1) What gave you the idea to create a series more sci-fi/dystopian based rather than fantasy? Did you miss not using magic?
A) A dream! I dreamt the whole story, including plot, characters and even the twists! I’ve never had a dream like that before or since, and I’ve been wracking my brain to remember what I had for dinner that night J I’ve always read and been interested in science fiction. I’ve written a number of sci-fi short stories (some are available to read on my website at:http://www.mariavsnyder.com/shortstories.php). Writing INSIDE OUT was a fun creative break from my fantasy novels. I only missed the magic when I wrote poor Trella into a corner and couldn’t get her out! She had to rely on her own quick wit to escape.
2) Trella is a tough cookie. In Inside Out her softer side emerges over time. What type of character did you aim to create with Trella - she doesn't have special abilities like Yelena or Opal, and yet she manages to do a lot with the practical skills she has.
A) Trella is very jaded with her life and world, and she basically hates everyone except her best friend Cog. She thinks she hasn’t fallen for the Pop Cop propaganda, but she has. What I hoped to show with Trella, was someone who had prejudices without knowing why – like kids who adopt their parent’s ideals and biases without knowing why their parents have these biases. She doesn’t have magic, but she has common sense and she’s smart, which I wanted to show are just as powerful and useful.
3) Sheepy and Zippy injected humour into what is quite a serious read - how did you come up with these ideas? Did you intend to have them play a large role from the start of this book's concept?
A) I’m a seat-of-the-pants writer (a.k.a. pantser), so I don’t plan too much in advance. With INSIDE OUT, I did have the advantage of dreaming the main plot and characters, but not Sheepy and Zippy – they came along as I wrote the story. One of the things I wanted to show while I was writing, was the lack of toys for the scrubs and the misconceptions that the upper kids had a ton of toys. In reality, Riley only had two stuffed sheep and Sheepy ended up being a nice bridge between Riley and Trella. Sheepy and his Mama are also my son’s (he still sleeps with them). You can see pictures of them on my website – here’s a link: http://www.mariavsnyder.com/news.php You’ll need to scroll down about half way to see them.
(Sheepy is so cute! Make sure you check out the link).
4) Could there be room for a spin-off series from this book, like the Glass series was a spin-off from the Study series? Or have you got your mind on something completely different again?
A) I don’t think I could do a spin off from this series. I might be able to write a third book, but I’m not sure if my editor wants a third. Right now I’m working on another fantasy novel about a healer set in a world that is recovering from a deadly plague. 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. This book is set for a January 2012 release in the US.
Ooooo! Maria that novel sounds as awesome as your other ones. I'll be keeping an eye out for it in the UK!
5) Could you give us a brief rundown of what happens in a typical writing day for you (not that such a thing really exists!)
A) I write at night from around 10 pm to 3 or 4 am. I re-read what I had written the night before and do a few edits. Then I continued from where I had left off. I usually write for four or five hours then go to bed. If the writing is going good, I'll stay up later then sleep till noon. In the afternoon, I’ll check and reply to my email, and check various internet sites like Facebook, Goodreads, and MySpace or I’ll post a blog entry. Other things I’ll do are answer Q&As, prepare for a presentation, event or booksigning. I always have something to do!
Jessica: Thank you so much for inviting me onto you 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 they can read. I also have a page full of writing advice for any aspiring writers out there. Here’s the link: http://www.mariavsnyder.com And my blog is:http://officialmariavsnyder.blogspot.com
Thank you Maria for being so informative! I never realised you were a night owl (I'm the total opposite, daylight writing for me :) I've noticed on your website that you've recently one the Golden Leaf Award! Many congratulations (although perhaps they could have changed the spelling to Leif!) I'll be checking out both your short stories and your writing tips soon :)