Maria Savva was born in London on 19th March 1970. She studied for a Law Degree at Middlesex University and went on to gain a professional solicitor qualification at The College of Law in London. She qualified as a solicitor in 1996. Maria continues to practice as a solicitor in London whilst writing her novels and stories in her spare time.
Please tell us a little about yourself.
I've published 4 novels and 3 short story collections, in various genres. I live in London. I'm also a lawyer, but not practising at the moment.
When and why did you begin writing?
Creative writing was always a subject I enjoyed at school. When I found myself out of work in 1997, I decided to start writing a novel, more as a challenge really as I didn't know whether I would be able to write a whole novel . . . it seemed daunting at the time. I'd written short stories, poems, songs, but a novel seemed like an epic task. However, once I started writing it and the story began to develop, I found it came quite naturally and the first draft was finished in six months. I was then bitten by the writing bug and now cannot stop . . .
What was the hardest part of writing your books? What is the easiest?
The hardest part is the editing. Grammar is a different language altogether and takes time to learn. I think all writers (if they are being honest) will admit that getting to grips with grammar is very difficult. We all make mistakes in our books, but the task is to try to limit our errors. It takes hours and hours of painstaking work to edit a book. In fact, for me, it takes longer to edit my novels than it does to write them. I am a word nerd and perfectionist, which is not a good combination. It can cause tantrums when I am editing...
The easiest part is writing the first draft. I absolutely love it. It's so much fun. It's the storytelling part of writing that I'm in love with.
What music do you listen to while you write?
I don't listen to music when I'm writing. I would find it too distracting. Music is very important in my life, but when I listen to it, I have to sing along or dance, or both... I cannot just listen. I can't write, dance and sing at the same time.
What inspires you?
Life, people, nature, news, events... the world around me.
Do you have any hidden talents?
They must be very well hidden because I can't find them...
What are your current projects?
I have just finished editing my novel Haunted, due to be published towards the end of the year. With this book, I have decided to give the very hard final editing task to a professional editor. Susan Helene Gottfried is also an author, but she is now also offering editing services. She is a member of BestsellerBound.com a writers' forum where I'm a resident author. When she saw me complaining about the amount of work that goes into editing, she offered to help out. I wasn't sure at first because paying for editing seemed like something I could not afford, but after nearly killing myself editing my 2nd edition of Coincidences, I decided it would be money well spent to save myself many hours of torture... Susan will hopefully get started on the editing of Haunted in early August. Haunted is a crime fiction/psychological thriller with a suggestion or hint of the paranormal. It is a very dark book.
I also have some unpublished short stories that I would like to release this year.
What made you decide on self-publishing?
I didn't decide on self-publishing, it found me, and we are now very good friends. In fact I would say we are in a happy relationship, and I would never leave self-publishing for a traditional publisher.
Do you use a professional editor?
For the 1st edition of my first book, Coincidences, I published through a small press, so they edited it... they didn't do a very good job, but that's a whole other story... For A Time to Tell and Second Chances I used Cornerstones Literary Advisory Service for editing. A Time to Tell was also edited by the in-house editor at the small press that originally published it, but I was involved throughout the editing process.
For Second Chances I had help from another indie author. By the time I wrote The Dream, I felt that I no longer needed a professional editor as I had developed my editing skills. Over the years, as you write, you learn more about grammar and editing. One thing that taught me a lot about editing was when I took on the project of helping to edit The Safety Factor Trilogy by Jerry Travis.
I would advise all new writers to have a go at editing another author's work. You learn so much from doing that. I edited the 2nd Edition of Coincidences on my own, but I always have proof readers. I think it's very important, no matter how advanced a writer is, to have a few proof readers. It's not easy to notice editing errors in our own work. It's easier to spot typos and grammatical errors in other people's books.
Do you edit as you write or wait until your book is finished?
I try to do as much of it as I can as I go along. But with the first draft, for me it is a matter of getting the story down. I am still a writer who writes using a pen and paper rather than a computer keyboard. For me, most of the editing comes when I type up the story from my illegible scrawl.
What book are you reading now?
I am reading the final proof of Lost Shadows which is the soon to be published book by Julie Elizabeth Powell. It's very entertaining. Julie, like me, is one of those authors who always tries to write something different with each book they write. She writes in lots of different genres.
Quick: Vampires or Shapeshifter? Why?
Shapeshifters, of course, as there is one in my novel The Dream...
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Edit, edit, edit. But most of all, in the words of the great George Michael and Wham! you should 'Enjoy What You Do'. After all, writing should be fun.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
To my readers, I would like to say a big THANK YOU. It means so much to me that you would choose my books to read when there are so many out there. I'd also like to ask a little favour. If you've enjoyed my books but are yet to write a little review on Amazon or Goodreads or other such sites, please take a minute and jot down a couple of lines in a review to say why you liked it. Reviews help people to decide if they want to read a book or not, and the nice ones really do make authors smile... And they can change our day from a bad one to a good one... they are like magic :)
Secrets, lies and coincidences abound in this story of a young girl looking for her father. Alice, now twenty-one years old, is determined to find her father who left home when she was just a baby, despite a warning from her mother that she should not look for him. Her mother's secretiveness over the subject is because of the guilt she feels about keeping the truth from Alice. It will take all of Alice's courage to persevere in her search. There are doubts and uncertainties at every turn. Coincidences is a story about following your dreams and staying on the path no matter how difficult the circumstances may become.