So enjoy the interview and don't forget to enter the contest! Oh and really don't forget to read Maria's amazing and unforgettable books!
Amber - Welcome back to Amberkatze's Book Blog! It is great to have you here as a guest again! Could you start things off by telling us a little about your latest release, SPY GLASS?
Maria - Hi Amber! Thanks so much for inviting me back – I always have fun when I visit :)
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.
Amber - Your characters always go up against the bad guys or get stuck in difficult situations. How do you decide what to throw at them in each book?
Maria - I don't decide up front. Since I'm a seat of the pants writer, I set things in motion and see what happens when everyone comes together in the final conflict. I like to be surprised and I think if I'm surprised, my readers will be as well.
Amber - SPY GLASS is the third book in the series and ties up quite a few loose ends. Is that the last we will see of this world?
Maria - For now. There are characters from the Study and Glass 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.
Amber - When is the sequel to INSIDE OUT due? Are you working on any other projects you would like to tell us about?
Maria – OUTSIDE IN is coming out in March 2011. I'm currently working on another fantasy novel about a healer set in a world that is recovering from a deadly plague. Her world has blamed the plague on the healers and has hunted them down. She is finally caught only to be rescued by a group who wants her to heal their Prince. The group's leader, Kerrick, knows the healers aren't to blame for the plague and that she could do some good for a change instead of hiding. Unfortunately, she believes this Prince is the one who started the plague as an attempt at biological warfare so she isn't risking her life for some pampered Prince. As they travel to the Prince's hidden location, they're pursued by others who have realized having a healer around might just be a good thing for them, but not necessarily for her.
Amber - How do you come up with the titles for your books? Do you always go with the first title or is it hard to come up with the right one?
Maria - I had hard time with POISON STUDY at first – I wanted something that had Poison in the title and something about learning. I played around with Poison Lessons, Educating Yelena, The Study of Poisons before finding POISON STUDY. I thought the publisher would change the title – they often do, but they kept it and MAGIC STUDY was easy to title. FIRE STUDY was harder as I wanted Soul Study and no one in my publisher liked that. It was only when the Fire Warper arrived that I thought of FIRE STUDY. At first, STORM GLASS was going to be Crystal Study or Glass Study, but I thought we needed a new title so my readers wouldn't be confused. INSIDE OUT has originally been just Inside, but none of my critiquers at Seton Hill liked that name. They brainstormed and my friend, Mike came up with INSIDE OUT. Right now, I've no idea what we're going to title the healer story.
Amber - How long on average does it take you to write a book? Do you have a process you follow? or do you just start at page one and see what happens?
Maria - I need about six months to write a book. I do start at page one and go from there, but before I get approval on a story/idea, I need to write a synopsis for my editor. Technically, the synopsis details the story from start to finish, but I never follow it once it's written.
Amber - There has been quite a lot of Paranormal TV series and Films to hit the screens lately. Why do you think that is? Would you like to see any of your books come to life in the same way?
Maria - I'm not as tapped into the current trends as some. I'm happy paranormal is getting popular, but I've no idea why :) I would love to see my books as a TV series. Movies have to cut most of the book out to fit it into the two hour time limit, but a TV series could really include all the characters and plots. I'm always hoping Joss Whedon will discover POISON STUDY and make it into a TV show.
Amber - How much say do you have in the book publishing process? Eg. Do you get to pick the cover?
Maria - I don't get to pick the cover. I do get to fill out an art fact sheet for the talented artists in the publisher's art department. I supply the details about the world and characters for them. I have more control over the content of the book. If my editor doesn't like something and she has a good reason, I'll change it. But if I don't agree with her, I have the final say.
Amber - I am sure that being an author has its ups and downs. What experiences have you had so far?
Maria - I've had my share of both. Ups are when my books win awards or are finalists. When I get an excited email from a reader about how much she enjoyed my book. When I get a good review. When my kids proudly tell their friends I'm a writer. When my husband boasts I'm a New York Times bestselling author. The downs are when I get a bad review. When I'm so stressed out about a deadline I don't have time for family or friends. When I'm sick and still have to write. When I've been working on a project so long I think it's utter crap.
But the ups outweigh the downs and I wouldn't change anything.
Amber - What have you been reading and watching lately?
Maria - I've been reading a ton of YA Steampunk novels like Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan and Cherie Priest's Boneshaker. I've only time for a few TV shows and I enjoy watching Bones and Top Chef. I can't cook, so I'm fascinated by those who can.
Amber - If you were a superhero, what powers would you want? Or would you be a villain?
Maria - I would love to have the power to heal people. I've had friends and family deal with sickness and ill health and quality of life is so poor for them and for those who take care of them. That's probably why Yelena had some healing ability and why my new heroine is a healer.
Amber - Thank you for visiting Amberkatze's Book Blog again! You are always welcome and I hope to see you here again soon!
Maria – Thanks for inviting me back! And, just say the word, and I'll be happy to come back!
PS: If anyone is interested in reading the first chapter of all my books, you can go to my website and read them here.
Maria is giving away a signed copy of Spy Glass!
I am also giving away one of Maria's books. Winners choice!
How To Enter
To win the signed copy of Spy Glass tell us what new release you are looking forward to reading.
No Book = No Entry
To win one of Maria's books from me, be the first person to post the name the book where Maria mentions me in the acknowledgements.
Earn more entries for each link you place about this contest on the net. You can post on Facebook, Twitter & MySpace but make sure you add links here for me to confirm your entries! However please do not make individual postings for each entry. Please post all your entries in one post.
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You can also earn extra entries by emailing your friends about the contest. Just make sure you send a copy of your email or receipt to me at Amberkatzes_book_blog at gmx dot net.
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The contest will stay open until Sunday 12th of September 2010 4pm CET and the winner will be picked by a randomizer. Entrants should check back to see if they have won. I do not hunt down winners and will pick new winners for any prizes not claimed within 7 days.