Interview with maria V. Synder

Welcome to Parajunkee’s View Maria, first I have to say I’m a HUGE fan. One of my favorite books/series is POISON STUDY.

Thank you for hosting me on my blog tour! I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed POISON STUDY.

First, can you tell us a little bit about your HEALER series and the latest book ‘Scent of Magic’?

The Healer series is mainly about Avry, a healer who was on the run in the first book TOUCH OF POWER. Their world had suffered from a horrible plague that killed two thirds of the population and the people blamed the healers for starting it. Avry encounters a group of men who are looking for a healer to save their Prince, who is sickened with the plague. They believe this prince can stop a megalomaniacal tyrant (Tohon) from becoming King of all the Realms. Avry has to decide if the Prince, is worth saving. In SCENT OF MAGIC, Avry has made her decision and now is working undercover to help aid the Prince’s efforts to defeat Tohon.

Your main character is Avry and she is a Healer, what inspired you to write about her particular magic?

My children! I always hate seeing them sick and would love to be able to do what Avry does and take on their illness and suffer for them. I was also inspired by an old Star Trek episode titled The Empath about a race of healers/empaths who can take on the injury or illness of another (like Avry). The Empath sacrifices her life to heal Dr. McCoy, and that has stayed with me all these years later.

Your books are always stuffed full of political unrest, fantastical realms and magic. What kind of research do you do when you set up your back stories?

I don’t base my governments on history or any current politics or conflicts so I don’t do any research for that part of my stories. I just create my own worlds. But I do a great deal of other research for my books. My favorite type is hands-on – there’s nothing better. I’ve learned how to ride a horse, blow glass, swing a sword, I’ve done karate and self-defense, learned how to fight with weapons, and even visited a maximum security prison all in the name of research. I must admit for my Healer books, I haven’t gone into a hospital, but I’ve consulted books and talked to experts.

Are any of your characters in the HEALER series based on real people? Or at least slightly inspired?

Well the monkeys are very loosely based on two friends of mine. They act very similar, but my friends are more into swinging beers than swords. Every time I hang out with them they ask which one of them is Quain and I’ll say both, because both of them are bald 😉

I’ve read that your research includes actually learning the skills of your characters, like glass-blowing and horseback riding. What was the most challenging?

The most technically difficult was the glass-blowing. It’s tricky – you need very good eye/hand coordination and it takes years of practice to make anything worthy enough to show off 😉 The most emotionally difficult was learning how to ride a horse. It was very scary even though Kiki was the most calm and even tempered horse. She took it slow and I did relax until I learned how to trot. I guess I just like to be in control – give me a motorcycle any day.

There were some dystopian elements in the HEALER series and you also penned a dystopian series (INSIDE OUT, OUTSIDE IN) do you plan on any other books in this genre? It still seems very popular.

I did write a dystopian short story, BERSERKER EYES, for the BRAVE NEW LOVE anthology and I’m working on a creepy dystopian short story for another Halloween anthology for next year. But currently I don’t have any specific plans to write more novels. In the future, I might return to the INSIDE OUT world and I might get another cool idea.

Do you have any habits while you write? A special place, or ritual that you have to engage in?

I do have a few habits. Before writing I brew a big thermos full of English Breakfast tea and sip on that as I write. I play music—mostly pop music by Maroon 5, Matchbox 20, 3 Doors Down (hmmm….looks like a numbers theme ;). The songs have to be ones I’ve heard a million times so I don’t stop writing to listen to the lyrics. And I write on my computer in my lovely office. My husband built my desk and built-in bookcases out of the cherry wood that grew on his family farm.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

Rachel Caine, Gail Carriger, Jonathan Maberry, Harlan Coben, Laura Griffin, Julie Kagawa, Jeri Smith-Ready and Mindy Klasky.

And off series…but are we ever going to see Valek and Yelena again?

Yes! Haven’t you heard the news?? After the third Healer book, TASTE OF DEATH, I’m returning to Yelena, Valek and the gang for three more books! The new Study book will be out in the fall of 2014!

I didn’t hear this news! I must be living under a rock. *Hangs head in shame*

Anything else in the works for you? Book tours, signings? Anything you would like to let us know about?

I’m doing mostly local signings this time about. With my new contract for four more books in three years, I’m trying to limit my promotional time. I’m a slow writer and I have a very active family so something had to be cut back in order to make my deadlines!

I’m currently working on TASTE OF DEATH and hope to start the new Study book this spring.
If your readers would like more info about me and my books, I have the first chapter of all my books on my website as well as a number of free short stories they can read and video trailers of my books.  Here’s the link: http://www.mariavsnyder.com   And my blog is: http://officialmariavsnyder.blogspot.com

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