Meet Maria V. Snyder
Meteorologist turned novelist, Maria’s been writing fantasy and science fiction since her son was born. Twenty-one years, fourteen published novels, and seventeen short stories later, Maria’s learned a thing or three about writing. She’s been on the New York Times bestseller list, won a half-dozen awards, and has earned her MA degree in Writing from Seton Hill University where she’s been happily sharing her knowledge with the current crop of MFA students. She also enjoys creating new worlds where horses and swords rule, ’cause let’s face it, they’re cool, although she’s been known to trap her poor characters in a giant metal cube and let them figure out how to get out. Traveling is one of her biggest distractions from writing and Maria hasn’t said no to a trip yet. She has visited China, Dubai, Malaysia, Europe, Central America, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada — all provided wonderful fodder for her stories.
Now onto the interview…
Was there a particular moment or experience that made you realize it was time to write stories and lead to you career change from meteorologist to fantasy novelist?
“I was working as an environmental meteorologist for a consulting firm and the work came in waves—months of crazy long hours followed by weeks of nothing. So it was during those lulls that I started jotting down story ideas and writing short stories. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it and wanted to learn how to improve. At first, it was just a hobby, something creative to do when I was home with my young kids. Only when I finished Poison Study and thought it had potential did I start thinking of a career change.”
From reading your bio, you spend a fair amount of time researching for your novels. How does research shape your stories and overall experience as a writer?
“I find research can spark ideas and twists in a story that I’m working on. I think it’s very important to get the details right even in fantasy. If I have a character who is going to work with molten glass, then she needs to know the correct terms for the equipment and the proper way to “gather a slug.” Otherwise, readers who know a bit about glass blowing will be thrown out of the story when they read something that is wrong. Now, if I say she was a “thlass” (a made up substance) blower, then I can create what is correct for melting and working with thlass.
Hands-on research also helps me translated the experience of say working with glass to readers. I’ve felt the heat pulsing from the kilns. I’ve peered into the cauldron of melted glass glowing bright orange. And I think that helps me create scenes that are more vivid and real for the readers. I’ve had many happy emails from readers who have visited glass factories and impressed their friends with their knowledge. That’s so cool!”
On your website it mentions you write for anthologies. Do you have a particular anthology short story that you could see as a novel?
“I think I have a couple of short stories that could be extended into a novel. My story, Mongrel from Running with the Pack, is one. The main character has such a strong, unique voice, that I’d love to continue with her story. Sword Point in The Eternal Kiss is another – I think that world was interesting and I’d love to explore more. Also Berserker Eyes in Brave New Love needs a part 2 at least. Writing short fiction is hard for me – all my ideas tend to be novel sized .”
Do you have a particular scene that you tend to avoid writing?
“I’m not that comfortable writing sex scenes in detail. I definitely tend to fade to black when two characters start to get intimate. The problem is I know my son and daughter and her friends are going to read the book. However, they are getting older and I’m including a few more details since I’ve heard from readers that they want MORE.”
Your novels tend towards fantasy. Why? What about fantasy really inspires you?
“Basically I love swords and horses! Plus I enjoy creating new worlds and having magic to add to the conflict and tension of a story. Fantasy is a true escape from the “real” world, while still focusing on real problems.”
Is there anything else you want to share with us?
“Thank you for inviting me to your blog! If your readers are interested in my books, they are welcome to read the first chapter of all of them on my website at: http://www.mariavsnyder.com/books.php and I’ve a couple free short stories that they can read as well here: http://www.mariavsnyder.com/shortstories.php
Where else to find Maria:
There is also a giveaway!!
Leave a comment below to win a signed copy one of her novels for a holiday treat!
Giveaway is now closed! Thank you!