another guest post by Maria V. Snyder--she's one of our favorite authors and one of the first authors we all ventured out to meet and fangirl and then obsessively try and pick her brain for writing tips and she was totally cool the whole time. Maria is one cool person and one cool author -- not to mention she's a New York Times Best Selling author and already has two popular fantasy series, The Study Series and The Glass Series. But we'll let Maria do the talking...
I’d like to thank The First Novels Club for inviting me back to their blog! Thank you :-)
My latest release is INSIDE OUT. It’s categorized as a Young Adult (YA) title and the genre would be best described as a dystopian science fiction. This is very different than my other five novels, which are all in the fantasy genre. Many of my readers want to know why science fiction? Why YA? The answer…Because. ;)
Because I always enjoyed reading science fiction. My sister’s boyfriend (now her husband) introduced me to science fiction when I was in high school. Before then, all I read were mystery novels. I started with the worlds of Ursula Le Guin and went from there. He also started feeding me fantasy and I was hooked on both. And good advice to aspiring writers is to write what you enjoy reading because you’re already familiar with the tropes and conventions of that genre, and you know what topic has been done to death and which topics are new and fresh.
Because when I started writing short stories so long ago (no, I’m not saying how long ago), all my story ideas were science fiction. Yet when I sparked on the idea of a food taster as a main character, I didn’t put her in the future, but in a fantasy world. Why? Because, in the future there will be nifty little machines to test foods for poisons.
Because when I dreamt of the world of Inside, there was no doubt in my mind that it was science fiction. As a long time SF reader, I was excited to try something new. And here’s an embarrassing confession…ready? The first time I heard the word dystopian to describe INSIDE OUT, I had to look the word up in the dictionary (shhhh….don’t tell anyone). I hadn’t meant to make the world dystopian – didn’t plan on it – it just worked out that way. Life was bad for my main character, Trella – it gave her the motivation to make it better. Who knew her world was dystopian? I didn’t.
So why YA?
Because Trella is young. She’s about 17 years old and for YA the main protagonist should be between 16 to 18 years old. Because it’s a coming of age story (also not planned, but what developed). Because my other books have been well received by YA readers (actually my books appeal to a wide range of readers – I’ve gotten emails from 9 yr olds to an 81 yr old).
Because young adults are savvy readers so I didn’t need to change my word choice or modify the complexity of the plot. And let’s face the reality of the book selling world right now. YAs are selling well – young people are reading and buying books like crazy and adults are also reading YA titles. I’m a big fan of YA books – they’re fun and interesting and I’m not the only adult to think so. (Don’t believe me? Go to http://www.goodreads.com/ and you’ll find a couple of adult groups that discuss YA books).
Because I enjoy that age group. And because my son is 15 and my daughter is 12 – I’m around YAs quite a bit. For some reason, when I drive my kids and their friends somewhere, they think my ears turn off as I drive - lol! I hear more than I should, but it’s great for my writing. Because I always have so much fun when I go into middle schools and do talks. As an “official” YA writer, I’m hoping to be invited more often. (PS: I don’t charge a speaker’s fee for schools. I just ask for travel reimbursement for schools over 2 hours away from my house – hint, hint ;).
Because I love, love, love getting emails from teens. Many are inspired by my characters or my writing. A few readers signed up for karate so they could defend themselves like Yelena in my Study books, they’re inspired to write their own stories, some draw pictures of the characters, some write poems, or make jewelry, and one girl decided not to end her life after reading my book. Every one of those emails is precious to me. And to know my books are influencing young people’s lives in a positive way is so gratifying and amazing!
And now time for the commercial ;-> If you’d like to read the first three chapters of INSIDE OUT, or do a personality quiz based on the book, or see a really cool video trailer for the book go to: http://www.whatsinsideout.com/ To see maps of the world of Inside, go to: http://www.mariavsnyder.com/maps.php To read some of my SF short stories go to: http://www.mariavsnyder.com/shortstories.php
Hmmm…. not quite a commercial as everything I listed is free :-)
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Contest ends April 12th, 2010 at 11:59PM
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