Saturday, March 01, 2008

Q&A With Maria Snyder--Fire Study

Today Maria Snyder appears as our guest to talk about her very recently released Fire Study and her writing methods and inspirations.

First off, I want to say, thank you very much to my host, the Wyrdsmiths, for featuring me and my latest release, Fire Study! I’m very excited about the release, which is the third book in my Study series.

Cover art:

Q&A

1) What was your inspiration for writing Fire Study?

1A) I wanted to explore the uses and abuses of power in this book. Poison Study, which is the first in the Study series, concentrated on Yelena’s inner conflicts and her self-confidence, and only touched briefly on magic. Magic Study focused on discovering the extent and type of powers Yelena possesses. In the third book, I wanted to show the extent some magicians will go to gain power over others. Using magic to solve problems can be addicting, and, in Fire Study Yelena realizes how much she depends on her magical abilities. She must learn how to balance the use of her power with more mundane methods and to discover that completely turning your back on magic isn’t the right answer.

2) Where do you find your inspiration?

2A) It can be from anywhere. I get ideas from newspaper and magazine articles, from something I see on television, from something that comes up in conversation, from dreams, or from something my children say or do. I tend not to lack for ideas just time!

3) Who are your favorite authors and books now and when you were growing up?

3A) Currently my favorite authors all have humor in their books. Since my life is so stress-filled and complicated, I’ve been enjoying light and fluffy reading with Mary Janice Davidson’s vampire series and her new mermaid series, Connie Willis is another favorite of mine, and I’ve recently discover the mystery/suspense thrillers of Harlan Coben. Growing up, I started with mysteries because that is what my mother enjoyed. Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys were my favorites before I graduated to Agatha Cristie, Dick Francis, Robert B. Parker, Barbara Vine, and Ed McBain.

4)Who has influenced you in your writing?

4A): I read a ton of mystery novels growing up. My favorite mystery author is Dick Francis and his books have influenced my writing style. I also use first person point of view and try to keep the story’s pace moving. My cliff hanger endings are a direct result from his books; I can never stop reading one of his books at a chapter break. My favorite fantasy writers all have strong female protagonists and interesting characters in common. Barbara Hambly’s books have a nice mix of action, character and humor - all essential elements to what I consider good fiction.

5) What is it about fantasy/science fiction that attracts you?

5A) As a writer, the attraction is in exploring new settings and characters and not having to worry too much about what is physically possible or not. I make my own rules about my world and, as long as I stick to them, can explore various problems generated by the unique setting and situation. As a reader, I enjoy traveling beyond my everyday world to a new place full of wonder and surprises.

6) What sort of research did you do to write this book?

6A) In order to write the scenes with Opal, a glass artist in the book, I needed to enroll in glass blowing classes. The teacher made it look so easy to gather a slug of glass. But when it was my turn – yikes! It was HOT! The big vat of molten glass was kept in a rip roaring furnace at a toasty 2100 degrees Fahrenheit. I held a metal rod, and, while squinting through an eye-melting orange light, I dipped the end into the thick goo and spun it, gathering a glob of glass onto the end. The incandescent glob glowed as if alive.

Once acquired, the slug then needed to be quickly shaped. Glass cooled at a rapid pace, and, even though heat waves pulsed from the slug, it didn’t stay pliable for long. My first paperweight was a misshapened blob. After hours of practice, my ability improved, and I created a paperweight worthy to hold down my next novel’s manuscript pages.

I learned that working with glass required deft coordination, arm strength, tons of patience, and a good partner—it’s a good thing I have a day job!

7) What are you writing now?

7A) I’m writing the fourth book based in the Study world titled, Storm Glass. Set five years after Fire Study, Storm Glass has a new protagonist and she’s the reason for the new series title. Storm Glass will be out December 2008.

8) Did you always want to write? Or did you stumble into it? How did you get where you are now?

8A) I started writing because of boredom! My first job after college was as a Meteorologist for an environmental consulting firm. The amount of work came in waves, and we were either extremely busy or very bored. During the slow times, I started writing a short story. Ideas were always floating around in my mind, but that was when I began using them. I submitted my first short story for critique at a writing conference in Philadelphia, and when the workshop leader gave me 7 out of 10, I thought that was pretty good for a first effort and decided to stick with writing for a while. After my son was born and I only had about one hour a day to myself, I had to decide what was important enough to spend that precious time on. Most days writing won.

9) What does a typical writing day look like for you? How long do you write, that sort of thing?

9A) I sit down at my computer after my children leave for school. After answering email and procrastinating for an hour, I start writing and only stop briefly for lunch and continue until my son comes home around 3:30 p.m. During the school year, I’m very productive, but once summer comes along I can only do revisions.

10) Where do you write??

10A) I write in my home office. My husband enjoys woodworking and he built me a great writing room with built in bookcases and a custom made desk. I keep a number of toys nearby to fidget with as I’m working out a problem in my head, and I keep weapons nearby to make sure when I write an action scene, I’m not describing something impossible.

11) What is easiest/hardest for you as a writer?

11A) Dialogue is the easiest and the most fun to write. I struggle with details. I tend to go light on details, preferring to focus on action and dialogue. Also describing emotions without using clich├ęs is very difficult for me, finding something fresh is hard, but when I do—it’s like hitting the lottery.

Maria’s Bio:

Maria V. Snyder changed careers in 1995 from being a Meteorologist to a Novelist when she began working on her first novel, Poison Study. Published in October 2005, Poison Study won the 2006 Compton Crook Award, was a 2005 Booksense pick, and received a Starred Review from Publisher’s Weekly.

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Maria earned a Bachelor of Science degree in meteorology from the Pennsylvania State University. Much to Maria’s chagrin, forecasting the weather wasn’t one of her skills. Writing, however, proved to be more enjoyable and she has earned a Master of Arts degree in writing from Seton Hill University. Since becoming a writer, Maria has been busy attending conferences, teaching writing classes, and doing book events.

Website

MySpace

Links to buy the book online:

Amazon
Barnes & Noble

4 comments:

Michael said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael Damian Thomas said...

Thanks, Maria, for stopping by to chat and promote.

Thanks, Kelly, for doing the interview.

Maria V. Snyder said...

Hello Wyrdsmiths! Thanks so much for posting this interview about my latest release.

If anyone has any questions, please feel free to email me at maria@mariavsnyder.com

Have a great day!

Shauna Roberts said...

Thanks for posting this interview. I finished the book this morning and found it a very satisfying end to the trilogy.