16 September 2010

Interview w/ Maria V. Snyder + Giveaway

Today, I have the tremendous pleasure to unveil to you all my interview with the fantastic writer and yet another author of the Cool Cucumber category--Ms. Maria V. Snyder, author of the Study series ("Poison Study," "Magic Study," "Fire Study"), the Glass series ("Storm Glass," "Sea Glass," "Spy Glass" [in stores now]) and the Inside Out series ("Inside Out," "Outside In" [coming soon]).  I must thank her publicly for putting up with my ridiculous rants. :)  She handled it well.  Now, for the interview!  (Make sure to read all of it...there's a surprise at the bottom.)

* * *

If you had only six months left to live, what would you do with the remaining time?

Travel with my family.  I love to travel and spend time with my husband and children so I’d combine the two.  And I’d write a book about our adventures so they would have it so they could remember and hopefully laugh over all our misadventures.  Plus I’d plan my funeral.  I want a party with a comedian doing a roast of me.

Are there any “gotta have this/gotta have that” while writing?

When I’m writing,  I gotta have a drink – either hot tea, iced tea, lemonade, or water.  I also need music on so the room isn’t so quiet!

Why do you write?

I’ve always been very creative and have an overactive imagination.  Writing is a good use for all that creativity.  Plus people fascinate me.  I enjoy putting my characters in difficult situations and seeing how they’ll do. 

Is there intelligent life in outer space?

The universe is so huge – there has to be other intelligent species somewhere.

How long have you been writing?

I started writing when I graduated from college and was working my first real job—twenty plus years ago :)  However, I didn’t get serious about it until my son was born 15 years ago.  When he was a baby and I was home being Mom, I needed something to keep my mind active and engaged, so writing became my sanity!

A food taster, a master assassin, the power twins…where did they come from?  When did they all start?

The food taster started when I read a how to book about writing fantasy.  The chapter on characters made me think about someone near the center of power, but not the main leader. The reason I came up with a food taster, is my husband tastes chocolate as part of his job so he’s always talking about flavors, textures and smells of chocolate.  The others just came as I wrote the story.  I’m not much for planning and outlining a book, I get an idea and an end point in mind and just write.

What’s the most difficult part about writing, for you?

The first draft!  Since I only have a vague idea of plot and characters, writing the first draft can be torture and is a very slow process.  Once it’s done, I can do the fun part—revisions. 

Do you have any advice for other young adult writers?  (Either those who write the YA genre, or writers who are young adults themselves.)

My first bit of advice to all writers is Persistence. I’d been writing for ten years and submitting for eight before I sold anything. Learn the craft of writing as well as the business of writing and attend writer’s conferences and classes if you can. Consider that time an apprenticeship. Be wary of predators, if someone is asking you for money proceed with the utmost caution. Get feedback on your stories from fellow writers before submitting. Joining a critique group is very helpful. I also find that if I let a story sit on my desk for a few weeks I can pick out all the problems, typos and inconsistencies easier. And I agree whole heartily with Stephen King’s advice in his book, On Writing. He wrote, “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” And don’t give up! Ever!

For young adults writing – I’d say you don’t need to be older to start sending your stories out.  There are a number of magazines that are looking for stories and articles written by teens.

I’ve an article about finding publishers on my website.  It includes info on how young writers can find places to publish their stuff.  Here’s the link: http://www.mariavsnyder.com/advice/findingP.php

“Poison Study,” “Storm Glass,” “Outside In,” etc. are very appropriate titles.  Was “Poison Study” always titled as such?  Do these titles keep throughout the writing process?

I had a hard time coming up with Poison Study at first.  I knew I wanted Poison in the title, but wasn’t sure about the rest.  I thought of Poison Education,  Poison Test,  and Educating Yelena, but none really grabbed me until I thought of Poison Study.  Usually the publishers will change a title, because it’s very important to have an engaging title.  Mine didn’t and Magic Study was a natural title for the second book.  My editor wanted to title Storm GlassGlass Study, but since I had a new main character I thought that would be confusing to my readers and they might be disappointed that Yelena was no longer telling the story.  She like Storm Glass so that was good :)  Inside Out was originally Inside, but my critique group at Seton Hill thought it was too plain, so they started brainstorming and the real Tricky came up with Inside Out.

When I write a book now, I don’t title it until I have the final title, which is usually  by the time I’m half way through a book.

What type of research did you do, if any?

I do quite a bit of research.  I prefer to do it hands on if possible, but if I can’t, I’ll use the Internet or books.  My research for the Study books ranged from learning how to taste food the scientific way for Poison Study to learning how to ride a horse for Magic Study. I also took a couple of courses and learned how to work with molten glass and do glass blowing for Fire Study and the Glass books. For my latest book, Spy Glass, I took a tour of a men’s maximum security prison.

Over the years, I’ve learned karate, fencing, and all about swords in my research.  I’m interested in a wide variety of subjects and, as a writer, I have permission to go and explore them.  I wouldn’t call myself an expert in any one of them, but I have just enough knowledge to be dangerous :)

What’s something about you that would surprise others?
That I’ve travel extensively and have gone to a few exotic locations like, China, Malaysia, and Dubai.  I’ve sailed through the Panama Canal and swam with dolphins and sting rays.

Who are some fellow authors that you would like to meet?

I would like to meet Suzanne Collins, Scott Westerfeld and J.K. Rowling.  As I was thinking of this list, I realized I have met a bunch of writers I admire all ready—one of the perks of being an author :)

* * *
This contest is now closed.
Enter to win a SIGNED copy of Maria V. Snyder's latest release: "Spy Glass"!

Contest Requirements:
  • Must be 13 or older.
  • Must fill out the following form.
  • US and Canada only.
  • You may only enter once.
  • You must leave a comment for your entry to count.  (Seriously, just saying thank you, or cool interview is fine, but I really want to know what you thought.  Don't just skip right to the giveaway part.  Show some appreciation. [You don't have to leave your email address.  You enter your email address in the form.])
Contest ends October 14th
Enter here!

* * *
Maria V. Snyder earned an MA in Popular Fiction Writing from Seton Hill University. Her freelance articles appear in magazines and newspapers, and she enjoys teaching fiction writing classes at the local college.

You can find more info at Ms. Snyder's website here.

Show some love!
Leave a comment.