We are very happy to have Author Maria V. Snyder here today. Her new book Spy Glass was released last week and she is here today to talk about a bit about herself and her books. Be sure to stay tuned for the wonderful prize Maria offers at the end of the post. Please give her a warm welcome.
BLI: Maria can you please tell us a bit about yourself?
Maria V. Snyder:
I’m a full time writer and full time mom with two kids. Before I was a writer, I worked as an environmental meteorologist because I wasn’t very good at forecasting the weather. I’ve been writing for fifteen years and SPY GLASS is my seventh published novel. I enjoy playing volleyball and I dabble with photography.
BLI: How did you get into writing?
Maria V. Snyder: Boredom. My day job was either super busy or I had nothing to do. During the slow times, I started jotting ideas down. I started with writing short stories under the naïve impression that they were easier to write, but after many rejections, I decided to try writing a novel.
BLI: Describe a typical day of writing? Are you a planner or pantser?
Maria V. Snyder: I’m a pantser 🙂 After checking email and playing around on various internet sites, I re-read what I had written the night before and do a few edits. Then I continued from where I had left off. I usually write for four or five hours then go to bed. I write at night from around 10 pm to 3 or 4 am. If the writing is going good, I’ll stay up until dawn then sleep till noon.
BLI: What do you think is the difference between a reader and a real Book Lover?
Maria V. Snyder: A reader enjoys reading and will have a book by his bed to read at night if he’s not too tired. The book is probably from the library and he’ll take a book on vacation or on the plane, but that’s about it. A book lover has a to-be-read pile of books he owns leaning dangerously on the night table. He’s on Goodreads.com everyday discussing books with his friends. He has a book with him no matter where he goes and has multiple books stashed around the house. He sneaks newly purchased books into the house so his significant other doesn’t yell at him for buying more books. He frequently stays up way past his bedtime in order to finish a book.
BLI: Where do you get your names from?
Maria V. Snyder: I have a couple baby books on my shelf. When I start a writing project, I search through the books and pick out names that have a special meaning. For example, when I started STORM GLASS – I wanted powerful names and also names that had weather references in them. Kade is from Kadar and is an Arabic name that means powerful. Devlen is Irish/Gaelic and means brave/fierce. Ulrick comes from Old German and means ruler of all or wolf ruler. Raiden is the Japanese thunder god. Aydan means little fire and I liked that name for my glassmaker.
I have a whole article about naming characters on my website if anyone is interested in reading more. The link is here
BLI: How did it feel when Fire Study hit the New York times Bestseller list?
Maria V. Snyder: It was so exciting. My editor had emailed me the news and I jumped up from my desk yelling and my kids came running to find out what was wrong. Then we all danced around the house. They really didn’t know why that particular news made me so happy, but they enjoyed mom being silly for an afternoon 🙂
BLI: How much of yourself is put into your characters?
Maria V. Snyder: I put some of me in all the characters. When I write about a certain character, it’s like acting. I try to get inside their heads and figure out why they are doing what they’re doing. So it’s me acting like someone else. Someone braver, smarter, reckless or nastier, but they are always filtered through me.
BLI: Opal Cowen is a glassmaker and live in a magical world. What can you tell us about her and her world?
Maria V. Snyder: Opal Cowan has a special ability to trap magic inside glass. In this world, magic covers the world like a blanket and magicians can tap into this power, by pulling down threads of magic. Opal traps these threads and her magic glass can be used by other magicians like a battery or even like a cell phone for the magicians who can communicate to each other telepathically. Now, instead of messages taking days to arrive, they can be sent almost instantly. This is an amazing development for a world without electricity, phones and cars. Whoever controls these glass messengers, controls the power in the world. So Opal is very popular and not in a good way.
BLI: What can we expect of Spy Glass?
Maria V. Snyder: SPY GLASS picks up a few months after SEA GLASS. Opal is home recovering from a struggle where she had to sacrifice everything in order to save another. Now without her special magic, she’s feeling lost and directionless until she discovers that there may be a way for her to become powerful again. Determined to reclaim her powers, Opal will do anything to get them back. Or so she believes.
BLI: Spy Glass is the final book of in the Glass trilogy and is about to be released soon. When we left Opal in the last book she went through major changes. What effect will these changes have on her in this final book?
Maria V. Snyder: Opal starts out adrift and unsure of her direction, but she soon has a mission to focus her energies on. She’s more confident and in order for her to complete her task, she needs to learn new skills that involve deception and undercover work. Even though uncomfortable with disguising herself and deceiving others, she feels this mission will be the deciding factor and will set the course for the rest of her life.
BLI: The Study and Glass books are set in a rich universe, do you plan to write more books and characters from this setting and will you write another book about Yelena and Valek? *Puppy dog eyes is hoping for a yes!*
Maria V. Snyder: There are characters from these books, that I would love to expand on and see what happens to them. I would also like to write another Yelena and Valek story – I am writing a short story about them for my free email newsletter subscribers right now. I’m also thinking about expanding that story and flashing back to Valek’s past when he meets the Commander and assassinates the King of Ixia. But for right now, I need a break and a new creative challenge to keep my writing fresh. I do intend to go back to Ixia and Sitia in the future.
BLI: In your Study Series Yelena is using a bow for fighting. This is so unique! How did you come up with idea? Did it take a lot of research to discover the techniques?
Maria V. Snyder: The bow or as it’s more popularly known as the “bo staff” is a martial arts weapon. I learned Issinryu Karate and had earned a brown belt (one before black) before I stopped to have children. In Issinryu, we learned how to use a bo staff and sais to defend ourselves. A bo staff is a good weapon for someone who is smaller than her opponent so it was a natural fit for Yelena. With her strong hands and arms, the sais worked well with Opal. For any future heroines, I’m going to need to go back to the dojo and get that black belt 🙂
BLI: The Inside Out/Outside In books are a total departure to your more fantasy based books, do you plan to write more books with a science fiction based setting?
Maria V. Snyder: I would like to. It all depends on my editor and on sales of the Inside books. Unfortunately, Inside Out isn’t selling well and if Outside In doesn’t sell well either, my editor will be reluctant to publish anymore of my science fiction books. I do have a cool idea set in today’s world – something very different for me.
BLI: Did any of your characters give you trouble while writing them? Did they always fit perfectly into what you envisioned for them or did they sometimes do things that surprised even you?
Maria V. Snyder: My characters surprise me all the time and never fit or do what I envisioned for them. My super cool assassin, Valek turned into a pack rat who enjoyed carving. The Commander…well, you know about him. He completely shocked me. And Devlen did an about face on me and I wasn’t sure exactly what he was up to until I finished SPY GLASS. That’s the best part of being a pantser – being surprised 🙂
BLI: What is next on your schedule? What should we keep our eyes open for?
Maria V. Snyder: OUTSIDE IN is coming out in March 2011, and I’m working on a new fantasy novel with a healer as the main character. In this world, a plague has decimated the population, leaving behind warring factions as the survivors scramble to put their society back together. The healers have been blamed for the plague, so she is on the run. This book is due to come out in January 2012.
BLI: Now a couple of ‘mean’ questions *wink*:
Of course you can’t choose between your babies, but how do you see Yelena and Opal? Do you have a favorite?
Maria V. Snyder: I see Yelena as the more assertive one, the older sister of the two. While Opal is getting better, she still has her moments of doubt. Yelena worked her way into the limelight by her actions and deeds so she was more prepared for the attention, while Opal was thrust out into the limelight and had to deal with this sudden pressure. I wish I was more like Yelena when I was younger, but I feel I had more in common with Opal. As for my favorite…that would be Janco. I just love that guy 🙂
BLI: Could you summarize your different series for us twitter style (140 characters tops)?
Maria V. Snyder: These are mean questions ;>
Study Series – Death row inmate gets offered food taster job – magic, murder and mayhem ensues.
Glass Series – Glass magician changes the world – power struggles, blood magic and deception ensues.
Inside Series – Insider searches for a legendary Gateway to Outside – death, defiance and danger ensues.
BLI: Can you tell us 3 reasons why people should read your books?
Maria V. Snyder:
1 – Characters you care about.
2 – Page-turning action, adventure and a touch of romance.
2.5 – I have two kids to put through college ;>
3 – Entertaining and surprising.
BLI: Thanks so much for taking the time to answer our questions.
Maria V. Snyder:
Thanks for inviting me here! If anyone is interested in reading the first chapter of all my books, you can go to my website and read them. Here’s a link
Thanks to Maria we have a copy of Spy Glass to give away.
All you have to do is ask Maria a question or just leave a meaningful comment about the interview.
Please leave us a way to contact you
(email in blogger profile or twitter name is okay).
This giveaway is International!
Giveaway ends on Saturday, September 11th and we will announce the winner on Sunday.
Good Luck everyone!