Monday, November 2, 2015

An Interview with Maria V. Snyder


By Pamela James

MM2: Maria, give us the backstory on your life and how your writing career began?

MVS:  You know this is a dangerous question to give an author - I could fill pages…but I won’t! ;)  I was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and grew up in the city where I developed a fascination with the weather.  I learned what a meteorologist was in the 6th grade and decided I was going to be one and chase tornados.  No idea what I’d do if I ever caught one ;).  But I also enjoyed the arts, acting, dancing, painting, etc…but didn’t have enough confidence to pursue that as a career.  I did earn my meteorology degree and found a job as an environmental meteorologist, doing air pollution studies.  However, my soul longed to be creative so I started writing stories when I was bored at work (shhh….don’t tell anyone).  Why stories?  Well I always loved reading and my imagination always produced some entertaining daydreams, plus it would have looked odd if I started tap-dancing in my cubical.  What started out as a hobby grew into a career when I quit work to raise my children.  The thought of going back to an office and doing air pollution studies failed to excite me so I worked hard to sell my writing so I didn’t need to go back when my kids were in school full time.  I sold my first novel, Poison Study, when my youngest was in kindergarten….whew.

MM2: Where is your favorite place to write?

MVS: My office at home is the best place for me to write.  My husband built my desk and the built-in bookcases that line the room.  It’s a great place and has everything I need.  Well….I wanted to install a small fridge and microwave, but my husband thought if he allowed that, I’d never leave my office J.
MM2: Describe where you live?

MVS: I live in rural Pennsylvania which is the complete opposite of where I grew up.  Outside my house (which is a single house and not a row home) are farm fields filled with soybeans right now, but most summers, the fields are filled with rows of corn. We’re not too remote as there is a Kmart and grocery store about a mile away.

MM2: What is your worst fear? Have you conquered it?

MVS: My worst fear is that something bad would happen to my children and I don’t think you can conquer that.  I suppress it and allow my kids to drive and to play sports without being wrapped in bubble wrap (not that unreasonable a request, right? But I was vetoed on that!).  When I was little I was terrified of thunderstorms, but one time my father and I were stuck outside during a nasty storm and after that my terror turned into fascination.

MM2: At this moment if you could be anywhere in the world, with anyone that you can discuss your writing with who would it be and where would it be?

MVS: I’d be in New Zealand with Joss Whedon, discussing turning one of my series into a television show.  New Zealand is just gorgeous and I only spent a couple days there and would love to return.  And Joss Whedon….he doesn’t need an explanation.

MM2: What would you like to say to your readers?

MVS:  Thank you for all your support over the years!  You rock!

MM2: What would your characters tell us about you?

MVS: My characters would probably complain about me.  I never give them a break and they’re always in trouble and dealing with bad guys.  They’d probably call me evil and sadistic. ;>

MM2: Now let's ask the really fun sometimes humorous questions. What woman do you think is an excellent role model for young women today? What is your favorite meal? Your favorite dessert, song, movie, television series?

MVS:  I think Neha Gupta who founded Empower Orphans when she was 9 years old (she raised money for an orphanage in northern India) and who won the 2014 International Children’s Peace Prize when she was a freshman at Penn State University is a wonderful role model for young women.  Her story and efforts are just amazing!

My favorite meal is cheese ravioli with marinara sauce and a glass of Chianti.  Favorite dessert are donuts – I love donuts!  Favorite song is Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield.  Favorite movie is The Princess Bride.  Favorite television series is Buffy the Vampire Slayer (favorite current series is Castle).

MM2: Do you keep a journal?

MVS: I keep a travel journal when I’m traveling, but otherwise, I don’t.  I do have a notebook where I write down ideas and I’ll tape interesting articles into it.

MM2: On your writing journey what life lesson has writing books taught you? What life lesson have you brought to your books?

MVS: Persistence!!  This is the biggest lesson I’ve learn when writing.  You have to have persistence to finish a book because after a couple months, it’s hard to slog through the middle and there comes a point where I hate the story and characters and think it’s the worst story ever!  Once finished, then persistence is needed to find an agent or publisher if you decide to go with a traditional publisher.  As for what I’ve brought to my books…I think most of my stories have a bit of hope in them – that no matter how bad a situation seems or is, there is always the hope that it’ll get better.  That you don’t give up or give in, that you keep fighting no matter what.

MM2: Give us some advice on writing series?

MVS: Keep detailed notes! Some writers call it a story bible.  It’s important and it helps save time when you’re writing.  When I wrote Poison Study, I thought it would be a stand alone story and didn’t keep notes, then I wrote Magic Study and Fire Study and wished I had written better notes. Now I have this wonderful Excel spreadsheet with all the characters from my Study and Glass series and it’s the best thing ever!  A reader/friend put it together for me.

MM2: Let's talk about your latest book in each of your series? Let's talk about your future writing goals? Let's talk about your current work-in-progress? 

MVS: My latest book is Shadow Study.  It’s the continuation of my Study series with Yelena and Valek and it’s the first in a new set of three books.  In Shadow Study, I alternate the POV between Yelena and Valek for each chapter.  I also explore Valek’s past and show how he became an assassin and met the Commander in a series of flashbacks.  Meanwhile Yelena is dealing with the loss of her magic powers.  Night Study is the second book in the new set and that’s due out January 26. 2016.  That continues the story and is written – we’re doing edits on it now.  I’m just starting Dawn Study, the third and final Study book that will wrap up the series events.  Dawn Study is due out February 2017.  As for my future goals, I’d like to write another fantasy series, and I’ve ideas for a YA science fiction and an urban fantasy about a professional golfer.

MM2: Is there a mentor, teacher, village, family member or friend you would like to thank for helping make your dreams come true?

MVS:  My husband is the one who helped me the most.  He was happy to be home with the kids while I went to writing conferences and took classes and earned my Master’s degree in writing from Seton Hill University.  Without him, I’d never be a professional writer!

MM2: Lastly leave us with your favorite character quote? Now, leave us with an original quote by you?

MVS: My favorite character quote was made by Janco, who had this message inscribed on Yelena’s switchblade: “Sieges Weathered, Fight Together, Friends Forever.”  As for an original by me…how about, “Persistence is the key to success.”  Not sure how original that is, but it’s true!

Thank you for inviting me on to 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: And my Facebook page is:


  1. Yelena & Valek are such fascinating characters!

    And Joss Whedon Rocks!

  2. I love how strong Maria's characters are - and how loyal. That is a theme accross her entire range of books, which is empowering to say the least. Plus she has a beautiful style of writing which makes you unable to put her books down!


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