Monday, 4 June 2012
Author Spotlight - Q&A with Maria Hammarblad
STEPH: I don't know much about "Kidnapped." What's it about?
MARIA: Kidnapped is about a girl who is in the wrong place at the wrong time; she's abducted by mistake. It's a bad situation. She wakes up in a spaceship surrounded by peculiar objects, and a very scary person is interrogating her in a language she doesn't understand. She tells herself it isn't real, but eventually she has to accept what's happening, and try to survive and get back home.
STEPH: How long did it take you to write?
MARIA: I wrote the first version when I was a teenager, and forgot all about it for decades. When I remembered about it, getting the story down was a pretty quick job, but I've rewritten it over and over again.
STEPH: How much research did you have to do?
MARIA: That is an excellent question. The story is set in space, and there are spaceships, other worlds, and a battle between good and evil. I evidently made all that up. However, for any story to become believable, it needs traces of truth. Earlier in my life, I've taken classes in Earth and Space science, and when I wrote Kidnapped, I took a college class in Astrobiology. It was a lot of fun!
Any science in my books is mixed up with lots and lots of imagination. It's fiction, and even though many scifi readers have a good grasp on science, I do think it's okay to ignore some facts in favor of the story. For example, I know a moon would most likely be too small to maintain an atmosphere, and that its gravity would be too low for a human to just walk around on it like we do on Earth, but having someone land on it, seeing a giant planet hang in the sky, is much cooler than reality!
STEPH: How does the cover reflect the story within?
MARIA: Better than I dared dream. I love how you see the Earth in the background; it's there, but ways away, and Patricia works so hard to get back to it. Holographic maps are mentioned a couple of times in the book, and the map has a nice symbolism to it. Patricia is lost in so many ways, and she sure could use some guidance.
STEPH: Patricia is the heroine. What are her strengths? Weakness?
MARIA: She likes people, and she's an optimist. People don't see her as a threat, and she's so likeable they want to help her. She's also impulsive and follows her heart, for better and for worse.
STEPH: What does Travis find appealing about her?
MARIA: She's a pure soul, if that makes any sense… She's innocent, forthright, and very different from everyone else he ever met. She can show kindness without ulterior motives, and no one has been kind to him before, not even when he was a child. Afraid of him, sure. She is afraid of him too, but she still has the ability to feel sympathy.
STEPH: What is the theme of the novel?
MARIA: I'd say, Hope. Bad things happen, but it's important not to give up.
STEPH: As a writer, where do you draw inspiration from?
MARIA: Everything! Things and people I see around me, people I meet online, the news… I see something and my mind starts playing a "What if" game. I'm writing a story right now that started when I was driving to the store and saw a guy on a motorcycle in the rear view mirror. "What if that guy follows the heroine?"
STEPH: Do you have an ebook reader? If so, which one?
MARIA: For the longest time I thought I didn't need one; I read on an iPad and was quite happy with that. Then, I thought that since I write e-books I should at least try a real e-reader, so I bought a Kindle Touch. I like it much more than I thought I would; I love that it works in sunlight, and the text to speech function is convenient. I mean, it misses to pause at periods and new chapters and such, but it's pretty good for being a machine. I plug it into the car stereo and listen to books when I'm driving.
STEPH: Fun question: Summer vacation is coming up. Any plans?
MARIA: I should make something up, shouldn't I, hahaha! I don't have any big plans; I live in Florida and it's pretty much a vacation paradise. If I have some time off, I like to sit in the back yard with the doggies, or go to the beach. I do want to go to Kennedy Space Center, we'll see if I get around to it.
Book trailer link: http://youtu.be/GDmhI7c69iM
Buy-link Amazon: http://amzn.com/B00825645A
Buy-link Desert Breeze Publishing: http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-292/Kidnapped-Maria-Hammarblad/Detail.bok