Hello again, dear readers. This week you are here to learn about Saygar the Magnificent by Elizabeth Jurado.
Welcome to the blog, Elizabeth. Can you start off by telling us a little about yourself, please?
I am a newly published author of Saygar the Magnificent, a middle grade book. I was born and raised in the city of El Paso, Texas, a US – Mexico border city. Throughout my life, the American and Mexican culture merged into one, leaving an impressionable impact in my memories of the food, the language, and the Spanish folktales heard as a child, of which all has been influential in my writing. As an adult, I worked in the educational field as a substitute teacher and a first-grader teacher until I stepped away from it to plunge into the challenging role of a stay-at-home Mom. For the last twenty-three years, I raised my three sons and wrote “Saygar the Magnificent”. I used writing to maintain who I was before becoming Mommy and to help keep my sanity as I kept one step ahead of my energetic sons’ high-spirited escapades!
Kai: Tell us about your book.
Saygar the Magnificent is a multi-cultural story where the Mexican culture is weaved into its pages through easy-to-read Spanish words and phrases. This is a story about diversity, compassion, and the power of voice and of believing in one’s self.
Joseph Mateo has a BIG problem! According to Ms. Kelly, he is too shy. How does Joseph fix his problem? He captures an ant in a ginger ale bottle for a show-and-tell project. The sudden appearance of a weird looking kid in the classroom closet was a surprise to Joseph. Turns out this wasn’t any ordinary kid – it was his show-and-tell project transformed into a human-sized ant. Now, Joseph has a REALLY BIG problem! Determined that no one finds out about the overgrown ant, he disguises Saygar the Ant as the new kid in Ms. Kelly’s classroom, turning his quiet life into a mess of trouble! Saygar’s mischievous escapades threatens to reveal their secret as Joseph helps the ant through the pitfalls of the human world. Together, Joseph and Saygar deal with a bossy know-it-all, the meanest bully in the world, and the rest of his troublesome classmates!
Kai: A human-sized ant is a big problem! What inspired you to write this book?
My inspiration for my book happened during my teaching years so long ago. As a beginning teacher, I was nervous and unsure of my teaching abilities, a fact not lost on a group of third graders. They kept me busy struggling to harness their energy and attention. One day, an ordinary ant crawled across the floor of the classroom and changed everything. To my amazement and relief, this rowdy group of third graders settled down to watch our unexpected guest. I seized on that moment of quietude and weaved a tale about this adventurous ant. It was a simple story of an ant who was curious about the human world, especially their food. Those third graders loved the story and asked for more. I promised myself that one day I would write a whole book about that ordinary ant who wanted to be human.
Kai: Okay, Elizabeth. What do you say we have a little fun? In order for our readers to learn about you, please share your top 3 responses to the following:
Top 3 sources of character inspiration: The initial characters written in the story came from that same group of third graders. There was a real Joseph, Marcie, Roger, Georgie Jr., and Amanda. Since the first inspiration occurred at least 10 years before I sat down to write my book, I used my youngest son to develop Joseph’s personality and another son for Saygar’s personality.
Another source came from a first-grade class that I taught. From there, I found cousins Kimberly and Arianna, Ezequiel, Martin, Lorenzo, and Ruby.
And of course, I looked to my nieces and nephews for another source of inspiration. I added Irwin the Brainy kid inspired by one of my nephews. I am not surprised when readers tell me that Irwin is one of their favorites. For my second Saygar book, I added Cousin Julia, inspired by one of my nieces. I have a feeling readers will enjoy reading about her.
Top 3 editing tricks: I begin with a rough draft. My goal is just to get the story written down. With both Saygar books, I use humor and a lot of action in the story. For me, this is a slow process. I go over my story chapter by chapter. Then character by character, at times, moment by moment, thinking on how this certain young person would react to Saygar’s shenanigans. I always keep in mind that Saygar is an ant. I ask myself, “What would an ant do?” With each going over, I add and expand on the humor and action. After going through the book many times, I like to put it aside for some time before going over it a few more times. I always have a difficult time handing it over to my professional editor. No matter how many times I go over it, I’m always afraid I may have missed something.
Top 3 favorite snacks while writing: I love my chocolate. I don’t care in what form. However, my favorites are Hersheys XL candy bar (dark chocolate) or double chips brownie chocolate ice cream. Popcorn is also a great snack when I get the writing munchies. The one with sea salt sprinkled on it (it sounds healthier). Then there’s my childhood number one treat: Jr. Mints. I love them! I get the big box, eat them in one sitting, spending the next few days recovering from an upset stomach. Then, I start all over again. Yum!
Kai: Elizabeth, thank you so much for joining us today. Where can readers find you online?
Thank you, Kai, for this wonderful opportunity to shout out the publication of my first book, Saygar the Magnificent. Readers can follow me on:
My book can be purchased at:
Saygar the Magnificent Audiobook is available at Amazon, Audible, and Itunes