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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Authors Are Rockstars- The Epic Maria V. Snyder and an awesome Giveaway!



Hey ya’ll Jaime here! Welcome to my stop on the Authors Are Rockstars tour! We’ve saved the best for last or at least in my opinion the best. My author is Maria V. Snyder and she is one of my all-time favorite authors and a really cool person as well! Oh yeah and there's two awesometastic giveaways as well so keep reading and fill out the rafflecopter forms below!!



So why do I think Maria deserves this rockstar status? Quite simply because she does! Maria’s books were introduced to my life when I was reading nothing but Paranormal and Urban Fantasy YA and adult both. When I first grabbed Poison Study I was worried I may not like it because I hadn’t read High Fantasy in a long time! Like since before high school long time. But I shouldn’t have been worried, her world building and beautiful writing grabbed me at page one! Yelena the heroine in the story was so different than any of the others I had read! She jumped off the page and slapped me, hard, and I immediately loved her for it. I also met my #1 book boyfriend of all time in this series Valek. 






My love for her books grew with each one I read. I finished the Study series quickly and jumped right into her Glass series. When those were finished I scavenged her website for her short stories of Sitia and Ixia. I couldn’t get enough of the world and the characters! These are the two series I re-read a lot! And the best news ever came a few months ago when Maria posted on Facebook that there are going to be 3 more Study books!!!!




Maria then wrote a sci-fi/dystopian for the YA crowd Inside Out and followed it with Outside In and I fell for those books too. In my opinion they ended way too early I could have read more of that world. I loved Trella and Riley.



Maria started a new High Fantasy series The Healer books and I devoured book 1, Touch of Power in one sitting and did the same with book 2, Scent of Magic! Now I’m dying to get my hands on book 3, Taste of Darkness which will be out in December! Oh and I’ve also read all of her short stories in any anthology she has been in! And she also has a new Middle Grade Book coming out in October called Storm Watcher!



hathor1309's MVS Healer album on Photobucket






Ok so enough about Maria’s books remember I said she was a cool person? Well while I was scouring her site I found ways to get signed bookplates by answering trivia. And oh boy I sent her email after email with my answers lol do you think she got annoyed? Nope she was awesome even gave me hints when I got a few answers wrong. Then she sent me all my bookplates at one time. We even chat on facebook sometimes even though she isn’t on there much. And oh boy do I wish she had twitter but then I’d probably never leave her alone lol. Oh and her covers are gorgeous right? Well you should check out the foreign versions! Her UK covers are some of my favorites! Check them out in her Cover Gallery!


But enough about why I love Maria. She has an awesome post for me to share with you about the maps in her books so check it out!!!!! And make sure to enter the giveaway below!

Which Came First – The Story or The Map?
Maria V. Snyder


If I answered this question back when I wrote my Study and Glass series books, I’d proclaim, “The story of course!”  When I started writing Poison Study, all the events happened in the Commander’s Castle and as my characters traveled from the castle, they created the map.  I didn’t envision what the Territory of Ixia looked like until I had to for the story.  Then I sketched Ixia in my notebook.  This is what I used while writing  Poison Study:


But as I worked on Magic Study with Yelena’s adventures in Sitia and then Fire Study, where she travels between the two countries, I needed a clearer picture of the world.  And I needed to keep track of how long it took to travel between cites/clans/countries or else I’d be getting irate emails from readers (maybe not irate, but they’d point it out and probably laugh).  So I sketched on a piece of poster board in pencil and colored in with markers and came up with this:


Now you know why I write and am not an artist J.  I was glad to have that map as I worked on Opal’s story in the Glass books.  She traveled throughout Sitia and I added places like The Cliffs on my basic map.  Then came the request from the UK office of my publisher.  They would like a map to put in the front of the UK edition of Poison Study, could I provide one for their art department.  Sure I could!  Since my working map had been drawn on and looked messy, I sharpened my pencil and found my ruler and came up with this:


Not too bad.  I figured the Commander would divide his territory into equal parts, ignoring natural borders like streams and lakes. Plus the art department would fix it and make it look pretty.  Well…they added a few touches, but kept most of what I’d drawn.  Here it is:

What do you think?

Now fast forward to my Healer series. I knew Avry and company would be traveling around the Fifteen Realms so I decided to draw the map first and then write the story.  Why fifteen realms?  My birthday is on the fifteenth, so why not J.  I also knew there would be a rather significant mountain range and I named them the Nine Mountains.  Why nine?  Because Touch of Power, the first Healer book was also my ninth novel.  However the other details remained sketchy ;).  How do I draw 15 Realms when I only had a bare bones plot?

I had just gone on a Baltic Sea cruise with my family and had been enchanted by countries and people living in Russia, Sweden, Finland, Poland, and Latvia.  What if I based my Fifteen Realms on Eastern Europe?  I went to Google maps and printed out a map.  Then I loosely traced out 15 “countries” with a sharpie and then put a white paper on top and traced again.  This is what I ended up with:

It was still vaguely recognizable despite splitting Russia into 3 Realms. And I didn’t want it to look like Eastern Europe.  Enter my talented writer/singer/musician friend, Wim Stolk (a.k.a fantasy author W. J. Maryson, r.i.p 2-2011).  He visited my house during a trip to the US, and told me about a new novel he was working on.  He had taken one of his fantasy maps and turned it 90 degrees and created a new world.  He said only his diehard fans would ever suspect.  It was a great idea so I stole it ;).  Here’s my map turned 90 degrees to the right:


Now the Baltic sea is to the east – except I named it the Ronel Sea after one of my readers who emailed me and I liked her name.  The other names I used for my map are small cities and towns scattered throughout Eastern Europe – gotta love Google Maps!  Once I had the general outline, I colored the map in and wrote in the names.  Like so:
And after I wrote Touch of Power, I sent a copy of my map to the art department and they made it look old and mysterious, while still keeping the basic shapes.  Here’s the final map that went into the book:


Pretty nice – right? 

In conclusion, the needs of your story will determine if you need a map first or a story first.  I’ve done both and it’s worked for me.  Just beware the danger of spending months and months perfecting your map before you write a word down.  You might think you need a detailed, multi-colored, cartographer’s dream map, but you don’t.  You’re just procrastinating.  Big Time.

OK that post just rocks my world I am such a huge fan of the maps in books! Thanks so much Maria for stopping by. Oh and I’m lucky to have two awesome giveaways for you today! Harlequin Teen has donated one of Maria’s books to one lucky winner and Maria threw in a copy of her new Middle Grade book Storm Watcher for another lucky person both giveaways US/Canada only!!!!!! Fill out the Rafflecopter Form and good luck!



a Rafflecopter giveaway

41 comments:

  1. I love maps in books, but my art stills are pretty sub par, so I'm sure if I wrote one, I'd need to hire someone to make it pretty. I'd always want a picture of a sea monster in the watery bits.

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  2. Wow! What research and dedication. Love the maps.

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  3. I loved the Study and Insiders series' and look forward to reading her Glass and Healer books. (I love the maps):)

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  4. I love maps! I really found them helpful in reading books especially fantasy ones. I really loved the Study series! Can't wait for the next one. :D

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  5. I have never read her books, but I have heard so many good things about them so I would love to.

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  6. I've not read any of her books yet. But I love high fantasy so of course I will check them out. Soon though because now I can't, someone accidentally spoiled the whole Study series =X

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  7. Sometimes its fun to see things exactly how the author themselves saw them. Maps are nice for new worlds.

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  8. Awesome guest post Maria! I loved reading about the story and the maps were so cool! I'm embarrassed to admit I haven't read any of her books yet, but I'm definitely going to be changing that soon!

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  9. Oh, wow, what an amazing guest post! :) I've been wanting to read one of her books for a very long time now. Thanks so much for this chance! :)

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  10. AWESOME Giveaway! I love ALL your books You truly are a ROCKSTAR!!!!!!

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  11. Wow, seems like you've had some awesome authors visiting lately. Lucky you! This is an awesome giveaway, thank you. :)

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  12. I freaking love all of maria's books! They are amazing!

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  13. I freaking love all of maria's books! They are amazing!

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  14. I freaking love all of maria's books! They are amazing!

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  15. I freaking love all of maria's books! They are amazing!

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  16. I freaking love all of maria's books! They are amazing!

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  17. I freaking love all of maria's books! They are amazing!

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  18. Cool maps! Thanks for the giveaway!

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  19. I had a friend talk my ear off about the Study series. Needless to say, I will be reading it next month!

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  20. It was really awesome to hear about Maria's awesome time in Eastern Europe, since I am from Poland myself. That's a really cool way to go about creating maps for books.

    Awesome interview and giveaway. Thanks!

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  21. I love that she draws all the maps and stuff. Great interview!

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  22. that was so cool to see how the maps are made :) Thanks for sharing!

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  23. This was absolutely wonderful!!! I am an HUGE map addict so this post was just perfect. I also adore Maria so definitely FTW!!

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  24. I love her books so I definitely think she's a rock star.

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  25. I love maps! I find in writing my own books, calculating distance is really hard, so having maps helps. Plus they're pretty. Her books sounds really good!

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  26. I want a library covered in maps! Great giveaway!

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  27. I've always been in awe of writers who can create entire worlds, kingdoms, and cultures within their books. I can't wait to get a chance to read her books. :)

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  28. The maps are super cool. I happen to love when authors make them and actually have a couple signed by the authors <3. Thank you both for the wonderful post and detailed maps!!

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  29. I LOVE the maps. I think its awesome how you sketched out Europe and turned it into the Healer's series map.

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  30. I love love love Maria's writing! It was super cool getting to see how the maps were made!

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  31. Wow - that was so cool seeing how the maps were made! You may not be an artist, but I probably couldn't even have made that "first draft" map look nearly that good! I love Maria's writing, it's awesome. She just draws you right in to the story and the world surrounding the story. Great giveaway, thank you!!!

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  32. Love the maps ... my senior year in high school, my best friend and I did our 4th quarter project together; we wrote a Star Trek fanfic and added all kinds of visual aids, including maps. I always enjoy looking at the maps in fiction books.

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  33. This is so awesome! You know how I feel about Maria's books (even though I really need to catch up!) so thank you and Maria for such an awesome post!!

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  34. Such an awesome post!! I love maps in books, and you can always tell when an author really spends time on creating the world. There have been a couple books that I have read that really really needed maps. Not that the author didn't do a good job in bringing the world to life through words, but I'm such a visual person, it was a glaring void for me personally. I loved Touch of Power, and I can't wait to read more from Maria Snyder. I have added a bunch to my TBR. Thanks for the giveaway!

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  35. I think that Poison Study has to be the most recommended book to me ever. That definitely says something!

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  36. I LOVE the Healer series! I'm also slowly collecting all of her books! <3 ~Kristina

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  37. I haven't read any of her books, but they all look so good and I've heard such wonderful things about them. I love the maps from this interview. I could stare at them forever.

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  38. I love seeing the maps develop into what we saw in the actual books, Maria is one of my all time favourite authors and I'm so excited for her new books!

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  39. I entered your giveaway.
    It would be great to win one of Maria V. Snyder's books.
    I haven't read any of her books
    but after seeing some of the covers i am going to check them out.
    Thank you for having this giveaway!!!!!!!!

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