Medea Kalantar is the author of Honeycake: A Family of Spices, the first installment of her brand-new children’s book series which is currently available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Medea infuses valuable lessons on love and acceptance into her writing, celebrating diversity within families. Find out more below!
Thank you so much for answering our questions, Medea! Your children’s book, Honeycake: A Family of Spices, looks adorable! What is it about and what inspired you to create this book?
Firstly, I would like to say thank you for featuring me on Defective Geeks. I’m so honored and grateful to be given this platform to discuss the importance and the valuable lessons my books will give families around the world. I was inspired to write these books when I learnt that I was about to become a grandmother. My stories are all based on my own family, whose members come from diverse ethnic backgrounds. This unique mix is a perfect recipe, and it’s the reason why I call my grandchildren my little Honeycakes.
How did you come about choosing children’s books as your genre for your writing? Are you hoping to grow into writing for an older audience, like teenagers?
I actual never thought about writing a children’s book or a series. A few months after finding out I was going to become a grandmother to a beautiful soul that is mixed with many different ethnic cultures, I woke up one day and the words and stories started to pour out of me. I wrote five books in four days.
At the moment I’m focusing on writing another five or more books to add to the Honeycake series. But I am totally open to writing to an older audience when the inspiration strikes.
As a writer, how did you go about translating big ideas of interpersonal relationships, multiculturalism, love and random act of kindness into a children’s story? What was the most difficult part about it? What has been the most rewarding experience from it so far?
With my first book Honeycake A Family of Spices, I show that through imagination, the grandmother details how each delicious ingredient represents a different family member and his or her unique ethnic background. I believe children are more than capable to understand all subject matter if it’s explained in a way they can understand.
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 financial cost of independently publishing my books has been the greatest challenge. But I was able to get a sponsor for my first book. Shout out to Rima Aristocrat, President and CEO of Willis College, and I’ve recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to help with some of the costs.
The most rewarding experience has been the outpour of messages I’ve been receiving from people around the world.
Did you choose to feature diversity in your book from your own experience? What is your hope for younger generations and how they can navigate more and more multicultural spaces in their lives?
Yes absolutely. I was born in Georgia U.S.S.R and came to Canada when I was 4 years old and my husband Esfandiar was born in Iran and immigrated to Canada in 1987. Our children Shanaz and Jean-Diar both have partners that have diverse ethnic backgrounds, Brandon and Reilly. My husband and I are proud grandparents as our daughter Shanaz and future son-in law Brandon just welcomed our first grandchild, his name is Lukenzo Kal Correia. Our beautiful little Honeycake has a mix of Georgian, Persian, Jamaican and Guyanese.
My hope is that if we instill these valuable lessons to our youth at an early age, we can shift the universe into a positive direction, and teach children that even though we look different and come from different places, we are all part of one race. The human race. In this beautiful world we live in, we are all one.
Where was the cooking part of the book inspired from? Do you do a lot of cooking with your own grandchildren
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 honor of my Grandmother who was my moms’ mother. 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, 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. That’s where the title of the series came from and the idea for the first book that would introduces the readers to our entire family. Hence, Honeycake: A Family of Spices.
I think cooking with your children is a great bonding experience and provides practical and essential skills such as reading, following directions and measuring. Getting involved in cooking helps children to develop fine motor skills, eye hand coordination, and even early concepts of math and science. So, I do plan to do a lot of cooking with my grandchildren.
What do you hope your young audience will take away from reading Honeycake and your other upcoming books?
My hope is to help caregivers teach children to accept others, help children to become more balanced, kind, grateful and honest. Help them manage their emotions when things don’t go the way they hope. I always say there is no such thing as winning or losing, there is only wining. 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.
How does your experience as a Reiki Master help with your journey as a writer?
When I got the calling to change my career path to become a certified Reiki Master and Practitioner, I knew that this is what I was put on earth to do. Through meditation and daily self Reiki treatments I began my spiritual journey which lead me to my path asking the question “who am I”? Since then I have been able to look at everything I went through in a different way and finally learned the lessons that life was trying to teach me. As a Reiki Master, I pledge to honor and embody the Reiki Ideals.
THE FIVE REIKI PRINCIPALS ARE:
Just for today, I will not worry.
Just for today, I will not get angry.
Just for today, I will be grateful for all my many blessings.
Just for today, I will do my work honestly.
Just for today, I will be kind.
Because of my Reiki training I am committed to my personal growth, healing and living my best life and to inspire others to do the same. This is what I teach my clients on a daily basis. So, transitioning into a writer and sharing the same lessons and tools to children was seamless for me.
For our last question, if you could pick one superpower and become a superhero, which would it be and what will you use it for?
If had to become a superhero I would be “Love-a- Lot Bear” which is a Care Bear. My superpower would be to spread Love and Light everywhere every I go and Inspire Kindness.