With all the negativity in the world, Kalantar's series is a much-needed glimmer of hope and positivity. Honeycake books teach children about diversity, kindness, mindfulness, trust, and gratitude. This series will educate and entertain children, for generations to come.
IAN: Please tell us about your latest book.
Medea Kalantar: In the fifth instalment of the delightful Honeycake book series, Nala’s mama and papa are celebrating the birth of their newborn son. But, when baby Luka receives so many presents and all the attention, Nala becomes angry and green with envy.
This book teaches children the importance of gratitude and how to focus on what matters most in life.
Showing gratitude is a great way to find balance in the materialistic culture we live in today.
With the help of her grandmother, Nala learns the importance of gratitude and how being thankful for all the wonderful things she has in her life equips her with a powerful tool to make those icky feelings of jealousy from the “Green-Eyed Monster” disappear.
IAN: Is Counting All My Blessings published in print, e-book or both?
Medea Kalantar: Yes all my books are published in e-book, paperback and hardcover.
IAN: Where can we go to buy Counting All My Blessings?
Medea Kalantar: At these stores.
IAN: What inspired you to start writing?
Medea Kalantar: 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.
IAN: How long have you been writing?
Medea Kalantar: I’ve been writing since October of 2019.
IAN: Who designed the covers?
Medea Kalantar: A very talented illustrated name i Cenizal designed my covers and did all the illustrations for my entire Honeycake Book Series
IAN: What are some things that haven't been done in the children's genre that you hope to introduce through your books?
Medea Kalantar: I don’t feel that there are any books like mine out there. There so many children in the world that have diverse multicultural families like mine, and there still aren’t many books that represent them. 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.
IAN: What are some of the things you know now that you did not know when you first started writing?
Medea Kalantar: 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.
IAN: What do you hope your readers come away with after reading Counting All My Blessings?
Medea Kalantar: After reading Honeycake: Counting All My Blessings, I hope my readers come away with incorporating gratitude in their everyday lives. Most parents have taught their kids the importance of saying thank you by grade school, if not sooner. But how many have truly instructed them in the art of being grateful? You can be grateful for a wide range of “gifts,” everything from nature and good food to good luck or a wonderful opportunity for the people in your life. A sense of gratitude can benefit children (and adults) in a variety of ways. It can decrease stress and has other important emotional health benefits. A person who is grateful tends to spend less time comparing him or herself with others and feeling envious. I also feel that it’s important to showcase that we need to be grateful when things don’t go our way, or when we make a mistake. It’s through those challenges we have to overcome, that we learn our greatest lessons in life. Ultimately gratitude can help adults and children alike, and the best thing parents can do is be a good role model for their children. So, the next time something good — or even not so good — happens, express your appreciation out loud, start a gratitude journal, and start and end your day with what you are grateful for. Everyone will benefit from it.
IAN: What are the other activities apart from writing you like to indulge in your free time?
Medea Kalantar: My favourite activity is spending time with my family, especially with my little grandson Lukenzo who is 18 months old and the inspiration behind my Honeycake Books. Aside from my Reiki practice and writing, I love to dance, go to live theatres, read and travel.
IAN: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Medea Kalantar: The one advice I have for new writers is that you have to be passionate about what you’re writing. If you are, then it will just flow naturally. You won’t be stuck for words. Be authentic and true to yourself. Don’t try to be like someone else, be who you are. That’s what we should all be striving for.
IAN: Tell us about your next book or a work in progress. Is it a sequel or a stand-alone?
Firstly, I would like to say thank you for featuring on IAN and conducting this author interview. I’m so honoured and grateful to be given this platform to discuss the importance and the valuable lessons my books will give families around the world.
I will be taking a break after this book, to focus on a bigger project. I have partnered up with a production company and my Co-Creator Lanette Ware-Bushfield CEO of AWWB Production Inc. is helping me take the Honeycake Book Series and adapting it into a tv series, which is being pitched to major television and animation studios.
I do plan to come back with another 5 books in the Honeycake series, with our heroine Nala and her little brother Luka when they are a little older with books that are geared for middle graders instead or preschoolers.