I adore Maria V. Snyder: she is one of my favourite authors ever. I freaking loved the original Study trilogy and was over the moon when I found out about Shadow Study! I was even more excited when I was asked to take part in the Shadow Study Blog Tour! Yay! So here is a Q&A with the amazing, lovely Maria V. Snyder! Enjoy! :D
Me: Shadow Study is the first in a new trilogy starring Yelena Zaltana. What will this new series be about - and will it be as action-packed as the original trilogy?
Maria V. Snyder: The new series will be about Yelena and Valek and will have chapters from both their POVs. They are both dealing with various problems and issues. Yelena is shot with a poisoned bolt and her magic is blocked so she’s searching for a cure while trying to keep ahead of her enemies who have learned she’s vulnerable. Valek is dealing with a young hot shot assassin who is trying to take his job as Security Chief. His interactions with the assassin cause him to remember when he was a young hot shot so there are many details about Valek’s past in the first book. The second and third books continue with both stories. And of course there will be LOTS of action – I can’t write a book without it!
Me: What made you revisit Yelena and Valek? Did you originally plan to revisit the series? And what made you decide to have Shadow Study narrated by Yelena, Valek and Janco?
MVS: My readers are the reason I revisited Yelena and Valek. They’ve been clamouring for more stories since Fire Study was published back in 2008 and I finally had an idea that I thought would be good enough for a novel. I decided to switch between three characters because I really wanted to explore Valek’s past and that’s hard to do from Yelena’s POV. Plus I was in Yelena’s head for 3 books and I wanted a change and a challenge. I put in Janco’s because he’s such a blast to write, I couldn’t resist.
Me: Now, from your Study series, I of course love Yelena, Valek, Janco and Leif, but I think my favourite has to be Kiki! Do you have a favourite character from this series?
MVS: I’d have to say Janco. I just like his humour and cockiness and rants against sand. I think with all the action and problems and bad things going on, Janco adds a bit of humour and a bit of a break for readers.
Me: You've created many worlds – magical and dystopian – which would you most like to live in and why?
MVS: I’d live in Ixia. I attended 12 years of Catholic school and never once minded wearing a uniform – it just made my mornings easier J. I’d also like to think I’d be one of the Commander’s advisers or one of Valek’s spies and that sounds like fun.
MVS: The Zaltanas. I climbed trees when I was younger and just loved being up in the branches where no one could see me. The thought of living in a huge treehouse….heaven!
Me: If you could have any magical power, what would you like to have and why?
MVS: I’d want to be a healer like Avry. I’ve so many friends and family members who suffer with various ailments and pain that I just want to be able to touch them and make them instantly better!
Me: What drew you to the fantasy genre and how do you come up with all of your amazing ideas?
MVS: I like reading fantasy and science fiction so writing in those genres was a natural thing to do. I enjoy being able to go beyond the everyday world and incorporate magic or to take science to the next level in my stories. I get ideas from everywhere – life is a sea of stories and I’ll spark on the strangest things—like a comment from my kids, or an article in a magazine, or when I’m travelling, or from a random conversation with a stranger on a train. I dreamt the idea for Inside Out – yep in one night, I dreamt the entire story—characters, antagonists, world, and even the twists at the end. I wish I could remember what I ate for dinner that night as that hasn’t happened again!
Me: How much research do you do for your books - I heard you're pretty hands on!?
MVS: I do quite a bit as I’m a stickler for accuracy. If I’m going to have a horse in my book, then I’m going to learn everything I can about horses, including riding them. Yes, I try to do as much hands on as possible. I think that’s the best way to translate the experience to the reader and again, it’s great for accuracy. I don’t want my readers to email me that I got something wrong about blowing glass or anything else. Although the beauty with fantasy is I can create things in my world, but even then I must stay consistent. The poisons in Poison Study are all created because I couldn’t find real poisons to do what I wanted them to do – my kids are still not talking to me for experimenting on them ;).
Me: What book are you most looking forward to in 2015?
MVS: Gail Carriger’s Prudence. I loved her Parasol Protectorate series and this is the next generation.
Me: Finally, what advice would you give all aspiring fantasy authors out there?
MVS: Read a lot of books in the genre you’re writing and write a lot (every day if possible). Also persistence is key! Keep working on your story even when you think it’s terrible and has gone in the wrong direction. So many people start writing, but then don’t finish. If you wish to be published by a traditional publisher, then persistence will help you find one. You need to keep sending out your story until you run out of places to send it! That’s what I did with Poison Study and 57 rejections later, I found a publisher.
Quick Fire Round!
Pen and paper or computer? Computer
Fantasy or science fiction? Both
Reading or writing? Reading (writing is hard!)
Scientific genius or Master Magician? Master Magician
Favourite book of all time? The Gate to Women’s Country, by Sheri S. Tepper
MVS: Thanks so much for hosting me on your blog. If your readers would like more info about me and my books, I have the first chapter of all my books on my website as well as a number of free short stories (including ones with Yelena and Valek) they can read. Here’s the link: http://www.mariavsnyder.com. My Facebook page is where I’m the most active with updates and news. Here’s the link: http://www.facebook.com/mvsfans.
Thank YOU, Maria! It's been lovely having you! Everyone, go grab yourself a copy of Shadow Study RIGHT NOW! It is AMAZING! Grab it on Amazon, mark it To Read on Goodreads, just read it!
And check out my co-host for the blog tour today, Becca from Lost In Thought. Oh, and yesterday there were two more stops to check out: Jess Hearts Books and Midnight Reads! Enjoy!
Happy Reading Everyone!