|Touch of Power|
So, Welcome to Framed In Words, Maria! Thanks so much for doing this author interview with me! You are one of my favourite authors so it's in a way a dream come true for me :) It's awesome to be talking with you! (I actually first got to know about your books through reading Touch of Power, one of your latest books and then I went backwards.)
There are 29 interview questions and Maria will also be giving away a SIGNED copy of Storm Glass to one lucky winner! Thank you so much!!! And yes, the giveaway is INTERNATIONAL!
Without futher or do, on to the good parts!
|Maria V. Snyder|
Maria: This is a hard question! I’m torn between Australia and the UK. I just loved London and would have liked to explore more of the country and also visit Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Plus living in London, I’ll be close to the other European Countries where I could visit as well. Australia because it’s gorgeous and the people are super nice and friendly. Can I have a house in both places? When the weather in the UK is bad, I’ll go to my summer home in Australia J.
Me: What is important in a good Young Adult main female character/heroine for you? What qualities do you look for or think is important for a good and strong YA female character? (And also what qualities do you always include in the construction of your own YA central characters?)
Maria: What’s very important to me is that they are independent – and are not afraid to go beyond their comfort zone. I like them to solve their own problems, but a few times they have help – I frequently have my main ladies work with a partner to solve bigger issues, and occasionally they do get rescued because they don’t have the skills to defend themselves. But when they realize they need to learn a skill like self-defense, they’re proactive and find a teacher. Qualities that are a must for my ladies are intelligence, humor (they all tend to be a bit snarky and sarcastic), kindness, willing to sacrifice themselves for others, and persistence – to not give up even when it looks like all is lost.
Me: Do any of the characters in your writing reflect or resemble yourself? If so, who and which books are they from? How do they reflect on you?
Maria: I think all my characters, both good and bad have part of me in them. As a writer, I have to be a bit of an actress and put myself into their shoes so all their thoughts and actions get filtered through me (I hope this makes sense!). Some examples, Opal is closer to me than my other main characters. She starts out not very confident in her abilities and self-conscience – that was me in middle and high school and while I wanted to go into music, acting and art, I didn’t have the confidence to pursue those careers. I also think the sarcastic/snarkiness comes from me as well. And when Yelena gives her money to Fisk and Avry gives money to a street rat, that’s all me again – no one should go hungry in this world. No one. It boggles my mind that we can’t work out a system to get food to those who desperately need it. Another aspect of me throughout the books is the character of the older brother – Ari, Belen, Cog – they’re my “ideal” older brother, protective, sweet, and ready to defend the main character with their lives. Having no older brother, this is what I imagined one would be (I’ve since learned they can be annoying, and competitive, too). As for the bad characters…would I torture my enemies – perhaps not, but I would go after them with a vengeance!
Me: Why did you choose Opal to be the central character for your second series the Glass Series?
Maria: I didn’t! My editor liked her and thought she had potential. In fact, I was in the middle of telling my editor why Opal wouldn’t work, when an idea for STORM GLASS popped into my head!
Me: Do you compare your main male characters and try to construct them differently? Who is your favourite character in Storm Glass?
Maria: I do try to make my male leads different. However, I lean towards those strong silent types J Their differences come out in how they react to certain situations and what their goals are. My favorite character in STORM GLASS is Kade. My favorite all time character is…Janco – he’s so fun to write.
Me: If one character from any book can come alive, who would you want to come alive and why? (Which book he/she is from?)
Maria: I’d pick a character from one of my books because I’m close to them all. They’re my friends. Since I only get to choose one, it would be Valek. Because he’s Valek – super cool and deadly.
Me: What inspired you to start writing? Did you just enjoy writing hence started writing your own novels, or was there something that prompted you to write?
Maria: Boredom inspired me! My first job after college was as a meteorologist for an environmental consulting firm. The amount of work came in waves, and we were either extremely busy or bored. During the slow times, I started writing a short story. Ideas were always floating around in my mind, but that was when I began using them. I submitted my first short story for critique at a writing conference in Philadelphia, and when the workshop leader gave me 7 out of 10, I thought that was pretty good for a first effort and decided to stick with writing for a while. After my son was born and I only had about one hour a day to myself, I had to decide what was important enough to spend that precious time on. Most days writing won.
Me: How many books are going to be in the Healer’s series? It’s going to be a trilogy right?
Maria: There will be three books in the Healer’s series. I don’t like to call them trilogies, because I find that typical trilogies are basically one big story broken into three parts and that second book is all middle – nothing is resolved. I like to make each of my books a stand-alone, with a main plot being resolved by the end.
Me: What is your favourite hobby/past-time activity?
Maria: Playing volleyball – it’s fun, great exercise and I can play with my family.
Me: Do you eat food while you are writing/working? If so, what sort of “brain” food do you like the most?
Maria: I always drink tea while writing – my favorite is English Breakfast right now. I’ll also
snack on salty snacks like popcorn, Sun Chips and pretzels when I’m writing.
Me: Is the research behind your books hard to collect? Do you spend a lot of time researching? Which series did you enjoy writing the most and why? I really loved learning new things whilst reading your books, especially about glass making skills. What prompted the Glass theme of this trilogy?
Maria: I try not to go overboard on the research because it takes away from my writing time, however I’m a stickler and want to get things right. What I do is start writing and when I have a place where I need to research more detail, I’ll mark it down to fill in later. I love doing hands-on research for my books. It’s the best way for me to be able to translate an experience into words. All my classes and lessons have been loads of fun and sometimes scary (horses are big and kilns are hot!) and I learn so much more than what goes into a book. What I like best is exploring new subjects and skills – I don’t need to become an expert at anything, but I learn enough to be dangerous ;> I have a legitimate reason to be a dabbler.
Researching glass blowing for the Glass series was the most fun because I didn’t need years of experience to understand how to work with molten glass – I just need years of practice to make anything that looks decent ;> The glass theme came from my Study books – I needed a reason for Opal’s sister Tula to be out at a factory late at night by herself. So…I thought of glass kilns and how they have to be so hot all the time and someone would need to feed coal to the fire. It was one of those quick decisions that I threw in there, thinking I’d never do anything else with. Yes, I was very wrong and it ended up being part of another series. Now when I make even the smallest decision, I really think about it because I never know when a character or situation will come back!
Me: What is your favourite dessert?
Maria: Donuts! They’re hard to resist – my favorite is vanilla cream-filled. Yum!
Me: Have you ever had the soft drink L&P? It’s a New Zealand special, so if you haven’t, you are missing out!! :P
Maria: I haven’t heard of L&P – my go to drink is tea – I also like it iced with lemon. Otherwise, I enjoy Diet Coke with Lime.
Me: So I heard you are a beach kind of girl, what’s your favourite beach (or beaches) and what’s your favourite water activity?
Maria: The most beautiful beach I’ve seen is in Piha and part of the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park in New Zealand. It has black sands, big rocks, just gorgeous. Too bad I only spent about 20 minutes there and only had one day to sightsee when I was in N Zed last year. As for more local beaches, I really like Virginia Beach. My favorite water activity is cruising – as in Cruise Ship cruising. I’m not much of a swimmer – I prefer to stay on the sand and nap.
Me: Did you use to (or do you still) like playgrounds? What was your favourite thing in playgrounds?
Maria: I haven’t gone to a playground in years – my kids are too old. However, when I was little, I loved the swings. There’s something about swinging that’s just fun :-)
Me: Did you have a special interest in healing/medicines? Where/how did you get the inspiration to write your latest series the Healer series? (I fell in love with Touch of Power)
Maria: Part of the inspiration came from Yelena, my character in POISON STUDY. She has healing abilities, but that was just one of her many talents. I wanted to explore what it would be like to be a healer. Avry has to take on the injury or illness and then heal herself. The ability to heal with magic is very appealing to me. As a mother, I hate to see my children sick or injured and always wish I could make it all go away. I also have to give credit to an old Star Trek episode titled The Empath about a race of healers/empaths who would can take on the injury or illness of another. I watched all the Star Trek episodes, but this one always stayed with me.
Me: Do clowns freak you out?
Maria: No. But birds flying close to my head freaks me out. Shudder!
Me: What is your favourite genre for books? (Do you have a preference and why?)
Maria: I’ll read anything with a strong story and engaging characters. However, I lean more toward reading fantasy, science fiction, and mystery. I think those stories have more action and are faster paced. If the story is all about a relationship, I’m not interested.
Me: What do you think is important for a Young Adult book?
Maria: IMO characters are the most important for all books. If the reader doesn’t care about your main character, then he won’t care about the plot, twists, or action. And the character has to grow and change during the story – she has to learn from her mistakes and change. If the main character stays the same, then what’s the point? When I’m reading, I’ll pause around page 30 and ask myself a question. Do I care? If the main guy or girl dies on the next page, would I be upset? If the answer is no, then I close the book and pick up another. There are too many good characters out there waiting that I don’t want to waste my time on one that doesn’t engage me.
Me: When you write, do you write in order from beginning to the end, or do inspirations and snippets come to you at random times? So you would then write them down as they are, and reorganize them later.
Maria: I write from beginning to end. Inspiration and snippets of conversations or twists will come to me at random times, but I note them down in my notebook that I use for each novel where they wait until I reach that part of the story. I use them to motivate me. Write two more chapters and then I can get to that juicy romantic scene ;>
Me: If you can travel back in time or forward into the future, which way would you go? (If you choose to travel back in time, which era would you want to go back in and why?)
Maria: I’d go into the future – we have history books about the past and while I’m sure they’re not accurate, I’ve no desire to go where indoor plumbing and Advil haven’t been invented ;>
Me: What is your all-time favourite book (and why)? What about movie? Who is your favourite author?
Maria: This is always a hard question to answer since I’ve many favorites. These two books stand out in my mind: The Gate to Women’s Country, by Sheri S. Tepper and Jaran, by Kate Elliott – both excellent science fiction that are all about girl power. My favorite movie is The Princess Bride – I can quote whole sections from that! And I’m not going to say who my favorite author is because all my friends are authors and I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. But if your readers would like to see what books I’ve read and how I rated them, they’re welcome to check out my Goodreads page at: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/445303.Maria_V_Snyder
Me: What did you want to be when you were 16?
Maria: At 16 I wanted to be a meteorologist and chase tornados.
Me: What is one thing you haven’t done in your life, but would really love to do?
Maria: I’d love to live in another country for a couple years. I don’t think you ever really get to know a place when you visit for a few weeks.
Me: Have you finished writing Scent of Magic or are you still working hard on it?
Maria: Yes, I’ve finished SCENT OF MAGIC and it’s at the printers. I need to start working on book 3, TASTE OF DEATH next week!
Me: Do you play a musical instrument? If so, which ones?
Maria: I play the cello and the piano. I don’t play as much now as I’m too busy writing – my readers are very demanding :-)
Me: When you were in school, which subject is your favourite and which subject is your most-hated?
Maria: I hated English and writing – true! And I couldn’t spell either. Thank fate for spell check! Favorite subjects – art and music of course!
Me: Are you an outdoorsy girl, or an indoorsy girl?
Maria: I’d like to say outdoorsy, but that’s not me. I actually like rainy days so I don’t feel guilty about being inside. And most of my hobbies are all indoors.
Me: If you can go anyway in the world to travel (all cost-covered) for as long as you like, which three places would you go?
Maria: New Zealand, United Kingdom, and Australia.
Questions 30A – No question number 30?? After all that?? Well, we can’t stop at 29 –that’s just not right ;> So let me ask you a question, Angela – who is your favorite…oops…favourite fiction character of all time? How about those reading this interview – who is yours? Do tell!
Thanks so much for inviting me on your blog! If your readers would like more info about me and my books, I have the first chapter of all my books on my website as well as a number of free short stories they can read. Here’s the link:http://www.mariavsnyder.com And my blog is: http://officialmariavsnyder.blogspot.com
Thank you so much for dropping in on my blog, Maria! I had a lot of fun talking to you and I'm sure my readers had a lot of fun reading our interview too. All the best for the coming books! Now, onto the giveaway! Yes, the giveaway is International :) Good luck!