as important as it is to you?
Writing is a way to connect, to say things you might not be able to say in person, or ever have the opportunity to discuss. It’s both cathartic and introspective. It forces you to search corners of your mind that you might not get to in any other way.
- How about travelling? Why does it hold such a privileged position in your life?
Travelling isn’t just about adventure. It fosters an appreciation of other cultures and facilitates the recognition that every country has been influenced by other countries. You not only see the differences, you see the similarities. Travelling also gives you the opportunity to see the natural beauty of the world, without the imaginary borders.
2. When did you start writing?
I wrote the manuscript for The Magic Leaf as a young adult while I was still in university. Then I became busy with life: career, family and friends. But I never forgot that first manuscript. Years later, in 2006, I decided to return to writing and published my first book The Magic Leaf. That was followed by the title, Humanitarians, Visionaries, Heroes, and You, in 2012. My most recent book is Big and Small in the Mirror, published in 2015.
Here are the synopses for my book titles:
The Magic Leaf book is about a small-town boy who learns the value of friendship. A medieval, Italian town named Roseto serves as the backdrop. The beautiful and colourful illustrations – all done in paper collage style – depict different parts of the town and journey. Although the story unfolds in a different time and place, the message is universal and timeless.
Humanitarians, Visionaries, Heroes, and You is a collection of seven inspiring mini-biographies. I use the voices of Mattie Stepanek, Martin Lurther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, the Dalai Lama, Mother Teresa, Terry Fox, Craig Kielburger, and my own reflections to encourage the reader to join a growing movement towards social responsibility and global citizenship.
In Big and Small in the Mirror, friends Carlo and Marco learn the effects of bullying on their self-images and that positive relationships help them grow.
I provide discussion questions at the end of the book to help parents and teachers facilitate a discussion about bullying, and to put the story in perspective.
3. Tell us a little bit about your books’ titles.
Titles are very important to me. They should be a summary or an accumulation of what is in the book without giving everything away. I also want the titles of my books to be clever and arouse the curiosity of the reader. For the 3 books that I have discussed so far, there was never a doubt about what the titles would be. But for my next book I had 3 working titles. I told one of my friends about the title options I was considering and she helped me chose one of the three.
4. What does a typical writing session look like for you?
Stories live inside my head for a long time before I sit down to write. I am rarely looking at a blank page, although, I do leave parts of the story blank – those that I haven’t figure out yet – and return to them at a later date.
I write in blocks of time when I am ready to write and prefer mornings. Story ideas will come to me at any time and any place; you can’t schedule for them. It is not unusual for me to jot down an idea or even just one sentence that I want to use in the future. I use scrap paper or anything that I can find to make notes. In recent years my iPad has come in handy. I do give myself a timeline, but things get more complicated when I am ready to work with an illustrator or book designer; they have their own schedules.
5. Do your stories contain morals?
All my books are about a moral, a lesson learned, or a deeper meaning. Friendship, fairness, compassion, peace and non-violence are themes I focus on in my writing. I start with the meaning of the story and then work backwards to see how I can achieve my goal. It is the themes themselves that inspire me to write.
“I only write when I feel like writing. I only feel like writing when I have something to say. And there isn’t any use in saying anything unless it’s the truth; the way you see it.”
These themes are the truth to me.
And now for a game of “Which Do/Would You Prefer?”
1. Books or movies?
Most of my life I preferred movies. If a book is turned into a movie, the book has come to life. If the movie version isn’t well done, I prefer just reading the book.
2. Dogs or cats?
Most dogs are warm and friendly. I had a golden retriever who was loved by the whole neighbourhood.
3. Summer or winter?
I was born in winter and I live in Canada, so I don’t mind the winters. Winter can be picturesque. I enjoy living in a country that has four distinct seasons; fall and spring are beautiful too.
4. Cake or ice-cream?
Ice-cream on cake sounds good. I definitely have a sweet tooth.
5. Car or motorcycle?
Cars are much safer.
6. Ebook or physical book?
When I first started writing, I liked reading physical books better and so published my own books in print only. Today my latest book was published as an ebook only.
There are advantages to ebooks from a reader’s perspective. You will never be without a book to read. You just go online and choose another ebook. From an author’s perspective, there are advantages as well. You don’t have to store books or print them. If you don’t have to print them, there are an infinite number of copies to sell.
7. Nights out or nights in?
Overall, I would have to choose nights in.
8. Living in the city or living in the country?
I live in the suburbs. It has to be the best of both worlds.
9. Having telepathy or having telekinesis?
I would choose telepathy. I would want to connect with people not move objects.
10. Making a phone call or sending a text?
If it is someone I know, I would want to hear their voice.
11. Travelling by car or travelling by airplane?
I have alternated between the two to make travelling more interesting. But depending on where you want to go, airplane might be the only choice.
12. Staying in a hotel or going camping?
I love to travel and part of the experience is the hotel.
13. Losing all of your money or losing every picture you’ve ever taken and every picture that has ever been taken of you?
This would be a very difficult choice for me because you said all your money. I love taking photos of family and my travels. I am usually behind the camera. My pictures are more important to me than money.
14. To find true love or to win the lottery?
I would want to test the notion that you can’t buy love.
15. Being Spider-Man for a day or being Batman for a day?
I remember watching Batman the TV series as a kid. I would want to be Batgirl or even Catwoman.
16. Reading or writing?
I read when I want to take a break from writing.
17. Being able to speak and understand every language known to humankind
or being able to speak and understand every language known to animals?
Being able to speak every human language would fit in nicely with travelling and seeing the world.
18. To never again eat a piece of chocolate or to never again drink a cup of coffee?
Belgium chocolate coffee creamer is one of my favourite creamers. That might do the trick.
19. Being two inches tall or being two stories tall?
I would have to choose being two stories tall. I wouldn’t want to be trampled on by all the other people that chose that option.
Thank you for joining us, Mary!
Readers: want to connect with Mary? She invites all who are interested to follow her on Amazon and Goodreads. Also, be sure to check out her website. Please send inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.