Novelist and Short Story Author @Maria_Savva Writes From England

I welcome one of my dearest writing friends Maria Savva to my blog today. Maria is a writer from London, England. She’s written many novels and short stories in various genres, ranging from romance and drama, to psychological thriller. She’s busy working on her sixth novel and a new collection of short stories at the moment.

What is your favorite part of writing?
Writing the first draft. At that stage, I don’t have to worry about whether the sentences are grammatically correct or even if the story makes any sense. The first draft is just getting the story down and often I have no idea where the characters will take me, so it’s a lot of fun. I rarely plan my books and when I do I usually stray from the plan.

What is your least favorite part of writing?
Having to read the same story over and over again when it gets to the editing stage. I wouldn’t mind so much if I didn’t keep finding annoying typos with each subsequent read. Just when I think I’ve eradicated all the typos or errors, I find more! I usually have to read a story over at least ten times before I’m happy with it, and with novels, it can be more like 100 times! 🙂
A Time to Tell
Some writers edit excessively as they write; others wait until a novel is finished to do the bulk of editing. How about you?

I write the first draft without really caring about editing. I then regret this decision when I finally get around to editing! I usually write my stories and novels in the old fashioned way, with a pen and paper. This means that when I’m typing it up, I can catch quite a few of the editorial problems as I go along. After that, it’s a matter of reading and re-reading until I get to the stage where I’m happy enough to send it to an editor. That can take a long time!

I read over the manuscript quite a few times. The first edit is usually where I find great big holes in the storyline and have to add extras, like background, and fix the major mistakes. Then I go on to reading the book mainly looking for typos and grammatical errors, and also looking at the sentence structure. In the final stages, I’m mostly taking out words that I use excessively and using alternatives sourced from a thesaurus. Then I send it to my editor and following that it goes to some trusted beta-readers.

E-books, print, or both? Any preferences? Why?
I like both. That’s why I usually publish my books in e-book and print. I used to be a typical bookworm and would only read paperbacks or hardbacks. I did put off buying an e-reader for many years saying that I could never read a book on one of those things. Now I’m in love with my Kindle.

How much time do you spend promoting your books?

I tend to do the bulk of my self-promotion when I release a new book. I try to find bloggers who are willing to post links for me and announce the new release. I recently set up a successful Thunderclap campaign for my latest book. I make book trailers that I can use as adverts. I’m on Twitter and Facebook mainly, so occasionally I’ll post promotional stuff about my books there. I have some weekly tweets that are automatically posted on my timeline via Freado. I do a few interviews, like this one, now and then.

If you’re not careful, as an independent writer you could end up spending all your time promoting and find no time for writing.
Tales from the Cacao Tree
What is your latest book?
I have two new releases. My latest solo book is a second edition of my novel “A Time to Tell”. I also have three new short stories featured in an anthology, “Tales From The Cacao Tree” – book 4 of the “Mind’s Eye” series.

Have you had other careers before becoming a writer?
Well, I would love for writing to be my career, but the harsh reality is that most writers cannot earn a living wage from writing. I do have a day job. I work in admin. I used to be a solicitor. I did that for about fifteen years.

What do you read? Do you read different genres when you’re writing versus not writing?
I read everything and anything. I think it’s important, if you really want to write, that you read as widely as possible. For me, writing is all about discovering, creating, and getting better at the craft. No one is born a writer. We’re all learning as we go along. It really helps to read other books and to read all genres, because you then get an idea of how far you can go with your own writing. It also helps you to learn new skills and see the world differently so that your writing will always be evolving.

If you could have one skill that you don’t currently have, what would it be?
To play the guitar.

Do you listen to music as you write?
No. It would be too off-putting for me. I tend to either sing along or listen to lyrics, or dance, when listening to music 🙂 I wouldn’t be able to do that and write. I prefer total silence when I write because my mind goes off to another place and I prefer no distractions. I do most of my writing at night when the world is asleep.

For more about Maria Savva, visit her website and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

A Time to Tell:

A family saga spanning fifty years and three generations…

Cara fell for the tall, dark, handsome stranger, fifty years before. Now Frederick is about to return to her life. Can true love stand the test of time?

When Cara’s granddaughter, Penelope, flees her home to escape a violent husband, Cara’s world is turned upside down. She returns to Huddlesea, the town she grew up in. Her estranged sister Gloria is less than happy to see her again. Can they rebuild their relationship after the tragic circumstances that tore them apart?

Benjamin, Cara’s eldest son, has been missing for sixteen years. She longs to see him again. Will their reunion be everything she had hoped for?

In this romantic drama, history repeats itself for a family lost in secrets.

After the lies, the TIME has come to TELL.

Buy it on Amazon

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  1. Thanks for featuring me and my books on your site, Stacy! 🙂

  2. Lovely to hear about your thoughts on reading and writing, Maria. Similar to you, I was initially resistant to the pull of the Kindle, and I like to write when everything is still and silent. Looking forward to reading your book – it’s on the ‘to-read’ list. 🙂

    • Thanks so much, Wendy! 🙂 I hope you enjoy the book.
      I always thought all writers were the same and would like to write in complete silence, but I’ve met many on my journey who love to listen to music when they write.
      Yes, I love my Kindle now because I can carry a whole library of books with me and switch between books whenever I want 🙂 x

  3. Thanks so much for taking the time to do an interview, Maria. We’ve known each other for years, but I’m still finding out new things about you!

    • I miss the BestsellerBound days 🙂 It was lovely to catch up. I’m looking forward to reading your latest book x

  4. I’ve enjoyed all of Maria’s stories!

  5. Terry Tyler says

    Oh, I do love reading about how other people do it – we’re all so different! I do about 7 redrafts – 100 read throughs?????? Crikey! I’m fed up to the back teeth with my books after the 7th. I tend to concentrate on pacing, feasibility of dialogue and whether or not the characters are coming across, more than the practical, like typos and missing words – I leave that to the proofreader….. However!!!! I do change them when I see them, obviously, and it makes me laugh every time the first proofread uncovers about 500 mistakes. I can never get over the amount we don’t see, it’s amazing, isn’t it?

    I have to write in total silence, too; I can’t even stand background noise, like clattering in the kitchen. I’d love to be one of those ‘writing through the night’ people, but I’m always too tired – I love the idea of it, the dark, silent house, with just the light of the laptop!

    One thing I disagree with is that I do think writers are born, not made… the talent is there or it’s not, in my opinion. It’s just up to people whether they want to use it, improve on it, nurture it, or just make people laugh with funny Facebook status updates!!!! For years, the only writing I did was letters, back in the days when people wrote such things… a shame that form of communication has all but disappeared, really 🙂

    • Maria Savva says

      Thanks for reading, Terry! 🙂 Yes, I do read mine about 100 times.. well, at least it feels like that! 🙂 I know what you mean about having to read over and check the dialogue makes sense, etc. For me, because I work 9-5 and most of my editing is done on my commute, I tend to miss things, so that’s why I end up having to read it over and over. I’m always surprised when I re-read something and find an obvious error that I completely missed on the previous read-through and that makes me paranoid resulting in extra re-reading! 🙂 I think I have always been a storyteller, but the actual craft of writing is something I believe is learned and for me personally I can see how much my writing has developed and changed over the years. I found some old short stories recently (soon to be published in a new collection) and I’d entered them for competitions in the ’90s thinking they were definitely going to win (!!) When I read them over it was ‘Oh no, what was I thinking!’ Hahaha! They definitely needed editing!! I’ve edited them now and will be releasing them soon (well as soon as I stop myself re-reading them! 🙂
      I agree about letter writing. I used to love writing long letters to my friends in the old days! 🙂

Stacy Juba