Welcome to the first of many author interviews.
M. A. Guglielmo is this month’s author. She is member of the Association of Rhode Island Authors. Her third book in the From Smokeless Fire Trilogy, Price to Pay is available for pre-order and arrives on 6/17.
You can follow Maria through her social links:
- Tell me about yourself. What inspired you to write?
I live in Rhode Island, the US state voted most likely to be used as a unit of measurement, with my two awesome daughters, and a dog and cat who I swear have watched too many Tom and Jerry cartoons. In my day job, I’m a neurosurgeon. So I can say with some authority that writing fiction isn’t brain surgery. Some days it feels harder, though!
- How did you get into writing?
I started writing seriously about seven years ago, after I finished reading out loud a middle grade fantasy to my daughters and started to make up a new version of the plot. It was so much fun I decided to start sketching out the story. After writing a fifty-page outline and the tossing it aside when the actual writing began, I learned my first writing term—pantser.
- Describe your desk / writing space.
I usually write on my couch, trying to hold onto my laptop with my dog on one side of me and my cat on the other. There’s also a lot of hot tea.
- Do you have a writing routine, or do you write when inspired?
I’ve recently adopted a strategy of ‘touching’ my work every day. I open up my Scrivener file of my current work in progress and do something, even if it’s only rereading and lightly editing my last session. It’s worked surprisingly well.
- How do you come up with the title to your books?
I have a (usually terrible) working title before I begin writing. My published books have all had their titles changed by the editor and marketing team, so I try not to get too attached to my working title.
- What was the hardest scene for you to write? Which scene was your favorite to write?
The heroine of my From Smokeless Fire, Zahara, is a demonic jinni more interested in shopping and sweets than haunting. In Price to Pay, the last novel in the trilogy, Zahara has to overcome her party girl of the paranormal persona and become the reluctant heroine of the story. I was surprised how bittersweet her difficult decisions were in the novel, and how strong a character she shows herself to be. Those were more difficult scenes to write.
My favorite scenes to write were when Clifford, a flying cyborg Great White, made an appearance.
- What inspired your book/series?
The mythology behind the novel is the story of Harut and Marut, two overly proud angels—or jinn in some versions—who are sent down to earth to show humans how to resist temptation. They fail, in rather spectacular fashion, and are punished by being hung by the feet until the end of the world. According to some sources, the two gave the gift—or curse—of magical knowledge to humanity.
- What are you working on next?
I’m starting a new project set in a fantasy version of ancient régime France, with a sexy necromancer hero who has to work with two of his worst enemies to save a princess who’s not what she seems to be.
- What authors or books have influenced your writing?
I love the writing styles of more literary authors like Neil Gaiman and N.K. Jemisin, and the storytelling power of writers like S. A. Chakraborty and Martha Wells.
- If you could live anywhere, in this world or fantasy, where would you live?
The best fantasy worlds are way too dangerous for my taste! I’d love to have a second home in Morocco and a jinn muse for my writing, though.
- What is your favorite meal?
- Coffee or tea? Wine or beer?
Green tea and red wine.
- Describe yourself in three words.
Curious, creative, and overbooked!