Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Author Interview ~ Maria Savva


Today is the last day of our Triple-Header with the three Resident Authors of the incredible BestsellerBound Forums.
Just scan the forum topics and you’ll want to dive in!!
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Yesterday and Tuesday were interviews with Darcia Helle and Stacy Juba.
Today’s interview is with Maria Savva
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Maria, when did you begin writing and can you remember how it felt inside, back then?

I started writing my first novel, Coincidences, in 1997.  I used to write poems and short stories before then, but nothing serious.  When I started writing Coincidences I think it felt more like a challenge really.  I didn’t actually know whether I’d be able to write a whole novel, but it was something I’d always wanted to do.  Once I started writing it, though, the story really flowed and I’d finished it within 6 months.  Of course, there was a lot of editing to be done after that before I was happy with the finished draft.  Writing is a learning process.  I am continually learning and growing as a writer.  Funnily enough, I am currently re-editing Coincidences.  What I was happy with 10 years ago, I’m not so overjoyed with now.  I still love the story, but I’m revising the book because I want to get it onto kindle and other ebook formats, and as it will be a new edition I thought it would be fitting to completely revise it so that it reflects where I am as a writer now, rather than how I started.  In its current format it is a typical debut novel, good but could be better.  Sentence structure, background detail, things like that, are getting a bit of an overhaul.

Was there any certain date or time you remember when you began to either think of yourself as or call yourself a “writer”?

I remember a comment my brother made when he’d read Coincidences.  He said that when I asked him to read it he thought he’d be reading it and wouldn’t be able to take it seriously because it would “sound” like me but he said the narration actually “sounded” to him like an author.  That was a nice compliment and the first time I actually thought, “Oh, okay, maybe I can do this”.

What are your current hopes, dreams, or goals for your writing?

To have a bestseller, and be discovered by a Hollywood director who really wants to make a film out of my novel, and wants to cast me in the film too.  No, really that is it.  I aim high.   That has always been my dream, but I would settle for being taken seriously as a writer and selling enough books to make a living from my writing.

Well, that’s certainly something worth settling for :-)

Have you had any “formal” training in the art of writing?

Other than O’Level and A’Level English, no.  I read a lot about writing, and read a lot of books in general, which I think is a good way to learn.

What do you feel has taught you the most about “how to write”?

A couple of years ago I was helping another author edit his trilogy of books (Jerry Travis — author of the Safety Factor Books), and he helped me out with editing/proofreading mine.  I think we learnt a lot from each other at that time.  It’s amazing how much you can learn by doing something like that.  Just by noticing things that another author is doing wrong, or could do better, really helps you to see that in your own writing.  Sometimes it’s harder to see things that need to be changed in our own work.  Another funny thing was that he is American so has a different way of spelling a lot of words, and different ways of phrasing things, so we each learnt a lot about the difference between English and American-English.
I’ve also learnt a lot just by writing and re-writing my own work over the years.  It’s a continual learning curve.

I just learned a lot about you with your consistent use of “learnt” :-)

To let our readers in on a bit of your English history, I’m going to insert just a bit of your Bio from your site:

Maria Savva was born in London on 19th March 1970. She studied for a Law Degree at Middlesex University and went on to gain a professional solicitor qualification at The College of Law in London. She qualified as a solicitor in 1996. Maria continues to practice as a solicitor in London whilst writing her novels and stories in her spare time.

She was able to read before starting school, and on her first day at infants school, she remembers reading a story to another child in the class. Maria was immediately moved into the second year class, being too advanced for the first year.

Who are your favorite writers and why are they favorites?

These days, a lot of my favourite writers are also my friends. They become favourite writers when I read and fall in love with their books.  Darcia Helle, for example, the creator of BestsellerBound.com where I’m a resident author.  I met her online and got to know her on various networking sites.  Recently I have been reading her books and absolutely love her style.  Julie Elizabeth Powell, an author who writes in many different genres, I always enjoy her books.  Quentin R. Bufogle, author of Horse Latitudes.  That book is one of only a few that has made me laugh out loud when reading it.  He is a very funny writer who also writes short humourous pieces on his blog.  Jason C McIntyre, my co-author for Cutting the Fat.  After writing that novella with him and being exposed to his raw talent I am a great fan of his writing.  Joel Blaine Kirkpatrick, author of Breathing into Stone, that is an amazing book which should be a bestseller.  Stacy Juba, Paul Mansfield Keefe, there are so many talented indie writers out there who I am privileged to meet in my role as moderator on BestsellerBound and on other networking sites like Goodreads, it would take me all night to list all my favourites.  As for well known writers, I am a diehard fan of Paulo Coelho.  His book The Alchemist was probably the biggest influence on my writing when I first started as a novelist.  I always find profound words in any book he writes and thought provoking prose.  I intend to read all his books when I get the time.

You mentioned Joel Blaine Kirkpatrick and I’m happy to say that we’ll be having him over for an interview on Monday :-)

So, Maria, where and/or how do you get your ideas for your writing?

From life.  Maybe from hearing someone say something, or a news article, or a line in a song that makes me think of something.  Anything really, I always have ideas floating around in my head.

What is your normal revision or editing routine?

My normal routine used to be that I would write my first draft in longhand and then sit and type it up editing as I went.  Then I would print out and read the edited version checking for inconsistencies in the plot.  This would usually result in me adding more scenes and filling in background and basically adding more detail to the story.  Then I’d read it again, and again, and again, each time finding less and less to edit. Eventually I would come to the stage where I’m happy with it.  That’s when I give it to someone else to read and ask them to let me know if they find any mistakes.

For my new novel, which I’m currently editing, I have changed things.  For this one I wrote about half of it in longhand, but then decided to try to just write it straight onto the computer and I found that I could do that.  Another thing I changed is that I edited it as I went along, so each chapter I wrote I would go back over and edit, in the hope that there will be less editing to do when I read over it.  I am currently waiting for some free time when I can read it again.  I’m hopeful that there won’t be much editing needed this time.

Would you tell us a bit about your published work?

I have published three novels, Coincidences, A Time to Tell, and Second Chances, and three short story collections, Pieces of a Rainbow, Love and Loyalty (and Other Tales), and Fusion.  I’ve also published one novella, Cutting the Fat, with co-author Jason C McIntyre.

I’m hoping to publish my next novel by the end of the year.

Tell us about your blog: its purpose, how you go about deciding what to post, and what you want to do with it in the future?

I mainly blog on Goodreads.com.  I use the blog to let my followers know about any new releases I have, any interviews I have done, any giveaways or discounts, or just generally any news I have, or just something I need to say.
In the coming weeks I am going to be interviewing some of my favourite authors on my blog. I got the idea for this because I recently posted a blog about my favourite books and it was very popular.  I had a lot of positive feedback on that.  Most of my favourite authors are indie authors who most people have never even heard of, so by interviewing them and hopefully getting the word out to a few more people about them I will be helping out in some way.  It can feel very lonely being an indie author, and my attitude is that whenever we can help each other, we should do that.

I wholeheartedly agree, Maria !

Thank you for sharing this time with us and letting us into your writing world :-)
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Maria’s WebSite
Maria’s Blog on GoodReads
Her Amazon Author’s Page
And, her Lulu Storefront
And now, you can ask Maria a question or two :-)

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17 responses to “Author Interview ~ Maria Savva

  1. Darcia Helle March 3, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    Great interview Alexander and Maria!

    Maria, I always enjoy reading your interviews. (Partly because I love the way you use language. You British people always sound so much smarter than we Americans!) You know that I love your writing. I don’t think you realize quite how talented you are. :)

    I am incredibly honored (flabbergasted, really) to be included among your favorite authors.

    Like

    • Maria Savva March 3, 2011 at 3:55 pm

      Thank you, Darcia, that’s very kind :)
      And, yes, you are at the top of my favourite writers list!

      Like

  2. Joel Kirkpatrick March 3, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    Maria, it still surprises me that people take time to write out their story on paper, then type. I admire that, because it is actually a more intimate creative process. You admit to letting other authors teach you things when you read them – your handwritten first draft process is something I would love to try. I loved ‘Second Chances’ BTW; and bless you for putting my little story in with such outstanding company.

    Alexander – Excellent series. These three ladies are some of the hardest working advocates for Indie authors that I’ve ever met.

    Like

    • Alexander M Zoltai March 3, 2011 at 4:09 pm

      You’ve got that totally right, Joel! And, I’ve been honored to have them as a dynamite Triple Header on this blog :-)

      Like

    • Maria Savva March 3, 2011 at 4:20 pm

      Joel, your ‘little’ story is actually very long :) But I mean it sincerely that ‘Breathing Into Stone’ is one of my absolute fave books.
      As for the handwritten first drafts, I’ve stopped doing that now, it’s definitely more time consuming. I have heard it said though that because people can usually write faster than they type, a handwritten draft is better because it allows the flow of words from the mind to the paper to move more quickly and not be stifled by the rate at which a writer can type.

      Like

  3. Stacy Juba March 3, 2011 at 9:13 pm

    Great interview, Maria, and thanks for adding Bestseller Bound to your blogroll, Alexander! We’ll be sure to reciprocate over there in the section we have devoted to that. It’s always fascinating reading more about Maria’s work as she is such a talented author. Keep aiming high, Maria, as I’m sure you’ll get there!

    Like

  4. Simone Benedict March 4, 2011 at 2:16 am

    I like how you pointed out that part of your learning to write process was exchanging writing for critique with another writer. We forget that sometimes, I think. I do because it seems like critique is a part of work. As I’m working, however, I am continuing to learn. Great point. Thank you!

    Like

    • Maria Savva March 4, 2011 at 9:53 am

      Thanks, Stacy and Simone. Yes, Simone, I think feedback and critique is very important. We have to listen to it in order to be able to grow as writers. Writing is very subjective, so we are unable to see how others will react to our work, it’s good to have readers who will let you know what they liked and what they didn’t like. This can only be a positive thing for a serious writer. It is a continual learning process.

      Like

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