Please welcome Maria Savva back to the Far Edge of Normal. She's been here before, but she's always worth inviting back. Maria writes some of the most twisted, bizarre, and yet gentle suspense stories I've ever read. She's celebrating the release of "3", a new collection of three short works. (She's British, so I'm letting her British spelling stay. Besides, I love the British spellings.)
My stories are always inspired in some way by real life, although the actual stories are always fictional. I have published 5 novels and 5 collections of short stories.
What about you as a person? What do you do to relax? Favorite movies or tv shows? Hobbies?My favourite way to relax is listening to music, watching a good film, or reading a good book. I also like live music. I don’t watch much TV, but usually always try to catch EastEnders, as well as things like The Apprentice, Masterchef, and The Voice. My favourite movies include, “Shirley Valentine”, “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles”, and “Along Came Polly”. I also like painting and drawing when I get time.
What gets your creative juices going? Do you write to a music, and do you want to share your playlist?Although I don’t listen to music when I write (find it too distracting), music is probably the thing that helped inspire me to look for my own creative outlet. I’ve always been a music fan. As a teenager I had to have the weekly music mag, I knew the top 40 off by heart and could tell you who had gone up or down in the charts. I was obsessed. I used to make up songs on my Casio organ and record them on my tape recorder. It was my first venture into creativity. Then I discovered live music and have never stopped craving live music concerts. I find that music helps to take me to that place inside myself where I can find inspiration to write. The first things I wrote were song lyrics and I have a bunch of them at home that will probably never see the light of day. I listen to all types of music. My favourite type of music is heavy metal and rock.
"All writers must have cats, especially if they write fantasy or speculative fiction." Do you have a stand on this one? I grew up with cats, and I absolutely love them. I will probably be the typical crazy cat lady when I’m older with lots of cats in my house. Many cats inspire fiction; just looking at the amount of cats that appear as characters in books, we can see this. Cats are independent. They live their own lives on the whole, coming and going from the house to eat or sleep. This in itself makes you start wondering what they get up to when they’re out and about. Many stories have been written over the years just trying to work out what makes cats tick. They are fascinating animals. They have a sixth sense, and that kind of mystical quality is at the essence of any good fantasy or speculative fiction. A rather mysterious and spooky cat appears in The Dream, my fantasy novel.
What organizations do you recommend for those wanting to become writers? Any advice you'd like to share about writing?The most important advice I can give is just keep on writing. The only way you can improve as a writer is to write more. That is not to say that you should publish everything you write. Another important piece of advice is that you should always make sure you get feedback on your writing. The best place to do that when you’re starting out and have no real idea what your writing is like, is to go to a literary consultancy, like Cornerstones, or TLC, in the UK. In the US and other countries I am sure that similar services exist. Basically, they provide manuscript assessments by professional editors. I got help from Cornerstones for 2 of my novels when I was at the start of my writing career, and it helped enormously. The feedback from editors helps you to improve your writing. As writers we are always learning. There is not a writer alive that knows it all. I am learning new things every day. You have to write the not so good stuff so that you can get criticism, improve your skills, and then go on to write better and better stuff. Another tip is to edit another author’s manuscript. I did this for a fellow writer and by doing so I learnt a lot about the mistakes people make. I continue to help with editing and beta reading of my fellow authors’ books whenever I can, as I believe this helps to sharpen my own writing skills.
Remember that not everyone will be a fan of your writing. There are harsh critics who can easily make a writer feel that he/she is not good enough. Never let them bring you down. It takes a lot of guts to write something from your soul and let it out into the world where it can be criticised and in some cases totally ripped apart. Writers are often sensitive creatures, so please make sure you find a way to separate yourself from your book. It’s difficult, and any criticism will always make you feel like giving up. It’s not an easy choice to become a writer. Writing a novel is hard work. You need to be sure that you have enough time to devote to your writing if are really serious about it.
What writers inspired you to become an author?Probably every writer I have ever read. As a child I was obsessed with C S Lewis’s children’s books, and I loved Alice in Wonderland, Swallows and Amazons, The Famous Five. Then I went on in my teens to read all the Mills and Boons book available at the time; in fact I remember being frustrated that I had read them all and there were no more to read! Then I went on to read chick lit, like Marian Keyes and Maeve Binchy. In my late teens I went through a phase where I read horror like James Herbert. In my early twenties, I discovered some other of my favourites, Paulo Coelho, Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Every book I read inspired me in some way to want to write. I think a turning point was when I read The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho. It is written in such a simple style, like a fable, but it has such a deep meaning. It really motivated me to try to write a book that could speak to so many people, and be potentially life-changing. I’m not sure I’ve accomplished that yet, but with each book I write I am getting closer to it.
Any special appearances or events coming up that you want to mention?
The release of my latest book ‘3’. It is now available on Kindle and will soon be available in paperback on Lulu.com. It takes a while for the paperback version to filter through to Amazon & B&N, but it will hopefully be on those sites, and other online retailers soon.
If you could travel anywhere, on earth or off, where would you go?Australia. I’ve always wanted to visit but never have. I have relatives and friends over there, so it would be great to go there.
What color would you wear if you had only one choice?
Probably bright pink because whenever I wear pink I’m always getting compliments on how much the colour suits me.
Describe your dream writing spot.A house on a mountain with a sea view.
Thanks so much for stopping by. It's always a pleasure to chat with you, Maria. For the rest of you, go check out her books.
Maria is a huge part of BestsellerBound, too. It's a wonderful community of writers and readers who love good stories, in whatever genre and however they've been published. They're always open to new members.