Friday, October 3, 2014

Black Cats and Ballet Slippers

Please help me welcome author, Iva Valentino, a former middle school teacher with a background in science.

Please tell us about your newest release.

Iva: Black Cats and Ballet Slippers is a humorous middle grade 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!

Wow! Sounds like Gemma has her work cut out for her. Black Cats and Ballet Slippers sounds like an exciting read for middle grade students.

What do you like to read for fun?

Iva: I love a variety of genres of books. I really love books that are funny. I tend to choose books that are part of a series. I get hooked on the characters, and then I want to keep reading more about them! I read a lot of YA novels, and recently I have been getting into more science fiction/fantasy.

I've heard it said, if you want to be a writer you need to be a reader.

How long did it take you to write your book?

Iva: Black Cats was written in just one month! I wrote it in November, during NaNoWriMo. I wrote my little heart out every night. I gave myself daily goals for word counts, and did my best to reach them. It was quite challenging at times, especially since I was teaching school at the time and had very long work days. It was totally worth it!

Only one month, what an accomplishment!

How did you get the idea for your book?

Iva: The idea for Black Cats came about during my last year of teaching middle school. In the book, Gemma’s science teacher, Ms. Pruett, has a really creepy classroom. The classroom has a preproom with lots of “witchy” things, such as powdered unicorn horn and other ingredients for spells. In my classroom, I also had a big preproom. My classroom was actually very nice and not creepy at all, but over time my imagination took over. I started to envision this preproom as being Ms. Pruett’s. From there on, the rest of the storyline for Black Cats started to brew!

Tell us something about your current or next work in progress.

I’m currently working on a sequel to Black Cats and Ballet Slippers. The main characters from Black Cats will all play a part in it. I’m also excited to introduce some new characters!
That sounds very exciting and I can't wait to check out Black Cats and Ballet Slippers and then wait for the sequel. Thank you so much for visiting with us today and I wish you the best.

Author Bio:

Iva Valentino lives in Arizona with her husband and their dog, Lupo. She graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and a Master’s degree in Education. She loves living year-round in the warm desert.

Iva spent many years as a middle school teacher, where she enjoyed doing fun science experiments with her students. She currently works as a science editor at an educational publishing company. She loves travel, yoga, and photography. There is nothing that brings her more happiness than a good dance class!

You can visit Iva at the following sites:


Purchasing links for Black Cats and Ballet Slippers:

MuseItUp Publishing:



  1. Congratulations on the release!

  2. Congratulations on your latest release, Iva. I would think it'd be rewarding to write for this age group. I intend to give Young Adult novels a try when I finish with my current project. It's, uh, gonna take longer than a month...a LOT longer (grin).

    1. Thank you, Mark! Tween and YA novels are my favorite to read and write. Good luck with your project! :)

  3. Victoria, thank you so much for hosting me on your blog!