Profile of Maria V Snyder

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This profile moderated by Maria V Snyder.

Bio

Maria V. Snyder changed careers in 1995 from being a meteorologist to a novelist when she began working on her first novel, Poison Study (published by LUNA Books in 2005). Poison Study has won the Compton Crook Award for best first book of 2005 given by the Baltimore Science Fiction Society, won the Reader's Choice Award for the Salt Lake County Library System, and has also been nominated for a Romance Writers of America’s RITA® Award in the Best First Book Category. She has also published numerous freelance articles in magazines and newspapers, and teaches fiction writing classes at the local college and area libraries.   
 
Born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Maria always had a fascination with big storms. Dreaming of chasing tornadoes, Maria earned a Bachelor of Science degree in meteorology at Penn State University. But she discovered, much to her chagrin, that forecasting the weather wasn’t one of her skills, creating fantasy worlds where she has complete control of the weather was more agreeable.
 
Maria’s second novel, Magic Study was published by LUNA books in October 2006.  Magic Study was a Book Sense October 06 pick, and has been chosen as Audible.com's #1 Editor's Pick for 2006.  During research for Magic Study, Maria made some interesting discoveries. One is that if you’re going to learn how to ride a horse, it’s best to do it when you’re young and fearless. The other is that no matter who is holding the reins, the horse still has control.
 
Maria has a brown belt in Isshinryu karate, and enjoys playing volleyball and the cello. Traveling in general, particularly via cruise ship, is her biggest distraction from writing. But Maria has been able to use her experiences to write a monthly travel column titled Great Escapes for Pennsylvania Business Woman Magazine.
 
When she’s not traveling, Maria lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, son, daughter, and yellow lab, and recently earned a Master of Arts degree in writing popular fiction from Seton Hill University. Her next Study novel, Fire Study is due out in March 2008 from MIRA books.
 
Readers are welcome to contact Maria at the following e-mail address: maria@mariavsnyder.com, or they can find more information on her Web site at www.mariavsnyder.com.

Bibliography

Poison Study, LUNA Books October 2005, ISBN 0-373-80230-7

Welcome, short story, The Writer's Post Journal September 2006

Magic Study, LUNA Books October 2006, ISBN 0-373-80249-8

Reviews

Locus Magazine
Poison Study

A condemned prisoner is offered a chance at life -- if she will become Commander Ambrose's food taster. Yelena is trained in poisons by Valek, the head of intelligence for the Territory of Ixia, a land run with austere justice by Commander Ambrose, who overthrew the land's king and removed all aristocrats, instituting a rule of law, rigorously applied. Yelena's crime was killing the only son of a powerful general who's not happy to see her "pardoned" so easily. Yelena turns out to have magic powers that only kick in when she's in extreme danger - a definite help since she has a lot to learn if she is to survive intrigue, poisons, assassins, and potentially deadly complications from her own untrained magic. This is an excellent first novel, full of atmophere, intrigue, and adventure with some interesting twists and a strong heroine determined to rise about her many problems. Carolyn Cushman.

BarnesandNoble.com Explorations
Magic Study

The second volume of Maria V. Snyder's Study trilogy (and sequel to her critically acclaimed 2005 debut novel Poison Study) pits endearing heroine Yelena Zaltana - a young woman with unplumbed magical abilities who was kidnapped from her home as a child - against her most dangerous foe to date: her shadowy past. After spending more than a decade of nightmarish subjugation in Ixia (as a slave, a prisoner, and later as a food taster for the country's military leader), Yelena is finally free - and heading home to the southern climes of Sitia, where her family resides. But the homecoming is fraught with anxiety: after 14 years, will her clan welcome her with open arms? Yelenas apprehension is well founded; her parents greet her with hugs and kisses but her older brother Leif is certain that she is an impostor - an Ixian spy. After being accepted as a student of magic at the prestigious Citadel, Yelena is faced with even more antagonism: instructors who don't trust her or acknowledge her singular abilities. But when a rogue magician begins a murderous killing spree, only Yelena can stop him from destroying the power structure of the entire realm Fans of romantic fantasy tired of the same old same old should definitely check out Snyder's Study saga, which is reminiscent of first-rate works like Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar sequence and Cecilia Dart-Thornton's Crowthistle Chronicles. Powered by a fluid, lyrical and self-assured narrative voice and featuring realistically drawn, truly lovable characters, Snyder could very well be the next coming of Misty [Mercedes Lackey]. Highly recommended. Paul Goat Allen

Locus Magazine
Magic Study

Yelena, the protagonist of Poison Study, faces a new life in this second novel, in which she leaves magic-forbidding Ixia and returns to the country of Sitia, from which she was kidnapped as a child. She's leaving a life as a poison taster to meet the family she doesn't remember and learn to use her formidable magic powers - and she's terrified even before she's accused of spying, harassed by jealous magicians, and attacked by a soul-stealing serial killer. It doesn't help that everyone in Sitia hates Valek, the infamous assassin for the Commander of Ixia - the lover Yelena left behind. Such aspects of her former life are mostly minor, however; Yelena's new start in life makes this second book almost a standalone, an intense, excellent read. Carolyn Cushman

Publisher's Weekly
Poison Study

Starred Review: Shivers, obsession, sleepless nightsthese are the results not of one of the milder poisons that novice food-taster Yelena must learn during her harrowing job training but of newcomer Snyder's riveting fantasy that unites the intelligent political focus of George R.R. Martin with a subtle yet potent romance. Through a stroke of luck, Yelena escapes execution in exchange for tasting the food of the Commander, ruler of Ixia. Though confined to a dank prison cell and doomed to a painful death, Yelena slowly blooms again, caught up in castle politics. But some people are too impatient to wait for poison to finish off Yelena. With the help of Valek, her steely-nerved, cool-eyed boss and the Commander's head of security, she soon discovers that she has a starring role to play in Ixia's futurea role that could lead to her being put to death as a budding magician even if she hits each cue perfectly. The first in a series, this is one of those rare books that will keep readers dreaming long after they've read it.

Publisher's Weekly
Magic Study

Family betrayal, a power-mad serial killer and a potential diplomatic crisis threaten the independent-minded heroine of Snyder's fine sequel to Poison Study (2005). With the overthrow of the royal family of Ixia, 20-year-old Yelena Zaltana, who was kidnapped as a child by the evil magician Mogkan, is now free to return home to Sitia. Her reunion with the family she hasn't seen in 14 years palls when her brother spreads rumors she's actually a spy from Ixia. At the Magician's Citadel, where Yelena enrolls to hone her prodigious magical talents, her powers raise concern that she might be a rare, powerful Soulfinder. Then a string of ugly murders reveals the presence of a rogue magician in the area. As Yelena joins the hunt for the killer, complications grow with the arrival of a diplomatic mission from Ixiaincluding her lover, Valek, a notorious spy and assassin, sure to be executed if anyone sees through his disguise. Snyder's lively, charming mix of romance and fantasy is sure to gain her new fans.