My dear friend, London based author Maria Savva, has a newly released collection of short stories. I had the privilege of reading an advance copy, and absolutely loved the stories she has woven together. There is a wonderful mix of genre’s in this collection, ranging from the light-hearted to the emotional.
To quote the official ‘blurb’ for the book:
“Twelve stories of betrayal, greed, revenge, deception, dreams, and courage.
We all struggle to find our way. What you see isn’t necessarily all there is. This collection takes you into the grey area, because the world is never just black and white.
Life is all about perspective. One person’s delusion is another person’s dream.
Includes five bonus stories.”
At the end of this post you will see a Rafflecopter link to the giveaway – 5 different ebooks and 1 signed paperback copy of ’Delusions & Dreams’ are up for grabs, so don’t forget to click to enter.
You can purchase her new release here:
As part of the book’s release, Maria was kind enough to answer a few questions for me, so take it away, Maria!
1. ‘Delusions & Dreams’ is an impressive collection of seventeen short stories! Have you been collecting these over the years, or are they all recent? Did you write any specifically for this collection?
Delusion and Dreams is a collection of new and old stories. Some of them I found on my computer; I wrote years ago. Some I found on a floppy disk, written in the ages when people still rode donkeys to work I updated/edited the older stories. The title story, Delusion and Dreams, is a short story told in four parts. It’s new and I wrote parts II, III, and IV, specifically for this collection. Part I was written a few years ago. I found the handwritten version in a drawer at home, and decided that I liked it. When I typed it up I was inspired to continue the story. In fact, I could have probably written more parts… maybe even a whole novel. The characters in that story have lots to say, and I might revisit them sometime. A few of my beta readers commented that they’d like to read more about them. Similarly, part II of Friends and Neighbours, was written specifically for this collection, whereas the first part of the story was written at least ten years ago. The other new stories are Happy New Year, and Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow. The rest of the stories are old ones that I edited for the collection. The last 5 stories are bonus stories that have been published before, but as single stories, so I wanted to include them in a collection.
2. I really enjoyed the serialization of the ‘Delusions & Dreams’ parts I-IV. Do you think the story will continue?
As mentioned above, yes, I do think I will revisit this story at some stage. I like the characters. Jessie and Jack are close to my heart. I’d like to tell more of their story in the future. I hope I’ll find some time to maybe continue the story or write a longer book about these characters.
3. ‘Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow’ was very enjoyable – I especially liked the humor involved with the wig. What inspired you to write that story?
Thanks, Michael. This one started off as a challenge for me because I’d been invited to write a comedy story for a short story collection by a small press publisher. They wanted a story up to about 1,500 words. Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow, took on a life of its own once I started writing it, and although there are comedy aspects to it, it’s a bit deeper and some people have told me, also quite sad in parts. It was far too long, at about 5,000 words to be acceptable for the short story anthology that I’d been invited to submit to, so I decided to include it in Delusion and Dreams, and I think it fits in quite well.
4. I notice the collection had a wide variety of themes, ranging from light-hearted (Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow) to darker (Happy New Year). Is there a theme you enjoy writing more than another?
My genre/theme for a story or novel is dictated by the character that I’m writing about. For example, Haunted is a crime thriller because Nigel has a dark secret; A Time to Tell is a family saga, because we are looking at the lives of more than one generation of the same family; Coincidences is more of a mystery because Alice is looking for her father and finding out truths about her past; and Second Chances is more of a romance because Pamela and James are facing up to a difficult time in their relationship.
I have always been a people watcher. I am fascinated by people and why the do what they do, human behaviour. My books and stories will always be character studies more than anything else, because that is the kind of person I am. I like to dig deep below the surface and find out what is really going on underneath. There is always a reason why people do things. Many of my stories developed through my need to know why a character has done something and how they feel, how it affects others around them. I don’t only write in one genre, because I write about life, and life is full of events and characters that don’t fit in to one genre.
5. Your recent novel, ‘Haunted,’ was definitely darker than your other works. Did you find writing a darker story more difficult?
Emotionally, for me, it was the hardest book I have ever written. I really got into Nigel’s mind and it was dark in there! It took me to some very dark places personally, but I am very happy with how it turned out and how it’s being received by readers. All the sleepless nights were worth it. I didn’t intend to write a psychological thriller, but I ended up writing the darkest kind of psychological thriller possible. Some people have said it’s too dark, but I believe it had to be that dark, anything less would not have done the story justice… It’s a book that explores the mind of a murderer… not for the faint hearted. I don’t think I will be writing such a dark book again soon.
6. Do you think your writing has been influenced by your work as solicitor?
Most definitely. I worked as a solicitor for about 15 years and met hundreds of people from different backgrounds who were all going through different problems. I listened to their stories, some heartbreaking. In my role as a solicitor, I was in a position where people trusted me with their deepest secrets. It’s all eye-opening stuff. I draw from my experiences every time I pick up a pen, I’m sure, not necessarily consciously either. I mean, I’ve never sat down and thought, “why don’t I write a novel based on that client”. I would never do that. But I do find that when I read my books over, I notice tiny character traits that remind me of people I’ve met; maybe something they’ve said that had an impact on me.
In my novels, A Time to Tell and Second Chances, in particular, readers will be able to see where I may have been influenced by my work as a solicitor, but I think that experience touches all of my writing.
Anyone with a creative mind, who works in a customer service type job can leave the office/shop every day with heaps of ideas for stories and books. Meeting different types of people is so important for a writer. We need to create believable characters in our books, so the more people we come into contact with, the better.
7. Do you have a preference between writing short stories and writing full length novels?
I enjoy both. It’s a question of how much time I have available for writing. The thing is, I have a need to write, but I don’t always have enough time to concentrate on a novel-length work of fiction. At those times, short stories are an excellent way to keep the creativity alive. It takes a long time to write a novel and it’s important to be able to devote enough time each day to write when you are writing a novel. I work full time and find that at the moment, it’s easier to write short stories because I can write a short story in one sitting. It takes me maybe an hour to write one. The editing takes twice as long. With a novel it could take me six months when I am writing at least a chapter a day, and then the editing takes about another year.
8. What is your favorite time/place to write – do you need absolute quiet or can your write in the midst of chaos?
My favourite time is at night. I need it to be relatively quiet when I’m writing. I can have the usual buzz of London sounds in the background, but anything more and I lose concentration. I can write anywhere, though. I have been known to write a short story when there is chaos going on all around me.
9. Of all the stories in this collection, do you have a favorite?
They’re all my favourites. Chosen from about twenty stories that could have possibly gone into the collection. If I had to choose a favourite from this collection, I think it would be the Delusion and Dreams series of stories.
10. Do you have any works in process at the moment?
Yes. I have written three new short stories for a new collection which will be called ‘3’. I hope to publish that very soon. It’s just a matter if finding time to edit them. They are a bit creepy, which is nice.
I am also working on my next novel, working title, ‘Illusion’, but I think that may change. It’s a fantasy, but you’ll be sad to hear there aren’t any dragons in it… well not yet, anyway… maybe there will be?? But seriously, it would probably be classed as an urban fantasy. It’s very other-worldly and strange. I’ve written about ten chapters, but haven’t worked on it for a while (since about December), so will have to read over it before I write any more!
Thank you so much for joining us today, Maria!