Monday, April 26, 2010


KATHY: Today my guest author is Tania Maria Rodrigues-Peters. Welcome to my blog today. Can you tell my readers where you live, and what preparation you’ve done to become an author?

TANIA: Hi, Kathy! Thanks for inviting me. Well, I am Brazilian but I live in Austria. I must confess that I haven't prepared myself to become an author. Some time ago I even didn't consider myself an author. For me writing is something that comes naturally, and I know that many people appreciate my writing style, however, it isn't a specific style.

But I really have a high opinion of writers who prepare themselves thoroughly, say, at Universities which are specialized in literature. Well, I didn't study literature. I finished a media course in publicity and advertising at a university in Brazil.

For a lot of years I worked as a school teacher. Maybe that was my “preparation”. If you are in contact with middle graders and teens you have a chance to enter their world.

KATHY: When did you start writing?

TANIA: About seven years ago while I was still living in Spain. That was more or less the time when my first daughter was born. We lived in a small village in the north of Spain. It was a very beautiful place with a view of the Pyrenees mountains.
I love to for a walk and take a book to read. Reading is my passion. Then I started to write stories. Every day I wrote a little. Until one day for whatever reason I couldn't find the file on my computer. I had no backup copy. Everything was gone.
I felt so disappointed that I said I would never write again.

Years later after going to Vienna I wrote Mozart in the Future. The whole story passed like a movie in my imagination.

KATHY: While living in Brazil you won first prize in a nation-wide travel diary competition with the Turismo Brasil Service Magazine. Can you tell us a little about this honor? Was your diary published in the magazine?

TANIA: I was really surprised by the honor of winning the first prize. In the beginning I didn't even want to take part in the competition, but the mother of a friend of mine insisted because she enjoyed my stories about journeys to other countries. She convinced me and I joined the competition. The travel diary was about a trip to Germany. First they classified my story as one of the 6 best travel diaries. I already was more than happy. Later they informed me that I won the first prize. I couldn't believe it. I had to double-check with the jury which consisted of journalists, writers, editors, and other professional people. I asked them why they chose my story. They answered that it was because of my simple and natural writing style, and that I write as if I were telling a story.

I jumped up and down and I cried when they told me that I could travel to the Caribbean for one week all inclusive.

KATHY: I understand that you wrote this story while listening to Mozart. How much of the plot did you have in mind when you sat down to write it?

TANIA: Yes, I wrote the book listening to his music. I had the whole story in my mind when I started out. The whole story came to my mind when I returned from my trip to Vienna. I had visited the house where Mozart used to live. The whole following night I couldn't help thinking about Mozart. But not Mozart as a grown-up, Mozart the genius, but Mozart when he was still a child.

From everything I had read about him I can tell that his father Leopold was very strict. They had very little money so Leopold pushed Mozart to play at a lot of places in order to earn money. Mozart worked a lot as a child. He spent a lot of time travelling and performing all over Europe.

KATHY: Did you write the entire story in one sitting?

TANIA: No. Every day I wrote a little bit of the story always listening to Mozart's touching music. Well, I only had a little free time when the children's were in Kindergarten.

KATHY: How many hours of editing did Mozart in the Future require?

TANIA: That's hard to tell. My husband, Carsten, helped a lot. It was an ongoing project. Carsten even suggested some minor changes while he was translating the book into German.

KATHY: Your love of music comes through every page of this book. Are you a musician yourself?

TANIA: I am not a musician, but life is made of tunes. If you listen closely you will be able to hear life's song in every moment, every situation. Every being has its own melody. Some people are able to express the musicality better than others.
You can find music and fantasy everywhere, you only have to be sensitive.

KATHY: The illustrations by Pedro Caraça are wonderful. How did you find your illustrator?

TANIA: I am from the town of Mogi das Cruzes in the state of São Paulo. I read an article in the town's local newpaper Mogi News about the illustrator and teacher Pedro Caraça. The article showed an illustration that I really liked. So I send Pedro an email asking him if he would like to do the illustrations for Mozart in the Future. He happily accepted the offer. We both get a lot of positive feedback.

KATHY: What age group do you see reading this book and why?

TANIA: When I am writing a story I don't think about the age or the reading level. However, there have been some book reviewers and literary critics who said from 6 years on would be appropriate. There are also some people who say that the book is for young adults, others say that not only parents but all grown-ups should read it.
I say that everybody who likes Mozart, adventures, and dreams should read the book.

KATHY: Kids will be fascinated to think of an artistic giant like Mozart as a child living in our century. They will relate to the age appropriate feelings and dialogue in your book. What else do you hope kids will come away with after reading your book?

TANIA: First of all, and without being arrogant, I would like to pass a message to all the parents because only the parents know that you have a childhood only once.
Kids have to study and learn, but we have to give them a chance to find their own way. We have to orient them without pressing them too much. Their success should be theirs only, not the parent's.

I have seen a lot of parents who hadn't had a chance to study piano, and now that they have children they oblige them to play piano. They feel vindicated by the success of their children. A child will easily get frustrated this way, and the parents too.

If you treat a talented child in a natural way, everything comes easily. If your children have a passion for something let them find their way. Talk with them about how to evolve the talent and orient them. In this way, both the children and the parents will be happier.

KATHY: Can you tell my readers a little about the steps you took to publish your book? Did you publish the book in Austria too?

TANIA: The first step, of course, is to write the book. Then you have to find an illustrator and place the illustration in harmony with the story. Finally you need an editor who will check the style, grammar, punctuation, etc. I write in my mother tongue, Brazilian Portuguese, but I am not perfect and there is always something that both my husband and my editor in Brazil find.

My husband did the typesetting. He also figured out how to do the publishing. Actually he set up a publishing company and he will publish other authors, too. Actually there are already two book from two different authors to be published soon. I am lucky to have an editor, translator, typesetter and publisher right by my side. He is publishing my writings in Portuguese, English, German, and Spanish, and he does the file conversion for the ebooks in both ePUB and Kindle format. We are printing in the US, England, Germany, and Brazil.

KATHY: Are you working on any other stories for the future?

TANIA: Within short my next book The Legend of the Black Lake will be published. The story is about a lake that is located in the region where we live. Very few things have been written about the Black Lake. So I decided to create my own legend about the lake. The book is illustrated by Felipe Campos from Rio de Janeiro. His illustrations are excellent. Felipe managed to turn the book into a piece of art.
Since The Legend of the Black Lake is almost published, I am already working on my next book. The story is about a monkey who lives on a Brazilian island and then immigrates to Austria.

KATHY: Do you have a website or blog where my readers can find out more about you and your book?

TANIA: Yes, of course. My website is available in four languages, including English. Just visit the website or write me an email.

KATHY: Where can we purchase Mozart in the Future?

TANIA: You can get Mozart in the Future at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and many other online stores.

KATHY: Just for fun, can you share your winning recipe for Kuchen & Torten Magazine with my readers?

TANIA: Yes, sure, that would be a pleasure. I like cooking. Actually I think I already created a trademark: There is a recipe at the end of each of my books.
Here is my carrot cake. It's easy to prepare and very tasty.

Carrot Cake
4 eggs
120 ml of vegetable oil
130 g sugar
190 g wheat flour
1 tablespoon of baking powder
3 carrots (approx. 400 g)
Place carrots and vegetable oil in blender. Add sugar, flour and baking powder.
Secure lid and select the highest speed. Run machine for 3 minutes or until mixed.
Place the batter into a greased cake pan.
Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes at 175 °C / Level 3

Chocolate icing (optional):
5 tablespoons of chocolate powder
3 tablespoons of milk
2 tablespoons full of butter
Place all ingredients of the chocolate icing in a pot. Heat mixture while stirring bringing it to the boil. Pour the icing over the cake.

KATHY: Thank you for visiting with us today. I enjoyed meeting you and reading your wonderful book.

TANIA: I have to thank you, Kathy. It has been a pleasure to be here with you.
I have planned to visit the US this year, so I will be able to present my books personally.

A big hug to all of you!

Kathy Stemke's Websites:
Moving Through all Seven Days link: me on twitter: me on Facebook:!/kathymarescomatthews.stemke?ref=profileAdd to Technorati Favorites


Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

I really enjoyed this interesting interview. I can’t imagine how awful Tania must have felt to lose a writing file with no backup. I’m glad she continued to write as she sounds like a talented author.

By the way, the recipe sounds yuumy.

Cheryl said...

Excellent interview, ladies. This sounds like a fascinating book.

Congratulations on winning such an honor with your travel diary. How wonderful for you.

I wish you great success.


Kristi Bernard said...

This story looks like a lot of fun. I think the recipe is great and will be delicious. Thanks for sharing this great interview.

Anonymous said...

What an interesting interview Kathy. I enjoyed learning about Tania and her writing.

Martha said...

What a wonderful concept for a book. Mozart in the future sounds just grand. I also love Carrot cake so thanks for the recipe.
Martha Swirzinski

terri.forehand said...

What an enlightening interview, the book sounds like a great read for kids, and of course the recipe is the best. Thanks for sharing. It is always so fun to find out how others have written and published successfully.

kathy stemke said...

Thanks for visiting! Tania is a fascinating author and her book is a great way to get kids to appreciate music.

Karen Cioffi said...

What an interesting interview. Tania is lucky that she had those around her who not only give support, but actually help put everything together.

The story sounds wonderful and I wish Tania much success.

Thanks for sharing Kathy.

Carsten said...

Hi everybody,
I am Tânia's hubbie. I know the book very well for two reasons: I helped her editing the original manuscript which was written in Brazilian Portuguese and I translated the book into German which is my mother tongue.

I think the most interesting thing about Mozart in the Future is that not only the kids like it but also the parents, and even adults who have no kids, enjoy it. They say that the story is so motivation and inspiring.
The other day somebody even recommended little Mozart for management people because the book teaches lessons to learn, not only for kids but also for those who have already grown a little.

I will see if I can get Tânia to post something here later this evening (hmm, Central European Time).

Dallas said...

What a great interview! Congrats Tania on winning the travel diary contest -- it sounds well-deserved! I loved your advice to write a little bit every day. That definitely adds up. And I will be trying out the cake recipe -- it looks delicious! :)

All best wishes,

Tânia Maria Rodrigues-Peters said...

Thank you all very much for the positive comments which definitely will inspire me even more to continue writing.
And many thanks to Kathy, too, for her interest in me and for the interview.
For me writing is a pleasure. Writing means to have moments of recreation. I travel the roads of fantasy. And if I imagine that I can bring a little bit of the fantasy to the children, I feel grateful.

I hope you all liked the cake. (Have you tried the recipe yet?) I love to make cakes and cook meals. I have posted a lot of recipes on my site (unfortunately they aren't translated into English). I love to be creative using ingredients.

Again, thanks a lot. I hope you enjoy reading little Mozart!

kathy stemke said...

Your welcome Tania. It was my pleasure. I wish you much success with your book and the ones coming soon!

Marcia said...

I had the pleasure to meet Tania in person and you can feel that she is very passionate about what she does, and she is has a very funny and warm personality too! I have yet to read her book but will do so at the first opportunity. Oh, and I will try the carrot cake too :-)

Accountant, Author & Freelance Writer said...

Tania, this sounds like a wonderful book. I love the concept! Thanks for the recipe, too. It looks scrumptious :)

Renata Bowers said...

"The whole story passed like a movie in my imagination."

What a beautiful comment, Tania!

Felipe Campos said...

Hello! I did the illustrations for the next Tania Maria's book and I can say that she is a great writer, a great person. "The legend of the black lake" is a wonderful story, it was fun to do the illustrations and I hope you all like my work. My Flickr gallery is:
I'd love to know what you think about my watercolors. Take care everyone. Mail me:

kathy stemke said...

WOW, Felipe, I love your illustrations. You have a unique style!

SI said...

very interesting and inspiring interview for young writers and fellow world travelers! Felipe, your illustrations are great, I hope to see the book The legend of the black lake published here in NZ one day.

Geyme said...

Hello everybody!

I mean that Tania besides being a fascinating writer with a great talent, still manages to be an amazing person!
For her, all the light in the world! All talent must be recognized!!!!!

Geisa said...

I really enjoyed this interesting and cute book! It's a great reading for adults and kids. I'm "spreading the book" to others relatives and those who have read it enjoyed as well.

Wish you all the best and nice meeting you Tania!


Anonymous said...

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absolutely enjoy your page! write me a email please in case you want to colaborate

Anonymous said...

Tania has a Witty way to write her Books.

Myself and my 2 children laughed out loud reading "Mozart in the Future". The story is very exciting and made us travel back and forth in time with Mozart and his friend.

The book is ideal for children of the all ages, from 0 to 100 years old.

And, it became for me, the perfect gift for the many Birthdays Parties that my children get invited all the Year around, because it has a good price and will make, whoever gets it happy!
Ana Claudia Pilch