Wednesday 9 March 2016

Author Interview: Maria V Snyder (Night Study Blog Tour)

Today I have the very great pleasure of hosting the final stop on the Night Study blog tour, with an interview with the author herself, Maria V Snyder.
I've been a huge fan of this series since I first discovered them way back in university, so to see the original trilogy continued and expanded is a dream come true. To actually host Maria on The Review Diaries? Even more so.

What inspired you to come back to these characters and continue their story?

MVS: My readers! They begged.  They pleaded.  They sent me hundreds of emails.  They made puppy dog eyes at me.  I couldn’t resist those puppy dog eyes. Also I sparked on an idea for a new story and I wanted to explore Valek’s past.

Can you give us a hint about the challenges Yelena and Valek will be facing in this book?

MVS: The Cartel is one of the biggest problems they have to deal with. It’s a conglomerate of powerful and wealthy business owners who have decided Sitia needs to be run as a business (and OMG I just made the realization that it’s very similar to Donald Trump running for president of the United States – except the Cartel isn’t campaigning, they’re just removing the current council and taking over).  Yelena and Valek also have to face and deal with Owen and his plans.  He’s a powerful magician and has recruited a number of powerful allies.

How has the original idea and concept evolved into the book readers will have in their hands?

MVS: The original idea for this new set of Study books started with Shadow Study and my desire to explore Valek’s past and create new problems to challenge them both.  Night Study is a continuation of what I set in motion in the first book.  Normally, I try to make each book a separate story, and they do have plot lines that are resolved in each book, but these three new Study books are definitely linked.

Can you tell us a bit more about your research process for the novels?

MVS: I usually discover what I need to research as I write a book.  Being a seat-of-the-pants writer, I discover the story as I go.  When I’m writing, I’ll make a list of things that need to be researched and, when I have time, I do it.  I’ll use the internet and I found juvenile non-fiction books to be very helpful when I don’t need to go into depth for a story.  I also do as much hands-on research as possible.  When I was writing the Glass book, I took a bunch of glass classes and learned not only how to work with molten glass but how to fuse glass and make stained glass.  So much fun!  I also learned how to ride a horse and I spent a day in jail!

It's well documented how hands on you are when it comes to learning new skill sets that your characters have, which was your favourite both to learn and to write about?

MVS: The glass classes were my favourite. I’m fascinated with the process and how malleable and reusable glass is.  I enjoyed writing about the process and have had many readers say they loved learning about it when the read my books.

What's the hardest part of writing any of your novels?

MVS: Writing the first draft is always the most difficult.  Since I’m a seat-of-the-pants writer, I don’t plan out the story other than a basic plot.  Each writing session, I’m discovering new details about my story, but it’s slow.  I’m a slow writer and having to sit down every night over 5 to 7 months can be a cold hard slog.

And the best, most rewarding part?

MVS: Finishing the first draft is a wonderful feeling! I enjoy the revision process and it goes much faster.  I also love hearing from my readers.  When my books inspire them and influence their lives in a positive way, that’s just a gift and gives me great joy.

Does anything particular stimulate your writing and creativity, do you have any set writing habits?

MVS: When I read a really good book or see a movie/play that is spectacular, I’ll get motivated to write.  Also those 5 days I spend at Seton Hill University teaching the MFA students twice a year, is always a creative boost.  As for writing habits, I write at night from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m., and before each session I have to tuck my family into bed, brew a large thermos of decaffeinated English Breakfast tea, and then turn on music (otherwise it’s too quiet).  It helps if my desk is neat or else I’ll procrastinate and clean it up before starting.

What are your go to comfort reads when you're not busy writing or researching?

MVS: I hardly ever re-read books, but there are certain genres I’ll lean toward when I’m on holiday and just want to relax.  Romantic suspense is one of my beach reads and I’ll also read mysteries.

What authors or books have inspired you?

MVS:  Here’s a partial list of books that have inspired me: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, Jaran by Kate Elliott, The Gate to Women’s Country by Sheri S. Tepper, and The Time of the Dark by Barbara Hambly.  Other author whose work has influence me are: Dick Francis, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Glenda Larke, Barbara Vine, and Piers Anthony.

Once you've finished this latest series, will you continue with more stories set in Sitia and Ixia? Or will you be heading to a whole new world?

MVS: I will be heading to a whole new world.  After spending over three years with a set of characters, I need a break.  I might return and focus on the younger generation as there are a number of characters like Reema, Teegan, Fisk and Heli that might need their own stories. But that won’t be for a number of years.

Can you give us a hint about what you're writing next?

MVS: I don’t know what I’m writing next!  I’ve a fantasy idea and a science fiction one and I need to write up the synopsis for each and see what my editor likes.

And finally, any advice for aspiring writers?

MVS: I’ve lots of advice for aspiring writers.  In fact, I’ve a number of articles on my website that can read here:

My biggest piece of advice is persistence.  I’d been writing for ten years and submitting for eight before I sold anything. Poison Study was rejected many times, but I kept submitting the book and had planned to submit until I ran out of publishers to send it to. I also tell writers to 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!

Thank you so much Maria for taking time out to come and talk to us! It's fascinating to hear about the writing process! If you haven't yet nabbed your copy of 'Night Study' head on over to Amazon or Waterstones now and order your copy. It's a thrilling story that will have you feverishly reading through the night to find out what happens next!
Keep an eye out for my review which will be going live later in the week!


  1. Great interview! I'm currently reading her Glass series and the process of glass blowing is certainly interesting! I don't think I've ever watched or read about it before. I think she has the most original concepts in her books; I'll definitely read anything she writes!

  2. Thanks so much for being the final stop in my UK Blog Tour and for the great interview! :)