Please give a cold dead welcome to the lovely Maria Schneider to the blog this week!
What were you like at school?
Oh, you know how it is. You get involved in undercover work early. Plotting, making sure the bad guys are caught and keeping up a veil of innocence at all times!
Were you good at English?
I thought I was at the time, but passing an English test is a lot different that writing stories. There’s so much more to a story than mere words.
Which writers inspire you?
Elizabeth Peters because she wrote some of the funniest and entertaining books ever. Patricia Briggs because she writes intense character-driven stories.
So, what have you written?
I tend to stick to three genres in my writing. I write cozy mysteries (Sedona O’Hala humorous mysteries), urban fantasy (Moon Shadow series) and fantasy romance (Dragons of Wendal series). I’ve veered off this path now and then with Soul of the Desert (Coming of age crime novel) and Catch an Honest Thief (futuristic mystery). I’ve also experimented with different styles by writing short stories (Tracking Magic and Sage). (*Include books, novellas, short stories, poems, blogs, awards or anything of interest.)
Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
I like strong characters—this includes male and female characters. Family elements often play a part in my writing as well. None of my heroines or heroes are alone in saving the world—no, they have baggage—mom, dad, brothers who get in the way, and aunts and uncles to make the job harder! I like to make sure that the hero not only gets the bad guys, but he or she learns to recognize the strengths in other people.
How much research do you do?
I research constantly. I’m a reader before a writer and every topic under the sun interests me. You never know when my research into “Communicating with cats” will come in handy! And, of course, my research is never done. I still can’t convince my cat that he does NOT need to go outside at 3 in the morning!
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
I wish I could work from an outline, but I’m a seat of the pants kind of writer. If I don’t just let the ideas flow, they turn into sludge. I call it the hummingbird approach. I zip in and out of a story, adding scenes, characters and details. Eventually, I have to stitch everything together, but the bulk of the writing is done free form.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
I’ve learned to focus better and build on a single theme.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
Writing. It’s supposed to be fun, but it’s work. THINKING about writing and THINKING up ideas is easy. Sitting down and turning them into a cohesive, fun story is a lot like tilling the garden. You’re sweating up a storm, dirt is spattered everywhere and your leg muscle cramps just when you need it most. Instead of a calm, scholarly person, you look like a deranged, muddy fool. If you’re very lucky, you avoid running the tiller over your foot.
What are you working on at the minute?
I just finished up Executive Dirt, the fourth book in the Sedona O’Hala mystery series. I plan to work on either another Dragons of Wendal book OR begin a new series. I’m freewheeling at the moment. (Translation: Goofing off.)
Where do the your ideas come from?
I have no idea. They are like the miracle of a flower blossoming. You start with compost and water and for the longest time you have smelly mud. Then, if you’re lucky, you get this green sprout. If you’re really lucky, it isn’t a weed. There are a lot of weeds and thorns in a writing career (Marketing. Bad reviews. That time you showed up for an interview and they thought you were Maria Schneider, the jazz artist.) If you take care of the details of writing long enough, you get a few blossoms.
Where can we buy or see them?
You can find my books at most retailers. Executive Lunch, the first in the Sedona O’Hala series is on sale right now for 99 cents. Under Witch Moon, the first in the Moon Shadow series is on sale for 1.99.
Thank you so much Maria for joining us this week on the blog! Please be sure to follow Maria and check out some of her books!
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B002M3FL16/?tag=bearm-20