I’m extremely proud of this post, I sent an email to Maria a few days ago not really expecting an answer, imagine my joy when I did receive a reply and she has kindly agreed to answer my questions as well as offer to help me hold a giveaway for you.
I have been reading Maria’s books for a few years now and in my opinion her books don’t get nearly the amount of recognition they deserve. I read Poison Study while I was still in High School and to this day it is still one of my favourite books. Her books are gaining a little more hype now that some popular Youtubers are talking about her books for example I know that Christine over at PolandbananasBOOKS has read the Poison Study series and Sasha over at abookutopia has recently started reading them and is loving them.
A Little About the Author
Maria has published a total of 13 books along with a bind up of her duology series, Inside, and she has written a few short stories to accompany her Chronicles of Ixia series. You can view these for free here.
She has also published a few short stories in anthologies with other authors.
If you want a list of her books then most of them are included in my list of Books I Have Read This Year. I don’t own all of her books yet but it is a work in progress.
Yelena has a choice – be executed for murder, or become food taster to the Commander of Ixia. She leaps at the chance for survival, but her relief may be short-lived.
Life in the palace is full of hazards and secrets. Wily and smart, Yelena must learn to identify poisons before they kill her, recognise whom she can trust and how to spy on those she can’t. And who is the mysterious Southern sorceress who can reach into her head?
When Yelena realises she has extraordinary powers of her own, she faces a whole new problem, for using magic in Ixia is punishable by death… (Via Goodreads)
This is my first giveaway so I’m still a little unsure how to handle this, I did a little research and decided to use Rafflecopter as I have seen quite a few people use it on WordPress.
In this giveaway Maria has been kind enough to offer the winner a copy of her first published novel Poison Study.
To enter the giveaway you can go to the bottom of the post where there should be a Rafflecopter insert. The giveaway will be open for one week so it will be closing next Wednesday.
Now enough dallying on to the interview!
Interview with Maria V. Snyder
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Everywhere! I’ll get ideas when I travel. Also from newspaper and magazine articles, from television shows or when watching a movie. I’ve gotten ideas from a conversation and from dreams (but that’s rare). My children’s comments or observations have sparked ideas as well. I tend not to lack for ideas just time!
Are you equally as proud of all your books or is there one that stands out above the others and why?
I’m equally proud of all my books. Each one has scenes that I really love and also has spots where I cringe when I re-read it. Poison Study does stand out a bit more mostly because it’s my first book and I had the most time to work on it. I lived with Yelena, Valek, Ari, and Janco in my head for years – they’re family now :).
Are there any books on writing that you would recommend to an aspiring writer? Did any of them help you?
There are a couple books that I recommend to my writing students. Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott, and On Writing by Stephen King. I also recommend all of Nancy Kress’ writing books. She has a good way of explaining things that I found extremely helpful. Orson Scott Card’s How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy sparked my idea for Poison Study! I also have free writing advice on my website. If anyone is interested, here’s the link: http://www.mariavsnyder.com/advice.php
Have you ever had a character in mind but you could never get them down on paper because they were just so stubborn? Or for any other reason?
No – I’ve never had that problem. They come out on the page just fine. But I’ve had characters refuse to cooperate with my plans for them in a story. For example, Devlen in my Glass series of books was supposed to be the antagonist for the first two books and disappear. Except he decided to change during the second book and kept coming back, making Spy Glass the hardest book I’ve written!
Was Poison Study your first idea for a novel or did you dabble with other ideas before you had that idea? What was it about Poison Study that had you so invested?
I dabbled with short stories first. After every one I wrote, my writing critique group told me I needed to expand it into a novel (and I wasn’t able to get any of them published either). As I said earlier, I was reading How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy, and, as I read the chapter on characters, a scene popped into my head – a king who had fallen in love with his food taster. After I explored the idea, I was excited about it because I’ve read a ton of fantasy stories and none of them had this element. But as I worked on the story, it morphed into a military dictator because there are tons of fantasies out there with monarchs. Poison Study was my first novel written and published.
How long did it take for Poison Study to be accepted by an agent\publisher? Did you ever get discouraged when it was turned down? (I’m assuming it was turned down by some)
It took about 3 years for Poison Study to find a publisher. I sent it to 40 agents who all passed and to 17 other publishers before it was accepted – 57 rejections! I did get discouraged (did lots of ice cream therapy!) and even made plans to switch to writing non-fiction and applied to a MFA program so I could teach. However I didn’t give up on Poison Study. I had made a list of all the publishers who would look at fantasy and was determined to send the book to them all before I put it in a drawer.
When you sit down to write do you set yourself a goal? For example doing 3,000 words a day.
Yes, I’m a slow writer and set a minimum of 1000 words a day before I can go bed (I write at night from 10 pm to 3 or 4 am). Most nights, I write more, but I found that when I haven’t written in a while and get back to it, the words come slowly and it takes all night to reach 1000, but, after a few nights, my word counts are much higher. Which is more evidence that writing daily is a good idea!
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions I have only one more. Are there any book series’ that you love but feel as though they don’t get the recognition they deserve? That more people should read them?
This is a hard question, because I’m not as “plugged in” to what’s popular or selling well – I know the big ones like The Hunger Games and Divergent, but am not sure about the ones I do love. There is one series called the Stormlord series by Glenda Larke that is an excellent epic fantasy that doesn’t read like an epic. The characters and world are so well drawn and engaging. It’s not overloaded with dense world building details and a zillion characters to keep track of like in Martin and Tolkien’s books. The first book is The Last Stormlord.
Can I say I think my books are not as well known, but I think they are just as good (or better in some cases) than what’s hot/popular? Or does that make me sound egotistical? It can be frustrating when I read one of the bestsellers and the characters are cardboard and the writing is terrible. However, I’m not complaining at all! I’m living my dream and do well enough that writing is my full-time job. And I enjoy being able to interact with my readers. If I was popular, then I wouldn’t be able to personally respond to email and comments.
Again let me take this chance to thank Maria for agreeing to the interview and being willing to hold a giveaway with me, you are the first person to be featured on my blog and it means the world to me to have one of my favourite authors on my blog.
You can find Maria at her website and her Facebook page:
I hope you all enjoyed this post and interview, if you’re interested in entering the giveaway you can find a link to enter below and I wish you all the best of luck!
Until next time,