Interview and International Contest! CLOSED

27 December 2009

Maria V. Snyder, author of the Study books and Glass books, has accepted my invitation for an interview! My first author interview!

1. What was your inspiration for Poison Study?
A: I was reading Orson Scott Card’s book, How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy. In chapter 3, Card tells the writer to consider some questions before choosing the main character. He wrote, “Too often—particularly in medieval fantasy—writers think their story must be about rulers. Kings and queens, dukes and duchesses—they can be extravagantly powerful, yes, but too often they aren’t free at all. If you understand the workings of power in human societies, you’ll know that the greatest freedom to act in unpredictable ways is usually found away from the centers of power.”

This comment led me to think about a person who was close enough to the center of power to witness important events, yet not be the Prince or Princess. I thought about a food taster and a scene jumped into my mind. I saw a woman tasting food that was most likely poisoned through the eyes of the King. He watched her with heartbreaking horror because he had fallen in love with her. That led me to wonder about this woman. Who was she? Why was she there? Why would a King fall in love with her? And Poison Study was born.
Then the Commander came along and assassinated the King and set up a military dictatorship - but that's why writing is fun :)

2. You have experience with fighting and food tasting (your husband), how did that help you in your writing?
A: For a writer, all experiences are fodder for our imagination. 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.

3. Who was your favorite character in the Study books?
A: This is like asking a mother who her favorite child is! ;> But I do have my favorites and I'm torn between Valek and Janco.

4. To anyone who hasn’t read Poison Study, how would you describe it to them?
A: The book is about Yelena. She starts out in a dungeon waiting to be executed for murder and is offered a reprieve...sort of :) She becomes the Commander's new poison taster and must learn how to taste his food and drink. It's a dangerous job and she's stuck, but Yelena is smart and resourceful and just can't give up hope. She learns to trust others and follow her heart, transforming from a victim to a person whose takes control of her life. Yelena learns how to defend herself, how to pick locks and lots of fun stuff :)
I tell readers it's fantasy lite :) I don't have elves and dragons or all the details and strange languages of a Tolkien novel, I have characters you can root for, and a fast paced plot. It's not a romance, but there is a romantic subplot. I also have mystery and suspense elements. Something for everyone :) And I mean everyone - I've had emails from readers aged 9 to 81!

5. What was the hardest part to write in the Study books?
A: [Warning - this answer has spoilers for the Study books] There are two good characters who die in the three books and both those scene were very difficult to write. They had become a part of my family and it's upsetting, but bad things happen to good characters.

6. If you could meet one person, dead or alive, who would it be?
A: Joss Whedon - he created Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly and now Dollhouse (which I haven't had time to see yet). They're all television shows, but the characters change in some way in each episode, the writing was sharp with touches of humor and I was occasionally surprised by twists in the plot (hard to do since, as a writer, I'm pretty good at picking out those subtle clues :). I would love to just sit down and talk books and writing with him for an hour :)

7. Besides your own books, what are some of your favorite books?
A: The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins, Ill Wind, and Glass Houses by Rachel Caine, Urban Shaman by C.E. Murphy, Wicked Game by Jeri Smith-Ready, His Majesty's Dragon, by Naomi Novik, Jaran, by Kate Elliott (science fiction but great adventure/romance - other really good SF novels with great characters are Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card, The Gate to Women's Country, by Sheri S. Tepper, and The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis - in fact, I recommend anything by Connie Wills - she has a wonderful sense of humor.) The Time of the Dark,The Walls of Air, The Armies of Daylight, The Ladies of Mandrigyn all by Barbara Hambly - in fact any book by Barbara is great :) For just plain mystery/suspense with dashes of humor - I've been enjoying Harlan Coben's books - all of them. Other authors I enjoy - Lynn Flewelling (fantasy), Dick Francis (mystery), and Sebastian Junger (creative non-fiction - the Perfect Storm guy, but he's a wonderful writer).

8. When did you first consider yourself a writer?
A: I called myself a writer when I started making money from my writing. Before then, it was more a hobby.

9. How did you come up with the title, Poison Study?
A: It was really hard. I wanted Poison in the title because of Yelena's job, but I couldn't find a second word that fit. I thought of Education, Learning, or Educating Yelena (like that movie Educating Rita). Finally I thought of Study and I didn't really like it at first, but I decided if I ever sold the book, my editor and publisher would change the title anyway (and most do). But they didn't and when they wanted a second book, I thought of Magic Study right away - that one was easy. Fire Study was another difficult one. I wanted Soul Study, but my editor thought it sounded too 70s and too inspirational (I liked it for a number of reasons, but I thought, Poison, Magic, Soul would be a funny inside joke for PMS ;). We had it named Death Study for the contract, but as soon as I wrote the scene with the Fire Warper stepping from the fire, I knew Fire Study would be perfect!

10. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
A: Yes - First Hello and thanks for stopping by :) And thanks to Kirthi for hosting me today!
And if you enjoy the Study Series, I would encourage you to try the Glass Series. The first book, Storm Glass is about Opal Cowan. You first meet Opal in Magic Study (she's Tula's younger sister) and she has a bigger role in Fire Study. Storm Glass starts about 5 years after Fire Study and Opal is exploring her glass magic. Many characters from the Study books are in the story, like Leif, Yelena, Irys, Zitora etc.. Sea Glass is the second book and it's available now, but the third book, Spy Glass isn't due out until September 2010.
Also - I have the first chapter of all my books online (except Spy Glass) and a few free short stories you can read on my website. Here's the url:
Any aspiring writers are also welcome to check out my writing advice page as well.

Contest! International!
I enjoyed interviewing you Mrs. Snyder! She generously offered to give away a signed copy of Poison Study on my blog (thank you so much!), so comment with your name and e-mail so I can contact you if you win. Here are some extra entries!
+1 for telling me what you found interesting about this interview!
+3 is you're a follower
+5 for a blog post or sidebar (please provide the link)
+2 for commenting on my review of Poison Study
+2 for commenting on my review on Magic and Fire Study
+1 for adding up all your entries!

This contest will be closed on January 27, 2010! So spread the word!

67 thoughts:

  1. +1 I found it interesting that Orson Scottt Card inspired her to write the book!

    +3 follower

    infinitemusic19 at gmail dot com

  2. It was interesting knowing that the 3rd book in the Study series might have been named Soul Study. I'm really glad they went with Fire Study. +1

    Follower +3

    Total: +4 :)

    I'm just finished reading Storm Glass and hoping to read Sea Glass soon. Thanks for the interview!

    vision.nguyen AT gmail DOT com

  3. +1 How Fire Study was originally planned to be Soul Study (PMS-lol!)
    +3 follower
    +5 sidebar link (at
    +2 for commenting on my review of Poison Study
    +2 for commenting on my review on Magic and Fire Study
    +1 14 entries in total!

    my email is on my profile page. Thanks for the awesome contest! :)

  4. Wow! To get such a prolific writer as Maria Snyder as your first interview, that is very sweet. (I'll let you in on a little secret - I've been dying to approach Maria about an interview, but have been scared away by sheer awesomeness. I'm planning on it, as soon as I'm sure I won't trip into fangirl squeals so that I can think of proper, intelligent questions).

    Great interview! Really tempted to enter this contest. Do you know if it is a hardcover or paperback?

  5. Terrific interview, Kirthi! Congratulations! :)

    +1 I though it was interesting that she actually experienced things in her book in order to write them accurately.

    +2 Commented on your review of Poison Study.

    +2 Commented on your reviews of Magic Study and Fire Study.

    +1 Added up all the entries.

    Total: 6 entries! :D

  6. +1 for telling me what you found interesting about this interview!
    I have never even heard of this book before your review. Yet another reason I love your blog. It sounds intriguing. Also a great Author who seems down to earth AWESOME!!!

    +3 is you're a follower I am a follower

    +5 for a blog post or sidebar (please provide the link)

    +2 for commenting on my review of Poison Study
    I Commented

    +2 for commenting on my review on Magic and Fire Study
    I Commented

    +1 for adding up all your entries!


  7. The interview looks great Kirthi - Thanks so much :)

    In answer to the giveaway question, the book will be a trade-sized paperback and I don't have any with the cover that's posted here (that's the original version!) My publisher likes to change covers on me ;>

    I can't post the new cover here - but if you go to my website at this url, then look for the YA Poison Study cover (it's green with a girl and vines): (And you'll be able to see ALL my covers from all over the world :)

    And me - we'll talk ;> (

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. em is ths how you enter the competition??
    Well if so here goes
    The trilogy is fantastic! The cliff hangers keep you going and it's suitabe for both male and female. My partner who is an avid reader read it very quickly. The intervie was fantastic and answere every questioni would of thought.
    #To be honest at first i found the first book hard to get in i could not picture the enviroment but the more i read the more i loved!!!

    All questions asked brings you into the mind of Maria and her inspirations and if you where to be a writer she would be our inspiration for new authours

    Her books are both romatic and herotic i dont think this will in but hey it's kind of review an hopoe she does well!!!

  10. Ack. Let me try this again lol.

    +1 I found both the story/inspiration behind writing Poison Study the original title to Fire Study very interesting!

    +3 Now following your blog!

    +1 for adding up

    Total: +5 entries

    I'm just starting Fire Study right now. I came to Maria's books by randomly picking up a signed copy of Storm Glass (so I'd loooove a signed copy of Poison Study!!) at my local Borders. Sounded interesting. Read it, loved it, bought Sea Glass, read it, loved it. Realized I need to go out RIGHT THEN and buy the Study trilogy books. Now I'm very impatiently waiting for Spy Glass.

    Maria, how am I supposed to wait another 9 months???? ;)

    My email is dlh0613 at aol dot com

    - Devon

  11. +1 That they made her change the name to Fire Study, Soul Study would have been perfect.
    +3 follower
    +5 Sidebar -
    Page Turners
    +2 commenting on Poison Study
    +2 commenting on Magic Study & Fire Study
    +1 for adding them up= 14
    great contest'

  12. +1 I found the inspiration for the books very interesting.

    +3 follower

    +5 sidebar:

    +2 commented on review of Poison Study

    +2 commenting on review on Magic and Fire Study

    +1 total=14 entries

    throuthehaze at gmail dot com

  13. Thanks for the interview Kirthi. I love love the Study Series. And I liked the way you framed questions for Maria Snyder. I don't think I can enter the giveaway as I don't stay in US.

    Anyways loved the interview.

  14. +1 I found it interesting. Love this series and this writer.

  15. Wonderful interview. Don't count me for the contest, I already read Poison Study and LOVED it!

  16. Great interview!

    +1 I thought it was interesting that a help book on writing helped her to get started with these series.

    +2 I commented on your review of Poison Study

    +2 I commented on your review of Magic Study and Fire Study

    +3 I am a follower

    +1 I added up all the entries...I have 9 entries!

  17. Very cool interview, loved it!!!

    +1 I loved the explanation of why Snyder chose the title she did.

    +3 Follower

    +2 Commented on Poison Study Review

    +2 Commented on Magic and Fire Study Review

    +1 9 entries total.

    PS- Cannot wait for Spy Glass to come out!!!!

  18.'s my email too...

    emily DOT wittenberg @ gmail DOT com

  19. Esther

    +1 Wow Mrs. Snyder is a Joss Whedon fan like me!
    +3 I'm a follower
    +2 I commented on Poison Study
    +2 I commented on Magic and Fire Study
    And if I do the sums I have 10 entries.


  20. +1 I found it interesting how Maria came up with the title 'Poison Study'

    total: +1

  21. +1 Hmm, I never knew she likes Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I haven't actually watched the seasons but I did watch a few episodes. I remember liking it :P
    +3 follower!
    +5 sidebar: here
    +2 commented on your review of Poison Study
    +2 commented on your review on Magic and Fire Study
    +1 all entries in total: 13! :)


  22. +1 found it awesome how she came up with the title of the book!

    +3 new follower

    +2 commented on your Poison Study post

    +2 commented on your Fire Study Post

    +1 9 total entries!

    Ruby E
    rubs.escalona [at]

  23. +1 I love it that she would like to meet Joss Whedon
    +3 follower
    +1 Total 5


  24. Enter me!
    +1 this comment
    +3 follower
    4 entries total

  25. +1 I found it interesting her needed to sense, taste, etc., for the experience before writing.
    +3 I am a follower
    +5 right sidebar.
    +2 commented on your review of Poison Study
    +2 commented on your review on Magic and Fire Study
    +1 for adding up all your entries! And the total is:
    14 entries!
    knittingmomof3 (AT) gmail (DOT) com

  26. I would love to win!

    +3 follower
    +5 link on sidebar at
    +1 9 entries

  27. +1 I found this interesting: the whole story branched out from a single scene - the girl tasting the food.

    +3 follower

    +5 sidebar under contests and giveaways:

    +2 commented on your review of Poison Study:

    +2 commented on your review on Magic and Fire Study:

    +1 total= 14 entries


  28. +3 follower


  29. +1 It was cool that she wanted to name the third book Soul Study. It would have been fun "PMS"! xD

    +3 follower (GABY)

    +5 sidebar link (

    +2 for commenting on my review of Poison Study : Done!

    +2 for commenting on my review on Magic and Fire Study : Done!

    +1 : total: 14 entries!

    magabygc AT gmail DOT com

    Thanks for the international contest!

  30. Wonderful interview, Kirthi!

  31. Lovely interview. And thank you for the contest!

    +1 I found it interesting learning how she got the idea for the book. Orson Scott Card...huh. I always find it interesting to know how authors books came to be.
    +3 follower
    +1 for adding up

    =5 entries!

  32. +1 OMG, Maria, you book selections are parallel to mine=) And it is so cool the Orson Scott Card was the inspiration. He is among my favs!!

    +3 follower ck.twilighter


    +5 sidebar

    +2 for commenting on my review of Poison Study
    I commented on the blog entry=)

    +2 for commenting on my review on Magic and Fire Study
    I commented on the blog entry=)

    +1 for adding up all your entries!

    14 TOTAL!!

    Mahalo =)

  33. Hiya! I noticed you were on Goodreads. Me too! I gotta add you as a friend so I can see all those books, 'cause looks like we've got the same taste and I am painfully deprived of a good book right now. :P Wonderful contest and fabulous interview!

    (I hope I do this right.)

    +1 - I love finding out out author's inspirations. It's incredible how the initial scene morphs throughout the writing process. And a few of Ms. Snyder's favorites are mine as well, like Urban Shaman. I LOVE that book but my library doesn't have the sequels, which sucks.

    +3 - I am now a proud follower. ^_^

    +5 - Ah, yes. The blog.

    +2 - commenting on your review of Poison Study

    +2 - commenting on your review of Magic and Fire Study (what would we have done if MVS hadn't come out with Storm Glass? :P)

    +1 - adding it all up.

    Let's see. If my math is correct, that should be...

    Total = 14

    Email: inspirationamelia[at]yahoo[dot]com

    (Now I have to go through the rest of your blog. Have you read Graceling and Fire by Kristin Cashore?!)


  34. Hi, loved the interview. I just finished reading Fire study. I will review the entire series tonight.

    Congratulations on your first Author Interview!!!! So proud.

    Its awesome to see that you have done so well since the eight followers hehe...

    Good Luck!!

  35. +1 I found interesting that she didn't consider herself as a writer until she started making money from her writing.

    +3 Follower

    Total: 5


  36. +1 Great interview! I've always wondered when other people start to consider themselves writers. I love to write, and my friends and family say I'm a writer, but I've never published anything, so I don't consider myself a writer. I'm glad Maria V. Snyder feels the same way. I also LOVE that the awesomeness of Orson Scott Card inspired her!
    +3 follower
    +5 in my sidebar under the contest list -
    +1 that's 10 including this one!


  37. I think it's cool and interesting that Maria has experience with fighting! And the book, with Yelena waiting to be executed for murder, sounds interesting to me!

    +1 for telling you what I found interesting
    +3 for being a follower
    +5 for posting this on my sidebar-
    +1 for adding up my entries

    Total: 10 entries!



    I found her inspiration for the book interesting.

    I am a follower.

    4 entries all totaled

  39. I keep hearing so many great things about this series, please enter me.

    +1- I find it interesting that a lot of her favorite books are my favorite books!

    +3-I'm a follower

    =5 total entries

    findjessyhere at gmail dot com

  40. +1 like how she came up with the titles of her books and that PMS joke's funny :P

    +5 Blogged:

    +1 Total: 8 entries

    Bunny B
    bunnybx at gmail . com

  41. Great contest! Count me in.

    +1 - I found her inspiration (Orson Scott Card) very interesting
    +3 - Follower
    +2 - Commenting on Poison Study review
    +2 - Commenting on Magic and Fire Study review
    +1 - Total - 9 entries


  42. After reading this interview and your fabulous posts on this series, I need, I crave, I yearn for this book! Awesome contest!

    +1 the fact that she receives emails from people aged 9 to 81 who like her book! And the PMS thing if she named one of the books Soul Study... hehe
    +3 is you're a follower
    +2 Commented on you review of Poison Study
    +2 Commented on your review for Magic and Fire Study
    +1 Total entries: 9


  43. +3 follower
    +5 sidebar:
    +1 adding =
    9 entries :)

  44. +1 I loved to hear about her inspiration behind Poison Study- so cool!
    +3 if you're a follower
    +5 for a blog post or sidebar (please provide the link)
    +2 for commenting on my review of Poison Study
    +2 for commenting on my review on Magic and Fire Study
    +1 for adding up all your entries! 14!

  45. I would love o be entered!

    +1 I loved hearing how Maria V. Snyder came up with the names :)
    +3 is you're a follower
    +5 for sidebar


  46. This comment has been removed by the author.

  47. +1 Great interview! I loved finding out that Maria's favourite characters are Valek and Janco because they were my favourites too!
    +3 I'm a new follower
    +5 Sidebar (under International Competitions)
    +2 for commenting on your review of Poison Study
    +2 for commenting on your review on Magic and Fire Study
    +1 For adding up entries


  48. I follow! +3

    Total: 4 (+1 for adding the entries)


    delightfulreviews at gmail dot com

  49. This comment has been removed by the author.

  50. Please enter me!

    +3 follower
    +1 adding up all entries

    Total = 4


  51. I have heard so many amazing things about this, I can't believe I still haven't read it yet!

    +1 I love that Maria and I share some favorite books/authors! The Hunger Games and Glass Houses are some of my favorites too!

    +3 Follower

    +5 Posted on sidebar.

    +1 adding up

    +10 total!

    Thanks so much!


  52. +1 I loved reading about the author's inspiration to write the book.

    +3 follower


  53. +1 I love reading about how titles come to be!

    +3 Follower

    +2 Commented on review of Poison Study

    +2 Commented on review of Magic Study and Fire Study

    +1 Adding them up = 9 entries


  54. +1 What I found interesting is knowing the favourite books of an author because they always turn out to be or totally different or the very same type of books they write..

    +3 Follower!

    +5 Sidebar:

    +1: 10 entries in total.


  55. I would love to be entered in your draw. Thanks. wandanamgreb(at)gmail(dot)com)

  56. In the interview I found it interesting how the author came up with the title of the book.

  57. I just became a follower of your blog.

  58. I commented on your review of Poison Study. wandanamgreb(at)gmail(dot)com)

  59. I commented on your review of Magic and Fire Study.

  60. If I've added correctly I should have 10 entries.

  61. I have three entries- 1 for this comment-- Wow! Her husband is a food taster? I didn't know that was something people still did...

    and 2 for commenting on Magic Study/Fire Study!

  62. +1 I found it interesting that in her original thought, the King was in love with the food taster, but the Commander killed the King and formed a dictatorship! I'm glad I'm not the only one who just writes and writes and lets the story tell itself!
    +3 follower
    +5 sidebar at KristinCreative
    +2 for commenting on the review of Poison Study
    +2 for commenting on the reviews of Magic and Fire Study
    +1 for adding up all my entries!

    14 total!

    Great contest!

  63. The Truffle Lady24 January 2010 at 22:06

    +1 I found many things interesting such as her experience with food (chocolate tasting) and how she weaves it into stories. Plus, how Ms. Snyder struggled with difficult scens.

    +2 Commented on Poison Study
    +2 Commented on Magic & Fire Study
    +1 Tally up points



  64. Great Interview, please count me in ;)

    +1 It was very interesting to know about the story of the book title.
    +3 Im a new follower
    +5 sidevar:
    +2 for commenting on your review of Poison Study
    +2 for commenting on your review on Magic and Fire Study
    +1 14 Entries :)



  65. Nice that she actually experiences stuff to write about it. It makes it look hands on and very real.

    Commented on your Magic and Fire review. + 2



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