New Yorker Lauren Hoffmeier is an author, yoga teacher, singer, and creator. Her first book, Mula and the Fly, is an inspiring children’s tale that reminds us all that we can achieve our dreams — if we only allow ourselves to be vulnerably shaken awake, and dive head first into that which is scary, unconventional, and seemingly impossible.
Her characters are enchantingly human, and the book provides the opportunity for little (and big!) readers to get a taste of yoga, on and off the page.
Through her story, she asks all of us what we dream of achieving that we believe is impossible. I sat down with her to explore why this question is so hard to ask and answer, and what advice she has for other creators who long to create!
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Q: Lauren, you’ve adapted to the pandemic in your own beautiful way, creating a piece that is now about to impact hopefully thousands of young minds – what has been your greatest lesson learned this past year?
A: This time has taught me the lesson of patience. It taught me to appreciate the quiet moments in the time spent face-to-face with the self, which can be scary at times. It’s so easy to forget the relationship we have with ourselves once we’ve stepped into our grown-up shoes, so this time has been one big lesson after another.
Q: What inspired you to create a children’s book? Why a children’s book as opposed to a regular old boring adult book?
A: Here’s the thing, as much as I love reading the grown-up stuff, I will always love a good children’s book. They’re fun! Children’s books have this innate magic sewn into the spine that just makes you want to smile. Just thinking about my favorite children’s books like Doctor DeSoto, Where the Wild Things Are, and The Paper Bag Princess takes me right back to my childhood bedroom engrossed in a thrilling world of imagination. The spirit of a children’s book resonates with my personality. I’m a walking cartoon always in search of another adventure, and that’s why there was only one option for Mula and the Fly.
Q: I love the human-like quality of these characters? What inspired you to choose animals? Is there any significance behind the tiger and the fly?
A: Yes! As the story takes place in the jungle, the characters were bound to be animals, and specifically animals from India, where yoga comes from. As far as which animals, I’ve always had an affinity for tigers. Maybe it’s because of their beauty, their power, their intelligence, who knows, but I’ve always loved them.
So when Mula and the Fly was in development, Mula was guaranteed to be a tiger because of my personal relationship with her character. Besides, each animal in the series of upcoming books is based on the qualities of the chakras. “Mula” is short for Muladhara, the root chakra, and some of the qualities of the root chakra are grounding, stability, earth, survival, and these made me think about the instincts of the tiger. As for the Fly, well, we met in real life while I was practicing yoga. So you could say that the Fly was cast appropriately because the Fly was the one who planted the idea for the book in the first place.
Q: What is the biggest lesson you want your readers to learn from Mula and the Fly?
A: Mula is a dreamer, and, like Mula, we all have dreams, but sometimes they seem impossible, which leads us to give up before we even try. It’s my hope that the young readers of these books take away the lesson of breathing in a big breath in order to realize that everything they need is in their heart. It’s that little bit of inspiration that can take us on so many adventures and allow us to realize that nothing is truly impossible.
Q: As writers and creators, our childhood often shapes the way we make choices and the manner in which we create. How did your childhood shape your understanding and passion for self-discovery and risk-taking that you talk about in Mula?
A: I was a goofy kid, almost as goofy as I am now, and I was always finding new ways of exploring my surroundings. It’s no wonder I became enamored with the theater, which presented many opportunities for self-discovery. Theater was my outlet for developing creativity by exploring new characters, and that exploration led me to discover so much about myself. It was fun, it was funny, it was wild, and it was freeing!
Q: What was the first thing you ever wrote?
A: The first thing I ever wrote was a book of poems in elementary school. I was so proud of that notebook, which I filled cover-to-cover. I remember decorating it diligently, carefully and respectfully, and sadly it was lost when we moved to a new apartment once the school year ended. The happy twist is that those poems got a second lease on life by existing happily in my memory.
Q: There are so many beautiful people doing such inspiring things these days with words. Who are your favorite authors?
Q: Have you started writing your second book?
A: Yes! The next book in the Mula series is coming out at the end of this year, and I can’t wait for everyone to meet Svadi. He is a VERY snooty monkey. Let’s see if Mula and the Fly can help him out with a little bit of yoga.
Q: What is your advice for aspiring authors?
A: Write! Write what makes you happy. Do not spend one ounce of time worrying about somebody else’s expectations in the business. Just write. If you spend a single moment of your time self-editing you will never finish your story. So just write. Write for your own sake. Write because you love it.
Q: Amazing words of wisdom! As the creator of this amazing piece of children’s literature, what do you dream of that currently feels a bit impossible?
A: I’m going to take the advice of Mula and the Fly and say…nothing feels impossible anymore!
For more info, and to get your paws on your own copy of Mula and the Fly, click here.