Updated: Oct 14, 2019
Lucky for us all, Maria V. Snyder is very generous with her time. Despite being a best selling author with dozens of titles Maria was generous enough to visit my local library this week.
Maria had a technical job as a metrologist and started off writing late at night. “I tuck my kids into bed, tuck my husband into bed, give them all a kiss and write from 10 pm to 3 am. No one bothers you at night.”
The inspiration from her first book came from a love of fantasy novels and her husband’s job. She felt stuck in boring stereotypes when she was brainstorming story ideas, so she read a book about how to write fantasy. “People with power have very little freedom. They can’t go anywhere without bodyguards and an entourage. Think of Will and Kate across the pond. If they wanted to wander around finding out secrets and getting into trouble you could see them 5 miles away.”
Instead, she looked for someone close to a person in power. Her husband’s job as a taster for Mars Candies was the inspiration for a poison taster. He was also a great source of information.
“He brought home this huge stack of papers. The first one had a diagram of the tongue. I learned more about the tongue than I wanted to know.” She put that knowledge to good use and still does poison tasting demonstrations.
The rest of the premise for Poison Study came from asking questions. She wanted a female protagonist and needed friction between her and the military dictator. “This wasn’t a volunteer position. She was ‘saved’ from death row. Then I needed to know why she was on death row.” Maria also created a special poison that required a daily antidote, so the character could be free to poke into things.
Maria encouraged the audience to research, learn and experience new things. She learned how to ride a horse in order to write about it accurately. Other times she has been inspired by travel, museums or people she meets.
Her newest book, Navigating the Stars, was inspired by seeing the terracotta warriors in DC and at the Franklin Institute. When terracotta warriors are found on different planets, archaeologists travel through time and space to get there, dragging along their teen-aged daughter. Intrigued? Enjoy an excerpt. The book comes out November 19, 2018.
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