As part of the promotion for her latest book in the soul screamer series, My Soul to Steal, Maria kindly answered a few questions for me.
Nayu: After My Soul To Keep, I was fuming and running an 'I hate Nash' campaign. Even at the end of My Soul to Steal, I still have a campaign against him. Personally what he did is unacceptable. Kaylee is understandably confused about what to do. Having such a strong character have doubts about trust is something a lot of people can probably relate to. Had you wanted to show readers the full spectrum of grey regarding relationships, that there's always more to incidents than meets the eye?
Maria: Yes of course! As a matter of fact, I'm very fond of the grey areas. One of my goals in writing any book is to make it difficult for readers to choose a side. To make them really think about what they'd do in any particular situation. I still get mail on both sides of this issue, some from readers who are mad at Nash and proud of Kaylee from making a mature decision at the end of the book, and some from readers who think she should have been more sympathetic and willing to stand by him during hard times. I love that there's no clear answer. That makes the discussion a lot of fun.
Nayu: Opposing Nash, there is Tod. Now, I'm harbouring a few theories about him, that he likes Kaylee and that's the only reason he's sticking around. I'm not expecting an answer to that one though! It feels that Tod's abilities are starting to be more useful to Kaylee than Nash's abilities. When you wrote book one, did you ever suspect that Tod might become more of a presence in Kaylee's life than just providing information about the Netherworld? How have your plans for Tod morphed over the series?
Maria: Tod kind of took me by surprise. But in retrospect....it's not that surprising after all. I've always loved the funny characters best, and I love them extra hard when there turns out to be a real, complicated person behind all the jokes. It seems that readers feel the same way. His role in the series has definitely grown beyond what I planned at first, but I'm pleased by that.
That said, I have a real soft spot for Nash. I love a flawed love interest, and he definitely qualifies.
Nayu: I only have to see Emma's name and I think of sunshine. Kaylee thinks a lot of her. Without Emma, there would be no ice cream binges. Emma feels like the antithesis to spoilt Sophie and evil minded Sabine. How do you want Emma to be perceived?
Maria: Emma represents normalcy and reality in Kaylee's life. She's Kay's only real link to the non-paranormal world and her only truly friendly female relationship (excluding Harmony, who's more like a mother-figure), and Kaylee would do anything to protect Emma and her friendship.
Nayu: It's pretty scary finding out how fond hellions are of the high school. I foresee some major clashes in the future. Where do you draw your ideas from for the hellions and the way they work? And might we see a few more beings on Kaylee's side in future books?
Maria: The hellions are each inspired by a human vice, and they both embody and feed from those vices in any and every way possible. They're evil, pure and simple. They have no redeeming qualities, and they have no loyalty to one another. They're vicious, ruthless, solitary predators. And yes, Kaylee will be getting a couple of new allies along the way. But I can't promise that she won't lose some too.
Nayu - that's a hint! So long as it's not Tod I won't mind.
Nayu: Final question, what's your favourite drink for when you're writing?
Maria: Coffee. Or a diet Coke with vanilla syrup from Sonic. Do you guys have Sonic in the UK?
Nayu: Coffee is very good. I hear Sonic, and I think Sonic the hedgehog, so I'm not sure if we do have it.
Thank you Maria for as always an informative, interesting interview. Definitely looking forward to your next book already!
You can find out more about Maria on her website.