An Interview with Constanza Mayer

Constanza Mayer

Constanza Mayer

Constanza Mayer is a Chilean author. Born in Santiago, she spent most of her childhood living in different cities across Chile, until she finally settled down for many years in a small town in the state of Illinois. There, she began her true journey into the realm of fantasy and all things magical—Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings and Star Wars, fed her imaginative mind. This is when she began to write her first fantasy novel, but it was sadly lost due to a computer virus.

After many years passed, having moved back to Santiago, Chile, she was finally able to write again. This is where “The Battle of the Erathiel” truly began to develop. After almost two years of hard work, and living for a time in the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina, she finishes the first novel of her series in Santiago on October 29th, 2016.

Constanza is an avid reader, a lover of the arts, and a devoted piano player and composer. Among her dreams, she hopes to continue traveling across the world to fill herself with more experiences to write from, as she typically says:

“Hay que vivir para poder escribir.”
“You must live so that you may write.”

The Battle of the Erathiel

The ancient elven race of the Erathiel embark on a journey across the Enchanted Sea to find a new home. With them travel the only remaining dwarves and humans from their land. They are struck by a terrible storm that leads them to a land they are not keen to call their own. Soon they will find that there is more to this new land than they had ever expected. Friends and foes, hope and loss will be their constant companions in this adventure where wizards and shape-shifting adversaries will cross their path.

It’s a pleasure for us to be interviewing Constanza and we hope that you’d enjoy reading this post while getting to know him better.

Describe yourself in five words

Determined, creative, stubborn, compassionate and a dreamer.

What fact about yourself would really surprise people?

Maybe that I’m the daughter of a pastor. I grew up in a Christian home and always being ‘the pastor’s daughter’, so it was interesting as I grew up. I also have two tattoos.

How do you work through self-doubts and fear?

To be honest, it’s a process. First, I feel it all caving in, I tend to give into the anxiety and frustration it generates but then I use all that negative energy and I transform it into something useful; for example, I end up composing a song or writing something with it. Sometimes I need a little reminder from my loved ones that things are not as hopeless as they seem.

What scares you the most?

Death. The idea of never being with my loved ones again.

What makes you happiest?

Love in all its forms: friendship, with a partner, self-love, moments that fill up your heart. Music, reading, art in general, in my opinion, are connected with this great and amazing emotion.

Why do you write?

I write because I can’t help myself. It’s funny sometimes when I find myself on a bus crossing the city, the subway, or anywhere at all and I just need to write. I’m pretty sure more than one writer has felt that it’s almost as if something ‘possesses’ you and you just need to write, to tell a story. I think that’s it, it’s about tell a story that’s more important than anything, in that moment.

Have you always enjoyed writing?

Oh, yes. Ever since I could write I’d write down my dreams, both from the night before or the ones I had awake. I think the written word, speech, being to express yourself, is one of the greatest gifts we have. I couldn’t live without being able to express myself, I think.

What motivates you to write?

The story, the characters, they become so real to me that I feel I need to share their stories. I just can’t help myself. I also write because I want to touch others with ideas, with ideas of changing the world and realizing there are so many options out there, that we can live in peace—for example—and that we are all not so different from each other. We are all human in the end.

What writing are you most proud of?

My first book “The Battle of the Erathiel: Across the Enchanted Sea”. It was a milestone for me and also what I’ve poured most of my soul into, although it is only the beginning because the story itself is huge, so there’s a lot left for all to read.

What are you most proud of in your personal life?

Listening to my heart and leaving fear aside. I think most of the times that I’ve given into fear, things have not gone well, but when I’ve listened to myself, to my heart, and have acted from this true feeling, things have gone well, at least in the end. Some experiences can be hard once you choose them, but you can always learn from them, which is what matters in the end, in my opinion.

What books did you love growing up?

Oh, so many! I loved Roald Dahl, his work is just so amazing. Also, the Harry Potter series was fun, The Lord of the Rings, Narnia (haven’t read them all yet!), the Animorphs series was fun as well, Wishbone, some Star Wars books here and there, and of course, Goosebumps!

 What do you hope your obituary will say about you?

“She loved, she lived, she did” or something like that, I hope.

Location and life experiences can really influence writing, tell us where you grew up and where you now live?

Wow, good question. It’s true. I mean, I was born in Santiago, Chile and from that moment I was inserted into a life similar to that of a nomad. Since my dad was, well is, a pastor, the church would send him and my family from one city or congregation to another so by the time I was 8, I had already lived in 5 cities in Chile, both north and south, and then we moved to the US. We lived for about a year in a small town in Illinois, waiting for my dad to get his church assigned and then we moved to a small town in the south of Illinois that I grew to consider, and still consider, my home.

It was a town of 500 people, so it was very small and everyone knew each other. To be honest, our first years were quite ‘interesting’. Although some people were very welcoming, there were some that clearly did not want us there. We were the only latinos in the town and there were and still are very racist and close-minded people there. So I must admit that the whole experience has marked my life forever. Maybe I’ll write a book about it. I’m sure there are many people who will be able to relate to all that hate, sadly. I think all these things have definitely influenced my writing. If you read “The Battle of the Erathiel”, you’ll find that we do talk about racism, we talk about immigration, about finding a new home and accepting it as your own and wanting to defend it, these are all feelings that I have grown up with, so in a way I do see myself reflected in my writing, at least my experiences and the things I’ve lived.

I now live in Santiago, Chile. It’s a long story but in summary, I never wanted to be here, I’m now here, but am happy to be independently building my home, making my nest, fighting my demons, and allowing myself to discover new things and write about it all.

How did you develop your writing?

I’m not sure how I’ve “developed” my writing but I usually write whatever I feel and if I wanna make it public, I check if it’s well-written. I guess I guide myself using the books I read as a reference. As far as “The Battle of the Erathiel” goes, I had two beta readers critique my work, so that helped me very much.

What is hardest – getting published, writing or marketing?

Oh wow, when you’re doing all of that by yourself, like I am, they’re all hard. I believe finding a literary agent is the hardest part. There are so many writers out there, talented and all that, especially in the Fantasy genre.

What marketing works for you?

I believe getting reviews is the best marketing tool I have so far, so I try to promote my book through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and ask to please review my work. I can only hope the reviews will be positive, which as has been the result to far, but I am always aware that my first book might not be for everyone. Either way, reviews help catch the eye of readers.

Do you find it hard to share your work?

At first, yes. Of course! You kind of stand naked before the world when you publish your writing. I firmly believe that when you share your art, whether it be music, paintings, poetry, etc., you expose part of your soul. So, yes, it is a bit scary but that’s when you’ve got to remember to be brave, you’ve got to remember what inspired you write in the first place and how the work of someone else who dared, inspired you, even changed you.

Is your family supportive? Do your friends support you?

Yes, very. My closest family (mom, dad, sister, brother) have been there for me. They haven’t really read my first entire book, just bits and pieces because they’re not into Fantasy, but they have pushed me and that’s a lot of help. My friends also, they are the best and some of them very good readers, good at critiquing, and that has helped me grow as an author. I think the biggest support has come from my friends, especially those that also write. We compare notes and give each other ideas, it’s the best. We’re actually considering making up a writer’s club.

What else do you do, other than write?

I like to play the piano, compose, and sing. I’ve recently started a band, Corvus, with a friend so I hope to be able to share our songs soon. I also enjoy travelling and discovering different cafes across the city, walking around Santiago late at night. I try to go to the theater as much as I can to the opera, piano concerts, ballet, I live for that. I’m also very sociable, so I love hanging out with friends and making new ones. Dancing is lots of fun, as well.

What other jobs have you had in your life?

I’m an English teacher, so I’m currently doing that, but I’ve also taught piano before, sold jewelry at the mall, and I’ve also sold cosmetics. All sorts of thing. Oh, and last year I moved to Buenos Aires for a while and worked at reception at a hostel, I loved it!

If you could study any subject at university what would you pick?

Probably something like Literature? Or perhaps Ancient History, but I love learning so much that I might even try to get into Astronomy or all sorts of things. I’m sorry, can’t choose!

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?

That’s a tough one. I think I still need to visit more countries and cities to be able to answer truthfully but I’m guessing maybe… New Zealand or somewhere in the UK.

Tell us about your family?

I have an older sister and nephew, my little brother, mom and dad. Well, my parents are divorced and my dad lives in the US so I only see him for a few days during my summer vacations, he comes to visit. I get along really well with my siblings that live here, we’re close but we don’t always see each other. My brothers are also artistic, my sister sings and dances really well and my brother’s a musician and I would also dare to say quite a writer, even though he sometimes doesn’t dedicate much time to it, and my mom’s also a good singer and dancer, but she dedicates her life to education, we actually work together! I love my family, I couldn’t be luckier.

How do you write – lap top, pen, paper, in bed, at a desk?

All of the above! Also, sometimes on the floor of a subway train (when it doesn’t bother anyone), on a bus, on a bench, in the toilet, you name it! When it takes over, it takes over.

How much sleep do you need to be your best?

Oh, I don’t think I’ll ever truly know but at least 7 hours and hopefully no more than 9 ish. I am only guessing.

Is there anyone you’d like to acknowledge and thank for their support?

Well, my friends and family, really.

Every writer has their own idea of what a successful career in writing is, what does success in writing look like to you?

For me, success would be reflected on having many readers and to be able to publish about 7 books of “The Battle of the Erathiel” since the story is quite long and I would love that my book be turned into a TV series, a movie, maybe a board game or video game, a comic book, you name it. I would just love that.

It is vital to get exposure and target the right readers for your writing, tell us about your marketing campaign?

Well, so far, I’ve had some help marketing my book by having professionals share it with their social network, but I’ve also done my share through Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, just putting up pics or extracts, recommending they read it. Also, my friends and family have shared my posts, but everything else is far too expensive for me to afford.

Tell us about your new book? Why did you write it?

My new and first book is called “The Battle of the Erathiel: Across the Enchanted Sea”, it is an adventure, fantasy book where we find a group of elves, the Erathiel, dwarves and some humans, travelling across the sea to find a new home. At first, they encounter a terrible storm that results on one destroyed ship, one lost with the king’s daughter as captain, and the other one arrives at land. This story is about these survivors trying to find a new home as they enter Dôr Annon, the land that I’ve created for this story to take place. At first, they arrive at a desert so things don’t seem that promising but as they continue their journey things change. They face enemies, make friends, and love for this new land starts to grow in their hearts. We’ve also got some really dark villains and some good heroes starting to blossom, inside the story, and book one really leaves you with a cliffhanger at the end since there is still so much to tell in book two.

I wrote this story because it’s been inside me for quite some time, it’s just only about two years ago did I truly start to understand it and see what happened there. It’s a story about finding yourself, your home, about becoming a part of a new world and abandoning the old. I started this out way before all these conflicts in the Middle East started to appear everywhere on the news and I actually saw a connection with my story, with the story of immigrants as well, which is something that I’ve experience with. I guess, in a way, I am also telling my story, but mostly, the story of all those who have had to sacrifice to find peace, sacrifice to find safety and a future for themselves and their families. I also feel I’m writing this story for many other reasons, but you will have to find out what they are as you read the story, I’m sure you will.

If you could have a dinner party and invite anyone dead or alive, who would you ask?

Oh my goodness, J.R.R. Tolkien, of course! I would love to know what it’s like to talk with him, see what his mind was like. Wow. I’d also like to dine with Robin Williams, I believe he truly touched me as I grew up, his performances, his sweetness. Oh, this list could go on and on.

When you are not writing, how do you like to relax?

I like to relax by sleeping, playing the piano, reading, singing, composing, travelling, taking nice showers, walking, listening to music, travelling and cuddling.

What do you hope people will take away from your writing? How will your words make them feel?

I hope that through my writing people can get to know themselves better or better understand those around them. I don’t want them to read and just be like “Well, that was fun!”, which is not bad either, but I’d love for them to see the messages that I’m trying to share: peace, friendship, tolerance, equality, freedom, just to name a few. I would like to help people dream and have hope for a better world and, hopefully, motivate them to participate in changing it, as well.

Thank you so much for your time,  Constanza Mayer ! 

This is where you can buy her book on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Battle-Erathiel-Across-Enchanted-Sea/dp/1540328406

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