Medea Kalantar Interview Published on: 25, Feb 2020

Tell us a few things about your early life or childhood. Who was your role model as a child?

I was born in Georgia, USSR and immigrated to Canada when I was four years old. I lived in Toronto, Ontario for the most part of my life. I always loved to sing and write songs or poetry when I was a child. My role model was Lucille Ball. She was funny, elegant and could act and sing. I loved black and white movies as a child and still do. There is something magical about old Hollywood.

What inspired you to start writing? How long have you been writing?

When I found out I was going to be a Grandma it was a full circle moment for me, so I started to bake a honey cake in honour of my Grandmother. My Bebi taught me how to bake a honey cake when I was a little girl. As I was making the cake, I realized all the different spices the cake had, like cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, vanilla, coffee, brown sugar, and honey. It made me think of all the different ethnic mixes my new grand-baby would have and how they would be just like this honey cake I was baking. The words and stories started to pour out of me. The fact that I have no formal training as a writer didn’t stop me from trying. I always wanted to write my biography someday, later down the road, because I’ve had so many hardships in my life that I had to overcome. But I never had any intention on writing— especially not a children’s book series. But the universe sent me a sign, and the messages were in me to share, and they simply had to come out. I wrote five books in four days, I couldn’t stop. Clearly the universe had something planned.

I’ve been writing since October of 2019.

How long have you been working with Reiki? Where is Reiki being used in the mainstream?

I’ve been working with Reiki for over three years now. When I left the corporate world in November 2016 to become a Reiki Master/Practitioner, I never looked back. I knew that this is what I was put on earth to do. Because of my Reiki training I am committed to my personal growth, healing and living my best life and to inspire others to do the same. This is what I teach my clients on a daily basis.

Although the mainstream of Reiki is being used as a holistic practice, Reiki’s current use in hospitals and healthcare facilities throughout the world complements allopathic health treatment and practices.

Reiki can benefit people of any age, background, or state of health. It has become adaptable in a variety of settings, including the clinical environment where it is utilized to help patients recover from stress anxiety.

The ability to heal physical, emotional, and mental imbalances with energy channeled through the hands has been viewed as a rare and mystical gift requiring great spiritual achievement. However, this simply is not true. Healing energy can be channeled by anyone who has the right intention and wishes to be conduit for universal life energy.

It is interesting to note that Dr. Usui intended his system to assist people to become enlightened. Physical healing was a side effect rather than the end goal. Whether you are seeking enhanced physical wellness or more balance in your life, Reiki offers comfort, nurture, and support for the good health of your mind, body, and emotions.

What are the other activities apart from writing you like to indulge in your free time?

My favourite activity is spending time with my family, especially with my little grandson Lukenzo who is turning 1 years old this March 2. Aside from my Reiki practice and writing, I love to dance, go to live theatres, read and travel.

What are some things that haven't been done in the children's genre that you hope to introduce through your books?

There so many children in the world now that have diverse multicultural families like mine, and there still aren’t many books that represent them. At the end of the day we are all Honeycakes, we all have a little bit of spice in us. With all the negativity around diversity in this day and age, I feel it’s very important to create books with a more positive message to help caregivers teach children to accept others, help children to become more balanced, kind, grateful and honest. Books to help children manage their emotions when things don’t go the way they hoped. I always say there is no such thing as winning or losing, there is only winning. You win when you reach the goal you wanted to achieve or you win by learning a very valuable lesson. It’s all about perspective and how you look at things. Giving children these tools at an early age will help them grow into happy and fulfilled adults that aren’t stressed out, but live in harmony with a healthy mind, body, and spirit.

What was your inspiration behind the story of "Honeycake: Help I Swallowed a Butterfly"?

‘Honeycake: Help, I Swallowed a Butterfly’ is a precious account of one girl’s misunderstanding of the idiom, “butterflies in your stomach.”The inspiration behind this book came from working with several of my Reiki clients who suffer from severe to moderate anxiety. I wanted to write a book to teach children how to overcome anxiety, and I thought about the common saying “I have butterflies in my tummy” when people described that they were nervous. I thought this anecdote would be the perfect play on words to help children understand. This charming book empowers young readers to practice mindfulness and meditation so that they are able to meet life’s challenges head-on in a healthy and balanced way. Help I Swallowed A Butterfly is clearly written and incredibly relatable, with step-by-step instructions and guided meditation exercises for young readers. This book is also a valuable resource for caregivers who want to provide a positive introduction for children to the world of self-care.

What is "Honeycake: Special Magical Powers" about? Do you believe in magic?

‘Honeycake: Special Magical Power’ shows readers that we all have the power to improve others lives through charity. Nala brings her outgrown toys and clothes to Rainbow Hall, and spends the day with her Grandma and Uncle JD discovering a special magical power we all have, called ✨ KINDNESS✨ I always loved the saying “One persons trash is another persons treasure” Just because you may not have a use for something doesn’t mean that someone else won’t. I wanted to teach children the valuable lesson in the spirt of giving, which provides an opportune time for parents to teach their children about charity. I also wanted to showcase that giving to charity to be more than a one-time occurrence and to teach children to make giving back a habit. By helping children appreciate that reaching out to others in need is a way of life, you are giving your children important messages about compassion and kindness towards others who are less fortunate or are going through a difficult time in their lives.

I absolutely believe in magic. My hope is that readers understand that the spirit of giving to others is magical, and it should be a way of life, because kindness is a gift, we can all afford to give.

How do you think your book "Honeycake: Help I Swallowed a Butterfly" will help young readers to practice mindfulness and meditation?

As a Reiki Master and Practitioner I teach my clients how to manage stress and anxiety, through deep breathing and daily meditation. I felt it was important to teach these same tools to children at a young age. By introducing them to the world of self care, it will empower children to practice mindfulness and meditation and setting positive intentions for the day, so that they are able to meet life’s challenges head-on in a healthy and balanced way. By starting them at a young age, they will grow up to be more balanced, healthy, happy adults.

Life can be stressful at any age, but with the right tools and mindset, we can overcome any obstacle!

Since your stories are all based on your own family, on which member of the family is Nala's story in "Honeycake: Special Magical Powers" is based upon?

As I’ve stated in my previous answer, I wrote all five books when I found out I was going to be a grandmother. So, Nala is based on my grandson Lukenzo. My daughter Shanaz and future son-in law Brandon welcomed our first grandchild, on March 2, 2019. Our beautiful little Luka has a mix of Georgian, Persian, (Shanaz) Jamaican, Chinese, Portuguese, Indian and Guyanese (Brandon). This unique mix is a perfect recipe, and it’s the reason why I call my grandchildren my little Honeycakes.

Why the title "Honeycake: A Family Of Spices"? How do you come up with book titles?

‘Honeycake: A Family Of Spices’ introduces readers to a diverse, multi-cultural family that is full of love. The grandmother (which is me) explains to her granddaughter Nala, why she calls her grandchildren “Honeycakes” while she teaches Nala how to bake a honey cake.Through imagination, the grandmother details how each delicious ingredient represents a different family member and his or her unique ethnic background.

This first book that flowed from me was a story about acceptance and celebrating the many different backgrounds that make us unique.

The correlation of the cake to my grandchild-to-be lay in the mix of different spices, which I realized was much like the mix of different ethnicities in my family. There are all these different spices in a honey cake, like cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, vanilla, coffee, brown sugar, and honey. That was going to be my future grandchild with all these different mixes of ethnicities. As I was baking, I realized that he was going to be my little Honeycake. That’s where the idea of the title of the series came from and the title for the first book that would introduce the readers to our entire family. Hence, ‘Honeycake: A Family of Spices’.

‘Honeycake: A Family Of Spices’ will be understood by all ages and truly is a refreshing approach to human life with its joy, blessing and special qualities. While Honeycake has been written as a children’s book series, it has a charm which will delight people of all ages. I feel these books will be enjoyed by parents, grandparents, and children alike and I expect the timeless positive messages in the series to resonate for ages. The idea of a common human bond through the blending of culture and national origins is beautifully represented as mixtures of exotic spices in a manner that children can easily understand

Just like the ingredients in the honey cake we can teach our children about diversity and acceptance because even though we look different and come from different places, we are all part of one race…THE HUMAN RACE. In this beautiful world we live in, WE ARE ALL ONE.

At the end of the book there is a recipe for readers to follow so they can make their own honey cake.

February 28th is the 1 year anniversary of the release of my first book. ‘Honeycake: A Family Of Spices’.

What are some of the things you know now that you did not know when you first started writing?

Like I’ve previously stated, I never set out to become a writer, so I had no clue what to do with the stories I’ve written and how I was going to get them published.

The biggest challenge I had to face was, fear: Fear of failure, and fear of the financial impact on my family since I was independently publishing my own books. As I was facing my fears I remembered a quote by the late and great Maya Angelou;

“Hope and fear cannot occupy the same space. Invite one to stay.”

So, I released my fears and choose hope. I’m so glad I did because my books have been welcomed with open arms and I’ve received such positive feedback from so many people. The most rewarding experience has been the outpour of messages I’ve been receiving from people around the world. I’m beyond grateful and so happy to see that my books are making a positive impact.

Which is the next book you are working on? Give us an insight into it.

Sneek Peek (release date spring of 2020)
Book 4 – ‘Honeycake – A Circle of Trust’

In the fourth instalment of the ‘Honeycake’ book series. Nala goes into her dads office to borrow a pencil sharpener without permission. As she is searching, her dads favourite mug crashes to the floor and breaks. Nala panics and runs to her bedroom feeling scared and sick to her stomach. This book is teaching children the valuable lesson on open and honest communication in a safe space.

It’s so important that we create a circle of trust with our children so they are not afraid to come to us when something goes wrong, and to let them know that trust takes a lot of work to build but can easily be destroyed when they are dishonest.

Based on your experiences, could you rate and write a short review for AllAuthor?

AllAurthor has provided a wonderful, professional-looking landing page. They offer graphics and animated gifs with my book covers that I use on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. My favourite tool is the automatic tweet about my books with the book covers. I can control how many tweets a day and just hit the refresh button, when I reach the 5 tweet limit. You can’t get better than All-Author. I have recommended this site to many of my author friends. Keep up the good work!

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