Thursday, December 12, 2013

Sneak Peek into Maria V. Snyder's Life

Want to know some insider secrets about author Maria V. Snyder?

You've come to the right place if you're eager to know more about the the New York Times best-selling author of some of your favorite books -- the Study series, the Glass series, the Healer series, and the Insider books.

Leap Books is excited to announce that Maria Snyder's ebook of Storm Watcher will release on December 15, 2013. To celebrate, we invited Maria here for a visit, and she graciously answered a lot of questions.
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So here's your chance to find out more about her, learn more about why she wrote this book, and see what she's working on now. Thanks so much for joining us, Maria.

Interview Questions with Maria V. Snyder

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

 I wanted to be a meteorologist and chase tornadoes in the name of research for either NOAA or NWS. I also wanted to be an actress and dancer, but didn’t think I could make a living at it.

Did you ever dream of being a writer?

 I hated writing in school and avoided it as much as possible. I never dreamed of being a writer, it just happened. I started because I was bored at work. 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 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 in Philadelphia, 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.

Your main character, Luke, has a deathly fear of storms? What things most scared you when you were young?

 Thunderstorms terrified me! I hated the noise and used to crawl into bed with my parents whenever a storm came in the middle of the night. Like Luke, I was stuck outside during a horrible thunderstorm and, when the next storm rolled in, I wasn’t as scared because I was safe and dry inside my house instead of outside. My fear turned into fascination.

Luke likes science, so I’m guessing you like science too. Did you have favorite subjects in school?

 I do like science. Earth science was one of my favorite classes. I also enjoyed physics because it made sense, unlike chemistry, which makes no sense. I also like astronomy, and I would go to all the open houses the astronomy department had at Penn State. They would focus on a distant part of our universe and let us peer through the big telescope.

In school what were your best and worst moments?

 Best moment: being cast in the school’s musical, Babe in Arms. I was cast as the overprotective stage mother, and I loved every moment – even the weeks of rehearsals.

Worst moment: when a fellow student accused me of keeping the money for a fundraiser instead of bringing it to school (I overslept for a walk-a-thon and didn’t collect any money. She called the school pretending to be one of my sponsors. Let’s just say the nuns were not happy with me until they figured it out. Storms aren’t near as scary as Catholic school nuns!).

What advice do you wish you could give to your younger self?

 Ditch science and pursue the arts!

What hobbies and interests do you have?

 I enjoy photography and always try to bring a camera with me wherever I go. I’ve won a few ribbons at my local fair and fancy myself a photographer. I also play volleyball twice a week and like to make jewelry when I have some time. Another love is traveling, I’ll go anywhere at anytime and am determined to see as many places as I can before I’m too old.

What made you write Luke’s story?

 At first, I wanted to write a story for my son Luke because he didn’t like fantasy or science fiction stories. I love both dogs and storms and thought it’d be fun to put them together. I started with a boy named Luke (not my son), who was fascinated with the weather, yet terrified. Then the questions started: Why was he afraid? What does he want? Who gets in his way? The answers revealed the story. 

(For those of you who haven't read it, Storm Watcher, is a contemporary action-adventure story for middle grade readers. Luke, the youngest son in a family of Search-and-Rescue dog trainers, must overcome his deathly fear of storms to prove that the dog he's training is worthy of being in the family kennels.) 

Do the characters in the book have any connection with your real life?

 Yes! Although Luke isn’t based on my son’s personality, he looks like my Luke. I used the names of many of Luke’s friends, cousins, and teachers, and they pretty much are the same. Mr. Hedge is really an 11th grade English teacher, and Mrs. Miller is really a music teacher, but both those teachers had an impact in my son’s school career.

What is one thing you hope readers will take away from your book?

 To have the courage to seek help despite setbacks. To persist and not give up when you really want something. I also hope to convert readers into fellow weather nuts!

Tell us a bit about your life and writing schedule.

 I’m a busy mother of two teenagers. I’m highly involved in my kids’ lives and all their extracurricular activities. My schedule looks like this: I wake up around 11 am, then I spend the afternoon doing writing business—answering emails, updating my website, posting on my blog or Facebook, then my family comes home and I’m Mom until 10 pm. From 10 pm until 3 am, I write – I don’t surf the internet or do laundry or answer emails—that time is for writing only.

What are you working on now?

 I’m working on a new book in my Study Series. My readers have been begging me to write more stories about Yelena and Valek, and I’m finally writing book #4.

And now a few questions just for fun:

If you had three wishes, what would you wish for?

 Good health for me and all my family and friends. A beach house. A mega-hit bestseller.

What is something most people don't know about you?

 I’m addicted to office supplies!

What super power do you wish you had?

 The power to heal. I’ve seen too many people suffer with illness and wish I could heal them with a touch.

Where did you go on your last vacation?

 I went on a cruise to Bermuda and the Caribbean with family and friends.

Have you ever climbed into or out of a window?

 Yes, but I’m exercising my right to remain silent ;)

Where can readers find out more about you?

And if you'd like to meet Maria in person, she has several upcoming events, and she'd love to see you there:

January 4, 2014 Participating in Science Fiction/Fantasy Saturday at Barnes & Noble. (Red Rose Commons, 1700 H Fruitville Pike, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, 17601, 717-290-8171). This is a group book signing with a variety of science fiction and fantasy authors. I'll be there and fantasy author Jon Sprunk has committed. It will be in the afternoon, exact time to be determined (check my website for more details).

March 26-29, 2014 Visiting Independence, Iowa and Cedar Rapids, Iowa! I'll be doing a number of events for the Independence Public Library on March 27 & 28, then I'll be in Ceder Rapids on Saturday, March 29. Details will be posted on my website as soon as I have them.

April 19, 2014 Participating in YA FEST. (Palmer Branch of the Easton Area Public Library, 1 Weller Place Easton, Pennsylvania, 18045). 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. There will be 50 YA and Middle-Grade authors attending and there will be panels, a used book sale, a raffle, and lots of fun stuff!

August 8-9, 2014 Participating in YA Indie Fest. (Orlando, Florida). Currently I don't have many details about this event, but I wanted to give everyone notice that I'll be in Orlando, Florida that weekend :). I'll post details on my website as soon as they're finalized.

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