Maria V. Snyder is the author of the acclaimed Poison Study (awesome book!) and the accompanying, equally awesome Magic Study, Fire Study and the related Glass series, the third of which, Spy Glass, will be coming out in September 2010. InsideOut, a young adult dystopian novel, came out in April 2010. Can I say she is prolific and celebrated? And she has been gracious enough to offer a FREE COPY of Inside Out to one of my readers, so don't forget to leave a comment and a link for additional chances to win it.
Let's bring her out. [Applause.]
KB: Maria, welcome to BookReadress and please have a seat. Have some water. No? Okay, I'll jump right into the questions. In your research for previous books, you've done glassblowing, food tasting, and learned to ride a horse. Your new YA book, Inside Out, opens with a girl crawling through duct work. Did you actually do that? I was especially curious because family members have worked cleaning industrial ducts, and I've seen how nasty they get! Do you take anybody along with you on your learning adventures?
MS: I didn’t crawl through any ducts for Inside Out, but I did climb a rock wall to get a sense of how difficult it is to scale a vertical surface. I usually go on my research/learning adventures by myself, but they have involved other people like my friend who taught me how to ride a horse.
KB: Your Poison Study and Glass series are pure fantasy, marketed to older teens and adults. Inside Out is a dystopian, and seems more directed squarely at teens. I love a good dystopian novel- so I'm not complaining, but I wondered if you have a master plan here, or if you get an idea and just go with it? How far out do you plan what your next project will be?
MS: I would like to have a master plan - that would save me a lot of trouble! Actually, I get an idea and go with it. Both the Study books and Glass books grew from one idea for one novel. Inside Out came to me from a dream. I usually know what my next two book projects are going to be and have a couple short stories to write. Right now, I’m finishing Outside In and then I have the go ahead to write another fantasy novel for older teens/adults about a healer. After that, it’s undecided – although I would like approval to write this urban science fiction YA set in today’s world that would be fun and different for me.
KB: You sold Poison Study without an agent, but have found an agent since then. What's the difference between your agented/unagented writing life? At what point do you take a new idea to your agent? Since Poison Study, have you run with an idea even though no one else 'got' it?
MS: There’s not much difference in my actual writing, but having an agent has helped me with revisions and when I get stuck. And I don’t worry about contract negotiations and any money issues as I leave that to my agent. I present many new ideas to my agent after I’ve run out of “approved” books. He sorts through them and sends the best to my editor. I’ve so many ideas, that I haven’t “run” with any that haven’t been approved by my editor. If there is one, I can try and sell it to another publisher before I spend the time to write it and then try to sell it. That is definitely one of the perks of being a published author with a good track record.
KB: Travel. Where are you going next? Where do you dream of visiting? Do you share my dream of hiking up Macchu Picchu in Peru?
MS: I just returned from a Baltic Sea cruise with my family. We spent a few days in Stockholm, Sweden and then boarded our cruise ship for Helsinki, Finland, St. Petersburg, Russia, Riga, Latvia, Gdansk, Poland and back to Stockholm. Lots of history, sights, museums, walking, cobblestones, heat, humidity and shopping – I need a vacation! My next trip is to Orlando, Florida for the national RWA conference and then to Los Angeles and San Diego, California for a promotional tour for my next release, Spy Glass.
I would love to go to Australia and New Zealand. My husband has actually been to Macchu Picchu when he was down in Peru for business and from what he says, I would love to go there as well. The Galapagos Islands is another place on my wish list.
KB: I'd love to go to the Galapagos, too. Now, Maria, we'll get into some of the tougher questions, questions that by their nature will make some of us squirm and try to justify our actions. Do you write by an outline or the seat of your pants? Has that always been the case?
MS: I’m a seat of the pants writer and have always been one.
KB: I knew it! I knew I wasn't the only one!
A-hem. Sorry. *sits down, quite demurely*
I saw on your blog that you went to Book Expo of America. How was it? Did you meet anyone that blew you away? Get any ARCs that you want to gush on?
MS: I always enjoy BEA – lots of like minded people (i.e. book lovers) and free books. Plus I have a chance to sit down with my editor and agent and talk business and where we’re headed in the next year. I met the Duchess of York, Sarah briefly – she didn’t blow me away, but it was fun to meet her. And since she was in the middle of a scandal, she looked really tired. I didn’t have much time to get ARCs, but my daughter snagged a signed advance limited edition of Cornelia Funke’s September release: Reckless. She’s my daughter’s favorite author. And my son got a signed copy of Rick Riordan’s latest book, The Red Pyramid. He’s my son’s favorite author. So they were both very happy.
KB: My son is completely jealous of your son's connections! Maybe one day, I will get a prize like that. That's what we aspiring authors dream about- autographed copies of books our kids want.
Like me, a lot of my blog readers are aspiring authors. Any warm, fuzzy advice? Any advice that's we might not exactly want to hear, but it's for our own good?
MS: My warm and fuzzy advice: it’s possible. Combine hard work with talent and persistence and it’s just a matter of time. Advice that’s hard to hear: it might take awhile to find a publisher for your book. And some books are just not publishable. But don’t give up, write another book and then another and send each one out to every single publisher who publishes your type of fiction before you put it aside. I also have a bunch of writing advice articles on my website at: http://www.mariavsnyder.com/advice.php
KB: Thank you so much for coming to BookReadress and meeting us. And congrats on the cover of Sea Glass winning the 2009 Annual Cover Contest in the Alternate Reality cover category. Isn't it beautiful? Seeing all of these beautiful covers makes me salivate.
Blog friends, leave a comment below for a chance to win a signed copy of Inside Out from Maria. The cutoff time is Friday, July 30, 2010 by midnight EST. Link to this post with whatever social media you prefer and leave a link in the comments so I can find it for additional chances to win (one additional chance per social media. So if you FB and Tweet it, you get your name in the hat three times.) I'll announce the winner on Monday August 2nd. Thanks!