What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?
I'm Maria Hammarblad. I was originally born in Falun, a small city in Sweden, and I moved to Florida late 2008. Today, I live in the Tampa bay area with my husband Mike and our rescue dogs. Thank you for having me on your blog, I'm excited to be here!
Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
A part of me always wanted to be a writer. I was fascinated with books and wanted to make them even before I could read or write. I made my mom staple colored papers together to resemble books, and I drew suns in them. I called them all, "The Sun Book" and I must have made dozens before I learned to write actual letters. I wanted to be other things too. Everything from a truck driver to an astronaut…
Did it take a long time to get your first book published?
Yes, it took years. From time to time I've written something and sent it in to publishing houses, but when looking back, the material was far from ready and I deserved to have it returned. I just didn't realize at the time how bad it was. I finished the somewhat final version of Kidnapped early 2010, and submitted it to a number of places. I got some friendly rejection letters, even one for someone else's book, and gave up. Last year, my friend Christy Elkins persuaded me to try again. I wrote a new synopsis and submission letter, and sent it to Desert Breeze Publishing. After a while, you get really used to rejections, and I almost fell off my chair when I got a letter saying they found my book interesting.
Do you work another job as well as your writing work?
I do… I go to school full time, trying to get a Bachelor's Degree in Business Management. I also work part time at Pet Doors USA. It's tough to balance it all, everyone needs a day off from time to time, but hopefully I won't do three things forever. Once I get into a story, I only want to work on it, and everything else is an annoying distraction. "What? I have to go to work again? But I did that yesterday, and I want to finish this chapter…"
What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it in less than 20 words what would you say?
My latest book is called Kidnapped. Hmm, 20 words or less, that's a tough one. How about: "Prisoner in a hostile and alien environment, alone with a horrifyingly scarred stranger, Patricia's only thought is escape."
Who is your publisher? or do you self publish?
Kidnapped is published with Desert Breeze Publishing, and I have another book with them to be released September 11. I have a couple of self published ones too, but it is easier to be confident about a book from a publishing house. Partly because someone else already believed in it, and partly because having professional editors and a professional cover artist makes a world of difference. I'm pretty good with Photoshop, but I doubt I could come up to anything even close to the cover for Kidnapped.
Which of your books were easier/harder to write than the others?
Kidnapped was very easy, it almost wrote itself. I have book called Wrath of the Goddess, and that one fought me every step of the way. I worked on it for almost three years, and it certainly had a will of its own... It turned out pretty well in the end, but I had a world of trouble getting it together.
What can we expect from you in the future? ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
I usually write science fiction romance, but lately I've been getting some ideas about people finding trouble here on Earth. My upcoming release, "Undercover," is a contemporary spy-romance. The focus will remain on science fiction though. Space has always been one of my passions, and I don't see it changing.
Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
Kidnapped is freestanding, but I have plans to write a short prequel. If it turns out like I want it to, it will be a freebie, available around Christmas. I'm writing on a novella right now called Operation Earth, and on a novel about a girl getting involved with a criminal motorcycle gang. If I don't get too sidetracked, both should be ready soon.
Do you have a favourite character from your books? and why are they your favourite?
My favourite character is Stephan Forks from The Goddess's Saga. He is strong and smart, but always struggling with something. I've written three novels with the same characters - Touch of the Goddess, Wrath of the Goddess, and Return of the Goddess - and he has developed quite a personality during the years. If he was real, he'd probably annoy me to no end, but I like him in the books.
Do you gift books to readers to do reviews?
Absolutely. I expect honest reviews though; if a person doesn't like something, it's okay to say it even if they got a free copy. It's always interesting to hear what people do and don't like.
Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
Oh yes. I love reading the good ones, of course, but bad reviews are often interesting, provided the person mentions what it is they don't like. Sometimes it's just a matter of taste, or a person getting something different from what they expected, but it can be a learning experience too.
What was the toughest/best review you have ever had?
I have one review that says, "I'm sure Maria is a nice person, but she's not a fiction writer." (That's a funny comment, don't you think?) I don't respond to reviews - I want people to feel free to say what they want without worrying about the author - but sometimes I'm tempted to ask, "Can you be a little more specific?" One of the best ones says, "I read this book in 12 hours and couldn't stop reading." Yay!
Would you ever ask a reviewer to change their review if it was not all positive about your book/books?
No. Everyone can't like everything, and if a person hates something, it's their prerogative to say it. I don't like everything I read either.
Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
To me, titles and names are a royal pain in the behind. I'm horrible at thinking of names, and I usually end up brainstorming. I write down everything I can think of until I find something not completely abhorrent… When it comes to characters, I usually write most of the book calling them X and Y, and once I figure out their names I do a search and replace.
Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?
I start out with a general idea of who they are, or sometimes what they look like. From there, they develop as I write. It's a bunch of imaginary friends living in my head, hahaha!
Are there any New Authors you are interested in for us to watch out for? and Why should we watch out for them?
Christy Elkins recently got a book contract for her novels Parallel and Lilac Hill. She writes amazing books that many people will love.
What do you think about book trailers?
I like making book trailers, because I like playing with images and music. I don't watch a lot of them though, because they make me want to see a movie, not read a book. I haven't figured out where to put them so the right people will see them.
What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
Write! Be persistent. I say this a lot, but if you're going to wait for the perfect moment when you have inspiration, the perfect setting, the perfect thing to write on and with, you will be waiting for a long time. Great ideas are likely to strike when you can't do anything with them, and when you have the time to write, you'll probably want to do something else. The trick is to overcome all this and write anyway. Honestly, I've written some of my best chapters when I didn't want to.
Do you or would you ever use a pen name?
I do… Maria Hammarblad was my real name when I started writing, but I got married last year and became a Sadowski. I thought it would be confusing to change my name as a writer, but it all turned out confusing anyway because people don't get that Hammarblad and Sadowski is the same person. "Hey, why am I getting e-mails from a Sadowski?"
Where can readers follow you?
Your blog details? http://www.scifiromance.info
Your web site? http://www.hammarblad.com
Your facebook page? https://www.facebook.com/mariahammarblad
Your Goodreads author page? http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4114780.Maria_Hammarblad
Your Twitter details? http://www.twitter.com/mariahammarblad
And any other information you wish to supply?
I have a trailer for Kidnapped here: http://youtu.be/GDmhI7c69iM