Wild Things: YA Grown-Up discussion

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Goodreads' Authors @ WT > Questions for Poison Study author Maria Snyder!

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Laura (apenandzen) Thanks, Kyle, for arranging a Q&A with Maria Snyder! If anyone has questions for Maria, please post them here.


Donna (DFiggz) | 1332 comments How old are Valek and Yelena????


Rita Webb (ritawebb) | 183 comments Darn, that was going to be my question!

OK, here's my question: how much study of types of poisons and how they taste did you do for her book Poison Study? Did you reference real poisons? Or did you make them up?


Jackie (TheNightOwl) What was your inspiration for the Poison Study series?


Kyle Borland (kgborland) This is great. Should we have a deadline for questions to be posted before I send it off to Maria to answer?


Rita Webb (ritawebb) | 183 comments I have one more question. The book Inside Out had such a different world, plot, and voice than Poison Study. Was it hard to make the switch?


Heather Ohana (blackdotbug) I have one or two. How do you approach writing the hard stuff? Did you have to get into a certain mental space to write about Yelena's abuse and revenge? Did you have to distance yourself from the characters afterward? When I read difficult scenes like that in books, I'm so in awe of writers who can allow themselves to go there and write authentically. So, I'd like to know more about how you do that.

Also, when you write a work do you consider whether or not it is young-adult? I'm wondering for you, when does a work get classified YA? I think it has been brought up on our discussion board that with the Study series they weren't originally promoted as YA books, but began showing up on YA shelves with different covers from the original printing. So, did you consider the Study series to be a young-adult series when you wrote it?


Kyle Borland (kgborland) Great questions! I'll compile them and send them out to her today.


Donna (DFiggz) | 1332 comments Can' wait!


Jackie (TheNightOwl) Kyle wrote: "Great questions! I'll compile them and send them out to her today."

Thanks for setting this up! :D


message 11: by Kyle (last edited Jul 28, 2010 06:04PM) (new)

Kyle Borland (kgborland) Here are her answers! Enjoy everyone! Oh and if you leave a comment in here from now till sunday you'll automatically be entered to win ANY Maria V. Snyder book of your choosing. Alright here ya go!

- - - - -

1. How old are Valek and Yelena????

A: In Poison Study, Yelena is 19 years old and Valek is 33 years old.

2 & 3: how much study of types of poisons and how they taste did you do for your book Poison Study? Did you reference real poisons? Or did you make them up?

A: I did a little bit of research for the poisons, but when I couldn’t find real poisons that did what I wanted them to, I created them for the story. That’s the nice thing about fantasy, you can create new things and animals as long as they follow the rules of your world J My research focused more on the tasting methods described in the book. The methods taught to Yelena are real ways tasters discern flavor and texture of foods. Even when she has to hold her nose in order to bypass the mint flavor. Mint is so dominate, it covers all the other flavors. And when you hold your nose, you can only taste the four basic flavors—salty, bitter, sweet and sour. I also learned tasting is a bit of an art as well as a science.

4. What was your inspiration for the Study series?

A: I was reading Orson Scott Card’s book, How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy. In chapter 3, Card tells the writer to consider some questions before choosing the main character. He wrote, “Too often—particularly in medieval fantasy—writers think their story must be about rulers. Kings and queens, dukes and duchesses—they can be extravagantly powerful, yes, but too often they aren’t free at all. If you understand the workings of power in human societies, you’ll know that the greatest freedom to act in unpredictable ways is usually found away from the centers of power.”

This comment led me to think about a person who was close enough to the center of power to witness important events, yet not be the Prince or Princess. I thought about a food taster and a scene jumped into my mind. I saw a woman tasting food that was most likely poisoned through the eyes of the King. He watched her with heartbreaking horror because he had fallen in love with her. That led me to wonder about this woman. Who was she? Why was she there? Why would a King fall in love with her? And Poison Study was born.

5. The book Inside Out had such a different world, plot, and voice than Poison Study. Was it hard to make the switch?

A: Not really. I enjoyed the change of pace with a different voice and setting. When I write, I focus on the characters and what they want and who gets in their way. In that regard Inside Out is no different than my other books. The hardest part for writing Inside Out was the details. I could no longer just make up poisons to suit my needs. I needed the world to be realistic and credible, and I had to keep track of the weeks and dimensions of the world. I wrote it with a calculator by my side so I could convert feet and inches into meters and centimeters.

6. How do you approach writing the hard stuff? Did you have to get into a certain mental space to write about Yelena's abuse and revenge? Did you have to distance yourself from the characters afterward?

A: Since I write in first person point of view, I really need to get into my character’s head. It is very similar to being an actor and assuming another role. Writing Yelena’s abuse was difficult, but I tried hard to get the details and feelings right. And a few of my readers have emailed me to say that I did, and the best thing about those emails was they not only emphasized with Yelena, but were inspired to be like her and to not give up. I didn’t have to distance myself from my characters. They live with me until the book is done J

7. When is the next Glass book coming out? The next book in the Inside Out series?

A: Spy Glass is coming out September 1, 2010 and Outside In is coming out March 2011.


message 12: by Angela Sunshine, WT Co-Moderator (new)

Angela Sunshine (AngelaSunshine) | 2537 comments Mod
Yay, thanks Kyle! The age dilemma has been solved :)


Donna (DFiggz) | 1332 comments I knew it! I knew that he was around 33-34 Wahoo go me!!!

THX fr setting this up it is def a great thing!


Rita Webb (ritawebb) | 183 comments Those are some awesome answers. Thanks, Kyle!


Heather Ohana (blackdotbug) Cool. :)
Thanks for doing that!


Kyle Borland (kgborland) No problem :D I'll announce of the winner of the giveaway in here and I'll message you personally for your address and email to give to Maria :D


Jackie (TheNightOwl) Thanks Kyle!!


Kyle Borland (kgborland) So here's the list of people who are part of the giveaway:

Jackie
Laura
Donna
Rita
Heather
Angela

I'm going to post the winner at 6 PM Central or 7 PM eastern so...if you want still want to be in the running just post a comment about the answers Maria gave us and I'll put you in running. Sound good? Good luck everyone!


Kyle Borland (kgborland) So winner via Random.org is...*drum roll*...HEATHER!

Thanks everyone for giving questions and participating in this whole thing! Heather can you post your email or PM me your email so I can contact you with details?

Thanks everyone!


Heather Ohana (blackdotbug) Oh goody!! *jumps around clapping and giggling*

How awesome is that? Thank you Kyle! I'll PM you right now. :)


Jackie (TheNightOwl) Congrats Heather!


Rita Webb (ritawebb) | 183 comments Yaaaay, congrats to Heather!


Donna (DFiggz) | 1332 comments COngrats!!!


Courtney Hare (cmh97) | 17 comments Wat is poison study lol


Rita Webb (ritawebb) | 183 comments Poison Study by Maria V Snyder is a YA fantasy. In the first chapters, Yelena is given a choice to be the Commander's taste tester (to check for poison) or to be hung for murder. She chooses to become a taste tester, and thus begins her study of poison.


Poison Study (Study, #1) by Maria V. Snyder


Taylor Grace | 1 comments What is always wondered is If the life of the commander an Yelena where both endangered, and Valek had to sacrifice one to save the other.....who would he choose?


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Inside Out (other topics)
Poison Study (other topics)