|Maria's current book|
MC Letting Go. There's also a CD, Music from Letting Go, featuring my performances of the music referenced in the novel, prefaced by me reading the passages in question. I have a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in piano performance from Juilliard, and I'm also a professional voice actor. Both are available on Amazon Smashwords and the CD here Music from Letting Go
AW What first got you into writing and why?
MC I'm an introvert, and writing was always easier for me than speaking. I've overcome that, but I still feel like I delve deeper in writing. It's my way of processing reality, and creating alternate, interesting realities. I really like to explore people's emotions, particularly the messy ones.
AW You write Contemporary novels. Is it all imagination or do you also undertake research?
MC I do research and draw from my experience, along with using my imagination. I don't think you can create a realistic imaginary person without researching, even if that means paying close attention to how people—including I, myself--behave.
I deleted romances, although my books tend to have male/female relationships at their centre. I'm not devoted to the idea of happily ever after, though I do like a positive spin at the end; real emotional and mental growth qualifies.
I'm just beginning to work on a book that is taking much more research. The protagonist is a famous animal, so I have to learn about her world. I'm excited about getting time to write this story, although having to stay somewhat closer to actual events means the project will take longer to complete.
|Maria relaxing at home|
AW And what about other types of writing? Have you ever dabbled with short stories, for instance, or other genres?
MC I want to write a short story because I think it would be a good way to improve my skills. I'm naturally very long-winded! Or maybe I should say, given to detail. :)
I wrote poems until junior high, then stopped. Last summer, I joined an online writing group that was full of poets, so I tried my hand again. Two of my poems got a lot of attention, which was a big shock. One was about my son, who is autistic. I ended up presenting that at a national autism conference. The other was a short love poem which came second in a contest and got published in a magazine. I keep saying I'll try writing more poems—my focus on doing so lasted maybe two months—but it's tough to find the time. Actually, that's my theme song!
AW Famous authors, such as Roald Dahl and Dylan Thomas, had a special space for writing. Do you have a writing ‘shed’ of your own?
MC Nope. Most of it takes place at my kitchen table, but I'll write anywhere I can take a laptop. On airplanes, during my son's appointments and activities, in bed...if I needed particular surroundings, I'd be in trouble.
|Maria on stage|
AW Finally, if you had a whole afternoon to yourself and could choose to spend it with any one individual, living or dead or a character from a book, who would it be, and what would you want to discuss?
MC Wow, a whole afternoon to myself with no pressing projects? Let me wrap my head around that for a moment! I hate to be cliché, but I'd talk to my dad. And my brother. I'd ask them about the other side. I'd also really, really love to spend some time with Prince. Maybe we wouldn't talk much—maybe we'd just jam. And if MJ (Michael Jackson) and Whitney (Houston) were around, so much the better. And I'd invite Jimi Hendrix. And Bob Marley. And Nat King Cole. And Amy Winehouse. And...I could go on forever!
If I could hang out with any living people, I would definitely call up the Obamas.
MC Thanks so much for this!
AW It's been an absolute pleasure, Maria, and best of luck with the book. You can follow Maria here Maria's website