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FEATURED AUTHOR - MAYRA AZANZA


children's nooks author, artist, sculpture, news broadcast producer
Mayra Azanza
Mayra Azanza is a News Broadcast Producer, Sculptor, Children's books author & illustrator. She’s an Emmy nominated TV producer with over a decade of experience in creating original content for the Latino audience.
Mayra was born and raised in Guanajuato, Mexico, where she obtained her BS in Marketing from the Universidad de León. She lives in Silicon Valley with her husband and her two children.


How have you become interested in writing children's stories? I have always liked listening to a good story, and as a child my dad used to read all sorts of books to me. I also love reading children's books (even now as an adult) but I think working as a journalist for a newspaper in Los Angeles really showed me my capabilities as a writer. Being able to tell someone else's story, finding the right words to honor their testimonies really changed my life.

How do you get inspired by ideas for your stories? I keep my eyes open to anything happening around me as a source of inspiration. From a leaf falling from a tree to a funny situation at home, anything can become a story if you look at it from the right angle.


What is your creative process when you need to write a story for a specific topic (magazine)? First I find what situations in my own life relate to what we are talking about, because it is easier to write about something you know. But if I feel like my own experience is not strong or relatable enough I try to look at the same situation from a child's perspective, and put myself in the shoes of a kid going through that same situation. If that doesn't work I flat out ask the children around me, I love hearing their own opinions, they always have something very valuable to say. The writing process starts in my head, I keep thinking about the topic, I start developing the characters in my imagination, giving them personalities and depth. Usually when I sit in front of my computer the story is 80% done. How do your other talents compliment your writing? I can literally feel the scenes of the stories with my whole body. I can feel, smell, taste and hear everything that's going on in those imaginary worlds and I think it is because I can make sculptures, stuffed animals and drawings that I can have that sort of 4-dimensional experience. How do you come up with ideas for your characters? Some characters just show up in my imagination and, in a way, they tell me what they are. Others I create based on the needs of the stories. For Mistake's stories, they all happen in Mishmash Meadow and Mistake interacts with other animals that behave "humanly". I try to use unusual animals, like snails, badgers, porcupines, etc as characters so kids learn something new. Do you know the end of a story when you start writing or do you discover how the story unfolds as you wrote it? It depends a lot on the topic. Sometimes I know the ending but I don't know the beginning. Others, I know the middle but I don't know the beginning nor the end, etc. One thing I try to be very careful about, and that is for our stories not to be "lecturing" but more like a portrayal of a situation, where no one is good or bad, but every character has its ups and downs, just like in real life.

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