About The Author
Maria Kuzniar spent six years living in Spain, teaching English and traveling the world, which inspired her debut novel ‘The Ship of Shadows’.. Now she lives in Nottingham with her husband, where she reads and writes as much as she can, and bookstagrams at @cosyreads. She is always planning her next adventure.
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Hi, and thank you so much for doing this interview with me! In 2021, you released two books – first, the second installment of ‘The Ships Of Shadows’ book series. And, in October of 2021, ‘Midnight In Everwood’ came out.
In your own words, could you summarize ‘Midnight in Everwood’?
Hi, thank you for having me! Midnight in Everwood is a magical retelling of The Nutcracker, set between Edwardian Nottingham and a fantasy world inspired by the Land of Sweets. We follow Marietta, a young woman in her early twenties, who is desperate to pursue a career in dancing ballet, although her family has other plans for us. Things take a very strange and magical turn, and she soon finds herself in a land of snow and sweets with a frozen sugar palace, moose-drawn sleighs, and gingerbread galas. . .
What inspired you to write such a compelling story?
I’ve always been drawn to fairy tales and retellings, and since I absolutely adore both ballet and all things wintry, The Nutcracker felt like the perfect choice to tackle for my first retelling.
Being that ‘Midnight in Everwood’ is a retelling, can you talk about any research you did prior to writing it?
I’ve always loved the ballet and The Nutcracker is the very first one I saw. I also attend adult beginner ballet classes—though I am quite happily terrible at it!—so a lot of my research into ballet comes from my hobbies and speaking to my ballet teachers. I also read E.T.A Hoffman’s The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, which is the original, surprisingly much darker, story that Alexandre Dumas rewrote in a more family-friendly style in his The Nutcracker, which is the version Tchaikovsky looked to in composing the ballet.
What is the biggest difference, for you, when it comes to writing a Middle Grade fantasy, as opposed to writing an adult historical fantasy?
I think the biggest difference is that with Middle-Grade you have a much younger audience, so you need to keep things fast moving and action-packed or you run the risk of losing them to something more interesting! Of course, the word count is much tighter with Middle-Grade, so I do enjoy being able to take my time with my books for adults and flesh them out more, especially the descriptions, but then they do take longer to write as a result of being longer. . . Both age ranges present their own challenges but I get something very different from each of them and I really enjoy writing for both.
What was it like finding out that your book had become a Sunday Times Bestseller?
It was one of the best moments ever. A lifelong dream achieved! I still get teary when I think about it, months later.
How has your writing process changed, compared to when you first started writing?
It hasn’t really, I still approach writing the same way and though I’ve tried experimenting with things, I always end up going back to what works best for me! I do try and develop my writing though and am always pushing myself to improve.
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently editing my second book for adults which I’m very excited about – it’s like Swan Lake meets The Great Gatsby and it’s my oldest book idea so it’s been challenging yet amazing to put it down on paper at last! I’m also working on a few secret projects but I can’t talk about those yet. . .
What would your advice be to aspiring authors?
That there’s no one right way to do things. Everybody works differently and finds different things useful. So whatever way you find that helps you get words written, that’s the best way for you. And it’s not necessary to spend lots of time and money on expensive writing courses or creative writing degrees or books on how to write, lots of published authors haven’t done any of that! Reading and practicing writing taught me everything I’ve learnt so far.
What is one book that you didn’t write, that you wish you had?
Oh, so many! But my all-time favorite childhood book is Northern Lights by Philip Pullman and each time I reread it, I notice something new. It has layers upon layers and is very clever yet so readable and fun!
In the comments, let me know if you have read any of Maria Kuzniar books. Also, if you are an author interested in being interview for the blog don’t hesitate to reach out for more information visit my contact page. As always hit the follow button before you leave!
Until The Next Chapter,