Today I'm pleased to have Maria Savva visit Rachelle's Window. Maria is a multipublished author who is quite active online in book discussion forum.
Rachelle: Maria, tell us a bit about your books. Is there a common theme? I notice you have quite a few emotionally-tugging family dramas published.
Maria: Hi Rachelle, thanks for inviting me here. I don't set out to write 'emotionally tugging' stories or family drama. I come up with an idea for a story and make a plan (if it's a novel. I don't really plan the short stories), then I just write. Whatever comes out comes out. I'm happy to hear you find the stories emotionally tugging. One of the things that proves a writer is doing it correctly is if a reader can feel an emotion reading the work. It means that they have been taken away somewhere by reading the story and maybe reminded of memories from their own past or just caught up in the story and interested in the characters. I am influenced by the world around me when I write. I worked as a family lawyer for a few years and heard many stories, and believe that the experience taught me how different people react and behave in different circumstances. It also made me think a lot about family and relationships. When I wrote A Time to Tell, Coincidences, and 'Second Chances', I was still very much being influenced by the time I had spent as a lawyer in quite an emotionally draining area of law. The Dream is less of a family drama, more of a romantic comedy/paranormal novel. Also, many of my short stories are written in different genres. I think you're right that drama is at the heart of my work though, but I write in different genres. Love is a major theme in my writing, but again, I don't write typical romance novels. All of my work is contemporary fiction and I try to experiment with my writing and try different genres.
Rachelle: I think that's what's great about being an author these days, the freedom to write from the heart. Besides writing, you are also a resident author at Bestseller Bound. Please tell us a bit about the forum and what your participation there is.
Maria: BestsellerBound.com is a writers' forum that was created by author Darcia Helle. In the late summer of 2010, Darcia invited me to join her in this new venture. She was thinking about setting up the site and had already invited author Stacy Juba to join her there as a resident author. The idea at the beginning was that we would set up the site and it would be a place where independent authors could meet and chat with readers, answering their questions about writing and the publishing journey. Over the past couple of years it has developed into a writers' forum as so far it has mainly attracted writers rather than readers. We always welcome new members and would love to have writers and readers on there. I visit the site daily and interact with fellow writers. We have a lot of fun there discussing writing, reading, publishing and many other things. It's also a place where our members can advertise their work and talk about their latest news. We try to help promote each other's work as much as possible. We also release short story anthologies every now and then to showcase our members' writing. It's free to join.
Rachelle: I'll definitely check it out. You also review books for BookPleasures.com. What genres are you most interested in and what are some of the sites you recommend for book reviews?
Maria: I started reviewing for Bookpleasures about a year ago when I was invited by the site owner. It has introduced me to many talented writers that I wouldn't have met in other ways. I read all genres. When choosing books to read for review for the site, I just choose those that catch my eye for some reason, the ones that sound interesting. I am sent emails from Bookpleasures with titles of books available for review and I pick from those.
Rachelle: I bet that keeps you super busy. How do you balance social networking with writing and revision?
Maria: It's very difficult. I don't get as much writing done as I would do if it wasn't for social networking. But all independent authors have to be seen to have a presence online otherwise it is impossible to sell any books. It's a necessary evil. I would much rather have more time write, read and review. Having said that I do like a bit of a distraction every now and then, and enjoy chatting with readers and fellow writers online especially on Facebook and Twitter. It's just a pity that there are not enough hours in the day to fit it all in. I work full time as well which cuts down on the time I have available for writing.
Rachelle: I fully agree, but love social networking a bit too much as I get to meet such neat people. Which social networking venues are most important to you?
Maria: BestsellerBound is of course a priority to me as I'm a resident author there. All of our members are friendly, we wouldn't have it any other way. It's a place writers can go to rant about things that are bothering them. I have made some very good friend on the site. I enjoy the interaction on Twitter, it can be a lot of fun. I also spend time on Facebook and have recently set up an Author Page there where I can update people on my writing news. The social networking sites that allow me to talk about my books are the most important to me as an author.
Rachelle: You’re a lawyer or solicitor by training. Does this give you a more perceptive mind when it comes to exploring the human condition?
Maria: No. And in fact there are many lawyers I have met in my time who don't have a clue about human nature. Maybe that was the reason I never felt I fit in working in that type of environment. Working as a lawyer doing the type of legal work I did for over 15 years definitely taught me about people, the good and the bad. I saw people who would do anything for money, for power, as opposed to people who were victims and found themselves in situations where they needed help, so much so that they had to consult a solicitor. Those things really taught me a great deal about life and relationships. Working as a family lawyer, most of my work revolved around divorce, domestic violence, and applications for residence/contact with children. Those types of situations are fraught with emotion and force you to see things from different perspectives. I would say that the fact I met so many different and diverse people on a daily basis and worked in some of the more deprived areas of London did help me to learn about the human condition. Many of my characters are inspired by my years as a lawyer. For example, Reg and Raymond in Second Chances are inspired by some of the bosses I worked for. Some of them were far from nice people. Penelope, from A Time to Tell, is inspired by the victims of domestic violence I worked with. In my short stories you will also find many characters who are inspired from my time as a lawyer.
Rachelle: I can imagine the more people and situations you're involved with, the more inspiration you get. Okay, now for a few fun questions. If you could change the ending to any novel written, which one would it be and what would you change the ending to?
Maria: I would never change the ending to a novel. Some may not be the endings we expected, but at the end of the day, the author is the only person entitled to change the ending to his or her novel. And before you ask, I wouldn't change the endings to any of my novels :)
Rachelle: Have you ever wanted to trade places with one of your characters and make smarter decisions?
Maria: No. When I write a book, the characters' decisions are made depending on what he or she would have done at the time. In life we don't always make the best decisions and that is also reflected in literature.
Rachelle: Have you ever fallen in love with one of your characters? Who was it? Would your husband be jealous?
Maria: If I had a husband (which I don't) and he was jealous of a fictional character, I would be worried about my husband… Also, I can't stand jealous people, so he wouldn't be my husband in the first place lol. To answer your question, I have never fallen in love with any of my characters, and frankly would be concerned if anyone did. I have based characters on people I have been in love with. Frederick in A Time to Tell is based on the man I fell in love with at first sight when I was 21. It was unrequieted. Andrew, in Coincidences is named after someone I briefly fell in love with, and his eyes are the same colour as the man who inspired Frederick in A Time to Tell (he gets everywhere lol). One of the scenes in Coincidences is inspired by another man I fell in love with (again unrequited… can you see a pattern here? lol). Chris in one of my short stories from Love and Loyalty is also named after someone I fell in love with and looks like him too lol. I am forever falling in love. It's good fodder for writing.
Rachelle: I so agree. Here's hoping your unrequited love gets returned! But then again, you can always write a lover for yourself, right? Oops, I forgot. You don't fall in love with fictional characters. :) Thanks for visiting with us. That was fun.
Maria: Thank you for inviting me.
You can find Maria at http://www.mariasavva.com or http://bestsellerbound.com (see website for links to social networking sites)
Be sure to check out her GoodReads page and start a conversation.
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.
Maria has always enjoyed creative writing. She began work on her first novel ‘Coincidences’ in 1997 when she found herself out of work. The positive feedback she has received for her work from fellow authors and fans maintains her enthusiasm and passion for writing.