Monday, October 27, 2008

Make-Believe Mondays With Maiia Strong

Today on Make-Believe Mondays, my guest is Maiia Strong.

Maiia, first, tell us a little bit about the manuscript you’re working on now.

Maiia: The one that's in the writing stage right now is an f/f fantasy romance. I'm not sure yet if I'm telling the right story, though, because it's positively giving me fits. The characters are very clear in my head, but I'm having trouble with the setting. I think I need a trip to a Kona coffee plantation in Hawaii to really get it nailed down. That's a business expense, right? ;-) I usually have a very strong sense of place, but this one's been a big challenge for me so far.

Debra: Oh, yes, that is a business expense. There are also some very good dvd's of Hawaii on the market. I used to watch travel videos when I ran my travel agency and was addicted to the travel channel. But there is nothing like being in a place and catching the scents of the flowers, or the sea, tasting the food as they prepare it, watching the way the sun rises and sets upon the land, and listening to the voices of the people, a music all their own.

Ray Bradbury said, “We are cups, constantly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.” How do you keep your creative cup filled?

Maiia: What a marvelous quote! I love Ray Bradbury and I wish I had an answer to the question. Hmmm... The best I can say is by reading. There is inspiration everywhere around us in the world, but I find that unless I'm reading, I have trouble pinpointing that inspiration and getting it onto the page myself.

Debra: I collect quotes and it's one of my favorites. The answer is as individual as each author I speak to, and this is one of the reasons I still enjoy doing these interviews. Been doing them three years now and each is unique.

Is there a point when your characters begin to come alive and you can see and hear them?

Maiia: Absolutely! Sometimes it's right away, other times it can take a while, but for the most part my characters are very real people inside my head--as disturbing as that sounds. LOL. The best part is when a character does or says something completely unexpected. I'm a pantser by nature, so it's not at all unusual that I don't know what happens next until I write it, but there are still times where characters can genuinely surprise me. It's quite delightful!

Debra: It sounds disturbing to people who don't write I suppose. LOL I write by the seat of my pants too, though I think ahead a little to what might happen. It's wonderfully delightful, isn't it?

Some very famous authors have played with language, creating words for people or places that no one has ever heard of. Have you ever played with words in that way and if so how?

Maiia: I love language. Always have. I've been a Shakespeare geek for as long as I can remember, and he was certainly one for making up words: incarnadine and multitudinous, to name the two that leap immediately to mind, and that's in just a single line in a single play! There are so many luscious words that he created out of what he knew in order to say exactly what he needed to say. I'm no Shakespeare--no one is--but that doesn't stop me playing. The primary universe I write in is pseudo late-medieval/early renaissance so I've had great fun trying to come up with slang terms that fit that world while still being obvious in their meaning based on their context. Although I also cheat sometimes and take words from my "Forgotten English" calendar. ;-)

Debra: Oh, I love Shakespeare too. Most of my favorite authors played or play with language. Multitudinous is a marvelous word. I believe that must be the word of the day today. Multitudinous. :-)

As a child did any particular book or author pull you into their imaginary world?

Maiia: Oh man, what author didn't? I was a voracious reader as a kid. I read Madeleine L'Engle, Susan Cooper, Ray Bradbury, Alan Garner, J.R.R. Tolkien, Isaac Asimov, Andre Norton, Anne McCaffrey, William Sleator, Lois Duncan... The list is enormous and I could go on for days. I think the ones that drew me in deepest and left the most lasting impressions were Cooper and Tolkien. I've long ago lost track of how many times I've read The Dark is Rising Sequence and The Lord of the Rings over the years. (To this day, I buy every Susan Cooper book that comes out. I will be devastated when she passes away.) Those two series are quintessential works for me and absolute must-reads. And then I hit middle school and dove head first into Evelyn Waugh. Go figure. But Brideshead Revisited is one of the best books ever written. Easily Top 10. Don't argue. You know I'm right. ;-)

Debra: I won't argue with you. :-) And thank you for sharing Susan Cooper. I have never read her books. So there's another for me to add to my list. Now if only the to be read pile weren't so tall. (Well, I should say piles. They are in almost every room in the house.) LOL

Maiia, thank you for joining us here on this Make-believe Monday to share a little bit of the magic of writing with our readers.

Maiia: Thanks for the opportunity to visit. I had a great time!

Debra: I am so glad! It's been fun for me too. :-)

Readers please visit Maiia at

Debra's News/Debra is watching:

This week I am working on galleys, as well as the new western I am writing. It's a busy work week I have planned, nose to the manuscripts, and I love every minute of it.

No comments: