I have long admired Maria Savva, for both her writing and her willingness to support other authors. I have witnessed her on many occasions give her time and knowledge with kindness and generosity. I am honored and excited that she agreed to let me interview her on my blog today.
I am thrilled to welcome her to my blog today.
I loved both, Haunted and Coincidences and I am looking forward to reading more of your work. Would you tell us whether your books are inspired by real events or real people?
I would go as far as to say that all of my short stories and novels are inspired by real events and real people. Of course, I don’t just write someone’s life into my stories, but I have a mixing pot of lots of things I have heard and lots of things I have seen. Many of the events in my novels and stories are things that have in some way actually happened to me. Other events are things that I've heard maybe on the news, or from listening in to a random stranger’s conversation as I walk past them in the street. That sort of thing. For example, when I create characters, their personalities might be inspired by someone I know, or someone I knew briefly in the past. None of my characters have ever been solely based on one person, but have been a mix of different people. I like to think I am a collector of stories from our lifetime, and I fictionalize them and document them for future generations to read. That’s a fiction writer’s job.
There are similarities in Coincidences and Haunted, in that they both deal with emotions and secrets, yet are very different novels. Would you tell us what you wanted the differences to be between the two and whether you believe you accomplished this?
I don’t think about things like that when I write. I wrote Coincidences in 1997, and was not thinking about that book at all when I wrote Haunted. I don’t ever plan to make my next book different to the last or similar to the last, but I have noticed similar themes running through all my work, even though they are different genres. When I’ve written a book, I leave it behind me and move on to the next project. I write about things that inspire me to write. Inspiration comes in many forms, and different things that happen in my life will inspire me to write something. So, for example, Haunted was mainly inspired by a news story I heard in about 2004, and a road rage incident I witnessed in early 2011. Those things sparked my imagination and I had to write the book.
I read in one of your interviews that if you were trapped in an elevator you wouldn’t like it to be with someone who didn’t like your books. Would you mind telling us why?
I suppose because if someone doesn’t like my books they probably wouldn’t like me much either. There’s a whole lot of me that goes into my books. My philosophy about life, my values, dreams, etc. So being stuck in an elevator with someone who I didn’t have anything in common with would not be nice. Also, it would give me less to talk about... I do like to talk about my books LOL
How did it feel to have Coincidences land on the top 10 list of Susan Buchanan’s blog Sooz’s Top 10 Books of 2012?
That was wonderful. Especially because I really enjoyed both of Susan’s books. She’s a talented writer, so for someone like that to choose my book in her top 10, that means a lot. She reads loads of books, too, so it’s even more amazing she chose mine. I’m very grateful and thankful.
You grew up reading at a remarkably young age. What would you say was the most notable thing that kept you on your path to learning to read?
I was very young when I started reading, maybe about three. I think it’s because I had an older brother who was already at school and he was learning to read, and I am obsessed with the written word, so I probably wanted to read too. Or probably just wanted to do whatever he was doing. I’m sure curiosity played a big part in my learning to read so young. We used to live in one of those old houses that had three floors, and each room was occupied by a different family. That’s quite typical of rental accommodation in the UK in the ‘70s. There was an old woman who lived upstairs. She didn't have a family of her own, and used to look after me and my brother sometimes. I’m told she used to teach us things, so maybe she had a hand in teaching me to read so young.
I understand that you thought a bit of the reason you didn't feel like you fit into the life of a working lawyer was your love of human nature. Do you still believe that was a large factor?
I was actually quite successful as a lawyer, and enjoyed my job for the most part. I was made redundant in 2008 in the big housing crash, and as I was specializing in conveyancing it has been hard to get back into work as a lawyer. I would probably do that again though if the opportunity arose. I think what I might have said in the past was that I didn't like the way some of the lawyers I came into contact with behaved. In my novel, Second Chances, two of the characters are partners of a law firm, and they basically reflect the type of people that I didn't like working with. I am the sort of person who won’t step on someone else just to climb the ladder, but unfortunately, there are many people out there who will, and maybe what I have alluded to in interviews in the past is that due to my nature, maybe I didn't fit in that kind of dog-eat-dog environment.
It seems today that we all need to have an online presence. Do you have one that you prefer or find the most effective?
I’m mainly on Bestsellerbound, Twitter, Goodreads, and Facebook. I’m not of the generation that grew up with computers, and in general, I would prefer not to be online so much, but as you say, it seems we have to have an online presence these days. I try to use those sites as a way to connect with people, especially authors and readers, as more of a support network for my writing really. It can get lonely being a writer, especially when you’re working on a project like a novel, so sometimes it’s fun to be able to chat with people online as a distraction. My favorite site is BestsellerBound.com because I have met some very supportive authors there, and people that I feel I can call my friends, even though I’ve never met most of them.
I find that each time I believe I am getting a handle on social networking a new site pops up. Do you ever find yourself overwhelmed with it all?
Constantly. I try to limit myself to a few sites, as mentioned in the last question. I have accounts with other sites, but rarely use them.
If one of your books were chosen to be made into a movie, which would you like it to be and why?
Only one? I want them all to be made into movies. It’s a childhood dream of mine. But if you twisted my arm and I had to choose, I would choose Haunted. I was asked this question recently for The Next Big Thing blog, and I mentioned that I would like Robin Williams to play Nigel (he’s such a versatile actor), and Kate Winslet to play Emily. That would be such a great film. It’s very dark, very chilling, and would be perfect for the big screen. Of course, I may be biased.
Is there one word that others who know you well would use to describe you? Do you agree with them?
Yes. They would say I’m quiet. That’s the most common thing they say. I agree. Most of the time I’m thinking up plots for my novels, or daydreaming about other stuff. My mind is not very quiet.
Where can readers find you and your books?
The best place to start is my website: http://www.mariasavva.com There are links there to my Facebook page, Twitter, and various other sites. There are excerpts from most of my books on there too, and my book trailers. My Goodreads blog is linked to the site. You can also click through from there to buy my books from the various online retailers.
Thanks so much for inviting me to your website, Marta!
Maria thank you so much, it has been wonderful having you on my blog. I am a big fan of your writing. BTW I agree Kate Winslet would make a fabulous Emily.
You can find Maria's books on Amazon.com, Barnes&Noble.com and other retailers.
Author & Poet
Marta Moran Bishop, is an author and poet. Ms. Bishop writes many books for children as well as for more mature audiences.