Friday, March 26, 2010

Author Interview: Maria E. Schneider

I’d like to welcome Maria E. Schneider, author of Executive Lunch, to Socrates’ Review Blog. I just had the pleasure of reviewing her book and she has graciously agreed to be interviewed. So, let’s get the ball rolling…

1) How did you begin writing?

I've been writing ever since I can remember. Probably my earliest work was a play or two in high school when we were asked to re-enact a historical event. I've always been a daydreamer, so technically, you could say I write in my head just about any time I'm sitting quietly!

2) Where do you get the ideas for your stories?

Ideas are the easy part for me. They show up like dust bunnies, even when I'm not looking for them! Getting them down on paper in a readable form--that is the hard part. Like dust bunnies, they tend to fall apart, scatter and otherwise evade the broom.

3) Do you do any research for your books? What kind?

I research all my books. Even though I was in the computer industry for several years, when I used computer references as I did in "Executive Lunch" I often consulted with experts. In this case, my local expert is down the hall--my husband! If he doesn't know, he'll know someone who knows the answer to my questions.

When I wrote "Catch an Honest Thief" a lot of my research came from internet articles. Alexia, the heroine in "Thief," uses a lot of new-fangled gadgets to get herself out of trouble. I used a lot of inventions that are in prototype stages or devices that have been invented, but never really caught on, usually due to the high expense of implementation. I love inventions--the possibility of an answer that is better than anything we've seen before intrigues me.

4) Who is your greatest influence?

Probably my parents. I get stubbornness from my father and faith from my mother. Their ability to withstand the hard, knock-down winds of life has always influenced me--to never give up, to keep standing and to find worm holes to get where I want.

From a writing perspective, a friend pointed out that I was probably influenced by Elizabeth Peters. I hadn't noticed this (but would be more than proud to claim such!) It turns out that my character, Demetria, in "Sage: Tales from a Magical Kingdom" does enjoy some of the qualities found in Amelia Peabody, one of Peters' main characters. They are both matronly, wise and witty--or so I tell myself!

5) How did it feel when you first found out you’d be published?

The first short story I published was with It was a pretty happy moment, fraught with nerves! But it was a huge milestone for me, a line that I had wanted and needed to cross for quite some time.

6) What genres do you read for your own enjoyment?

I read a lot of mysteries, fantasies, and urban fantasies. I also read some thrillers, sci/fi and some non-fiction. When I travel, I read guidebooks like crazy.

7) Can you tell us what you are currently working on?

Oooh, you want secrets!!! :>) I have a few projects that get moved around on the burners. My next book will most likely be a collection of short stories based on the Max Killian character (that first short story I ever published!) It will be out for ebook readers (Kindle/Nook/Sony and so on) in May. "Tracking Magic" includes five stories about Max and his investigations.

8) Will there be any sequels to Executive Lunch? If so, do you have a release
date yet?

Yes! "Executive Retention" should be out July 2010! It's in various stages of editing/copy editing now.

9) Of the books you’ve written, do you have a favorite?

That is such a difficult question. The Sedona books are a series I have worked on for several years. With all the work and rewriting that went into the series--I obviously loved the books or I would have abandoned them years ago. I have an urban fantasy that will likely be out late this year or early next. "Under Witch Moon" has elements of mystery and magic--two things that I really love in books. I guess the answer is...I have favorites. It's usually NOT the book I am working on at a given moment because that book is being worked on to fix some imperfection!

10) Do you have any advice to those aspiring authors out there?
Read--a lot. Read things you don't like--and ask yourself why you don't like them. Read things you do like--and understand why you like them! Don't give up writing after one book or one story. Writing is something you get better at over time. Read your old stuff. Improve on it.

My best advice is: Do other things besides write. My ideas come when I'm hiking, when I'm working, or when I'm gardening or cooking. They come from interacting with people--they come from some of those hard knocks that life throws at you. Have an income other than writing (actually no matter what career you are in, always be honing other skills. They will come in handy!) As grandma used to say--Don't put all your eggs in one basket.

Once again, thank you for visiting with us, Maria, and for giving me the opportunity to review your book.

My Amazon Author Page: Page (formats for all e-readers or even HTML for laptop reading!)

Barnes and Noble:

My blog:


  1. Nice interview.
    I just red the review too so this sound like an interesting book

  2. I love that quote of the author's - ideas come to her "like dust bunnies" - wish it could be as easy for all of us! Nice interview.


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