1. Most readers are familiar with your adult novels. What first drew you into the young adult market?
After I wrote my first novel, Poison Study my 14 year old niece wanted to read it so I gave her a copy of the manuscript and she read it in two days and loved it. It gave me the idea that if I couldn’t sell Poison Study as an adult novel, I would try the YA market. But Poison Study sold and was published as an adult novel. However, I received a large number of emails from teens who had loved the book. When my publisher decided to start a new YA line, they re-released a few adult books with YA covers and both Poison Study and Magic Study were picked. When I wrote Inside Out , I didn’t write it any different than my other novels. The only reason it’s considered more of a YA book is the protagonist is young – 17 years old and the story isn’t as long.
2. How would you describe your writing in five words or less?
Character-driven, fast-paced, surprising, entertaining, fun. (Are the hyphens cheating? Well, what do you expect? I’m a writer – five words are hard!
3. We loved the world you created in Inside Out. Where did the inspiration come from?
A dream! I dreamt the whole story, the world, the characters, the Pop Cops, and even the twists! When I woke up, I wrote it all down before I could forget it. I haven’t ever done that before and haven’t since – I wish I could remember what I ate for dinner that night
4. Trella is a strong character that manages to grow throughout the story. Are you naturally drawn toward strong female characters?
Yes. I’m very independent and have taken karate, fencing classes and learned how to change a tire. I’m all about girl power
5. We found the ending to be very satisfying but I wondered if you planned to make a sequel?
Yes, I’m working on a sequel titled, Outside In right now
6. What can we expect to see in the future? Will you continue in the young adult market?
Outside In will be another YA, and I hope to do more YA books. I have another idea I like to write if my editor gives me the go ahead And the short story I wrote for the anthology, The Eternal Kiss, 13 tales of Blood and Desire – I’d like to expand into a novel. The story is titled Sword Point and readers can read an excerpt on my website at http://www.mariavsnyder.com/shortstories.php I also plan to continue with my adult fantasy novels as well.
7. Are you doing a book tour/signings? Where can our readers find you on the internet?
I do many book signings and events. They’re all listed on my website at: http://www.mariavsnyder.com/appearances.php
8. What is your favorite fictional character? Do you have a favorite fantasy book/author that you would recommend to young adults?
My favorite fictional character is Valek from my Study books As for fantasy books, I would recommend (no – I can’t just mention one!) Rachel Caine’s Morganville Vampire Series – the first book is Glass Houses . Melissa Marr’s Wicket Lovely , Jeri Smith-Ready’s Shade , and Pearl North’s, Libyrinth .
9. Many of our readers are aspiring writers. Can you offer any advice on writing fantasy/sci-fi?
I can offer lots of advice In fact, I have a whole page filled with articles about writing on my website. Here’s a link: http://www.mariavsnyder.com/advice.php
As for writing fantasy and science fiction, I learned a great deal from Orson Scott Card’s, How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy book. It’s wonderful. The best advice for writing in this genre is to READ as many books in the genre as possible to see what’s been done and what’s been done to death.
10. Can you offer any advice for someone seeing a literary agent/publisher? Did you attend writing courses, conferences, peer groups? Did you already know people in the business?
You do need to learn the craft of writing. Attending classes and going to writing conferences is a great way to learn about the business of writing. Many writers’ conferences invite agents and editors to speak on panels and many times they will have pitch sessions where you can sit down with them for 10 minutes and pitch your novel to them. Critique groups of your peers are also helpful to improve your writing – I have an article on how to find them on my website as well.
You don’t need to know people in the business to sell a book. I never met my editor or agent in person. The book sold based on its own merits. Meeting agents and editors is good so they can put a face to a name, but if they’re not interested in the book, they won’t buy it just because you’ve met them J
I would also recommend that you be professional in all your dealings with agents and editors. If she takes the time to write you a non-standard rejection letter, send her a thank you card, getting that type of feedback is rare from a busy editor and it means she thought enough of the story to send you comments.
And my final bit of advice for aspiring writers is: Persistence . I’d been writing for ten years and submitting for eight before I sold anything. Also 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!
Maria lives with her family and a black cat name Valek (a.k.a. the bug assassin!) in Pennsylvania where she is at work on another book and/or a short story (yes this is purposely vague – as you can see, Maria is very busy and updating her website takes time that she just doesn’t have. Oh, all right, but if this information is out of date, don’t blame Maria :). Actually, Maria is hard at work…well not at this very second…on a new fantasy series featuring a healer in a world recovering from a horrible plague. TOUCH OF POWER the first book is expected to be published in January 2012, and she’s working on the second book, SCENT OF MAGIC, well…that’s what she told her editor ;>