We were so excited to be given the chance to take part in the blog tour for Maria V Snyder's new series starring one of our favourite kick-ass heroines Yelena you just can't imagine! Shadow Study has bought all our favourite characters back to us as well as introducing us to some amazing new ones and takes us back into Yelena and Valek's world, somewhere I think many a reader has been missing!
You can read the review for the first instalment of the Soul Finder series here, In the meantime, we were also tasked with the challenge of coming up with a challenge for Maria to get her teeth into for our tour post. One of the things about the series that Maria writes is the depth of detail that she incorporates into her stories and the fantastical worlds that she creates so that got us thinking....How does she do it? What inspires her? So we came up with the following:
What five things (and that could mean places or songs or books or anything else that comes to mind!) do you think have been most influential in the way that you write or have fired up your imagination and inspired the stories that you create?
And here is her answer!
Maria: This is a unique and interesting question! Below are the five things as they popped into my head:
1. My children. My son and daughter have been a constant source of inspiration and ideas. I’ve written down all the different things they noticed or said and have used a few of them in my books. For example, my daughter at age 4 was very angry at my son and she said, “I’m not going to talk to you for a million weeks.” Two seconds later, she asks me how long a million weeks was so I calculated it out (approx. 19, 230.8 years). I used that number in my book Inside Out, it was the world’s goal, something important was going to happen in a million weeks, except they’d forgotten what. Another quick example is Yelena and her brother Leif’s relationship in the Study Series (after they reconcile), that is based directly on my kid’s relationship.
2. Dick Francis. I started reading Dick Francis’ murder mysteries when I was 14 years old and loved them. At the time, there weren’t many books written in the first person point of view, and he ended each chapter with a cliffhanger so it was impossible to go to bed at the end of a chapter. His style influenced my own. When I started writing Poison Study, I automatically used first person POV and I tried to keep the plot moving and end chapters with a bit of suspense.
3. Travelling. I love to travel and will go almost anywhere. A new place will fire up my imagination and I enjoy learning about the history and myths of a place. One of my favorite things to do is just wander around and take pictures. The places I’ve gone have shown up in my stories. The Fifteen Realms from my Healer Series is based on Eastern Europe and the Baltic countries. I started Touch of Power soon after we went on a Baltic Sea cruise.
4. Blockbuster movies of the 80s. Just hearing the theme music from Raiders of the Lost Ark can inspire me! They were so different than the previous movies. Star Wars, ET, Ghostbusters, and Back to the Future (to name a few) – they had action, adventure, romance, and characters you really cared for. Today’s action movies are all about special effects and explosions with characters that are one-dimensional at best. And don’t get me started on the new Star Wars movies – such potential utterly wasted (George, if you’re reading this, next time ask me to write the screenplay – seriously, dude).
5. Unwritten, by Natasha Bedingfield. A lovely song and it’s perfect for writers. I know she’s referring to a person being unwritten, but to me, it’s the next book – the one I haven’t written yet. This line in particular: “I'm just beginning, the pen's in my hand, ending unplanned.” Every new novel I start is just like that and it can be scary. I also like these lines, “Staring at the blank page before you. Open up the dirty window. Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find.” It’s a reminder to take a break from the computer, to live life and then go home and write about it. That’s why I enjoy doing hands-on research so much. It gets me out of the house and interacting with people. Plus I’m learning something new and fun and sometimes scary. It’s all fodder for a creative soul.
So there you have it! Five things that inspire Maria to put pen to paper. Or fingertips to keyboard! We’re so grateful that they do!
A huge thank you to Maria for taking time out to answer our question. We’ve loved getting extra insight into the world behind Yelena’s world and to those that haven’t indulged in any of the series that Maria has written so far beware. Once you start reading you may never escape which is no bad thing!