Monday, 28 January 2013

Guest Post by Maria V. Snyder & Giveaway of Scent of Magic

Maria V. Snyder
Maria V. Snyder switched careers from meteorologist to novelist when she began writing the New York Times best-selling Study Series (POISON STUDYMAGIC STUDY and FIRE STUDY) about a young woman who becomes a poison taster. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, Maria dreamed of chasing tornados and even earned a Bachelors of Science degree in Meteorology from Pennsylvania State University. Unfortunately, she lacked the necessary forecasting skills. So she worked as an environmental meteorologist until boredom and children drove her to write down the stories that have been swirling around in her head. Writing, proved to be more enjoyable than meteorology, and Maria returned to school to earn a Master of Arts degree in fiction writing from Seton Hill University. Unable to part company with Seton Hill and its wonderful writing program, Maria is currently a teacher and mentor for the MFA program. 

You can contact Maria at Maria always says one of the most gratifying aspects of being a published author is hearing from readers, and she prides herself on answering all her emails...eventually (delays can be caused by deadlines, family issues and traveling :) 

Ideas R Us - Guest Post by Maria V. Snyder

The most common and frequent question I’m asked is where do I get ideas for my stories.  And I have a standard reply that I rattle off – that I get them from books, TV shows, magazines, movies, traveling, classes, people I meet, my kids, etc… life is basically fodder for any writer’s imagination.  Sometimes, I joke and say I get them from this website: (not a real website!!).

I thought it would be fun to look back on my various books and link the idea to what first sparked it.

Idea – Making my main protagonist be a food/poison taster.  Spark – My husband works for a major confectionary company (cough…Mars Chocolate…cough) and tasted chocolate as part of his job. I learned there was way more to tasting than chewing and swallowing and used that for my book, Poison Study.

Idea – Having Yelena’s long lost family live in the trees.  Spark – I read an article in National Geographic about scientists who live on these big rafts on top of the tree canopy in the jungle so they can study the bugs and birds who live up there. I thought it would be cool to have a clan of people living in the trees and used it for Magic Study.

Idea – Opal blows magic and not air into her glass creations.  Spark – I signed for classes to learn how to work with molten glass.  One class was a glass blowing class and I struggled to “thumb a bubble” and to blow enough air to make a sphere – which is the start to goblets, bowls, vases, etc…  I then decided to let Opal also struggle with this problem in Fire Study.

Idea – Stormdancers and their ability to harvest energy from storms.  Spark – Watching the TV news coverage of four Category 5 hurricanes in one season (Emily, Katrina, Rita, and Wilma). Since I have a Bachelors of Science degree in meteorology, I know hurricanes release a ton of energy and that causes the destruction.  Those hurricanes had me asking, What if?  What if we could harvest that storm energy and use it?  Turn big and nasty Katrina into a mild soaking rainstorm? That’s how I invented the Stormdancers who played a big role in my book, Storm Glass.

Idea – Having a society living inside a big metal cube.  Spark – this is the one idea where I dreamed the entire story.  Yep – the protagonists, her friend Cog, the Pop Cops and the twists all dreamt one night.  Never has this happened before or since!  This dream turned into Inside Out.

Idea – Sheepy.  Spark – I needed something to show that the upper children in Inside had it nicer growing up than the lower level kids.  The uppers had toys so I used my son’s stuff sheep that he used to sleep with and he called Sheepy to demonstrate this aspect of society.  Little did I know that Sheepy would become so important in both Inside Out and Outside In.

Idea – Tohon’s dead soldiers.  Spark – I needed a way to ambush my protagonist and her friends in the forest.  Since Kerrick’s forest magic can sense anyone within a few miles of him it was going to be impossible to surprise him unless…the ambushers weren’t alive.  And yes, you might claim they’re zombies who are very popular right now, however I put my own spin on them.  They’re not rotting, decaying corpses out to eat brains.  Tohon’s life magic has preserved their bodies so they don’t decay, feel pain, or get sick/hurt.  And they’re intelligent enough to obey simple commands.  A very hardy army that doesn’t have to be fed or rested and they’re used in both Touch of Power and Scent of Magic.

As you can see from the above, I’m not lying when I say I getideas from everywhere – even the smallest details come from somewhere – I just have to think harder to figure out where J

--Maria V. Snyder

Welcome back to my blog Maria and thank you so much for this amazing post! It's inspiring and I hope all the readers and to-be writers will find more ideas after reading this. Maria has done an interview here with me quite a while and ago and it is still one of my favourite author interviews I have ever done. She is also donating a copy of SCENT OF MAGIC (Healer #2), her newest book, to be given away here. (The first book in the series is TOUCH OF POWER) This giveaway is international, and my usual giveaway rules apply. Enter to win Scent of Magic, and don't forget to thank Maria for her awesome post and donation!

Scent of Magic (Healer #2)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I haven't read The Hallowed Ones, but the Experiment in Terror series by Karine Halle is pretty scary. Thanks for the giveaway :D
    (Filled out rafflecopter with the name Nara)

  2. I did not read The hallowed ones, and the scariest book I've ever read is Pet Sematary xD

    Thanks for the giveaway =]]]

  3. No I haven't read the Hollowed Ones yet. The scariest book I've read was The Restorer by Amanda Stevens. Thank you for the giveaway :)

  4. I haven't read The Hallowed Ones. :(

    Scariest book I've read was Stephen King's The Stand. He really is the king when it comes to horror stories.

  5. My favorite fantasy book is, graceling... I love the plot, world and esp the characters.

  6. Christina K. in the rafflecopter

    My favorite fantasy books are Harry Potter, Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo and Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas:)

    Thank you:)

    Haven't read Maria's books, but they sound so so perfect:)

  7. I did not read The hallowed ones, and the scariest book I've ever read is Pet Sematary xD

  8. That's a hard one.... probably "City of Bones." That's fantasy, right?

  9. My favorite fantasy book is the Covenant series by Jennifer L. Armentrout. Thank you for the giveaway!

  10. Very interesting guest post! I know some bizarre things have sparked story ideas for me. Love hearing about how others get their book ideas!

  11. Oh I love love love Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead.

  12. I think my favorite fantasy book would have to be the Chronicles of Narnia. I realize that is a bunch of books, but you get the idea.

  13. Aiiieee!!!! I love Maria! It's so cool to see her guest post here :D Poison Study is one of my absolute favorite fantasy books, but I also love The Host (Stephanie Meyers...might be more scifi?), The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (J.R.R. Tolkien), and Summers at Castle Auburn (Sharon Shinn).

  14. Thanks to Maria!
    My favorite fantasy book is Harry Potter :D

  15. Thanks so much for the giveaway! One of my favourites is Karen Marie Moning's Fever series.

  16. I have so many favorites. Right now my top favorite is Julie Kagawa's the Immortal Rules. I have read all of Maria's books and really enjoyed this interview :)

  17. Favorite fantasy is Harry Potter. Thanks for the great giveaway!

  18. Harry Potter, Twilight Series. i love books. ( :