I had the chance to interview Maria V. Snyder for this weeks feature and she shared some awesome information about this book and her writing process!
EFG: You are a master of world building. Can you give us any insight into how you created The Fifteen Realms for Touch of Power?
MS: Usually when I start a new world/series, I discover the world details as I go. But with TOP, I knew the characters would be traveling quite a bit and I needed a map right away. Since I had just returned from a Baltic Sea cruise and was enamored with Russia, Poland, Latvia, etc… I went to Google maps and printed out a map of Eastern Europe, then I turned the map ninety degrees, darkened some borders and just drew free-hand to get fifteen realms. I wrote a blog called Map Quest that shows the process I went through step by step and has graphics from a basic map to finished product. You can read it here: http://seeingnight.blogspot.com/2012/01/author-guest-post-giveaway-touch-of.html
EFG: I loved the relationships between the characters in this story, particularly Avry, Kerrick and Belen. It wasn’t a typical love triangle. Did you always know how their relationships would play out in the end, or was it something that evolved as you wrote the book?
MS: I knew about Avry and Kerrick from the start. I hadn’t planned for him to be quite so gruff and nasty in the beginning, but when I considered he had spent the last two years of his life searching for a healer, and then dealing with her stubborn refusal to help…let’s just say his patience was gone As for Belen, at first I wanted him to balance out Kerrick in a good cop/bad cop type way, but he went beyond that and morphed into a big over-protective brother. I can’t seem to not have one of those characters in my books.
EFG: Can you give us any hints as to where the next book, Scent of Magic, will take us?
MS: Well Avry is in a unique position at the end of TOP – everyone except Kerrick thinks she’s….X (I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t read the book yet and she’s going to use that to her advantage. Her biggest goal is to repair her relationship with her sister, so she returns to Estrid’s army, but this time on her terms. Meanwhile, Kerrick has rejoined Prince Ryne and they’re about to march south to hook up with Estrid’s army when trouble from the north causes them to split their forces. The unique thing about SOM is there will be scenes from Kerrick’s point of view so the reader will be able to keep track of him while Avry’s dealing with Jael and Estrid as they prepare for war with Tohon.
EFG: We’ve chatted with you several times over the past few years about your books, and we always like to ask about the writing process. Has your process changed at all since you wrote your first book or is it still pretty much the same?
MS: It has changed, but only a little. I’m a bit more confident that what I’m writing each night will eventually end in a story that makes sense. Before I’d panic that I didn’t have enough plot for a novel until I reached the halfway mark, then I’d panic that I had too much. I’m also writing at night (from 10 pm to 3 am) and loving it. No one calls me or interrupts me. I can’t do the dishes or laundry because everyone’s sleeping. It’s great until I’m invited to speak to a school group at 9 am
EFG: If you could travel to any of the worlds from your books, Ixia, The Fifteen Realms or Inside, where would you choose to go to and why?
MS: I’m not a big fan of tight spaces and a world recovering from a plague doesn’t sound that inviting so I’d choose Ixia and Sitia. Plus with six books set in that world, I’d feel more at home there. After all, all my friends live there
EFG: I would totally pick Ixia and Sitia as well- something about that world really is magical!