Tuesday, 2 October 2012

INTERVIEW - with author Maria Savva

Today I am joined by author Maria Savva. So without further ado, let's learn all about her! And there is a lot to learn!

You have written several full length novels and several collections of short stories. I’ve only read Coincidences and you were kind enough to give me an Advance Review Copy of your new book, Haunted, so what you can tell us about the others? Genre/topics. 

A Time to Tell is a family saga. It also deals with the subject of domestic violence. I worked as a family lawyer for a couple of years, and dealt with quite a few domestic violence cases. In fact, Penelope, the character who suffers domestic violence, was inspired by all of those women I met, in some way. A Time to Tell is a drama and a romance, but not a typical romance; it is more a story about true love.

Second Chances is a contemporary fiction novel. The main character, James, is a solicitor. Many of the scenes where we see James at work reflect my experience of working in law firms, of course embellished for entertainment value. There is quite a lot of humour in the book. The book deals with a relationship breakdown. I would say it is a drama. 

The Dream is the first of my novels with a touch of the paranormal about it. Haunted, you may have noticed also has a hint of the paranormal. The Dream is about relationships, but also about fate and destiny as opposed to free will, and features a timeslip.

My short story collections contain a mixture of different genres. Pieces of a Rainbow contains 7 short stories, each one inspired by a different colour of the rainbow. The colour could be an emotion that we usually associate with that colour, or just the colour of someone’s clothes, or the name of someone in the story. That’s the only themed collection. The other two are mixtures of stories I’ve written over the years. There are love stories, ghost stories, even a sci-fi one! They mostly have twists in the tail.

Having just finished Haunted, I can safely say it is completely different to Coincidences, in genre in particular. However, relationships are key to both novels, both the presence and the lack of them. Is this borne throughout your other novels, and if so, how? 

I think so, yes. I have always been interested in human psychology and the way people interact. Having always been more of a listener than a talker, I have been a natural observer of human behaviour. My novels are often for me a way of trying to work out why people behave in a certain way. A form of therapy, almost. My novels are character driven, and people and their relationships are at the core of them all. I was lucky enough to work as a lawyer dealing with family law, criminal law, immigration, litigation, wills and probate, property law etc. I met lots of different people from all walks of life and they all inspired me in some way with my writing.

Haunted is a very dark tale, but I found myself feeling some empathy for the protagonist, although I felt I shouldn’t. Why did you go down the dark route and is this the only work where you have done so? If not, where else?
I didn’t actually intend to go down the dark route. Haunted, or the idea behind Haunted, is a book I had wanted to write for about 8 years following a news report I saw on TV about a random murder. I guess that I wasn’t ready to write it until now. In between that time, I have read some darker books and also co-written a book (with Jason McIntyre)  about a murder Cutting The Fat. I suppose all these things went together to inspire me to write it. Interestingly when I was younger I read a lot of dark fiction, so the influences may be evident in Haunted. It was my intention to make the reader feel empathy for Nigel. I wanted to write a book about crime from the perspective of the perpetrator and to make the point that anger can be a destructive emotion. 
I have written a few dark tales in my short story collections too.  

In Coincidences there are so many twists and turns, but I, priding myself on being a detective, guessed all of them, except one, from the strategically placed clues.  Yet, in Haunted, the reader is definitely kept guessing more and my Inspector Clouseau abilities didn’t help me. Was this intentional, as it was a novel regarding a crime and what was your thought process? 

It was intentional. And indeed, I would like to think that I have left the ending open enough so that the reader can make their own decision as to whether it is a psychological thriller or a paranormal novel.  

The attitude of Alice’s mother, Stephanie, in Coincidences is quite extreme given that she is unaware of some of the later revelations. Doesn’t this seem like sour grapes and what do you think this says about Stephanie?

Stephanie has been keeping a secret for many years and has been eaten up inside by guilt for doing this. Feeling selfish. Her attitude may seem extreme, but that is defensiveness. Also, remember, that she never had any closure when it came to Roger leaving her. She still loved him when he left and there are a lot of unresolved issues surrounding this. 

Which genre have you not written in yet that you would like to? 

I would like to write a children’s book. A picture book, maybe. I like drawing and painting, so would like to illustrate the book as well. Whether I will find time to do this I am unsure. 

In Coincidences, who is your favourite character and why?
Alice. She goes through a lot in the book, and we see lots of different emotions and different sides to her. She’s probably the character who is most like me in that book. 

Which of your works is your baby and why? 

All of them are my babies. Each one is different, which is intentional. I was always annoyed when I would buy the third book by a favourite author and feel as if it was just the same as the last book I’d read by them. I like diversity and variation. I know that’s not how you get a bestseller, but I’m in this for the love of writing. 

Given the many twists and turns in Haunted, keeping us guessing right up until the end, can you tell us if you always knew how it would turn out?  

I never know how any of my books are going to end. This ending surprised me as it’s not the typical ending you’d find in one of my novels… 

As a lawyer, have you ever considered writing any legal thrillers? Could we coax a John Grisham out of you?
No, I don’t think so. But, I never say never. It could happen…

Fun Stuff

Novel you couldn’t live without
The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho.  

I know you love music, what’s your favourite rock band? 

I couldn’t just pick one. That’s impossible.  Some favourites include Papa Roach, Anthrax, Def Leppard, Thunder, Whitesnake, Iron Maiden, The Cult, Owl, Metallica, Linkin Park… this is not an exhaustive list, it could go on for ever!

Last concert/gig you went to 

The tribute concert for Jim Marshall (Marshall amp pioneer) at Wembley Arena on 22nd September. The line up was awesome: Nicko McBrain(Iron Maiden), Joe Satriani, Zakk Wylde, Doug Aldrich, Yngwie Malmsteen, Glenn Hughes, to name a few.                      

Who would you most not want to be trapped in an elevator with?

Someone who doesn’t like my books
If you were on a quiz show as a contestant, which category would you dread coming up? 

Current affairs. I am so caught up with my writing/promoting etc. that I have no idea what’s going on in the world…  

You have probably gathered I am Rupert Penry Jones daft. Who is your RPJ? 

For me, it’s usually rock stars that I go daft over... at the moment it’s probably Doug Aldrich as I saw him on stage at Wembley last week and it reminded me that I used to have a crush on him LOL 

Most recent movie you enjoyed

I haven’t been to the cinema for about 100 years. I recently watched Shirley Valentine, my favourite ever movie on DVD after I hadn’t seen it for about 10 years, and I really enjoyed it again. I don’t have enough time to watch films these days. Sadly. 

Facebook or Twitter

Both. I am embarrassed to admit to being addicted to both of these. 

If you were a Superhero(ine), which super power would you like to have? 

It would be good to be able to read people’s minds and know what they’re really thinking! 

When was the last time you dressed up for Halloween and what did you dress up as? Plus, what character would you most like to dress up as?

That would probably be back when I was a child, and I have no idea. Although, most probably it would have been a witch or a ghost.  As for dressing up as a character, a witch would be fun. Or maybe Catwoman.
Thanks Maria for joining me today -  you can catch up with Maria on her website at www.mariasavva.com

LOOK OUT for the UPCOMING RELEASE of Haunted, scheduled for Halloween if I am not mistaken and very appropriate, too!
You can buy COINCIDENCES from Amazon at http://amzn.to/QlKCIQ (UK) & http://amzn.to/RwDevR (US & other .com)
You can also check out Maria's other books on her Amazon Author pages - http://amzn.to/h1iU91 (UK) & http://amzn.to/Szt8qr (US & other .com)


  1. Loved getting to know you better, Maria, and know even more why it is that I so enjoyed every facet of COINCIDENCES. Glad that we connected on Twitter and FB..we are both addicted! As for you, Susan, I found your questions to Maria to be quite refreshing and enlightening. Thanks for posting!

  2. Thanks so much, Dody! I'm grateful for all your support & am so happy we connected :)

  3. I've read all of Maria's books and enjoyed them all, especially The Dream and Haunted (it'll hit stores soon and it's a must read).

    And, Maria is one of the kindest, best people I know - thanks again for all you support, you deserve to be on the bestseller list. :)

    Julie Elizabeth Powell

  4. Thanks, Julie. That means a lot coming from an author whose books I love. Thanks for all your support :)

  5. Fun interview, Susan and Maria!

    Maria, I love the idea of you doing a children's picture book, combining your storytelling and art. But I also have to say I loved your dark side with Haunted!

  6. Ha, ha! Yes, it would be a complete turn from dark to light if I did a children's book next, but actually I think I need a bit of light relief after writing that book. It's hard writing dark stuff, I found it quite emotionally draining! Thanks for stopping by and I'm glad you enjoyed the interview, Darcia!

  7. I like hearing that you didn't know the ending before you arrived there. In the book I am rewriting, I didn't know the ending, and couldn't choose. I threw open voting, to people who didn't even know any of the characters or plot, on Facebook by asking simply "Who should I kill in my book?" I got the answer "everybody". The answer surprised me. I didn't kill everyone, it gave me my ending. I liked discovering the end too. Glad I am not the only one who doesn't know the end going in.

  8. That's interesting, David! :) I've never thought of doing that kind of thing, but can see how it might help with the creative process by getting ideas from others. I like being surprised by the endings, it kind of makes writing more fun that way. Thanks for stopping by and reading the interview!