Mundie Moms

Friday, January 10, 2014

Taste of Darkness by Maria V. Snyder, Blog Tour: Author Interview / Giveaway

Welcome to today's TASTE OF DARKNESS blog tour stop. I'm so thrilled to have author Maria V Snyder on the blog today. I've long been a fan of her writing. First, here's a little bit about her newest book.

By: Maria V Snyder
Published by: Harlequin / Mira
Released on: 12/31/13
Series: Healer #3
Purchase it from: AmazonBarnes & Noble
Add it to Goodreads

She's fought death and won. But how can she fight her fears?

Avry knows hardship and trouble. She fought the plague and survived. She took on King Tohon and defeated him. But now her heart-mate, Kerrick, is missing, and Avry fears he's gone forever.

But there's a more immediate threat. The Skeleton King plots to claim the Fifteen Realms for his own. With armies in disarray and the dead not staying down, Avry's healing powers are needed now more than ever.Torn between love and loyalty, Avry must choose her path carefully. For the future of her world depends on her decision.
Check out my review for Taste of Darkness here.

Hi Maria! Welcome to Mundie Moms! I'm so delighted to be able to chat with you about the final book in your Healer series, TASTE OF DARKNESS!
Hello!  Thanks so much for inviting me back to Mundie Moms! 
How would you describe The Healer series to those who haven't heard of it yet?
A) The Healer series is about Avry.  She’s a magical healer who can assumed another person’s injury.  For example, if you have a broken arm, she can touch you and your broken arms is healed, but now Avry has a broken arm. However, she heals faster than an ordinary person and can use her power to zap someone and defend herself.  In the first book TOUCH OF POWER, she’s on the run from…everyone!  Healers have been blamed for releasing a plague on the world of the Fifteen Realms and killing 2/3rds of the population. However a group of men capture her not to execute her, but to get her to heal their friend, Prince Ryne.  They believe Ryne can pull society back together.  Of course there are others who like the post-plague world, which is lawless and dominated by ruthless factions.  One faction run by Tohon, a powerful life magician is slowly conquering the other realms and amassing quite an army.  The books are Avry’s adventures to stop Tohon and the other nasties like the Skeleton King and heal her world.
Could you tell us a little bit about the inspiration behind it? 
A) I had this vague idea about a healer or an apprentice healer during an epidemic.  She was either going to be sought after for her powers – like everyone wanting her, or be hunted.  I wasn’t sure.  Then one night my daughter couldn’t sleep and she wanted me to tell her a story.  She knew all my other books, so I started telling her about this healer.  And every night, she’d ask, “What’s next?”  That’s why Touch of Power is dedicated to my daughter.
Also the ability to heal with magic is very appealing to me.  As a mother, I hate to see my children sick or injured and always wish I could make it all go away.  I also have to give credit to an old Star Trek episode titled The Empath about a race of healers/empaths who would can take on the injury or illness of another.  I watched all the Star Trek episodes, but this one always stayed with me. 
Tell us about the maps you used for the series.  
A)  Right before starting the Healer series, I went on a Baltic Sea cruise so when I needed a map of the Fifteen Realms, I thought of Eastern Europe.  Except I didn’t want to use the map of Eastern Europe as many people might recognize it.  So I printed it out and turned it 90 degrees!  Then I drew in my own fifteen countries over that area.  I did follow some of the borders and the Ronal Sea is where the Baltic Sea would be if it was north instead of east.  I have to admit, I got the idea to turn the map 90 degrees from a friend and fellow writer, Wim Stolk, who died a couple years ago.  He wrote as W. J. Maryson.  I wrote a detailed blog about this and included graphics.  You can read all about it here:

Is there a specific character you identify with? Who was your favorite character to write?
A) I identify the most with Avry.  She has a very nurturing personality and that desire to help others is also one of my traits.  My favorite character to write was Tohon.  He’s a very complex character. In his mind, he’s done no wrong and he’s going to save the Fifteen Realms.  And he can be such a gentleman and sexy until he’s ruthless and evil.  I had fun with him.
What was the most fun part of writing TASTE OF DARKNESS?
A)  I can’t answer this without giving away a spoiler – so if you read the book, you probably know what scene I’m talking about ;).  I did have a blast with Avry and Ryne’s interactions.  He’s all about the needs of the many and winning the war.  He accepts that sacrifices will have to be made in order to reach their goal.  However, Avry is all about the needs of the one.  She doesn’t accept any death and wants to save them all.  They want the same thing, but don’t agree on how to achieve that.  Plus Ryne’s used her as bait a few times too many and she decides she’s had enough.
What are some of your literary inspirations? Favorite books/authors? 
A) I mentioned Star Trek before, and I’m inspired by stories with strong female protagonists (SFP).  While they are more popular today, it was harder finding books with SFP when I was younger.  A few of the authors I read with SFP were, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Barbara Hambly, Kate Elliott, and Sheri S. Tepper.  My list of some of my favorite books are: The Gate to Women’s Country by Sheri S. Tepper, Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, The Ladies of Mandrigyn by Barbara Hambly, Jaran by Kate Elliott, and Soulless by Gail Carriger.

We heard you’re writing more books in the Study series! First YAY! Second how many books will there be and when does the first one come out?
A) There will be three more Study books.  And the tentative release date for the first one is January 2015.  Then, hopefully, the second one will be out in September 2015, and the third in June 2016.
Are you working on anything else besides the new Study books?
A) I did write an essay with my daughter about the Divergent trilogy that will be released in March.  The book is titled, Divergent Thinking.  But I’m not working on any short stories or other projects right now.  With the tighter release dates of the new Study books, I’m just concentrating on them.
Thanks so much for answering our questions Maria!
You’re welcome!  If your readers would like more info about me and my books, I have the first chapter of all my books on my website as well as a number of free short stories they can read.  Here’s the link:  And my Facebook page is:
Maria's Bio
Maria V. Snyder changed from being a meteorologist to a novelist in 1995, when she began writing to keep her sanity while raising two children. Since then, she has published numerous freelance articles in magazines and newspapers, and teaches fiction-writing classes at the local college and area libraries. The classes give her the wonderful opportunity to encourage fellow writers, and to keep improving her craft.
Born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Maria always had a fascination with big storms. Dreaming of chasing tornados, Maria earned a bachelors of science degree in meteorology at Penn State University. But she discovered, much to her chagrin, that forecasting the weather wasn't one of her skills. In order to chase tornados you had to predict where they might form. Creating fantasy worlds where she has complete control of the weather was more agreeable to her.
Maria's research on food-tasting methods with an expert chocolate taster, her husband, turned out to be a delicious bonus while writing Poison Study.
Maria has a brown belt in Isshinryu Karate, and enjoys playing volleyball and the cello. Traveling in general and via cruise ship in particular are her biggest distractions from writing. Maria has traveled to Belize, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Europe, Mexico, the Caribbean and through the Panama Canal.
Maria lives with her husband, son, daughter and yellow lab, Hazelnut, in Pennsylvania where she is at work on more LUNA novels. She is also pursuing a master's degree in writing popular fiction from Seton Hill University.
Readers are welcome to contact Maria at the following email address:
Where you can find Maria:

The Giveaway:
 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out these other stops to find out more about Maria and her Healer series::

12/30/2013- Read Now Sleep Later- Interview
12/31/2013- Tynga's Reviews- Guest Post
1/1/2014- Fiktshun- Guest Post
1/2/2014- Bibliophilia, Please- Interview
1/3/2014- Snowdrop Dreams of Books- Review

1/6/2014-         Parajunkee- Guest Post
1/7/2014- Moonlight Gleam Reviews- Review
1/8/2014- The Cover Contessa- Interview
1/9/2014- Two Chicks on Books- Guest Post
1/10/2014- Mundie Moms- Interview

Flashback Friday: Code Named Verity and Rose Under Fire, Book Reviews

By: Elizabeth Wein
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: May 7, 2012
Source: Purchased
Series: Code Named Verity
Purchase: amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound
Code Name Verity

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars + all the stars up in Heaven

Synopsis: Oct. 11th, 1943-A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it's barely begun.

When "Verity" is arrested by the Gestapo, she's sure she doesn't stand a chance. As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she's living a spy's worst nightmare. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution.

As she intricately weaves her confession, Verity uncovers her past, how she became friends with the pilot Maddie, and why she left Maddie in the wrecked fuselage of their plane. On each new scrap of paper, Verity battles for her life, confronting her views on courage, failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy?

A Michael L. Printz Award Honor book that was called "a fiendishly-plotted mind game of a novel" in The New York Times, Code Name Verity is a visceral read of danger, resolve, and survival that shows just how far true friends will go to save each other.

You know that book that everyone tells you that you should read immediately, and everyone has as their number one favorite read of the year? Well, that was Code Named Verity in 2012. And as the recs came in, I ignored them. There I said it. I knew that the novel was set in WWII and let's just say that I didn't want my heart to be broken. Don't look at me like that, it's true. There are times when I do and then there are entire years when I don't want to go there even in a fictional landscape.

But then, something happened. Something wonderful. I READ THE BOOK. And darn it to pieces, KISS ME HARDY, I fell in love with its perfectly paced plot and the way it pulled me along and made me fall in love with Maddie and Verity. These brave, brave girls stole my heart.

Elizabeth made me want to learn more about the British resistance movement, because let's face it, my U.S. history classes were limited in scope. Now, I want to read every single thing Elizabeth has written. No seriously, I do. I have a feeling her shopping lists are interesting.

By: Elizabeth Wein
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: September 10, 2013
Source: Publisher Provided
Series: Code Named Verity #2
Purchase: amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound
Rose Under Fire

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars 

Synopsis: While flying an Allied fighter plane from Paris to England, American ATA pilot and amateur poet, Rose Justice, is captured by the Nazis and sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious women's concentration camp. Trapped in horrific circumstances, Rose finds hope in the impossible through the loyalty, bravery and friendship of her fellow prisoners. But will that be enough to endure the fate that’s in store for her?

Elizabeth Wein, author of the critically-acclaimed and best-selling Code Name Verity, delivers another stunning WWII thriller. The unforgettable story of Rose Justice is forged from heart-wrenching courage, resolve, and the slim, bright chance of survival.

"Slim, bright chance of survival?" I'll be honest, that's what hooked me. Sometmes, I hang all my hopes on slim chances. In school, I read about Nazi concentration camps and see my above disclaimer in the Code Named Verity review? You can already guess that I clutched my heart and thought, okay, I'll read up until the part about the camp just because I wanted to check up on Maddie. Yes, yes, I treat fictional characters as if they were my friends, don't you?

But then I met the American, Rose Justice, and she was so bold and determined that before I knew it I was reading about her experience in Ravensbruck. Rose, who worries about her ripped nylons and her pedicure as she is marched into a concentration camp. Rose, whose journey I had to finish. Rose. Rose. Rose. Even my please-don't-break-my-mama-heart concerns couldn't stop me from turning pages because I was caught in Elizabeth's web of a plot and I knew the only way to find out what happened was to read through it.

I won't post spoilers, so I won't tell you what happened to Rose. Let me just say that her story is different from the girls in Code Named Verity, and I loved every single page of it. I'll leave this review with a quote (there were quite a few that pierced my heartstrings):
But people need lift, too. People don't get moving, they don't soar, they don't achieve great heights without someone buoying them up.
So go on, allow yourself to read two books that will take you to places you may not want to go, but you will be so very grateful when you realize that what you've read has made you think and appreciate the journeys the real life Maddies and Roses have taken.