Aug 27, 2010

Posted by in Interviews | 14 Comments

Interview with Maria V. Snyder and Giveaway

I am thrilled to have Maria V. Snyder here today to not only chat about her latest work “Spy Glass”, but also to answer pretty much any question I have ever had about her ‘Glass’ series.  She also tells us a little about what’s next for her.

The series’ conclusion, “Spy Glass”, is coming to stores September 1st.  Tell us a little about it.

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.

Any exciting plans for release day?

My local Borders is having a release party for me. We plan to have munchies and some fun activities to celebrate SPY GLASS’s release.

In your ‘Glass’ series, when you describe how the characters make glass orbs and figures, the reader can truly visualize the process. You’ve said that you enrolled in glassmaking classes as part of your research for the series.   Was the process of making glass easier or harder than you expected?

Harder! Skilled glass artists make it look so easy. My teacher had 14 years experience and when she showed us the steps, it looked simple enough until it was my turn!  To work with molten glass, you need good eye-hand coordination, patience and lots and lots of practice. I have a new appreciation for glass artists.

Did you ever manage to craft something out of glass that you still have?

Yes. I still have a couple of lumpy paperweights, a deformed tumbler and a Christmas ornament that looks like a tomato 🙂  I also have a couple of odd-shaped beads and one stained glass mirror that was nice enough to hang on my wall.

For “Spy Glass”, you visited a maximum security prison.  Were you surprised by what you experienced?  What was more fun – learning to make glass or going to prison?

Walking among the prisoners was the biggest surprise to me. I thought my tour would be behind bullet-proof glass or at a safe distance, but the facility isn’t all maximum security and my friend showed me the cell blocks, the cafeteria, the gym, the classrooms and the exercise yards.  The cafeteria was filled with prisoners and we passed a bunch when we entered the block.  We were outnumbered 50 to 1, but everyone was nice and polite.  There were correctional officers nearby, but only a few, and they weren’t even armed. That was uncanny and scary.

Learning how to shape glass was more fun than going to prison – I’d like to take more glass classes, but I don’t need to go back and visit the prison again.

This is your second series set in the lands of Ixia and Sitia.  Where did the idea for these wonderful places come from?  Do you prefer one over the other?

Ixia came from a combination of my 12 years in Catholic school and my husband’s company.  Uniforms are required in both, and his work is very egalitarian. In his company, everyone wears a uniform – even the accountants and plant manager. There are no special parking spaces and they all work in cubicles. Sitia is a more typical fantasy setting with the clans and a more democratic society.  I just envisioned Sitia to be the opposite of Ixia.  I prefer Ixia – it’s based on a military structure where, if you work hard and do the job, you can be promoted.  I never minded wearing a uniform to school – it made my mornings easy and I never had any peer pressure to  buy the latest fashion trends.

We first meet Opal in your ‘Study’ series.  Did you know her personality well after writing Fire Study, or did her character mostly come to you as you were writing Storm Glass?

Opal grew up in STORM GLASS.  I knew a little about her from FIRE STUDY, but didn’t really know her inner most thoughts and fears and the guilt she felt for betraying Yelena in MAGIC STUDY.

I am always very curious about the names authors chose for their main characters, and you use some very unique names in your series.  Where did the names for Opal, Kade, Ulrick and Devlen come from?

When I was writing MAGIC STUDY, Opal’s name had been Gale. But my editor said Gale and Goel were too similar and I just couldn’t change Goel’s name. At the time, I started reading the comic strip, Pickles and the one character’s name is Opal so I changed it without really thinking about it since I thought Opal’s role would be finished after MAGIC STUDY.

The other names came when I started STORM GLASS. Before I write a book, I get out my baby name book and look for names that mean something. For this book, I was looking for powerful names and names associated with wind, rain and fire.

Kade is from Kadar and is an Arabic name that means powerful.  Devlen is Irish/Gaelic and means brave/fierce. Ulrick comes from Old German and means ruler of all or wolf ruler.  Raiden is the Japanese thunder god.  Aydan means little fire and I liked that name for my glassmaker.

I have a whole article about naming characters on my website if anyone is interested in reading more. The link is:

“Spy Glass” blew me away!  I thought I knew where the story was going, then BAM!  It definitely kept me on my toes and I had a lot of trouble putting it down (it was yet another Kraft Dinner night for my family…).  Did you have any idea where you were planning on taking the story when you sat down to write “Spy Glass”, or did it all just come to you as you were writing?

I had an idea of what was going to happen, but the story wouldn’t follow my initial synopsis and some of the characters refused to behave.  I love it when the characters surprise me and the story takes an unanticipated turn – that’s my favorite part of writing. And that’s why I won’t plan out a story from beginning to end – I like to set up a situation and characters and see where they go.

After reading your ‘Study’ series, I had a hard time thinking that I may never visit Ixia and Sitia again.  Then came your ‘Glass’ series (yippee).  Now, I feel that twang of sadness again. Has your editor talked your publisher into green lighting a new series set in the world you’ve created or is she still bribing him with chocolate chip cookies?

LOL – who doesn’t bribe with chocolate?  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.

You are in the process of finishing “Outside In”, the next chapter in your YA series.  After that, you are set to write another fantasy about a healer in a world that is recovering from a plague.  Can you tell us about it?  Will it be a single title or a series?

It’s funny how most of my book ideas start out as a single title and then just grow and expand into two more books 🙂 It’s the same for the healer story – right now I see one book.  The healer in my next story is on the run. 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.

Alright, flash four time…

Flash four questions about books and writing ~
How long, from start to end, did it take you to write “Spy Glass”?
Six months.

Did you see yourself being a writer as you were growing up?
No – I hated to write when I was younger 🙂

In what room of your house do you write from?
My office/library.

Do you tend to come up with the title for your book before you start writing it, while you’re writing it or when it’s all done?
Either before or during – never after it’s finished.

Flash four questions about random things ~
Sweet or salty snacks?
Salty!  I love Sun Chips!

What color is your toothbrush?

Your high school experience:  good or bad?
It was okay – it got better as I got older.

What do you like on your pizza?

Thank you so much Maria for visiting Yummy Men & Kick Ass Chicks and for taking the time to answer some questions!  I’m truly flattered  that you stopped by!

Maria, the super awesome person that she is, is giving away one copy of “Spy Glass” to a commenter.  But wait!  It’s not just any copy…  It’s a personalized signed copy!  *insert squee*

To enter, just leave a comment below.  Contest open to everyone!
A random draw will take place and the winner will be announced on Saturday morning, September 4th 2010.  Good Luck!

Check out Maria’s site here.
Check out Maria’s blog here.

  1. You know I have been waiting forever for this interview! And you did not disappoint! Love the question about whether she prefers Ixia or Sitia – I was really surprised at her answer. I loved Sitia but now I’m starting to understand the positive aspects of Ixia (being a former Catholic uniformed schoolgirl myself 😉 )

    I’m also really excited to read the new book about the healer she discussed. It always makes me excited to know an author that I love has ideas planned for another book so I’m not entirely crushed by the end of a series. I am so looking forward to reading Spy Glass! Consider this my official comment to enter your contest 🙂

  2. I so cannot wait for this book! I love Opal’s adventures and have to find out what happens to her next. As a refresher precursor to Spy Glass, I reread Storm and Sea, then went back and read the Study series. September 1 can’t come soon enough!

  3. Stephanie says:

    This is a great interview! I agree with Katya – love the question on Ixia and Sitia! I love how the series has the two ends of the spectrum and you find yourself attached to both of them in your own way. And i agree with uniform at school – it is SO much easier. Dressing for uni gets hard but most people tend to get sloppy by the end of the year though… just me? And i find life would be easier if you were acknowledged for what you were good at and picked for doing that and voila there you go!

    Really going to miss everyone when i’ve finished Spy Glass (still got a whilst to wait – boo for UK release date!) but the new story about the healer sounds amazing. I love that Maria keeps going abit more in depth with summarising it in each interview. We can watch it grow!

    And *squeal* at the mention of twists in the story – as if i wasn’t eagerly anticipating it enough already!

  4. Claire Cardno says:

    great interview, i can’t wait to read Spy Glass, and the new story about the healer sounds very interesting.

  5. I am extremely excited about Spy Glass. I can’t wait. I plan on making it my personal birthday present since it comes out right before then. The story about the healer sounds really interesting and I can’t wait for it too.

  6. Thanks for the interview. I have always loved the author reader relationship and I think that blogging is one way to increase the contact between the two parties.

    Congratulations for finishing the final installment in the Opal adventures. It must has taken so much time and effort. Thanks for the wonderful work.

  7. Allison Thaemlitz says:

    I’m so excited for this book!I’m making it my Back to School present for myself.

  8. Melissa/chocoholic says:

    How nice of Maria to do this interview with you. I loved it! I can’t wait for her next book(s). 😀

  9. DeAnna Pearce says:

    I’m excited for Spy Glass. Maria always writes a great mixture of action, intrigue and romance. Thanks for this great world.

  10. I always find these interviews both fun and enlightening. But not as fun as reading one of the new offerings from Maria!!!! Love her work!

    Im dropping hints to both friends and family that my birthday is coming up soon so i hope one of them cops on.

    Im glad to find that Ixia/Sitia aren’t going away for good; i wouldn’t have been able to cope XD

  11. Elizabeth VanZwoll says:

    I can’t wait for the new book! I just finished reading Sea Glass again this morning in anticipation. I picked up Poison Study a few years back on a whim and got hooked… but I admit that I hate waiting for the new books. ^_^

    Is there any way for new subscribers to your email list to get caught up on the short story for Yelena and Valek?

    Thank you so much for the interview!

  12. i cant wait for the this book ..i would be very very happy jumping up and down if i won this book.. i liked the book a lot

  13. Please don’t count my comment as part of the fabulous giveaway. Just wanted to say that I really enjoyed the interview.

  14. this giveaway is amazing ..please enter me

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