Sunday, May 15, 2011

Highlights of the May 14th Interview with author Maria V. Snyder in my Goodreads Group on May 14th

Maria V. Snyder
Poison StudyMagic Study (Study, Book 2)Fire Study (Study, Book 3)
Storm Glass (Glass, Book 1)Sea Glass (Glass, Book 2)Spy Glass (Glass, Book 3)

Inside Out (Harlequin Teen)Outside In (Harlequin Teen)

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. (Information gotten from Goodreads.) She is the author of 8 books which are part of three different series.

The Study series consists of three books - Poison StudyMagic Study , & Fire Study. It is about Yelena, a prisoner, who has been sentenced to death. Thinking she is going to her execution she is surprised to find herself in front of the Commander's head of security, Valek. He makes her an offer she can't refuse and a chance at life. It's tradition that when an opening is available for the Commander's food taster the position be offered to the next person in line to be sentenced to death. Yelena is that person.  Why is such a job being offered to someone whose crime has been terrible enough to render a death sentence? That would be because the Commander has many enemies who'd love to see him killed.. The food tester makes sure he doesn't get poisoned. In the second book of the series Yelena learns how to use the magical abilites she discovered in the first book. In the third book she learns how to master her ability for fire. In each book Yelena studies something new - poison, magic, fire and that is where the series gets it's name.

The Glass series consists of three books - Storm Glass, Sea Glass, and Spy Glass. It is the story of Opal, a glass magician which we were introduced to in the third book of the Study series. Her magic abilities are highly sought after and in these three books she learns just what she is capable of doing with her newly found abilities. One of her abilities is to create glass items that allow communication between magicians. She used her abilities in the last book of the study series to help entrap the souls of corrupt magicians within her glass spheres.

The Insiders series consists of Inside Out, and Outside In. It is about a group of individuals that live in a world of Steel and tunnels. Rumor has it that there is an "Outside" that will be a utopia. The only problem is no one is sure it really exists or what exactly it is. In the two books of the series a rebellion will take place, a change of power will occur, and the truth about what is "Outside" will be revealed. 

My Goodreads group, Nothing but Reading Challenges, of which I am a moderator, hosted a Q&A with author Maria V. Snyder on May 14th. Maria said it would be okay for me to post a portion of the interview on my blog. To see the full Q&A here is a link to it:

Here is a portion of the Q&A:

Me: Maria, Thank you so much for joining us today. It's an honor to have you with us. I really love your stories. I'll start us off with some questions:
You put so much detail into the worlds you build and I'm curious how much research you need to do for them? Did you need to research poisons for Poison Study? Did you need to research glass blowing for your Glass series?
Maria:  I do a great deal of research for my books. For POISON STUDY I learned how to taste food, pick locks (shhh...don't tell my neighbors), and I earned a brown belt in karate, which I didn't do for the novel, but I used all that experience for the book. I did a little research for poisons, but couldn't find ones that did what I needed, so this being a fantasy novel, I created special Ixian and Sitian poisons :) As for glass blowing, I did attend a number of hot glass classes - that was fun and educational. 

Me:  With the exception of a novella or two you seem to like creating your own worlds. Do you find it easier to do this or is it just more fun because you get to set the parameters and not have to try to fit your world inside another? You in essence have no boundaries.

Maria: I do like to create my own worlds, set up the rules and play with things that are impossible in our world like magic and strange substances. There are boundaries, but I set them for each story. Real settings are limiting and if I get one thing wrong...ho boy! my readers will let me know :) I just think cell phones and cars are boring - I'd rather have horses and swords.

Me:  You've done Fantasy, Science fiction, Paranormal, Steampunk, etc - Is there any genre you think you wouldn't care to write or do you like to challenge yourself?

Maria: I do like to challenge myself and, with a short story, if I fail then it's not a ton of time invested - it just gets rejected (yes, I still get rejections). I don't think I'd write a historical novel - too much research and I'm not interested in pure romance - but I'd never thought I'd write a vampire story or a military science I guess I'm open to anything :)

*********************Spoilers for Poison Study***************

Me: In Poison Study was Reyad's ghost really a ghost or was it something created by Yelena's guilt and/or fear that manifested itself into Reyad's image? Hopefully I worded that correctly.

Maria: Yelena thought he was a figment of her fears, but in fact he was a soul - it's the first clue of her Soulfinder abilities and when she banishes him, she is in fact sending him to the fire world without realizing it :)

Me:  Where did you come up with the idea of Criolla? I thought it was a fun addition to the story. Was it something you had in mind from the beginning or something you added in later? 

Maria:  CCriollo is a type of cocoa bean used to make chocolate. My husband works for a major candy company and he's their chocolate expert. He always says chocolate is a magic elixer so...I thought it'd been fun to add in there :)

*********************Spoiler for Fire Study**********************

Me: At the end of Fire Study it's stated Yelena's spirit guide was a bat. Why did you choose a bat?

Maria: I like bats - I think they're cool and thought it would be a different choice :) 

****************Spoilers for Sea Glass/Spy Glass******************** 

Me: In Storm Glass Devlen supposedly used his story weaver abilities to tell Ulrich that Opal wasn't the girl for him. Was he truly able to do that or did he just say it to make Ulrich switch bodies with him? Also, if he can do such things can he see his own future? I'm curious if this is why he was so persistant in his persuit of Opal.

Maria: Yes, Devlen can use his Story Weaver abilities to see Ulrich's past, present and bits of his future - he was being honest about Opal. However, he can't see his own future - only his story weaver could tell him, but they all died in FIRE STUDY. He was drawn to Opal because she freed him from his addiction to blood magic - at first he craved its return, but then he realized that he was now in control and not the addiction and he could change.

**********************Spoilers for Spy Glass*********************

Me: I believe it was in Spy Glass that you mentioned Valek had a childhood experience which sounded like it could have been similar to Opal's that made him immune to magic. Did he at one time have magic abilities before he became immune to magic? 

Maria: He had a tramatic experience when he was 13 - he witnessed his older brothers' murder and Yelena speculates that he might have just come into his power and created a null shield that bonded to his soul when reacting to the experience. So, no - he never really had magical abilities.

Me: Maria, will there be another book in the Insiders series? 

Maria:  No. The first two books haven't sold as well as my fantasy books and my publisher decided not to buy a third. I'm not sure what I'd write about, but with Trella, I'm sure she'd find trouble :) My daughter thinks the title BETWEEN would be good. I guess I could always write it an make an e-book now that Kindles and Nooks are becoming very popular :) Problem would be TIME - I don't have enough to write that and meet my deadlines!

****************Spoilers for Outside In****************

Me: Can you tell us what exactly happened that caused the Others to be left behind/outcast from those inside?
Maria:  They were part of another revolt that didn't win, one before the Travas took control, but not too far before - it was a test run for the Trava's eventually take over. Instead of being sent to Chomper, they were exiled.

****************Spoilers for Outside In****************

Me:  Did the Outsiders take some of the technology with them? I'm wondering about the command collars. Was it technology that had been around, but hadn't been used because it was deemed unnecessary?

Maria: They had been in charge of various mechanical systems before their exile so they had the knowledge. Plus the ships are rather advanced tech themselves.

Me:  If you could possess one of the magical powers of your characters for a day which one would you want?

Maria:  I'd be a healer

Me:  If you could bring one of your characters to life out of the pages of your book, which would you most like to meet?

Maria: Valek although Devlen would be a close second.

Me: Which character did you have the most fun writing?

Maria:  Janco!! He's a blast to write - I love him.

Me: If you could jump into one of your books for a visit, what one place would you like to visit and what would be the one thing you'd like to do while you were there?

Maria: I'd like to jump into STORM GLASS and watch the Stormdancers work out on the rocks and watch the storms blow in. Afterwards, I'd want to lay on the beach and ride Kiki along the coast.

Me:  Am I correct in assuming your stories tend to have some hidden messages in them? People can change, but be weary. You can overcome tragic events just don't let them control you or define who you are. You shouldn't have to change yourself when you find your other half. They should accept all of you. Don't be afraid to accept your destiny. Am I reading too much in between the lines?

Maria:  There are messages and I think each reader will find the ones that speak to them. I don't purposely set out to show "People can change" - I focus on the characters and they will react and interact with others and they change. I think if I tried to incorporate messages then the story would be bad and preachy - we've all read those stories ;> and I don't want to be one of them!

Maria also mentions she is in the process of writing a new series called the Healers. Here is what she had to say about it:

The book is called TOUCH OF POWER and here's the cover copy: Laying hands upon the injured and dying, Avry of Kazan assumes their wounds and diseases into herself. But rather than being honored for her skills, she is hunted. Healers like Avry are accused of spreading the plague that has decimated the Territories, leaving the survivors in a state of chaos.

Stressed and tired from hiding, Avry is abducted by a band of rogues who, shockingly, value her gift above the golden bounty offered for her capture. Their leader, an enigmatic captor-protector with powers of his own, is unequivocal in his demands: Avry must heal a plague-stricken prince—leader of a campaign against her people. As they traverse the daunting Nine Mountains, beset by mercenaries and magical dangers, Avry must decide who is worth healing and what is worth dying for. Because the price of peace may well be her life....

It's set for a January 2012 release, with SCENT OF MAGIC due Jan. 2013.

Me: I always encourage people to visit an author's website. You have a lot of free short stories there.

POWER STUDY is about Ari and Janco as they deal with a Sandseed Magician and a cocky young soldier.

ASSASSIN STUDY is an online serial story about the trouble Valek is involved in while Yelena is in Sitia.

WELCOME was another short story sent to my newsletter subscribers first. It's a near-future mystery story with elements of science fiction. Detective Alex Thomas investigates the first school shooting in twenty years.

E-TIME is a near-future science-fiction story about a woman trying to send a message back in time to her younger self.

And, if we subscribe to your newsletter, I believe you include a link to another story in the works called Ice Study. Will this be another short story or a full blown book and can you tell us where the Study short stories fit into the series?

 Maria: Yes, if anyone subscribes to my free email newsletter that comes bi-monthy, I'll send you the link to ICE STUDY - just email me on Goodreads or here:

It's a short story for now - it'll be finishing up soon either at the end of May or July. Then I'll post in on my website as one of my free short stories - thanks for posting them! The shorts fit in like this: ASSASSIN STUDY takes place right after POISON STUDY. POWER STUDY is after FIRE STUDY. And ICE STUDY happens sometime during the events in STORM GLASS/SEA GLASS roughly - since Opal's glass messengers are used :) 
Newly releases today (Contains the article titled, Dumping the Info Dump by Maria.):

Coming out May 31st (Contains the short story Godzilla Warfare by Maria):

Her books: 

Here are anthologies which contain short stories by Maria:

1) Corsets & Clockwork: 13 Steampunk Romances contains the short story Under Amber Skies.
2) Bewere the Night contains the short story The Coldest Game.
3) After Hours: Tales from Ur-Bar contains the short story Sake and Other Spirits.
4) Running with the Pack contains the short story Mongrel.
5) The Stories in Between: A Between Books Anthology contains the story Dr. Time.
6) The Eternal Kiss: 13 Vampire Tales of Blood and Desire contains the short story Sword Point.
7) The Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance contains the short story Night Vision.

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