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Monday, August 18, 2014

Author Interview - Maria Hoagland

 Please welcome Maria Hoagland to the Far Edge of Normal.

How can we find you? 
I love to hear from readers and writers alike. I can be found pretty much anywhere, but I frequent these online hangouts the most.

Tell us about your writing - What genre do you prefer to write? What books, stories, other publications that you've written are your personal favorites? Anything new coming up?
I’m so excited about my latest completed project! Last month, I released my third novel, Still Time. Still Time is inspirational women’s fiction with a medical twist. It is realistic and uplifting. It is about a middle-aged LDS woman who is fighting moving into the next stage of life. She’d love to be able to keep her kids small, herself young, her marriage strong, but challenges keep getting thrown at her. She has her own hopes and dreams that somehow seem to keep being back-burnered, but the most important thing to her is taking care of her family—it’s just that she’s not sure what is best for them. I think most readers can relate to that, and I don’t know about you, but sometimes I want to see how other people deal with adversity because it makes me feel less alone and gives me hope that I too can prevail.

I can't relate to wanting to keep my kids small, but keeping them from growing up too fast? Yeah, I can relate with that.
What about you as a person? What do you do to relax? Favorite movies or tv shows? Hobbies?
Of course, reading is the ultimate relaxation for me. My favorite places to that are in a big bubble bath or by our neighborhood pond under the willow tree. I definitely prefer movies (especially chick flicks) over TV shows (but I do like crime shows)—and pretty much anything with a plot supersedes things without (ESPN and reality shows are not my favorite). As for hobbies—I would ask if cooking dinner counted, but since I don’t actually like doing that, I’ll have to come up with another one. How about spending time with my husband, supporting my kids, running occasionally, and redecorating houses.

I totally want to join you under that willow tree. What gets your creative juices going? Do you write to music, and do you want to share your playlist?
I’d have to say photographs, more than music, get me going. And yes, I do share them. You can find my inspiration boards on Pinterest for each of my books. I keep them private while I’m writing, but then make them public after I release the book. I think they’re fun because you can see some of the things I mention and get a feel for what was important to me while writing it. In fact, here’s a link to my inspiration board for Still Time:

"All writers must have cats, especially if they write fantasy or speculative fiction." Do you have a stand on this one? Any cute pictures of your kitty or other pet?
I’ve never heard this quote, but I’d have to agree. I have a cat, Zucchini, who loves to sit on my desk while I write. In fact, my husband and I had to switch desks so that I could have the bigger one to share with Zuch. He has a bad habit of typing for me, especially if I leave my desk unattended for any length of time, and he pushes everything else over the side of the desk! But at least he, usually, leaves enough room for me.

Zucchini? I'm sure there's a story behind that name. What organizations do you recommend for those wanting to become writers? Any advice you'd like to share about writing?
My biggest help getting started was first, to attend a writer’s conference. I attended the LDStorymakers conference and, while there, met a bunch of great writers who were supportive and knowledgeable. It’s from that group that I found my critique group and support group in Authors Incognito.

Any special appearances or events coming up that you want to mention?
While BYU Continuing Education Week is not having a book signing this year (I was there last year), my new book will be available in the BYU Store, and I will be there the whole week attending the conference. If you contact me at any of the provided links in this post, I’d love to sign it for you.

What color would you wear if you had only one choice?
What an interesting question! I would have a really hard time with this, I think. I love changing the colors of what I wear to correspond with seasons and holidays. It’s kind of like my writing—I love every stage of the writing and publishing process. Just as I’m about to finish one, I’m edgy to start the next phase. It keeps me moving forward and keeps life interesting!

Describe your dream writing spot

My dream writing spot. I suppose it sounds cliche, but I’d love a beautiful, quiet place in nature—with the perfect temperature, of course, bright sunshine but not glaring, and the whisper of trees in the background. Whether it’s a beach, the mountains, a lake, it doesn’t matter as long as it fits the other criteria.

Thanks for stopping by, Maria, and best of luck with Still Time. I'll keep it in mind for the future when I want something without aliens, zombies, or fairies. Because reading is like a box of chocolates, you want to sample ALL the flavors.

Make sure you check out Still Time.

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