Monday, March 9, 2015


Monday Musings!
Spring wildflowers are beginning to peek from beneath the earth.
A nice change from the past few years when it's been too dry for the flowers to sprout.
I'm hoping to see Bluebonnets and Paintbrush, among others, this year.
Today, a delightful guest is visiting with us. Talented Author IVA VALENTINO was kind enough
to answer some questions for me. Sit back, relax, and enjoy.

Hi, IVA, welcome to my blog. Please tell us about yourself and how you became a writer.

Hi! My name is Iva. 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, and photography.
Twitter your newest release in 140 characters or less.
 Gemma Mayfield thinks there is witchcraft going on at her middle school…can she unravel the truth about her teacher? #BlackCatsandBalletSlippers
How did you come up with the idea for your book and were there any glitches along the way?
The idea for Black Cats and Ballet Slippers 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 preproom with lots of “witchy” things, such as powdered unicorn horn and other ingredients for spells. In my classroom, I also had a big preproom. My classroom was actually very nice and not creepy at all, but over time my imagination took over. I started to envision this preproom as being Ms. Pruett’s. From there on, the rest of the storyline for Black Cats started to brew!
You’re shipwrecked on a deserted island. What character from a book other than yours would you want to be stranded there with you? Why?
I just started reading the Divergent series by Veronica Roth. I’d choose to have Tris Prior, the heroine, on the island with me. I think she’d be really interesting to spend my days talking to! She’s smart and a good friend, and has excellent survival instincts. I also think she’d be great at beating up pirates if they tried to give us any trouble!
If we peeked inside your closet, what would we see?
WAY too many clothes and shoes! My closet is a bit on the tiny side, and I do my best to stuff everything in there. I try to keep it organized, but this doesn’t always happen. I just recently bought some cute little owl-shaped hooks to hold my scarves!
Tell us your favorites:
Movie- Jurassic Park (I LOVE dinosaurs)
Actor- Johnny Depp
Actress- Angelina Jolie
Book- the Harry Potter Series
Singer or Group- no favorites, but anything that makes me want to get up and dance!
Coffee or tea?
Both! I love a nice cup of coffee in the morning (just one, though!) and then I move onto green tea for midday. Green tea with jasmine is my favorite. J
Spring, Summer, Fall, or Winter?
I live in the desert, where we don’t really have seasons, but the summers are HOT. So, I would say that when I am home, I love all seasons except for summer. I lived in Ann Arbor, Michigan, for a year, and I really enjoyed experiencing the changing seasons. The fall with all of the multicolor leaves was so beautiful!
If you could have super powers what would you wish for?
I’d love to fly! It would be fabulous to soar along and see everything from a bird’s eye view. I think it would be really fun to swoop around and do loop-de-loops in the air. I bet it would be a really efficient way to get from place to place, too!
If you could choose to live in another time, would you prefer the past or the future?
I would love to live in the past, at least for a little bit. Just to try it out! I’ve always been fascinated by medieval times. I find myself drawn to anything medieval-related, such as the Game of Thrones books/show, Hogwarts-ish libraries, and castle-hunting whenever I go on vacation somewhere with castles. I have some fun ideas for transforming my home library into a medieval theme, complete with suits of armor, candelabras, maps, and tapestries. (And maybe a replica of a pterodactyl hanging from the ceiling, although that’s not very middle age-ish.)
What is something about you that no one knows? (They will now.)
I always sing in the car! I listen to music whenever I drive and I belt it out like there is no tomorrow. J
Are you working on any new books? Tell us about them.
I’m currently working on a sequel to Black Cats and Ballet Slippers. The main characters from Black Cats will all play a part in it. I’m also excited to introduce some new characters!
Where can your fans learn more about you?

Purchasing links for Black Cats and Ballet Slippers:
Thank you , IVA, for taking time out of your busy day to visit with us.  Stop by anytime.
Happy Reading!


  1. What a wonderful, interesting person Iva is. A great interview and a joy to read.

    1. Iva is fascinating, Yvonne. I hope to read her book soon. So many to read. So little time. :)

    2. Yvonne, thanks so much for your kind words and for stopping by the blog!

  2. Having such a heroine on the island with you may get you off the island. And more pets sure isn`t bad.

    1. It is an interesting book, Pat. I just started listening to the first one. My first try with an audio book.

    2. Pat, I completely agree! I bet I wouldn't have to stay on that island for too long. :)

  3. Cute idea for a story.
    I used to live in Arizona. You're right it's hot in the summer. Saw lots of the same critters.
    I also sing in the car. Don't tell anyone.
    Congratulations, Iva!

    1. So, we have "car singers" among us. (Now everyone knows.) I bet it makes a journey more interesting. :)

    2. Thank you, Alex! Singing in the car has always been one of my favorite activities. I've been caught at it, too, most recently by a few coworkers on my way to the office!

  4. Gemma sounds like a go-getter! Love the idea of magic at a middle school. And I do love that black cat cover image.

    1. Gemma is definitely super spunky! Thanks so much for stopping by the blog!

  5. Congratulations to Iva Valentino! Her book sounds fun!

  6. This sounds like such a great book! It was fun learning where the idea for the story came from (even if the classrooms were very different). I love to belt out songs when I drive in the car too. I basically perform my own little concert in the car. :) Wishing Iva the best of luck! I look forward to reading a copy of Black Cats and Ballet Slippers.


    1. Thank you, Jess! I'm so glad there are so many other car-singers! I never knew. :)

    2. Ah, another singer, Jess. You're all such a happy, talented bunch. :)

  7. Beverly, thank you so much for hosting me on your blog today!

  8. Her book sounds awesome! What better person to write middle grade than a former middle school teacher?!

    1. Exactly, Stephanie. I'm looking forward to reading the book.

  9. Green tea with jasmine is my favorite too! Your book sounds amazing, Iva. I'm adding this to my TBR list.