Thursday, 14 April 2016

Maria V. Snyder Harlequin Teen Australia Blogger Event ~ Recap

Yesterday evening Harlequin Teen Australia hosted a blogger night at Harlequin HQ (Sydney, Australia) with the one and only Maria V. Snyder!

Meteorologist turned novelist, Maria's been writing fantasy and science fiction since she was bored at work and needed something creative to do. 

A dozen novels and numerous short stories later, Maria's learned a thing or three about writing. She’s been on the New York Times bestseller list, won a half-dozen awards, and has earned her MA degree in Writing from Seton Hill University where she's been happily sharing her knowledge with the current crop of MFA students. 

She also enjoys creating new worlds where horses and swords rule, 'cause let's face it, they're cool, although she's been known to trap her poor characters in a giant metal cube and let them figure out how to get out. 

Readers are welcome to check out her website for book excerpts, free short stories, maps, blog, and her schedule.

To see a full list of the books Maria has written click here.

Not only did I get the chance to meet Maria (who is basically one of the reigning Queens of Fantasy Writing) but I was also given the opportunity to meet and mingle with some incredible Aussie bloggers who share my love of good books and good food.

Read on for my full recap of the evening - including an inside look into Maria's books and writing process!

Upon arriving at Harlequin HQ we were greeted by the lovely Theresa Bray (Marketing and Communications Manager at Harlequin). 

Theresa showed us around what was clearly a bookworm haven - comfy seats, giant lamps (which are probably perfect for pulling an all-nighter reading!), lots of yummy treats, and Maria V. Snyder books everywhere!

Heading straight for the food table to take food photos (I just couldn't resist!)

The highlight of the food table had to be the cupcakes. Not only were they delicious, but they were adorned with the most adorable Study series book cover art!

Prepare for magic. Danger. Intrigue. And cupcakes!

The HQ whiteboard had 'What's your poison?' written across the top, and us bloggers were encouraged to write down our 'poison'. Maria's poison was red wine (which is a great choice!). But in my opinion Gina from Behind The Pages gave the best answer: Valek!

My poison was pineapple green bubble tea because I am seriously addicted to that stuff!
(I was highly tempted to write 'every fictional male ever' but I managed to resist ;))

We also used this time before the event officially began to take selfies. Lot and lots of selfies! XD

I just want to start this off by saying that if you are ever given the opportunity to meet Maria V. Snyder in person, you should most certainly grasp this opportunity in both hands and never let go! Her funny tales, insights into the world of writing, and wonderful personality make for an experience that you will treasure always.

Theresa introduces Maria to a loud round of fangirling and applause!

Maria talked to us about her books, her writing process, and more. The talk concluded with a Q&A session.

Things we learned from Maria

Maria's books
  • Maria has two and a half chapters left of Dawn Study!
  • Poison Study was only meant to be a standalone book. In Maria's first draft she planned to end Poison Study with Yelena beating Valek in a fight & thus proving she had what it took to be his second in command.
  • Poison Study was originally marketed as an adult novel but when it was picked up globally, it got changed to YA.
  • Maria was told that the age gap between Yelena and Valek was 'too big' - with Yelena being 19 and Valek 33. But Maria pointed out that the age gap between Bella and Edward from Twilight was even bigger: "She's 17 and he's 107!"
  • The Glass series was never meant to have a love triangle - in fact, Maria hates love triangles! She got writer's block because she just didn't want to follow that love triangle plot, but was convinced by a beta reader to follow what the characters seemed to want.

Maria's writing
  • Janco is Maria's favourite character to write.
  • When she writes, Maria often uses many aspects or details from her own life as inspiration. For instance, her character Yelena is a food-taster and Maria's husband held a similar position at a chocolate company (except he hopefully didn't have to deal with poisons!). 
  • She often surprises herself with her plot! Sometimes ideas will just come to her as she writes.
  • She took rapier and broadsword lessons to learn more about the difference between the weapons, how to use them, etc. for her books (and came across a rather fierce old grandma who was wielding a broadsword like it was her job!).
  • Maria also took glass blowing classes for her Glass series.
  • Apart from love triangles, Maria also doesn't like insta-love. Instead, she likes a romance where the two characters start off hating each other, or not on the best of terms. Cue the romantic tension!
  • She had gotten 17 rejections before she sent the manuscript of Poison Study to Harlequin.

Maria's tips and wisdom
  • Maria recommends writers write about a character(s) that isn't directly at the centre of power.
  • She believes that strong female characters are strong in mind. They will persevere and stumble forwards no matter what. A strong female character is not just a female who is strong physically, and certainly not one who rejects all help. A strong female knows when to ask for help and that she can't do it all on her own.
  • To be a writer you don't need to have a good handle on the English language. Just write! Keep trying! Even Maria forgets how to spell certain words now and again (I mean, don't we all?!).

After the talk came the signing!

And next to Maria were little sparkly bottles of magic!

I got my copy of Scent of Magic signed by Maria, as well as my Poison Study bookmark (which was part of the breathtaking set I got via Gina from Behind The Pages).

"Breathe in the magic!"

If there was an award for The Prettiest Bookmarks Ever, these would take the gold - thank you Gina!

And if this night couldn't get any better, not only did every blogger get to pick their very own bottle of magic to take home (mine is midnight blue) but Harlequin Teen Australia gave us all goodie bags!

Inside the bag

An ARC of Threader by Rebekah Turner
Firstlife by Gena Showalter
A Maria V. Snyder bookmark
Walk the Edge by Katie McGarry bookmark (x2)

Not only did I get pretty bookmarks but I got two books
whose covers - and plots - are TO DIE FOR *cue happy dance*

A massive thank you to Harlequin Teen Australia, Theresa Bray, and Maria V. Snyder for hosting and organising this wonderful event.

And a big group hug to the lovely Aussie bloggers who made the evening so much fun and definitely one to remember. I loved meeting you all! <3 


  1. Wow...this looks like so much fun! I love it:)

    1. It truly was a fun evening (not to mention highly satisfying because it was all about books!) :)
      Thanks for stopping by my blog Katherine! <3

  2. Ahhh this sounds amazing!! LUCKY YOU!!! :D And omg those cupcakes though....yuuuuum. Ahem. ;D And I also love that advice Marie V Snyder gave, especially about what "strong female heroine" really means. I couldn't agree more! I dislike when the idea of "strong" is just locked behind a character who can punch/kick/stab things. It can mean such a huge variety of things and I love it when books represent that!! :D

    1. The cupcakes were LIFE - so fluffy and yummy and I could write a love poem about them that's how amazing they were lol. And that was one of my favourite parts of her talk tbh. I love when writers explore the depths a strong female character has and shine a spotlight on important facts (like strong females can have moments of sadness/weakness, and they can be open to receiving help and support from those around them). Books that have those kinds of females in them makes me so, so happy <3


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