Maria saw her first dragon while gardening. She asked the gnome to take pictures, but dragons are shy and very fast. One of the fairies finally snapped a shot, but just as she handed it over, the dragon came by and flamed it to ashes! Maria isn’t about to get her fingers burned a second time so, sadly, there will not be pictures any time soon!
1.Why storytelling? What made you yearn to tell a good story, and how long was this story within you before it came out?
Reading wonderful stories kindled the desire to tell my own. From Nancy Drew to The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, stories have inspired me all of my life.
2.What is it about your genre that speaks to you?
Well, since I write cozy mysteries, urban fantasy, and have also written a stand alone mystery, a cozy fantasy series and a western crime novel, I guess you could say that stories of all genres speak to me. I’m a character-driven reader, and it’s the lives and actions of the characters that interest me regardless of genre or setting.
3.What character from your book fills you with hope?
Most of the characters in my books are good people fighting the bad guys. Adriel, the main in Under Witch Moon, is a very dedicated witch. She surrounds herself with earth spells, and while she is a witch for hire, she avoids dark magic and suspicious clients. That doesn’t mean dark magic avoids her!
4.Your main character walks into a bar. What happens?
Most of my main characters are female. None spend a lot of time in a bar, but Adriel does have to go into a bar in search of a clue/friend in Under Witch Moon. You can be certain that chaos followed. I would expect the same from any of my female characters. Put them in a place with a lot of people and trouble will find them!
5.What is the most fascinating thing about your main character?
Adriel’s magic is a mix of potions and her special brand of earth magic.
6.If I were stuck in a room with your main character, what would we be doing?
Well that depends. Are you the good guy, the bad guy or an innocent bystander? If Adriel is after you, you had best duck out of sight! She’s never without a spell or two for self-defense and if she is concocting a spell, you might want to keep your distance. Not all spells go as planned…
7.If you could change any one thing about the writing industry, what would it be?
I wish writers had opportunities to make more money. We write, we publish, we write more. But even the authors who appear quite successful don’t seem to make enough money. Most of them have additional jobs.
8.Let’s talk about tools. Do you have a word processor that you would tell us to use? Is there a certain computer that has become your favorite? What do you look for in a keyboard? What would you absolutely have to have if you were to sit down and write your next book?
I use a laptop. Most any laptop works for me, although I definitely prefer a full keyboard. I don’t require anything fancy or expensive. I use open office as my software. I could write under Linux or Windows or even a Mac.
9.Describe your muse.
My muse is a wanderer, part gypsy, part dreamer, part elusive fairy.
10.What piece of art, that is not writing, moves you?
Music first and foremost because it sets my mind free. The stories in the lyrics take me different places. But photographs and graphic art is also an important inspiration for me.
11.If we wanted a good story—book, show or movie—one that you didn’t write, where would you send us?
Check out works by Patricia Briggs, Ilona Andrews, Frank Tuttle, David B Coe, John Levitt, Elizabeth Peters, and Mark Twain.
12.A publishing house gets ahold of you and wants you to take over writing an established character. For instance, DC Comics calls you and tells you they want you to take over writing Batman. What is the dream? What established character would you love to write?
There really is none. I like creating my own characters. When I read a book, I love falling down the rabbit hole and following where the author has chosen to go.
13.If you could choose any other writer, living or dead, to be your mentor, whom would you choose and why?
This is tough. I’d love to talk to Elizabeth Peter, but she comes from a different time. Perhaps that is what fascinates me so. Same with Mark Twain. I think from the land of the living, I’d like to talk to Patricia Briggs.
For more from Maria Schneider:
Her book Under Witch Moon is the first in the urban fantasy Moon Shadow series set in Santa Fe, NM. It’s on sale for 99¢ through the weekend, so it’s a great time to check it out!