One Interview I carried out was with an Author called Maria Gibbs. She has got an amazing imagination by the sounds of things. And we all know this is just what an author needs to write great books Maria has two fantastic books out at the moment with plenty more on the way. This is what she had to say about them.
So Maria; As dreams are made on and, A Lifetime or a season are your two novels out at the moment. Tell me a little about them?
Both books are short stories, and they are completely different.
As Dreams are Made on is a Sleeping Beauty style story (unintentional) with a Paranormal, Time Slip twist. Matty is a young woman, newly married being plagued by dreams. She seeks advice from a gypsy at the local fair who gives her something to stop the dreams, but it isn’t enough to stop her from being drawn into a dream world where an enigmatic man has designs on her that endanger her life.
A Lifetime or a Season is a contemporary romance. Athena has spent her life in the shadows of her mother and boyfriend pushing her own ambitions aside. Encouraged to follow her dreams Athena starts a journey of self-discovery that could change her life.
What strikes me is that your two novels both have great titles, what’s the story behind them?
Thank you. As Dreams are Made on started out initially with another name, fairly similar when I stumbled on a Shakespeare quote that seemed to fit so well that I drew the title from that.
“We are such stuff
As dreams are made on,
and our little life is rounded with a sleep.”
Sounds very interesting, so tell me Maria; what are the back-stories for the main characters and will we see them again in future novels?
As Dreams are Made on; I am going to have to admit, guiltily, that Matty has no back story. She leapt off the page when I wrote her, and I never felt the need to explore her past as I have with so many other characters. To be honest, this story was torn from my fingertips with no initial planning. I knew I wanted to write a short story; I placed my fingers on the keys and the words flowed. The planning started when she was taken into the dream-world, and I had to work out who this man was that had abducted her in her sleep and how he could pose a threat to her. I suppose he, Thomas has a back story, but I don’t wish to reveal for fear of it being a spoiler. I think maybe I could revisit Thomas and expand on his story and where he goes from here somewhere down the line.
Moving onto A Lifetime or a Season, Athena was brought up by her mother and a succession of “male friends” but without any knowledge of her father. Her mother is a selfish woman who ensnared and used men to her own advantage. A volatile artist who had no time for the daughter she continually dismissed as plain and boring. She trampled over her daughter’s dreams so that she could stay the centre of attention. Athena, as a result, has no awareness of her potential or how beautiful she really is, inside and out.
I plan on revisiting both Athena in her future (can’t say much for fear of giving anything away) and her mother from her past to further explore their lives.
Out of all the books you have written, what’s your favourite and tell me what you love; or hate about the characters.
I am most emotionally tied to the novel that I have been working on for (eek!) approximately 13 years. (Life got in the way, and the short stories have proved a great learning curve. I plan to revisit the novel and make the final amendments.) I have lived with these characters for so long that they are real to me. So I suppose this one has to be my favourite book.
"Is this Love?" is a story of two people who meet on a night out and are instantly attracted to each other. This book is written in the perspectives of the two main characters Theo & Gemma, but there is a host of other characters in the book that I love, Cass, who is Theo’s sister and Jake, who is Theo’s friend are probably my favourites. They are both very complex characters who love fiercely but are also capable of incredible selfishness and cruelty. Cass and Theo both have the same upbringing with disinterested parents, but it shapes them differently. Cass develops a strong masculine side while Theo’s feminine side is prevalent. Jake’s hardships have hardened him to life. He hurts women deliberately and has no emotional bond with any human being until Theo comes along, the antithesis of himself.
Are there any themes or messages in your books?
Certainly in A Lifetime or a Season the message would be to follow your dream. I don't consciously set out to create any message; I don't write for any other reason than I love it.
You did say that you have some short stories and novels in the pipeline. When do you think they’ll be coming out?
I am working on a novella at the moment that I hope to release by the end of the year or certainly beginning of next. I would like to bring the novel out next year and maybe one or two more novellas.
Now I know you said you were about eight when you discovered you wanted to be a writer. What brought this on?
I don’t think anything brought it on. I’ve always enjoyed reading, devouring books as a chocoholic does chocolate. I think that eight must have been about the age that I started to tap away on the old typewriter we had to create my own stories. I don’t think it was ever an active choice it was just something I loved and had to do. I’m not one of these authors who plots and plans every part of a book, the truth is most of what I write comes out instinctively although I do still need to plan some areas...it doesn't all write itself! I can sit in front of my laptop or a blank piece of paper and write without any idea what will come out; I generally find that is the best sections of my books. The stories I have I believe are part of me and need to come out. One of my favourite things about writing is that overwhelming satisfaction and exhaustion that comes from a great session.
Another common question. Where do you get your ideas?
As mentioned above sometimes there isn’t an idea the story is just inside me waiting to be released but at other times something happens that triggers an idea. Many years ago I was coming back from holiday, I arrived at Gatwick airport in the early hours of the morning and got a pre-booked cab home. I mentioned to the driver that I was shattered after the night flight, and he suggested I put my head down and sleep in the back, I had over an hour's ride until I got home. I did as he suggested and fell asleep. The journey should have been straight forward on the M25 motorway. I woke up sometime later in the taxi and looking around realised we were in the middle of nowhere, no houses just a bleak stretch of countryside and real dirt track lanes. I was as you can imagine petrified. Surreptitiously I pulled my phone out and tried to take notice of any signposts I could see. The driver, realising I was awake explained that there were roadworks on the M25, and he thought this route would be quicker. Unless the roadworks caused actual closures, there was no way that there would be traffic to worry about at 4 am. I arrived home safe thank God but after recalling the incident to a friend on a night out she said that would make a great idea for a story. So I have a thriller also in the pipeline, and it starts with this as a dream.
If you did have some sort of plot worked out first did you use something like Scrivener or have you sticky notes plastered all over your desk?
I now use Scrivener but previously used a very clunky file system for each character profile, scene, etc... in Word.
If for any reason you were unable to write; what would you do.
Don’t stress it; I would edit or work on my social media. I think because I have a number of different works on the go I can pretty much always pick one or the other up and do something. I can work consistently on one for a few weeks and then leave it and pick up another and go back to it when the mood takes.
What books do you enjoy reading?
My favourite genre is historical fiction, but I will read whatever attracts my attention. Sharon Penman is one of my favourite authors, followed by Barbara Erskine, Tom Clancy, Philippa Gregory. There are too many to mention.
Now I know as a child you loved reading but who was you favourite childhood author?
Enid Blyton was my first love, the Faraway Tree, The Famous Five, Secret Seven, etc… at the age of about ten my brother introduced me to J.R.R Tolkien with the Hobbit and then the Lord of the Rings.
And the last question. E-Reader or real books. What’s your preference?
Real books are beautiful; I love the feel, the smell and the way they look. They are the real deal. Ebooks have become what I read now as they are more practical.
Many thanks Maria for your time, it's been a great pleasure getting to know you and I wish you all the very best.
If anyone wants to know a little more about Maria click on the buttons below to take you to her website and other information pages. Take care all