Maria was awesome enough to answer some questions for me, even with her busy weekend! Without further ado:
How did you create the world the Study and Magic series are set in?
Since it all started with POISON STUDY, the world of Ixia is a combination of my 12 years attending Catholic School, where we all wore uniforms, and the business practices of the company my husband works for. In his company everyone wears a uniform, even upper management, and everyone sits in a large open-spaced room. There's no "good-old boy" network or special treatment to anyone. I really admired their way of treating their employees.
Sitia is a more a standard fantasy convention, with the clans making up a council. But both worlds became more “real” as I wrote the books. Similar to a Polaroid picture – at first it was gray and fuzzy and then as my characters interacted with the world, it became clearer to me.
Have you always written in the fantasy genre?
No. I started writing short stories and they were almost all science fiction. I've also written a few more mainstream stories, but they haven't been published. I wrote a middle grade novel for kids ages 8-12 that has no fantasy elements, but it never found a publisher. And I write nonfiction articles for a few local newspapers and magazines. I especially enjoy the travel articles since they let me take my travel expenses off my taxes 🙂
Which character in your books do you find is most like yourself?
I would love to say I'm just like Yelena, but I think I'm more similar to Opal. Growing up, I was very insecure in middle and high school, shy and a bit of a nerd. I am more confident now, but there are times I doubt myself and worry I've made the wrong decision.
Who or what is your 'muse'? How do you get the think tank working?
Everything is fodder for my imagination. Sometimes just sitting and watching people can spark ideas. My kids might make a comment that gives me an idea or I might read a magazine article that's interesting. I don't lack for ideas, I lack time to write them all out!
What is your writing process?
I'm what's known as a "seat of the pants" writer (a.k.a. pantser). I like to discover the plot and twists as I write. However, I usually have a general idea of where and how the book will end, but I wouldn't write it out until I reach that point, because it can always change.
This method is fun, but very stressful as I usually spend the first half of the book worried I don't have enough story for a full novel and then spend the last half of the book worried I have too much.
Any secret projects we should know about?
If I tell you then it wouldn't be secret 🙂 Actually I'm working on the third Glass book, SPY GLASS – it was due last month and I'm still finishing it! After that, I'm going to be working on OUTSIDE IN – the second book after INSIDE OUT, which is coming out in April 2010 – it's a science fiction, but the story is focused on the characters just like my other books. The science fiction element is just the world they live in – the world of Inside.
Maria is amazing and you guys need to read her books!
This wraps up my Maria V. Snyder week – thank you guys for participating and commenting all week!