Sunday, 1 September 2013

An Interview with Maria Violante + Giveaway

Today we bring you an interview with Maria Violante, author of Wit Awakening among others.

Could you tell a bit about yourself for those people who don’t know you yet?

My name is Maria Violante. To date, I've published six books (that I actually count), with another two on tap. I'm a mild-mannered self-storage manager by day.

What can you tell us about your books?

I write speculative fiction--some fantasy, some science fiction, some urban fantasy--really, I can be all over the map. A lot of the books have romantic elements.

To give you some examples, I just sold BirthMarked, an urban fantasy with a strong alpha female heroine (a truck driver named Charlie that accidentally gets herself inducted into a monster/demon fighting order) to Taliesin publishing (waves at her homies.) And then there's Bad Moon Sign, which is slated for release in the fall. It's a Dark(ish) Fantasy about a girl that's the Morrigan incarnate--and I'll be releasing it as a serialized novel online in addition to in the normal outlets. On the other hand, I'm about halfway through writing my next Wit book--science fiction with androids, sometimes in love, fighting a giant war for their freedom.

So yeah, all over the place and LOVING it.

Have you ever used people you know as characters in your books?

Yes. In fact, BirthMarked is really special to me because a friend of mine died on the road while I was writing it--he had a massive heart in his big rig, barely getting it over to the side of the road before falling into a coma. His widow flew up and all of the drivers on the team went to visit with her. I had just returned to a normal, non-trucky kind of life (with a day job and no cash) and so couldn't go and pay my respects. It really hit me hard. I wasn't a driver, but I had lived on a truck for several months, and it can be a lonely existence. Jeff was the first driver that reached out to me, had breakfast with me, and just kind of made me feel welcome. He was always telling stories about home while wearing this fedora, and my dog just adored the man.

When I wrote the book, I knew I wanted to give him something, even though he had passed. I called his widow and asked if it would be okay to write him in a character. I was terrified, you know, because I had already written it (couldn't have stopped myself from writing it), but if she said no, I wasn't going to sell it. It just wouldn't have been right. She was really gracious about everything and we cried on the phone for a bit, swapping stories. I wish I can find that kind of love some day. They were married for a very long time, and just so much in love--like true partners.

And now I'm all teary.

Where can you be found when you’re not at your desk writing?

Desk! Ha! I don't really have one--I do most of my writing at the kitchen table or the coffee table, as I just have itty bitty laptop. I spent a lot of my youth traveling and am now trying to stamp out a normal life. It can be hard though.

I've been really getting into board games lately. I've got one I'm actually working on making and seeing if I can't get distributed, but really, it's just great having a bunch of friends over and you know, doing something so interactive.

As far as hobbies--this sounds ridiculous, but I didn't watch a lot of TV growing up and missed most of the famous shows. I just found Buffy the Vampire Slayer last week and ZOMG it makes me squee. Will Buffy and Angel ever find love? What's going on with Willow? I feel like the dumbest fangirl ever but god, it's fun.

What did you do to celebrate the release of your first book?

Honestly, by that time, I had sold another two books--it takes a long time to go from sale to release, it feels like. And I was on the road at the time, so it wasn't like I could call all of my friends and have a party. I'll have a party for book number 10, though, because that seems really significant to me. You can't plan to be a famous writer, or a best selling writer (although I did occupy a best-selling slot on Amazon for Dark Fantasy for a while, and Hunting the Five is still number 45 for free Dark Fantasy, so HOORAY), but you can plan to be a prolific writer. So I'm going for that.

What authors have been an influence to you? And have you read any books lately that you want to share with us or have you been too busy with writing to read?

I think that reading is really important for writers. I mean, there are weeks where I'll get all funky and hate writing and think I'll never write again and it's time to give up, and I'll call a friend to complain, and he'll be all (stern voice) "Maria, have you been reading?" And I'll realize that I haven't, and I need to. And so I'll set it down and start reading again and bam, just like that, something lights up my brain and I find my groove.

I love Scalzi so much it hurts. I've read everything the man has ever written. It's the perfect balance of science and math and heart and characters and every single book he writes makes me cry at some point.

Lately, I've been getting into Heinlein, although I have issues with some of his politics and gender-ing. And then I'm like, oh right, wrote this like, half a century ago, chill out.

Are there zombies or pigs in any of your books or will there be any in future books?

Yes, sort of. I have a fantasy book I started back before I published anything that I realized was too damn complicated for me at the stage I was at; it has zombies in it. (BUNNY ZOMBIES!) When I hit ten novels, I'm going to revisit it, hopefully as a better writer. There are some GREAT ideas in it that I would love to actualize, but I so wasn't ready.

Pigs? Oooh . . . they're so cute. Now I want to write in a pig. (Note to self). I have a small dog that I tend to write into everything--he was the golden fox demon in De la Roca (Tengu) and the familiar in BirthMarked (Diesel) and I have a feeling he'll keep popping up because I love my dog more than anybody should.

Thanks for having me!

Thanks for dropping by. I hope you do revisit the Bunny Zombies story, it sounds like a must read.

About Wit Awakening:

Leah feels human, but she's actually a "Wit"—her brain is the host of an organic processing unit that regulates her actions and emotions. As part of the lowest subclass of society, she submits to a human handler who owns her, body and mind.

De Leon is the rising star of the Copy Leagues, a no-holds-barred fighting organization for genetically altered and technologically augmented Wits. His past is dark and his future uncertain, but with enough wins, he just might be able to break free of his bondage to his trainer and enjoy life as a citizen of New Dallas.

Neither of them expected to fall in love, but when her handler begins to bring Leah to the fights, a secret and dangerous relationship blossoms, one that threatens both of their lives.

Buy from Amazon



Maria Violante kindly offered a digital review copy of Wit Awakening and a digital giveaway copy of Bad Moon Sign and BirthMarked as soon as they release to one reader of my blog.

The winner is Mary P.

A winner will be picked at random on September 22th.
Open internationally to everyone who's legally allowed to enter this giveaway.


Don't forget to leave a comment:
I decided to have an event wide giveaway on my blog for commenters.

At the end of this event I'll pick one commenter on any author post of this event at random and that person will win a book of his/her choice as long as bookdepository ships to where you live, you're legally allowed to enter, and the book costs no more than 10$

And drop by Between Dreams and Reality as well for more great author posts.


erin said...

Sounds fantastic! Congrats to Maria on the new release!

VampedChik said...

Congrats on the release! It sounds great! :)

Aurian said...

Thanks for the fun interview ladies! I am a big Buffy fan, you sure are in for a lot of happy hours Maria. And what will be next, Charmed?

Sobbin said...

Bunny zombies! What could be better Except for pig zombies of course. ;)