Friday, 4 October 2013

Interview with author Maria Savva about 3 - her new short story collection

Well, apart from Meredith Schorr's Blogger Girl, it's been a while since I've done any reviews on the blog, or author interviews (small babies take up a lot of time, you know!) So, I thought I'd get back into the swing of things by asking Maria, she of Coincidences and Haunted fame (those are my favourites so far) about her latest collection, as well as a few other things, 'cos let's face it, I'm a bit nosy.

How do you choose your covers, do you design them yourself or do you have a cover designer?

With my first novel, Coincidences, the cover was designed by an in-house artist in the publishing company that published it. With the second edition, because I self-published it I wanted a new cover, so I used a photo that I had taken specifically for the book cover. Alice is trying to find her father and likens her life to an incomplete jigsaw puzzle because she doesn’t know everything about where she came from, having never known her father. There is also another part of the book, I think, that talks about her world falling apart. As you know, from reading the book, she does have a bit of a hard time emotionally, not only dealing with abandonment issues, but also the fact that her mother had lied to her for so long. Anyway, to cut a long story short, I had the idea of taking a photo of falling jigsaw pieces. I found an old jigsaw puzzle and held the camera in one hand and a lot of puzzle pieces in the other, then took the photo as the pieces fell to the floor. I took about twenty or so pictures until I was happy with the one I used for the cover. I chose the blue colour because I think it suits the mood of the story.  


With A Time to Tell, my second novel, again the original cover design was by small press publisher’s in-house artist. I recently ended the contract with that company and will be self-publishing a paperback version of the novel with a new cover. The new cover has been designed by Aeternum Designs: I entered a competition to win an e-book cover design from that company, and I won! It came at a great time for me because I was having trouble thinking up a design for the new cover for A Time to Tell. I like the original cover so much, so I want the new one to be just as striking. I am pleased to say that Kat McCarthy at Aeternum Designs has designed a wonderful new cover for me. I’m still doing the final edits for the second edition of the book, so am not yet ready to reveal the cover, but I’m really looking forward to showing it to everyone. It’s perfect for the story. 

I designed the covers for all the other books I’ve published because I love art and like to create covers that are inspired by the stories. The cover for Pieces of a Rainbow is from a watercolour painting I did. The Love and Loyalty (and Other Tales) cover is from a royalty free photograph I found on I used iPhoto to play around and change the photo until I was happy with it. 

The covers for Fusion and Second Chances are also from royalty free photos I found on 

The cover for The Dream came from a photograph of a clock that was in my parents’ house. I printed the photograph and cut out the numbers and arranged them in the backwards design and stuck them on some paper. The backwards clock is of course because of the time-travel element in the story. I then stuck some other pictures in the centre of the clock. Originally, the white cat and a gravestone were going to be on the cover, but I changed my mind. I used charcoals to design the rest of it, and then changed the colour to purple using iPhoto. 

The cover for Haunted is an acrylic painting I did that was inspired by the novel. The girl in the painting is supposed to be Emily Baxter, one of the major characters in the book.  

The photo for Delusion and Dreams was taken by Martin David Porter, a photographer I have been following on Facebook for a while. He’d posted the photo on Facebook and I thought it would be perfect for the cover, so contacted him and he agreed to let me use it.  

The photo I’ve used for my latest book “3” is one I found on a royalty free website and asked the photographer if I could use it. I had seen a similar photo that someone posted on Facebook one day, I think that one had a pink tree. I searched the royalty free site for that type of thing and came up with the one that now appears on the cover. I absolutely love it and think it’s very striking and fits the mood of the stories well.


What can you tell us about 3 which isn't covered in the blurb without giving too much away?

 These are 3 short stories that happened to be written in the course of about 2-3 weeks where I was just getting lots of ideas and feeling the need to write them down. With the story ‘The Bride’, for example, not much planning went into it, but when I read it over while editing I was quite spooked by how on a deeper level, there was more to the story than I’d intended (that’ll make more sense when you read it... or maybe it won’t because you’ll probably think I intended it. I have probably confused you now!). I say ‘spooked’ because it’s a paranormal story, and even I felt quite scared when I was reading it over at night... and I wrote it. It made me wonder how other readers would feel!

These 3 stories just seemed to fit together as a collection because they all have a common theme of the past and how our memories really do stay with us.

With ‘What The Girl Heard’ I was surprised by the ending. I had no idea how it would end, but loved the way it all came together. That’s the fun part of being a writer; sometimes we are as much a reader of our own work as anyone else. The stories sometimes seem to come from somewhere else and we are just the person who writes them down. I’ve always thought that, but with this story in particular (and with The Bride) I really felt as though this was the case.

There’s a lot of regret and guilt going on in the stories.


For those who have read other works by you, which is 3 most like?

 Probably “Fusion” and “Delusion and Dreams”. But the paranormal aspect of The Bride, may remind people of “The Dream”, and some of Never to be Told may be a bit like “Haunted” just because of the subject matter.

What are you working on next/now? 

As usual, lots of things. A new novel, currently titled Illusion, but that will probably change. A joint novel that may or may not ever see the light of day. For that reason I can’t talk too much about it. My co-author, like me, is very busy, so we will try to fit it in with our other projects. If it does ever get written our readers may be surprised by the subject matter.

I’m also writing short stories quite a lot and will probably put together another collection at some stage.


Why 3 stories? And should we expect 7 from you next time?!

 Funny you should ask that because I was wondering today whether I should continue on a number based title for my next collection. I don’t think I will though. “3” was just something that felt right because 3 has always been my favourite number and when I had these 3 stories I’d written that all fitted together, it just made sense to release them as a collection and call them, simply, “3”.

I don’t think I would have done the same for any other number of stories because there are not really any other numbers that have been as significant in my life as the number 3.


What do you like to do in your free time, except write and babysit?!

Ha! You say that as if writing and babysitting leaves time to do anything else ;) Plus I have a full-time day job and maintain 3 blogs!

‘Free time’? What’s that?

But seriously, if I ever do get time where I’m not writing, promoting, or babysitting my beautiful nieces and nephew, I like to catch up with my ever-growing TBR list and read books by my favourite authors, watch films, listen to music, catch live gigs, go to the theatre, travel, catch up with friends, DIY, art projects, the usual stuff.

 Do you plan to release anything Christmas related? 

No. But I never say never. If I ever had time to plan in advance, it would be quite a nice thing to do, I suppose; maybe in the future I’ll release a Christmas-related short story.

Would you work on a collaboration with someone? 

Yes. I have already done that in the past. I wrote the online novella, Cutting The Fat, with the talented Jason McIntyre. It wasn’t actually planned I have to say. We were just chatting with the group on the writers’ forum, BestsellerBound, and Darcia Helle suggested that we should all write a story about an evil book reviewer. Jason then came up with an excellent first chapter. I couldn’t resist, so wrote the second chapter. No one else on the forum contributed anything; I’m not sure whether Jason was feeling the same way as I was at the time but I really was excited about the story and wanted to get it written. A couple of days after I wrote my chapter Jason wrote another and it became clear that the rest of the members were happy to let us write the whole book. We ended up writing about 25K words in a couple of weeks, and that became the novella, Cutting The Fat, which needed hardly any editing, quite surprisingly. We’ve published it on Kindle if anyone’s interested.

And, as mentioned in one of my previous answers, I’m currently working on a novel with a fellow writer.

Where is your favourite place to write?

I dream of having a nice haven where I can do my writing, away from all the noise of everyday life. Eventually, I’d love to be able to escape somewhere like to a mountain village or something. For now, I make do with writing mostly at night in bed. I prefer it when it’s quiet and everyone else is in bed. There’s something about that time of night that brings out all the creativity and inspiration.

 Best book you have read recently

 There are two great books that deserve a mention that I’ve read recently. They are Killing Instinct by Darcia Helle, and Joe Soap by Andrew Peters

Well, thanks Maria for all of that. You can keep abreast of Maria's work and find links to her books and social networking sites via her website -

Tune in on Monday for another book related post. Have a good weekend, Sooz


  1. Thank you for featuring me and my books, Sooz! :) x

  2. Lovely covers..and bril that you designed so many yourself. I am just working on mine for new book, friend who is graphic artist doing it....very interesting to see what he comes up with! Big pubs never ask just get the cover proofs and that's it.

    1. Thanks, Carol! I agree, it's nice to be involved with the design of the cover. I think the big publishers know what they're doing, though; it's all marketing and there are certain things that attract people to a cover and make them want to read a book. Personally, I like original art on covers, so I decided to go that way with my books. Good luck with your book design, and the new release! :)

  3. I like the cover for Haunted best of yours, and Fusion. Delusions & Dreams is very interesting, I do like it - but I think you need to see what a cover says immediately. That's just me, tho!