Interview with Maya Garcia

When did you first start writing?
I began writing both poetry and creative fiction around the age of 13, so in the latter half of the 1980's. I was always an avid reader as a child, with a vivid imagination, and being painfully shy, I communicated with the world via crafting stories and drawing pictures.
What's the story behind your latest book?
"Before the Fire" is a love story, mystery and fight for justice all rolled into one. It focuses around the Hollis brothers and Marchand sisters, who eventually meet and fall in love. It is a story about their struggle to fight against slavery and prejudice in the deep South, and it is also their coinciding love stories, captured before the reader's eyes. The original characters and even setting were inspired by a series of dreams I've had over the years, as well as a few strange "deja vu moments". A friend encouraged me to start writing down the details, and so a story was born.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Through the real-world experience of a friend and fellow author, I was inspired to become an indie author, as I would have more control over not only the content of the story, but also how I chose to promote it.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords will certainly open up my book to a much wider platform than I would have had access to using other sites. I'm looking forward to reaching a diverse audience of readers, and hopefully new fans!
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Telling a story, and hopefully doing justice to the characters I have envisioned.
What do your fans mean to you?
The fans I have already gained as a writer and newly-published author are absolute gems! They often do an even better job of promoting my work than I do! I truly hope that they will enjoy "Before the Fire," and upcoming books I have in the works.
What are you working on next?
A tale of the struggle for freedom from tyranny in the late 1700's. It will be set in Ireland. It is also a love story, inspired once again by dreams.
Who are your favorite authors?
Elizabeth Gilbert, the Bronte sisters (especially Emily), Sylvia Plath, Oscar Wilde, Paulo Coelho, Liza Dalby, Murasaki Shikibu, and a plethora of authors of Japanese fiction, among others.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Knowing that I still have my own self-imposed deadlines to fulfill, for a job that I absolutely love.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Cooking, dancing, listening to music, drawing/painting and traveling.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Mostly through recommendations from friends.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes, it was called "Charlotte's Song." Someday, I will publish it!
What is your writing process?
Very chaotic and awkward- inspiration comes and goes. Sometimes, if I sit in front of a computer inspiration meets me, but quite often I have to look for it!
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I'm not sure of the first story I read, but the first story that truly impacted me was "Wuthering Heights," by Emily Bronte. It still stands as one of my favorite books.
How do you approach cover design?
I appreciate the entire process of design, from start to finish. I usually take a photograph and retouch it, using a number of different applications. For my first book, I had some help from the fabulous designer, Alysia Slusser, so getting the layout of the text right was easy.
What do you read for pleasure?
Any books recommended by friends or family, and lots of Japanese literature.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I use a Kindle application on my iPad. I also have said app on my phone.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
So far, Twitter and Facebook have gotten the most hits and followers for Before the Fire, but I'm always looking to try out new marketing ideas.

I'm learning a lot about the book publishing industry already.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, a city with a myriad of contradictions, so I guess that's influenced my writing and life insofar as appreciating the nature of duality. My characters often are the keepers of secrets and are very complex, so I guess that is a tradition that's been passed down through my upbringing in the Windy City.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
"The Alchemist," by Paulo Coelho, "Wuthering Heights" by Emily Bronte, "Tale of Murasaki" by Liza Dalby, "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert and "The Bell Jar" by Sylvia Plath. They are all tales of love and loss, which is something I can relate to. They are all also beautifully-written and deeply wise.
Published 2015-02-02.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Before the Fire
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 61,120. Language: English. Published: February 13, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Historical » USA, Fiction » Visionary & metaphysical
Before the Fire is a radically different spin on the historic fiction novel. It is a true story, written in a narrative style, from the recollections of the protagonist, Southern belle and debutante, Miss Vivienne Marchand. Inspiration is taken from dreams, visions and other “near-miss”, déjà vu moments, experienced by the author, Maya Garcia.