So please grab a chair and let us begin!
Thank you for having me here on your blog. I appreciate the opportunity!
So let’s start with some history,
- So tell us a bit about yourself?
I am Swedish originally, and moved to Florida late 2008. I live with my husband and a gang of rescue dogs. My path up to this point was varied, to say the least. I’ve done everything from play bass in a rock band to work with international logistics at a large steel industry. I go to University of South Florida for a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management, and I work at Pet Doors USA.
- When did you start to feel that writing is an important part of you?
I have always been fascinated with books, and I wanted to make books even before I could read. They’re magical to me; doorways to other worlds and other people’s lives.
- Have you taken part in any local/international competitions?
I have participated in a few screenwriting competitions. I made it to the semifinal in this year’s Shriekfest, and I won the 2012 Dahris Clair award for best new writing, and the 2012 Royal Palms Award for best screenplay. Yay, go me!
- Did you attend any workshops courses?
I’ve taken a couple of college classes in creative writing, and one in screenwriting. Particularly the screenwriting one has been useful. Before the class, I had no idea how structured movies really are. The timing of various events relative to a movie’s length is incredibly important, and I would never have figured that out on my own.
- What was the first book that got you interested in writing?
Hahaha, I have no idea. Must have been something I saw in mom’s bookshelf as a child. I probably thought the spines were pretty…
- When did you decide you want to publish?
Publishing one’s work is sort of a logical conclusion to writing. Making up a story and putting it on paper is a great experience in itself, but it’s better if you get to share it with other people when you’re done.
Writing & Maria:
- What are your favorite genres to read?
I like to read almost any kind of book that’s well written. If I have to pick something before everything else… Science fiction and horror.
- What are your favorite genre(s) to write about?
I love to write scifi romance. I venture into contemporary romance too, from time to time, but science fiction comes easier to me. The romance part is because I’m interested in people and relations. It’s particularly fascinating to toss people – imaginary people, that is – together that don’t seem to fit and see what comes out of it…
- When did the idea pop up into your mind that “I want to be an author”?
My imagination usually runs at 100 mph, or more, asking, “What if this would happen.” It seems reasonable to write all these goofy ideas down and make something of them.
- Do you write any other form of literature (poetry , prose , quotes etc..)?
Poetry? No. I’ve tried in a Creative Writing class, and I just don’t have it in me. I want sentences with a start and an end that tell coherent stories. If you want to tell me a chair is blue, just say that it’s blue. Don’t make me guess.
- Did writing change you?
I think everything we encounter in life changes us, it’s just easier to see it in other people. How it changed me… I don’t know. I don’t know who I’d be if I wasn’t writing. Probably really frustrated, hahaha!
Through this section we will get to know a bit about Brand New World
- So care to tell us a bit about your book?
Brand New World is a novella, set in the year 2577. It is about Alexandra, a girl from our own time who wakes up in a strange place surrounded by a hologram of a rock star and a woman looking like a cat. She can’t remember a thing, and when they claim she died and was brought to the future by an android wanting to save her, she decides she must be hallucinating everything. Brand New World is the first book in a series of three, and when they all come together I call them Embarkment 2577.
- How did the idea pop up?
Many years ago I walked on a beach, and wondered what would happen if something alien were to crash there. Bizarre, I know, but my mind does stuff like that all the time. Once I get an idea it’s hard to let it go, and I keep turning it around, playing with it.
- Have you considered changing it? Not going through it along the way?
Every book I write spends a lot of time sitting in my computer and various notebooks, and I re-write them over and over again. Every time they become a little better… The first versions of Brand New World had a portion set on Earth, but it bored even me, so I decided to start with the main character waking up in the future instead.
- What made you passionate about this type or genre?
I have been fascinated with space for a long as I can remember. Every time I look up at the sky I expect to see a UFO. It hasn’t happened yet, but you never know.
- Did you struggle to find a title for the book?
Titles are the worst! I can write a hundred thousand words without much of an effort, but when it comes to naming the characters or the book itself, I’m stumped. I end up brainstorming with a big piece of paper and multi-colored pens. I write down what the book is about, try to find keywords and synonyms, and eventually something takes shape.
- When writing, do you get emotionally involved while writing any of the situations or scenes in your book?
Absolutely. I get really into my imaginary world, and the characters tend to take on lives of their own. I laugh and cry with them.
Every writer has a muse that comes in all different shapes and forms and even sometimes it’s some sort of very delicate routine that an author cannot write without!
- What’s your muse?
I don’t know. Some of my author friends have made up personas for their muses, complete with names and habits. Mine just pops up from time to time, whispering, “I wonder what would happen if…” She usually vacations during summers, and she’s really active during fall and winter.
- When does it appear?
At the strangest times. Ideas often pop up when I sleep, when I’m driving, or when I’m taking the dogs out.
- How does it appear?
Usually as an idea burning behind my eyes. It won’t leave me alone until a write something down. This often happens in the middle of the night… The imaginary people who live in my head seem to think two in the morning is an excellent time to tell me about their imaginary lives.
- Does it require a specific time or place?
No, it seems more like, “The weirder the better.”
- Do you scribble down notes when you are outside and an idea hits you?
I am always writing on something. I bring home little post-its from work with scribbled down ideas, and I write a lot on my iPhone when I’m out and about. Sometimes I have to pull the car over because I just have to scribble something down before I forget it. I’ve started to use the voice-memo function in my phone too, but it still makes me self-conscious, so I prefer to write. When I come home to my computer I type all my crazy ideas of the day in text documents, and save them for future needs.
- Did you get brain freezing before? How did you handle it? and how do get back an idea you lost ?
I usually have more than one project going on at once, and when I get stuck on one thing I start writing on something else. Sometimes I just need to leave the computer and go outside. Taking the dogs out is a miracle cure for brain freeze. I think everyone needs a break from time to time as well; I accomplish very little during summers. When fall comes and the weather cools down I become super energetic and want to work, work, work.
The publishing industry is becoming more open with a lot of various options for the different types of authors, some prefer to go indie, others prefer traditional publishing but in the end each author has a dream
- What are your dreams as an author?
Being able to live on my writing would be amazing. I like my job, but it’s really annoying to always have to drop what I’m doing to go do something else. I mean, it doesn’t matter if I’m in the middle of the most interesting story line ever; I still have to put it down and go to work. Having more time to focus on what I’m doing would improve the end quality as well. Maybe one day…
- Are you a self published (indie) or traditional published author?
I started out as self-published a few years ago. Now I’m contracted with Desert Breeze Publishing. They have released two of my books – Kidnapped and Undercover – as e-books, and both novels will be able as paperbacks during 2013. I have also contracted three more books with them for release next year. I still have a few self-published books out there, and I’m currently re-writing those. I’ve learned so much from the fantastic Desert Breeze editors it would be a shame not to use it. Brand New World is the first of my self-published books to get a facelift, and the others will follow soon.
- Which do you prefer and why?
That’s an interesting question. I used to like being self-published because it gives complete control over the final product. There are many downsides, though. A lot of people don’t take self-published books seriously. Many review sites won’t touch self-published material with a stick. In retrospect, the “complete control over the final product” is also for better and for worse. Sure, it’s fun to nitpick over fonts and covers, and not having to fall in line with someone else’s rules. On the other hand, my publisher puts four months of editing by at least two different people besides me into every book, and they have fabulous cover designers. Even if I were to pay for editing for my self-pubbed books, I would never reach that level of quality. I do a fair job with graphic design, but I can’t compete with an artist.
Desert Breeze also has a fantastic network of authors. If anyone needs help with anything, someone will be there to help. Being picked up by them is the best thing to happen to me in my life as an author.
- Imagine you walk down a road and you see in a bookstore a few people standing in front of your book holding one of it and talking about it, how would that make you feel?
That would be amazing. I’d probably skulk closer and try to eavesdrop, hahaha.
- As author who inspired you to write?
In my adult life, I would say my friends and family. They’re wonderful, putting up with me disappearing off into my own world for weeks at a time.
I also have an amazing writer friend, Christy Elkins (author of Parallel and Lilac Hill) who inspires and supports me. Without her I would never have gotten around to sending my query letter for Kidnapped to Desert Breeze Publishing. She coaches me and cheers me on, tells me when I get the language backwards, helps me beta read… Without Christy I would probably have quit before I even got going.
- If you would give an advice to authors out there who are working on getting out their work, what would your advice be?
Be persistent. You are likely to receive many rejection letters, and some of them will be weird. It doesn’t mean your material is bad, it just means publishers are overwhelmed with submissions. I have received rejection letters that weren’t even for my book.
I see many new writers discouraged by not selling well in the first few months or even years. Again, be persistent. It takes time to get your name out there and build a following. Unless you’re represented by Random House, you will likely have to put heart and soul into marketing yourself and your material. At my daytime job, we say you need to get your name in front of a customer seven times before they recognize it. You need seven points of contact before someone knows who you are and what you are about. Most new authors and smaller publishers don’t have huge marketing budgets, and working your name into reader’s minds will take years. Keep at it. Say yes to every opportunity to do an interview, be on the radio, in the local newspaper, whatever you can think of.
Here are some questions we’d like to shoot at you just to get to know you a bit more!
- Favorite drink?
Coffee! My motto these last few years has been, “Caffeine is good for you!”
- Favorite meal?
I love Thai food. Chicken with cashew nuts… Mmm…
- Someone you would love to have over for tea or coffee?
Amongst people I know… Canadian author Patty Froese.
Amongst people I don’t know, Margaret Atwood.
- Left-handed or right-handed?
I use both hands pretty well, but I write with my right hand. I could read when I was four, but I was slow learning to write because I naturally wanted to do it with my left hand. Mom said, “That’s wrong, we write with the right hand” and kept moving the pen. I made big, round, childish letters until I was a teenager and something clicked in my head, “Aaah, this is how you do it.”
- If you were given the chance to change one thing about your book what would it be?
More editing. They always need more editing. When I started out as a writer I thought copy editing was the most important part. You know, making sure you don’t have typos, that the commas and periods are in the right places, and so on. Now I put the emphasis on content editing. Does the material make sense? Should some parts be extended or taken out?
- What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear or read these words:
- The ocean
Lost (It’s the name of a book, lol)
Gives me an image of the Earth seen from above. =)
Where to find you & your book(s):
Amazon: My author page: http://www.amazon.com/Maria-Hammarblad/e/B003KQHMWU/
Brand New World: http://amzn.com/B004HO630G
Well after this wonderful time we got to spend with Maria we would like to thank them for taking the time to be with us here and share with us their thoughts!
Thank you Maria
Thank you so much for having me!