Stephanie: I would like to introduce Author Maria Grace. A talented writer whom I have had the honor to meet on social media and have had the pleasure of working along side with. She not only writes wonderful stories but is also a blogger who has been instrumental in promoting other writers and book reviewers work. Maria, thank you for visiting my website and having a chat with me. Please tell me a little about what genre of books you write?
Maria: My current books are historical fiction, set in the Regency era, England. I have a science fiction series in the works which explores many of the Regency cultural issues, but in a very different context.
When did you first become interested in the Regency era and what do you like most about it?
Maria: Sadly, somehow my history classes in high school missed this period entirely. It was not until I ‘met’ Jane Austen through Emma Thompson’s version of ‘Sense and Sensibility’ that I really became aware of it. My academic leanings make me more of a social historian, so the social upheaval of a society on the cusp of industrial revolution fascinates me. This is a society in which everything is about to change and we see the stirrings of that in the Regency period.
Stephanie: Out of all the ones you have written, which one is your favorite?
Maria: Usually the one that I am working on at any given time is my favorite. That’s probably a good thing, all in all. The one up next for editing is called “If I had Only Learnt.” So that’s officially my current favorite. It is the story of a blind gentleman in the Regency era and how his condition affects him and his daughters both positively and negatively.
Stephanie: Is there a character in one of your stories you relate too?
Maria: In my most recent book, the heroine is one of several daughters. Her mother does not understand her, but she is her father’s favorite. I relate to that character very well, though I think there are elements I can strongly relate to in all my heroines.
Stephanie: That is really interesting. What is your inspiration for your stories?
Maria: Evil plot bunnies my cats chase by.
Ideas come winging past at the oddest of times. My current work-in-progress was inspired by an odd thought that hopped past while napping on the couch under a couple of large cats. My sci-fi series was inspired by an idea that tagged me while lifting weights in the gym with my sons. So I never know when an idea is going to hit. I have a file called the plot bunny pound where I corral them and see which one will grow up into full fledges plots.
Stephanie: It’s truly intriguing how ideas for stories come to authors. When did you start to write?
Maria: I have been writing and making up stories as long as I can remember. I wrote my first poem and short story in the third grade, and if memory serves me correctly, wrote a number of plays in the third and fourth grades.
In middle school I wrote a short story anthology and two novels that I shared with friends. They were enthusiastic about them. In high school I added another standalone novel and a six book series to the mix, again written mostly for the entertainment of my friends. I still have those old scribbles, hidden in a box in my office. They remind me I’m just getting back to one of my first loves.
Stephanie: How do your characters voices come to you?
Maria: I find running to be very meditative, so I strap on my running shoes and get ‘in the zone’. I try to get very quiet inside my head and just listen and they usually reveal themselves pretty clearly.
Stephanie: Now that is interesting. Often times when I go for walks my characters speak to me. I believe only a writer can get away with saying that. Lol. How long does it take for you to write a novel?
Maria: It is hard to say as I write multiple projects in parallel. But from the idea stage to the final proof read probably would take a year, though the rough draft alone is probably only 1/3 of that. Putting the polish on the story and making sure all the historical details are accurate is what really takes me the most time.
Stephanie: What is your favorite literary genre?
I like anything that takes me away from the here and now whether it is historical, fantasy or science fiction. Oh and happy ending, those are important to me to. I read to escape the everyday world. I see too many unhappy things so I don’t want to read about them, too. So is there a ‘Calgon take me away with a happy ending genre’?
Stephanie: I too prefer a happy ending. What is your all-time favorite novel?
That’s a little like asking me which of my children is my favorite! I don’t think I can narrow it to just one.
Stephanie: I have so many favorites, so it’s always hard to pin point that, when someone ask, If you could meet any writer, dead or alive, who would it be? What would you want to know?
Maria: I’d love to meet Shakespeare as we share a birthday. There are so many questions surrounding his works, I’m not sure where I’d start.
Stephanie: Maria, that is really neat you share a birthday with Shakespeare. What is your favorite quote?
Maria: I think it would have to be a biblical quote, “Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.” I have found it so true, the way a person speaks and what they choose to say is so much a reflection of what goes on inside them. If you learn to really listen, people reveal an amazing amount about themselves without realizing it.
That is also how I like to reveal my characters. Of all things, I like writing dialogue the best. I actually find that it writes itself many times and I’ll even close my eyes as I type so as to let it flow with less interruptions. Sometimes my characters will say things that I didn’t exactly plan and I learn about them or they provide answers to things that I couldn’t come up with. I love to be the bug on the wall to my characters and listen while they are in the process of revealing themselves.
Stephanie: Good quote. Maria, it was a pleasure chatting with you! Thank you!
Though Maria Grace has been writing fiction since she was ten years old, those early efforts happily reside in a file drawer and are unlikely to see the light of day again, for which many are grateful.
She has one husband, two graduate degrees and two black belts, three sons, four undergraduate majors, five nieces, six cats, seven Regency-era fiction projects and notes for eight more writing projects in progress. To round out the list, she cooks for nine in order to accommodate the growing boys and usually makes ten meals at a time so she only cooks twice a month.
She can be contacted at:
On Amazon.com: amazon.com/author/mariagrace
Visit her website Random Bits of Fascination (AuthorMariaGrace.com)
On Twitter @WriteMariaGrace
On Pinterest : http://pinterest.com/mariagrace423/
English Historical Fiction Authors (EnglshHistoryAuthors.blogspot.com)
Austen Authors (AustenAuthors.net)
What is a young woman to do? One handsome young man has all the goodness, while the other the appearance of it. How is she to separate the gentleman from the cad?
When Darcy joins his friend, Bingley on a trip to Meryton, the last thing on his mind is finding a wife. Meeting Elizabeth Bennet changes all that, but a rival for his affections appears from a most unlikely quarter. He must overcome his naturally reticent disposition if he is to have a chance of winning her favor.
Elizabeth’s thoughts turn to love and marriage after her sister, Mary’s, engagement. In a few short weeks she goes from knowing no eligible young men, to being courted by two. Both are handsome gentleman, but one conceals secrets and the other conceals his regard. Will she determine which is which before she commits to the wrong one?