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!
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!