Today I’m welcoming the fabulously named Iva Valentino to my blog. What a great name for a writer, Iva! And I love the title of Iva’s new novel for children: Black Cats and Ballet Slippers. When I was at school, any book with the word ballet in the title got my immediate attention. I’ve brought out my china tea-set and my special biscuit tin with the picture of a ballerina on the top, especially for Iva’s visit :)
Let me pour you a cup of tea, Iva, and welcome!
Where do you live, Iva? I live in Tucson, Arizona. I’ve been living here for about 28 years. I LOVE the desert! True, it is really hot for several months in the summer, but the weather is so beautiful the rest of the year. My husband and I recently purchased a house on the outskirts of the city where we see lots of critters— snakes, coyotes, javelinas, hawks, and even a bobcat or two!
That sounds a magical place to live!
Where is your favourite place in the world? I consider Pula, Croatia, my second home. Although I love living in Tucson, Pula is my absolute favorite place to visit over the summer. My family is originally from Croatia, and we’ve inherited a small apartment close to the beach. Pula is amazing—beautiful beaches, delicious food, and tons of Roman monuments.
Croatia is definitely on my list of places to visit. I know lots of people who’ve been there and said how beautiful it is, and how friendly the people.
Being a writer is a great job. What’s the worst job you’ve ever had? One of my first jobs in high school was conducting phone surveys at a call center. Complete drudgery! Everyone I called was very upset with me. No one wanted to do phone surveys! I became very accustomed to getting hung up on. Needless to say, I soon moved on to a different job—working in a flower shop—which was MUCH better! I can still put together a pretty darn good floral bouquet.
Call centre jobs are just awful. I’m always polite to people calling from call centres because it’s such a thankless job :(
What book do you wish you’d written? Anything by Dr. Seuss! I very much admire all of his books.
What’s your favourite song? This question has me a bit stumped! I listen to a wide variety of music, and I don’t know that I can pinpoint just one song. I love music that makes me want to dance, whether it be Latin, hip hop, reggae, punk rock, country—really anything at all! My favorite times to listen to music are while I am cleaning house or driving in my car. Just the other day, my coworkers spotted me singing and dancing in my car on my drive to work. They had a good laugh. :)
That’s made me laugh, too :)
If you could meet anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would it be and what would you say to them? I’ve always been really interested in history. I would love to meet a famous woman from history, such as Cleopatra, Helen of Troy, or even Joan of Arc. To be quite honest, I would probably be so excited to meet them that I would barely be able to squeak out a “Hello!”
I think I’d be a little intimidated by that list, too.
What’s your happiest childhood memory? I lived the first 6 years of my life in Ohio. My parents had a HUGE garden in the backyard. My happiest childhood memories are of helping out in the garden. We grew the most delicious tomatoes you have ever tasted! Whenever I bite into a particularly delicious tomato nowadays, it always brings me back to those moments in the garden.
Oh, it must be wonderful to have warm enough summers to grow great tomatoes outside. Here, we mainly grow them in greenhouses.
If you had to marry a fictional character, from film, television, or books, who would it be? I would have to go with Jon Snow from the Game of Thrones series by George R. R. Martin. Handsome, chivalrous, and mysterious. What a great combination!
What’s the most important lesson life has taught you? This is a great quote by Ernest Hemingway: “It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”
It has taken me a long time to realize that it’s important to enjoy the process of things. I’ve always had a workaholic personality, rushing to finish everything. These days I am stopping to smell the roses more, and to enjoy each part of the journey!
That’s really great advice, and the perfect quote
Black Cats and Ballet Slippers is a humorous tween chapter book. Gemma Mayfield, the main character, is a ballerina and middle school student. She is convinced her teacher is a witch. After her crush, Trevor, has a spell cast upon him, Gemma embarks on a mission to save Middleton Middle School from witchcraft!
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Thanks so much for coming all the way from Arizona, Iva. It’s been great to meet you! I love the cover of your new novel, and the story sounds just the type of thing I would have loved as a child. Have a safe trip home!
If you’ve enjoyed Iva’s post, and have any questions or comments, please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you!