Hi everyone! I’m so happy to be bringing you an interview with the one and only, Maya Snow!
Maya Snow is a British author who’s written and published many novels with Scholastic, Virgin Books, OUP and HarperCollins.
Today’s interview will focus on her Sisters of the Sword series which is about two sisters (belonging to a prestigious samurai family) who have to fight and go into hiding at a martial arts academy after their family is killed.
I also mentioned this book in one of my older posts.
There is something so cool about a book which has two sisters that can fight, beautiful Japanese scenery and samurai.
I love how this book explores how girls and women overcome the stereotype that they shouldn’t or can’t fight. I honestly can’t wait to read the rest of the series.
I just want to say before we begin, thank you so much to Maya Snow for taking the time out to talk to me and for giving me the opportunity to interview her.
(If 10 year old me could see me now, she’d be squealing with excitement).
So without further ado, let’s begin!
LeafPages: Hi there! When did you first realise that you wanted to be an author?
Maya: I was probably about 7 years old and I read every book for my age that I could get my hands on. I loved reading, and I soon myself making up new stories for the characters in my favourite books…and it was then that I knew I wanted to be a writer.
LeafPages: What inspired you to write sisters of the sword?
Maya: I had recently completed a vampire trilogy and wanted to turn in a different direction. I’ve always loved stories about girls who have to dress as boys in order to have adventures (because adventures weren’t really open to girls in their era) so the story of Hana and Kimi having to dress as boys, train as samurai, and fight to get revenge on their evil uncle, was an exciting change.
LP: Do you plan to write any more books in the future?
Maya: I would love to! I always have ideas brewing. I’m not quite sure where I’m going with writing right now, as I have a few other projects that are keeping me very busy. But Maya Snow will be back!
LP: Do you have any tips for new or aspiring authors?
Maya: Read a lot so that you become familiar with what makes you want to keep turning the pages as a reader. Try to analyse what makes you like certain characters (or dislike others). These things help you understand what readers want and need from their books…and so you can make sure you deliver that in your own writing.
LP: How long does it take you to write a book?
Maya: Around 6 months is the average. There’s always quite a lot of planning and, with the Sisters of the Sword books, a lot of discussions with editors. But once I start writing then things flow nicely. I write the first draft completely, from beginning to end. Then I go back to the beginning, refining, adding things, making changes to anything that isn’t working. Then there is the polishing of the final draft before it goes off to the publisher.
LP: Sisters of the sword is set in Japan. Why Japan?
Maya: I had just completed a vampire trilogy and wanted a complete change of scene, so Japan seemed a good step. Faraway both in terms of geography and, as the books are set in the 10th century, far away in terms of time as well.
LP: If you were a character in any of your books who would you be and why?
I think I’d like to be Kimi. She is determined, she knows what the right thing to do is, and she is very courageous.
LP: Kimi is a strong, fiesty character whereas Hana is perhaps a little more gentle and observant. Which character would you say that you are closest to in personality? Kimi or Hana?
Maya: What a good question. I think Hana may be closer to the real me…but Kimi is who I’d like to be. I think a lot of writers probably write characters that are the best and bravest parts of themselves (or who they’d like to be if events required it).
LP: What’s the best thing about writing a book?
Maya: Escaping to another world is wonderful. As a writer, you never quite know what’s going to happen, no matter how carefully you plan. Sometimes characters take over and do things, and as a writer you think, “Woah, where did that come from? That wasn’t in the plan!”. It’s a little bit like magic when that happens. You know that an idea is really working, and a bit of fairy dust feels as if it’s being sprinkled across the page.
LP: What are your favourite books/authors?
Maya: I have such a long list! If I had to pick three then they would be Beverley Cleary (the Henry Huggins and Ribsy books), Michael Morpurgo books always make me think (and feel), and Mary Hooper, who writes beautiful and engaging historical novels.
LP: Did you come across any difficulties in writing sisters of the sword?
Maya: The research was probably the biggest challenge. I had to learn a lot about ancient Japan and its culture. There was also plenty of martial arts moves I had to master so that Kimi and Hana were convincing.
LP: What is the last book that you read?
Maya: I have just finished reading Where the Crawdad’s Sing. I’m not sure I liked it, as I found a lot of the story too incredible…but I know a lot of people who absolutely adore it!
LP: Are there any messages that you hoped were conveyed in sisters of the sword?
Maya: Yes, I hope readers took messages of hope and bravery, and the loyalty between sisters. Taking care of each other is so important, as is doing the right thing — even if it’s not the easy thing!
LP: Finally, can you tell us 3 random facts about yourself?
Maya: That is a fun question! Okay, here goes: I have three dogs who I absolutely adore. I have a huge collection of plants that make my writing room feel like a jungle sometimes. And one of my favourite things in the winter is to light a real fire in the hearth at home and curl up with a book and a mug of hot chocolate.
So that’s the interview! I’m really grateful to Maya Snow. This is actually my first interview with an author, ever!
Also I definitely recommend her Sisters of the Sword books if you like action or fighting in books. However, if violence really isn’t your thing I’d explore Maya Snow’s other books.
If you liked this post, please give it a like to show me and if anyone has any further questions for Ms Snow, please leave them in the comments below!
Until next time,
About Maya Snow
Maya Snow is a British children’s writer. She’s written nine novels including the Vampire Plagues series and the Sisters of the sword series.
Her first book in the Sisters of the sword series (The Warrior’s Path) was shortlisted for the Solihull Children’s Book Award 2010.
She runs an author services company called SilverWood Books.
Here’s the link to her website if you want to find out more about Maya Snow and her books.
Most of her books can be purchased on Amazon or through her website.