Author Q&A and Giveaway with Maria V. Snyder

Today I’m very excited to have Maria V. Snyder, author of the award-winning Study and Glass series, with us today to answer some questions and host a giveaway of her new book, Inside Out, which hits the shelves today!

Maria, thanks so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to join us.  And without further ado…

Jamye – Yelena and Valek are wonderful characters.  Do they feel like old friends by now?  Many writers say that they’re emotionally invested in their characters.  Does it upset you when you have to throw obstacles in their way for the sake of the story?

Maria – They are old friends and I think of them often 🙂  It doesn’t upset me to make their lives difficult – otherwise there wouldn’t be conflict and we’d all be bored.  Sometimes when they need to make a hard decision, I struggle with them and am upset with them, but I don’t feel bad for putting them in that situation.

Jamye – Have you ever considered writing a prequel to Poison Study, maybe from Valek or Commander Ambrose’s point of view?  I would love to read more about the start of their friendship and the creation of Ixia under his regime.

Maria – Yes I have!  I would like to write about the Commander and Valek before the take-over.  I would think the story would be from both of their point of views, alternating chapters.  I just don’t know when a book like that will fit into my schedule 🙂

Jamye – Your book covers are gorgeous!  After the title, the cover was what first made me interested in checking out Poison Study.  Did you have any say in what they looked like?  Happy with how they turned out? 

Maria – I don’t have a lot of say in the covers.  I fill out an art fact sheet for my publisher’s art department and that’s it.  Sometimes they ask my opinion.  Like for Inside Out – in an early draft of the cover, the girl wasn’t looking straight at the reader, but off to the side.  I didn’t like that and mentioned it to my editor.  She sent me a bunch of photos of the model looking straight and I picked the one I liked and they used that!  Otherwise, I haven’t had much input, but I’ve been very happy with all my covers.  They are gorgeous!

Jamye – You took some glass blowing classes in preparation for Fire Study and your Glass series.  Have you done any other research for your books?  Do you enjoy it? 

Maria – Yes, I do research for all my books.  Hands on research is my favorite – it helps me to translate an experience–the sights, smells, feelings, and how things taste or what they feel like–for the reader.  If I experience it myself, then I can draw a better picture for the reader. Some of the research I’ve done is learned how to ride a horse, learned how to taste food, and recently I spent a day at a maximum security prison for Spy Glass.

Jamye – Did you work out the plot for all the books in your Study and Glass series ahead of time or take it one book at a time?

Maria – One book at a time 🙂  I’m a pantser (a seat of the pants writer) and get myself into all kinds of trouble.  But I think that helps with keeping the writing fresh and in surprising the readers 🙂

Jamye – You got your degree in Meteorology and decided it wasn’t for you.  Was it then that you discovered writing or had it been a longtime passion?

Maria – It was when I was bored in work that I discovered writing.  I hadn’t written any fiction before, but I always had a good imagination and use to daydream a lot!  My family was so shocked I started writing.  Before, I avoided it.

Jamye – You recently did a mini book tour in the UK.  How did it go?  Do you enjoy the promoting side of being an author?  Do you ever get nervous at book signings?

Maria – I had a wonderful time in the UK!  It went well and I wrote all about my trip on my website and included some pictures.  You can read all about it at:   I do enjoy promoting my books and I love hanging out with my readers – they’re so fun!  I don’t get nervous at book signings, but I sometimes get nervous before a presentation.  When I was invited to the Library of Congress to do a talk, I about died!  It was so intimidating!  But it went well and I’ve been back 3 more times and now I’m not so nervous 🙂

Jamye – If you could give one piece of advice to aspiring writers, what would it be?  Is there anything about the business that surprised you when you were starting out?

Maria – Persistence is my biggest advice. I’d been writing for ten years and submitting for eight before I sold anything. Learn the craft of writing as well as the business of writing and attend writer’s conferences and classes if you can. Consider that time an apprenticeship. Be wary of predators, if someone is asking you for money proceed with the utmost caution. Get feedback on your stories from fellow writers before submitting. Joining a critique group is very helpful. I also find that if I let a story sit on my desk for a few weeks I can pick out all the problems, typos and inconsistencies easier. And I agree whole heartily with Stephen King’s advice in his book, On Writing. He wrote, “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” And don’t give up! Ever!

I also have a whole web page of writing advice on my website – aspiring authors are welcome to go to the page at:

Jamye – What was your most challenging writing moment?  Most triumphant?

Maria – I’d have to say writing Spy Glass was the most difficult book to do and encompasses all my most challenging writing moments!  Nothing about that book came easily and I don’t know why.  As for the most triumphant, is when I write my two favorite words: The End 🙂  Finishing a book is always a triumph, and I celebrate for a few days before starting revisions.

Jamye – Your new book, Inside Out, is being released today by Harlequin Teen.  Can you tell us a little about it?

Maria – Inside Out is about Trella. Trella lives in Inside, and she has a very jaded and hard view of her metal world. Along with thousands of other “scrubs” who live in the lower levels, she cleans the pipes and ducts that crisscross her world and keep them all alive.

In order to escape the noise and presence of so many scrubs, Trella prefers to be by herself in the ductwork. She has explored almost every region of Inside and has the ability to go to any level without being detected by the Pop Cops (Population Control Police). Because of her expertise, she is recruited by a prophet to seek a gateway to Outside. As she searches for the gateway, she’s pursued by Pop Cops, and upper level workers (those who control the government and mechanical systems), but she’s also aided by a few unlikely sources which make her realize she’s been a little too critical of her world.

Jamye – How different is it to write a Young Adult book?  Do you find that you change your style significantly or is it just the content that changes?

Maria – I wrote the book the same as all my others.  The only difference is Inside Out is shorter.  The interesting thing about my books is they appeal to all ages.  I’ve had emails from readers as young as 9 years old and as old as 81 years old. I wrote with adults in mind at first, but when my niece read Poison Study in one weekend (she was 14 at the time and before I found a publisher), I realized that maybe young adults would enjoy my stories as well.

Jamye – So what’s next for you?  Are you currently working on anything that you can tell us about?

Maria – After Inside Out is published, Spy Glass will be coming out in September 2010.  I just finished revisions on Spy Glass and am going to start Outside In, which is a sequel to Inside Out.  After that…I don’t know. I have a few book proposals to send to my editor and we’ll see what she likes 🙂 

*         *         *

Be sure to check out the website for Inside Out,, to read the first three chapters, take a personality quiz, and other fun goodies!

Just leave a comment to enter for your chance to win a signed copy of the book (U.S. and Canada only please)!  The contest will end April 6th so make sure to check back to find out if you’re the lucky winner. 

In the meantime, here’s the book trailer.  Enjoy!



  1. Dionne Said:

    Great interview–that was so cool to read Maria V. Snyder’s insights about her characters, her books, writing, and being an author! Thanks for sharing all of that with us, and I am really looking forward to reading Inside Out now that it’s out!

  2. Dionne Said:

    Also, very cool to include the book trailer here–I had never seen one before!

    • Jamye Said:

      I know, isn’t it cool! I’m going to have to check out more of these.

  3. Melanie Said:

    Very col interview! I’d absolutely love to read a prequel to the study series. I hope she eventually finds the time to write it. Inside Out sounds like another great book!

  4. Great interview!

    I rather enjoyed glancing at the photos from her UK tour!

    Thanks for the giveaway.


    • Jamye Said:

      Glad you liked it, thanks for stopping by!

  5. Heather Said:

    I enjoyed this interview. Maria is a new author to me; will have to check her out further. Please enter me in the contest.

    • Jamye Said:

      I hope you give her a try! Thanks for commenting!

  6. Nancy Taylor Said:

    Great interview! Looks like great book!

  7. John Soares Said:

    Very good interview Jamye. And congrats on snagging the author!

    • Jamye Said:

      Thanks, John! I hope to have more authors on in the future.

  8. Shirley Nicol Said:

    Awesome interview Jamye. I hope we will be reading one of your books in the near future.

  9. Jim Nicol Said:

    I’ve been a sci-fi/fantasy fan all my life; starting with Tom Swift and His Diving Seacopter (1956) and others in that series. I honestly don’t remember how young I was when I started reading these but I have one original that survived – the Seacopter. I then moved to Edgar Rice Burroughs and read all 23-24 Tarzan books, the Moon Men, The Chessmen of Mars, etc. I moved upscale in the 7th and 8th grade and into high school and started reading Bradbury, Heinlein, Asimov, Silverberg, etc. One of my favorite authors was Ursula K. LeGuin. I eventually moved on to other stuff but started getting the bug again years later reading Douglas Adams and now Terry Pratchett. BUT, the point is after reading this interview I’m going to start reading some current serious sci fi/fantasy again. Thank you for that!

    • Jamye Said:

      I’ve read a couple Bradbury and LeGuin books but I haven’t tried the others yet (except Douglas Adams of course!). I don’t read much sci-fi really, but if you want fantasy recommendations I’ve got a ton!

  10. Misti Said:

    Sounds great! I can’t wait to read it.

    • Jamye Said:

      Hi Misti! Can’t wait to see what you think of it. You’ve already read her Glass series, right? I still need to read those. Thanks for stopping by!

      • Misti Said:

        Yep, I’ve read the Glass books, and I loved them, too!

  11. Dominique Said:

    Interesting interview! I’ve never read anything by this author before, I’ll have to keep my eyes out for her books. I love the cover art on Poison Study and Sea Glass.

  12. […] Maria Snyder, author of Spy Glass, by Fiction Fanatic […]

  13. […] Maria Snyder, author of Spy Glass, by Fiction Fanatic […]

  14. […] And if you missed my Q&A with Maria you can check it out here. […]

  15. Arleen Dale Said:

    Jamye: I just got around to reading this. What a great interview. I haven’t read any books from these authors, but, I guess, I should. I like to read different books and different authors. I don’t know about science fiction though.

    • Jamye Said:

      Thanks for stopping by to read the interview! I didn’t get into fantasy until college but I’ve been hooked ever since.

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