Interview with Maria V. Snyder!!!!

I am so excited to be hosting Maria V. Snyder for a great interview. I hope you enjoy reading the questions I asked and her answers as well. I like to make authors more accessible to their readers by asking some off-beat questions. I had a ton of fun working with her on this interview and I hope she did as well! Enjoy!
Maria V. Snyder changed careers in 1995 from being a Meteorologist to a Novelist when she began working on her first novel, Poison Study. Published in October 2005, Poison Study won the 2006 Compton Crook Award for Best First Novel, won the Salt Lake Co. Library's Reader's Choice award, was a 2005 Booksense pick, was nominated for four other awards, and received a Starred Review from Publisher’s Weekly. She has also published numerous freelance articles in regional magazines and in local newspapers. Teaching fiction writing classes at the local college gives her the enjoyable opportunity to encourage novice writers and to keep improving her craft. 

This interview was done upon my obtaining and reviewing Maria's newest release Sea there is some information regarding the book here as well.

1. Tell us a bit about your new book Sea Glass.

1A: SEA GLASS is the second book in the Glass Series. It continues Opal's adventures from STORM GLASS. In SEA GLASS she is caught in a riptide. She knows that there are Warpers in Sitia using blood magic, but the Sitian Council and Master Magicians don't believe her (or rather lie to themselves). Even her mentor and good friend tell her what she experienced could never happen. So Opal is on her own and must prove the truth to them and to herself – because when the whole world says something isn't possible, it's hard to stay true to her convictions.

There is also a bit of a power struggle going on. Opal's glass messengers are a boon to Sitia, they can now communicate with each other over vast distances (a magical cell phone :) So there are many fractions trying to get control of these messengers. And in order to get control of them, they need to be in control of Opal because she is the only person who can make them. Opal needs to decide who to trust.

2. What brought you the inspiration for Opal's character? and Yelena before her?

2A: I'll start with Yelena. If I had planned Yelena’s character from the beginning, I think it would have been very difficult to portray her. I’m one of those writers that discover things as I write (some call us “pantsers” i.e. “by the seat of our pants” -- as opposed to “plotters” who outline the entire novel before writing).POISON STUDY started out as an idea, telling a story from a poison taster’s point of view. I had a beginning point and an end point in mind, but all the other events and problems arose as I worked on the story. Yelena’s character developed along the way, without a lot of conscious thought on my part. My unconscious, though, was hard at work (the little hamster that turns the wheel needs a long vacation after I finish a book.

As for Opal, she was a minor character in MAGIC STUDY and had more of a role in FIRE STUDY. I was fascinated by her unique glass magic and she had a history. Her sister was kidnapped in MAGIC STUDY and then she was used to get to Yelena. I actually wasn't going to write about Opal after FIRE STUDY. I needed a break from Yelena and that whole world, but my editor wanted another Study book to keep up the momentum.  She mentioned Opal as a potential character.  I liked Opal and she surprised me by how valuable she became in FIRE STUDY, but I couldn't think of a story idea with her.  I was explaining this to my editor and was literally in mid-sentence when the idea for STORM GLASS popped into my mind. At first we were going to title the book Glass Study or Crystal Study, but I wanted a new title since I had a new main protagonist.
3. I have always wanted to live inside an author's head, they have some much going on there, how did you invent this whole other world with Ixia, magic, and snow cats?

3A: It all started with getting the idea for POISON STUDY. I was reading Orson Scott Card’s book, How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy. In chapter 3, Card tells the writer to consider some questions before choosing the main character. He wrote, “Too often—particularly in medieval fantasy—writers think their story must be about rulers. Kings and queens, dukes and duchesses—they can be extravagantly powerful, yes, but too often they aren’t free at all. If you understand the workings of power in human societies, you’ll know that the greatest freedom to act in unpredictable ways is usually found away from the centers of power.”

This comment led me to think about a person who was close enough to the center of power to witness important events, yet not be the Prince or Princess. I thought about a food taster and a scene jumped into my mind. I saw a woman tasting food that was most likely poisoned through the eyes of the King. He watched her with heartbreaking horror because he had fallen in love with her. That led me to wonder about this woman. Who was she? Why was she there? Why would a King fall in love with her? And
POISON STUDY was born.

But then the whole monarchy has been done to death in fantasy novels, so the Commander came along and assassinated them all. My world building doesn't just come to me fully formed, but it's a work in progress, which I'm still expanding. There may be other strange creatures living in Ixia and Sitia, but the story hasn't uncovered them yet :)

4. If you weren't an author what do you think you would be?

4A: I would either be working in a book store or I'd be a librarian.

5. Have you always enjoyed writing, was it a hard climb to get where you are now?

5A: Writing was my least favorite subject in school, and I hated grammar and spelling. I managed to get through college without writing a single research paper :) My first job after college was as a Meteorologist for an environmental consulting firm. The amount of work came in waves, and we were either extremely busy or very bored. During the slow times, I started writing a short story. Ideas were always floating around in my mind, but that was when I began using them. I submitted my first short story for critique at a writing conference, and when the workshop leader gave me 7 out of 10, I thought that was pretty good for a first effort and decided to stick with writing for a while. So I learned proper grammer and writing technique – much to the amusement of my family. After my son was born and I only had about one hour a day to myself, I had to decide what was important enough to spend that precious time on. Most days writing won, and eventually I began sending stories out to publications.

6. Does anyone else in your family enjoy writing as well?

6A: My sister was the writer in the family. She was going to go to college for journalism, but she changed careers to become a chemical engineer and never pursued writing.

7. What is your favorite book of yours you've written, and any that you have read?

7A: Picking one of my books as my favorite is like asking me to pick a favorite child! I love them all, but I will admit that POISON STUDY has a special place in my heart. But don't tell the others!

I've read so many great books. Some of my favorites are: Urban Shaman by C.E. Murphy, Wicked Game by Jeri Smith-Ready, His Majesty's Dragon, by Naomi Novik,  Jaran, by Kate Elliott (science fiction but great adventure/romance - other really good SF novels with great characters are Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card and The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis - in fact, I recommend anything by Connie Wills - she has a wonderful sense of humor.)  Ill Wind, and Glass Houses by Rachel Caine, The Time of the Dark,The Walls of Air, The Armies of Daylight, The Ladies of Mandrigyn all by Barbara Hambly - in fact any book by Barbara is great :)  The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr.

8. What's your favorite food?

8A: Macaroni and Cheese :)

9. Do you have any writing rituals, like some people have to drink coffee with music on in the back ground to write, some have to only do it at night, etc?

9A: In the morning I need to warm up by replying to email – I just can't jump into writing. During the summer, I turn nocturnal. My kids are really good about letting me sleep, but just can't let me write. So in the summer I write from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. and that time really suits me, but unfortunately with kids in school, it's less hassle to write during the day.

10. Do you have any pets?

10A: We have one fish. My dog, Hazel had to be put to sleep in July. She was 16 years and 3 months old and for a Labrador Retriever that's very very old! I miss her and now I have to play music when I'm home because she used to lay near me when I wrote and she snored – lol! I didn't realize how noisy she was until she was gone.

11. Do you secretly harbor a crush on Valek like every other women, or heck men, who have read your Study series?

11A: My husband likes to tell people I based Valek on him. For the sake of my marriage, I smile and nod in agreement. So technically, I'm married to Valek ;>

12. Do you have any favorite authors? or other authors that have become friends over the years?

12A: This is a hard question - I have so many! I’ll list a few by genre: Fantasy: Barbara Hambly, C.E. Murphy, Jeri Smith-Ready, Mindy Klasky, Naomi Novik, David Eddings and George R.R. Martin. Science Fiction: Kate Elliott, Orson Scott Card, Vernor Vinge, and Connie Willis. Mystery: Dick Francis, Barbara Vine and Harlan Coben. Young Adult: Melissa Marr, Scott Westerfeld, Rachel Caine, and Suzanne Collins. Other: Sebastian Junger, and Barbara Kingsolver.

As for making friends, I have made a few since publishing my books. Mindy Klasky and Jeri Smith-Ready are good friends. We'll share a room at conferences and meet up for writing retreats. I'm also friends with Rachel Caine, Rachel Vincent and Laura Anne Gilman. It's been wonderful to hang out with such talented ladies!

13. What is your vice? 

13A: My biggest vice is wine. I enjoy a glass of red wine most nights after the kids go to bed. Second would be donuts – I love donuts!

14. How do you feel about this ebook/ereader phenonmenon?

14A: I think it's great. The biggest benefit is reducing the amount of paper needed to produce books. Less paper equals less chemicals in the water around the paper mills and less air pollution – it’s definitely more environmental friendly. I own a Sony eReader, but don't use it that much. I will admit that I love holding a book in my hands – the feel the smell it's all part of the reading experience. But now I'm flying all over, it's nice to have the eReader to reduce the weight :)

15. Did you have one of those "Wow, I'm famous" moments? If so what was it?

15A: I did. I was standing in line to get a signed copy of my friend's Mindy Klasky newest book at Book Expo in Washington DC. I was also signing at the event, but later. So I struck up a conversation with a very nice young woman in line with me about books and we chatted about our favorite authors. When we reach Mindy, Mindy made some funny comment about being honored I was in her line and she mentioned my name. Well, the woman I was talking just lit up and squealed and said “OMG – your Maria V. Snyder!” and she gushed about my books. That was just a great feeling and one of those moments.

*Sorry about the odd spacing, I am trying to figure out this html thing*

Thanks so much for the interview.


  1. Cool first commentor!! Hope that's not bad luck.

    My favorite paranormal genre is vampires or werewolves! (couldn't pick just one - love them both)

    I am a follower.

    mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

  2. My favorite fantasy book would probably be the Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind - I'm a follower.

    :) Erica

  3. I guess my all time favorite fantasy book(s) would be the Harry Potter series. But, I love all types of fantasy.

    I am a follower.

    +1 Tweet


  4. My favorite fantasy book is Arena by William R. Forstchen
    I am a follower

    throuthehaze at gmail dot com

  5. I'm follower!
    My favorite fantasy genre is about vampires. I Love vampires because they're sexy and mysterious. So I love "twilight", "House of night"... But I love "Harry Potter" too.

    +1 posted on my blog:

    anecullenshinoda at gmail dot com

  6. No need to enter me (But if you haven't read Robin Hobb yet, what are you waiting for???).

    I'm dropping in to say thanks for the e-mail. I've got this posted at Win a Book for you.

  7. Hi Maria,
    I've heard so many good things about the "Glass" series, and know that it is on many wish lists for the holidays :)

    My fav fantasy books LL Foster's Urban Fantasy "Servant" series, and love Karen Marie Moning's "Fever" series. I've followed them from romance into fantasy.

    Congrats on your success, and can't wait to read Sea Glass...would love to win a signed copy of Storm Glass!


  8. please enter me in the giveaway
    Favorite fantasy genre book Wicked Lovely Melissa Marr.

    I am a follower



  9. Favorite fantasy? Help. Can I only choose one? Harry Potter certainly. Elric of Melnibone, a long-time favorite. The dragons of Pern... Then there's the House of Night books...

    I follow

    sdeeth at msn dot com

  10. My favorite would genre would be vampires and werewolves as well :)

    I am a follower
    Blog:squirrelsroyalnuthouse.blogspot dot come
    twitter:twitter dot com/ sunnysnowflake

    sullivansmom101 at gmail dot com

  11. My first time here, arrived via West of Mars.

    I think I'd like to read that book for the gorgeous cover alone! The art gods smiled on this author.

    In terms of fantasy, I'm madly in love with Sarah Monette's 'Doctrine of Labyrinths' series, and the first book in Alison Sinclair's 'Darkborn' series.

    Now I'm off to become a follower.

    mayamissani AT yahoo DOT ca

  12. Hi,me again.
    Having problems with following. I couldn't see anything below 'Followers' on your sidebar, so I thought it might be because of my firewalls etc. and turned them all off - but still not showing anyting, just a big blank area.
    I'm a tech-doof, so I'm not sure what to do next? I've managed to follow on other blogs before, so it's not my first time.

  13. Maya,

    I am sorry you are having troubles, I would close my browser down and open a fresh one and see if that works, I checked the widget and it was fine, so if there is a mix up somewhere between the two I apologize and we can have you add when you are able to get it to work. I can add you to the drawing still, I will just need your email of course. We will just get this fixed asap.


  14. my favourite fantasy genre?
    I guess that'll have to be urban fantasy then :)

    i'm a follower.

    rubs.escalona [at]

  15. enter me please! my favorite fantasy is Eragon :D

    haleymathiot at yahoo dot com.

    i'm a new follower

  16. My favorite fantasy genre has werewolves in it. I love Patricia Briggs Alpha/Omega series.

    Im a follower

  17. Unfortunately I've never really read any fantasy genre books (YET!), so I couldn't say :( I have many of them on my TBR though!

    Linked on my sidebar:

  18. My favourite fantasy genre book is the Harry Potter series. I haven't read too many in this genre yet!

    I am a follower.

    simplystacieblog at gmail dot com

  19. This sounds like an absolutely awesome book! Please enter me.

    My favorite fantasy genre book is The Immortals series by Tamora Pierce! More specifically, the fourth and final book, The Realms of the Gods (The Immortals: Book 4).

    I am a follower!

    +1 Posted about this contest with a link on my sidebar at

    +1 Tweeted about this contest with a link at


  20. my favorite fantasy series would have to be the sevenwaters trilogy by juliet marillier. those books stayed with me for a long time and even now, every time someone asks for a fantasy recommendation i would say to read the first book in the series (my favorite) which is daughter of the forest. i'm a follower :)

    bookmakeupreview AT gmail DOT com

  21. I just came across this interview as I'm reading Poison Study at the moment and really enjoying it. Loved the interview, and finding out her vice is donuts, really made me laugh, lol!


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