Interview with Brazilian author M S Fayes
© Jane Harvey-Berrick, 2019
I first met Martinha in the summer of 2018 at my first Gift Day event in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She spoke really good English, which was great as my Portuguese was limited to ‘Hello/Olà’ and ‘Hey, handsome!/Oi, lindo!’ (don’t ask).
She was expecting me to be very serious and straitlaced (because that’s how British are known the world over), but we realised we had the same sense of humour and love of the ridiculous.
On our latest trip, she was my roommate, and we became even closer friends. I was also a great admirer of her night attire (Snow White and Wonder Woman, complete with phosphorescent stars).
Q Describe yourself in three words.
Crazy, funny, friendly.
Q What do you like most about being a writer?
I like to write happy endings and I like to create. I like to put my thoughts into my writing, all the stories I have in my head. I love the friendships I’ve made with readers, the affection that they demonstrate to me is good for my self-confidence.
Q How has being a writer changed you?
I think I became more of a dreamer, to see the good things in the small picture, in the little things in life. I think it made me more of an observer. I certainly became happier, being able to let my thoughts flow, and to share them with the world, that readers can be made happy by my stories or become involved with them.
Q What does your mother-in-law think of your romantic writing?
She’s been supported from the beginning, so has my father-in-law. She reads all my books and although she’s religious, she keeps my bookmark in her Bible and shows it to all her friends in church! My father-in-law even paid for me to go to some book events. My mother hates that I’m a writer.
Q Does your mother hate that you’re a writer or that you write romance?
I’ve wanted to be creative since I was a kid. I like drawing, singing, dancing, I play the piano, and I wrote romance stories in cartoon format. I think she thought I was writing erotic novels like Fifty Shades of Grey. My children were younger then, and she said to my husband that she wouldn’t help out with them when I was travelling to book fairs. My first signing in Brasilia was a big success, and several of my family went and phoned her to say how good it was. Then she was more proud. But she’d be happier if I stopped. She doesn’t like the artistic life.
Q Tell me about your tattoos.
I love artistic things so I’ve always drawn. As a kid, I drew roses on my arms with crayons. When I was 24, I told my mum that I was going to have a tattoo. I was still living at home. She didn’t speak to me for a week. I said it wasn’t about being a rebel or being fashionable, I just like being a living painting. Everywhere, I take the art with me. It’s true that they’re addictive. They’re painful, but now I have 19.
Q Will you get some more?
Some have meaning, some because I like the design. The butterfly on my shoulder is the same as Jamie McGuire’s Beautiful Disaster. It was a bad time in my life and my mother said I was bringing shame on the family. “You look like a rocker girl with purple hair, piercings and tattoos – I’m not proud to have a daughter like you.” I felt like a butterfly with fragile wings, but one side of the tattoo is tribal, which is strong.
Q What’s your philosophy in life?
Be yourself. Don’t pretend to be something you’re not. It will show up as fake.
Q If you weren’t a writer, what what would you be?
If I could, I would have been an actress. I really love the arts.
Q What do you want to achieve?
Basically, I want to pay the bills, live comfortably, travel a lot, win an Oscar (kidding!), be a bestseller. I want to do everything! But the writing especially.
Q What advice would you give to a first-time writer?
Just open your laptop, your Word program, and let your fingers do the job. Release your mind and imagination. Let yourself try, because you only know if you can if you really try. Don’t be afraid or ashamed by what your mind can create. It’s a part of you.
Q Out of your own books, do you have a favourite?
OMG, that’s hard. But maybe Rainbow?
Rainbow Walker has always felt different from the girls her age. With a peculiar name and a strange family, she has never been able to establish bonds or maintain many friendships. Now, in a new city, she will have to adapt to a new school and routine, at the same time she needs to leave her introspection aside.
But Rainbow is not alone on this journey, as an unexpected person gets in her way, causing her to revisit all the old prejudices towards others, forcing herself to let people into her life.
Turnarounds, family conflicts, and all sorts of misadventures typical of a teenager in high school cannot compete with what she least expected to find: love and self-discovery.
Rainbow ~ Only available in Portuguese
Q What’s your favourite experience with a reader?
I think my favourite experiences are when they cry or get nervous around me. Usually teenage readers act like this, and I get stunned, like, “What?! Hey why are you crying? It’s just me! I’m normal!”
That’s the time when I feel the power of writing. That my words can touch other people, can make them appreciate who created that fictional universe.
I love my readers with all my heart. And when they show me the same feeling, it’s magical. And it proves to me that all the tears to be right here, right now, were worth it.
Oh, and I really like candies, too! Chocolates and little gifts, given from the heart. That’s the best part. I keep them all. (The candies and chocolates are kept in my stomach!)
Q What would you like to say to your readers?
Books are made to dream about. Every story is an author who has something to say to the reader. But also, just enjoy it!