Meet Gabriela Martins, affectionately known as Gabhi, a captivating Brazilian kid-lit author who has charmed readers worldwide with her enchanting narratives. From an early age, Gabhi’s heart was entwined with the magic of storytelling. She fondly remembers peing her first poem at the tender age of 6. Little did she know that this iocent begiing would pave the way for her remarkable journey as a storyteller. Gabhi’s debut novel, “Like a Love Song,” took the literary world by storm, capturing the hearts of readers with its unique blend of emotions and vibrant characters. With a natural gift for weaving tales, Gabhi brings a fresh perspective to kid lit, infusing her Brazilian heritage into every line. As we sit down for an interview with this literary sensation, we’ll delve into her creative process, inspirations, and the incredible adventure that led her to craft her bestselling novel. Join us in uncovering the layers of imagination that have shaped Gabhi’s writing, and get ready to be enchanted by the melody of her words.
C.A: Could you please introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your writing background? What inspired you to become a writer, and how did your writing journey begin?
Gabriela: Hi! I’m Gabriela Martins, a Brazilian kid lit author, but you can call me Gabhi. I’ve always been in love with stories, ever since I can remember. When I was around 6 I wrote a poem (the only thing I recall is “Love goes far” — what was that supposed to mean? Lol) and my grandpa was apparently impressed, and made me recite it to everyone he knew. After that, I just never stopped telling stories.
C.A: Could you share a glimpse into your creative process? How do you approach developing ideas and turning them into stories? Do you have any specific rituals or habits that help you get into the writing zone?
Gabriela: I can start with something as small as a character name or a concept, sometimes there’s a trope I want to explore. With LIKE A LOVE SONG, the first thing that came to me was Nati as a
character. I wanted to tell her story. With BAD AT LOVE, I wanted to write about a fake bad boy. As for rituals/habits, I’ve tried everything: developing a writing routine, sticking to a daily word count or chapter count, etc., but nothing sticks. I think every project is different and it depends a lot on the moment we are in our lives too.
C.A: Who are some of your favorite authors or literary influences, and how have they shaped your own writing style? Are there any books or works that have had a profound impact on your writing career?
Gabriela: Although I always talk about Maurene Goo because she’s one of my favorite authors, the
author that made me realize I could write exactly the type of stories I wanted was… Megan Abbott. If you’re familiar with her work, she writes such darker stories than me, but the thing is that up until then, I didn’t know authors could write about unlikable characters. I didn’t know unreliable narrators were a thing. I didn’t know you could just write outside the mold of best-sellers. Of course, Megan Abbott has a super successful career, but when I first found her books over ten years ago, I was fascinated by the way she chose to tell her stories. I decided that even if I were to write vastly different books, I wanted to do the same thing: write what I felt like writing, regardless of what was widely adored.
C.A: What challenges have you faced as a writer, and how did you overcome them? How do you handle writer’s block or periods of self-doubt?
Gabriela: I think the biggest challenge we face as writers is to keep going. We’re told no many times — from ourselves, in the begiing, with self-sabotage and just the normal difficulties of writing. Then come the outside nos: agents, editors, publishers, and then it just keeps going. It’s easy to let that affect the way we see ourselves as writers and the way we see our journeys too. But I think it’s important to persevere. 🙂 Remember always what made you want to start, and keep the focus there.
C.A: How do you approach developing compelling and relatable characters in your stories? Are there any strategies or exercises you use to ensure your characters feel authentic and three-dimensional?
Gabriela: Mostly, I think it’s one of those things that just comes into practice. For people looking, though, I did take Sabaa Tahir’s online workshop on Skillshare and it was super enriching.
C.A: Where do you find inspiration for your stories? Are there any specific themes or topics you enjoy exploring in your writing?
Gabriela: As I think it’s quite obvious from my work, I love using music as inspiration and as a starting
point. Both of my YA titles are song titles, although those weren’t the songs that inspired the books, just great suggestions by my publishing team. I listened to a lot of the album “Lover” by Taylor Swift to write LIKE A LOVE SONG, and had some of my favorite early 2000’s pop-punk on repeat to write BAD AT LOVE.
Editing and Revision:
C.A: How important do you think the editing and revision process is for a writer? Could you share your approach to editing your own work? Do you have any suggestions for writers on how to improve their editing skills?
Gabriela: I only learned to edit with my amazing critique partners. Before, editing by myself, I feel like I
had a really hard time identifying the things that weren’t working. Being objective about our own work is hard. But with my CPs, I learned to look at angles I hadn’t before — even critiquing their projects too helped me get better at editing mine. What I like to do nowadays is write everything in one go without looking back, and then after I’m done, I try to read individually for plot cohesion and character development. Once I’m happy with how the plot and characters are, I go back for scene-by-scene editing.
Advice for Budding Writers:
C.A: What advice would you give to aspiring authors who are just starting their writing journey? How do you handle rejection and criticism in the publishing world?
Gabriela: Keep going. Believe in yourself. Keep going. Write what feels right to you regardless of what the market deems sellable. Keep going. Surround yourself with people who get it, but don’t go out of your way to make “contacts”. Keep going. Read a lot and read broadly. Keep going.
C.A: Could you give us a sneak peek into any upcoming projects or books you’re currently working on? Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers and aspiring writers?
Gabriela: I currently don’t have any projects coming out soon, but if you want to keep up to date, follow
me on Instagram @gabhi!