I met the author of Selima and the Merfolk – Vanessa Salazar on social media. Months later she attended my first Book Talk & Jazz. We later we sat down at Rust Street to do this interview for the Trinidad and Tobago Newsday.

Featured at the Bocas Lit Fest and several corporate sponsors backing her book, the author proves that dreams do come true and slow and steady wins the race. Success is relative but he/she who stays focused on their dream will surely get what’s theirs in time.

You have told me that I inspire you, but we are all here to learn from each other and no one is perfect, thanks for the inspiration Vanessa and good luck with your book series. Read the published version of the article here.

Visit to Blanchisseuse Government Primary School - photo credit - Louis Ramdhanie
photo credit – Louis Ramdhanie. Visit to Blanchisseuse Government Primary School

 

Out of the rural village of Las Cuevas the author of Selima and the Merfolk Vanessa Salazar was born to write. The country girl as she refers to herself, moved to Belmont when she was 7 years old. She always knew she wanted to write and was always quite good at it in school and so began her dream.

“Writing is my creative outlet, I always had it in my heart to be a writer. I did a course online andSelima and the Merfolk Front Cover.jpg joined the Writer’s Union and started writing short stories. It was then I was told I should write a novel,” the author shares.

Salazar found out what a mermaid was from her grandfather who told her stories about the Ferry River at the end of Las Cuevas that runs into the sea.

He said that long ago ferries used to pass through the river to transport cocoa and people claimed that they had seen mermaids there.

“At age 6 or 7 I was fascinated with mermaids and liked the concept. I think I watched every mermaid movie that was ever made!” she says gleefully.

The book which is a mythical tale of merfolk (collective noun for mermaids and mermen) took 3 years to write and Salazar says she will stick to fiction and has plans to write more books in the series.

Book Launch 2015, Jason Javis, Vanessa Salazar, Mileena Rahim-John, Derick Smith - Louis Ramdhanie.jpg

                    photo credit – Louis Ramdhanie. Book Launch 2015 of Selima and the Merfolk  l-r Jason Javis, Author Vanessa Salazar, Mileena Rahim-Johm, Derick Smith

 

“I believe in writing what you know and writing what you like. I write stories, I always liked fantasy. I want to write stories that I would have liked to read as a child. To create an entire world in your head and put it down on paper and for someone to be able to follow it, I think is quite amazing!” the author shares.

The author admitted to have had several highs since her book launch last year. One thing that really stood out for her is when Moruga RC asked her to be their guest speaker at their graduation. “I thought they they would have wanted someone more recognized so I was really humbled and honoured. It was an amazing experience.”

Visit to Santa Maria RC Primary School Moruga - photo credit - Louis Ramdhanie.jpg
photo credit – Louis Ramdhanie. Visit to Santa Maria RC Primary School- Moruga

She says working with her sponsor Mario’s Pizzeria who have journeyed with her since before her book launch has also been an incredible experience.

“I want to do more. The children have a lot of fun, but I think I have more fun than them. It’s really rewarding to see people enjoy what you worked so hard for.”

Another amazing moment that made her night was when a parent told her on social media that everyone in her household read her book and couldn’t wait to get the next one whenever it’s written.

Salazar in collaboration with Mario’s Pizzeria will be formally launching a short story contest at Mario’s St. Augustine on May 19th.

The contest is open to children 9- 12 years of age on the topic: The day I discovered my super hero power. The deadline is June 3rd Trini Kids Can Write Short Story Writing Contestand the winners will be announced on June 10th.

The prizes include:

1st prize – Mario’s birthday party for 10 children

2nd prize – Mario’s pizza lime for 10 children

3rd prize – Mario’s mega meal

UPDATE: 14 kids were shortlisted for this competition and the winners will be announced on Monday 4th July, 2016.

Author Vanessa Salazar - photo credit - Stephen Doobal(1)
photo credit – Stephen Doobal

Of her greatest wish, the author declares:

“Just as how my grandfather’s story stayed with me throughout my life, if I was a child again I would want to read a book that I would remember my entire life and I think Selima and the Merfolk is a book like this. I want to create lasting memories through my books.”

Selima and the Merfolk is available on the author’s website www.pouipublishingandproductions.com For more info contact: pouipublishingandproductions@gmail.com

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