Dec 6, 2018

BLOG TOUR: Navigating the Stars by Maria V. Snyder (Guest Post + Giveaway)

Welcome to my stop on the Navigating the Stars Blog Tour! As you all know, I am a HUGE fan of Maria's and I was super psyched to read her latest YA release Navigating the Stars! It brought back some of the same feels I had with her first YA series Inside Out, though really only space and the futuristic theme were the only similar elements! Lol.

Today I have Maria here talking about how she got the idea for Navigating the Stars! Check it out!

When a new book is released, one of the most popular questions I receive as an author is how I get my ideas. For my latest novel, NAVIGATING THE STARS, it’s a rather interesting story that spans fifteen years! 

Let’s go back to June 2003. My husband had a business trip to Beijing, China and me and our children, ages 8 and 5 tagged along. It was certainly an adventure. During that trip, I learned about the Terracotta Army that was discovered in Xi’an, China in 1974. It was a fascinating story. Unfortunately, we couldn’t see them in person at that time as it was a twelve hour drive one way.

But my imagination had sparked and I thought about them. There are over eight thousand life-sized and life-like statues each having unique facial features, built approximately two thousand years ago to protect the first Emperor of China – Qin Shihuang from demons in the afterlife. He built an entire Necropolis. I gotta build me one of those!

Fast forward to 2010 and I see an advertisement for a special exhibition of the Warriors at the National Geographic museum in DC. It’s a two hour drive, but my friend and fellow author, Mindy Klasky lives near DC so I called her to see if she wanted to go along. She did. While viewing the Warriors, I wondered if the army that’s supposed to be protecting the Emperor in the afterlife is now short a few Warriors because they’re in DC. Which led to wondering if the Warriors are broken (which many were due to cave ins) are they no longer able to fight in the afterlife? And is this causing problems in the afterlife for the Emperor?

Those thoughts formed into a short story idea that I never wrote. I even had a title for it – The Language of the Dead. It was going to be about an archeologist who wants to study these life-like, life-sized soldiers (sound familiar?) but the site is closed by the corrupt government, and the only way she can see them is if she joins one of the treasure hunters/looter groups that have been raiding the tomb. In the name of scientific discovery, she goes with the nefarious gang. She identifies the really significant statues (i.e. most valuable) and then the gang’s leader kills her. She arrives in the afterlife and it’s a brutal fight for survival. She learns that every time a looter steals a statue, the army loses a soldier. It’s only a matter of time before they lose the battle and be dragged to hell by the demons. I didn’t have a happy ending so that’s probably why I never wrote the story.

Then in 2016, my agent was asking me about any new book ideas. I brought up my interest in having Terracotta Warriors in a story. As we were brainstorming, the idea to have them discovered on other planets sparked. He loved it, told me to write a synopsis and get it to him right away. So then I had to figure out why the Warriors are there, how they got there, and, most importantly, who put them there. And then I needed someone to figure all this out in the story.

It was obvious I needed archeologists for my story so in came, Ming and Spencer who had worked at the site in Xi’an, China. Their reluctant daughter seemed a good point of view character. Once I started seeing the story through Lyra’s eyes, she took over! Her voice was so strong, Lyra told me what was going on. The story had to be written in first person present tense because she wouldn’t stand for any distance between her and the reader. And she talks to the reader – which is something that’s never happened in one of my books before. I also like that her parents are alive and well and involved in her life – too involved if you ask Lyra – they’re a reasonably normal family. That is another aspect you don’t find in many YA books.

Of course no book just flows, I did a ton of research on the Warriors, exoplanets, the Milky Way Galaxy, and traveling through space. I asked two Chinese friends of mine to read through the manuscript to ensure I was properly representing the Warriors and the Chinese people.

As far as ideas for stories, I’m lucky that my overactive imagination and my love of travel gives me plenty of them. Too bad what I lack is the TIME to write all these stories!

I hope you enjoy NAVIGATING THE STARS! The second book, CHASING THE SHADOWS will be out in December 2019. 

Here's a little more about the book and the author...

Navigating the Stars is the first book in a new science fiction series.

Terra Cotta Warriors have been discovered on other planets in the Milky Way Galaxy. And Lyra Daniels' parents are the archaeological Experts (yes with a capital E) on the Warriors and have dragged her to the various planets to study them despite the time dilation causing havoc with her social life.

When one of the many Warrior planets goes silent, and looters attack her research base, Lyra becomes involved in discovering why the Warriors were placed on these planets. And, more importantly, by who.

Maria V. Snyder changed from being a meteorologist to a novelist in 1995, when she began writing to keep her sanity while raising two children. Since then, she has published numerous freelance articles in magazines and newspapers, and teaches fiction-writing classes at the local college and area libraries. The classes give her the wonderful opportunity to encourage fellow writers, and to keep improving her craft. 

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Maria always had a fascination with big storms. Dreaming of chasing tornados, Maria earned a bachelors of science degree in meteorology at Penn State University. But she discovered, much to her chagrin, that forecasting the weather wasn't one of her skills. In order to chase tornados you had to predict where they might form. Creating fantasy worlds where she has complete control of the weather was more agreeable to her. 

Maria's research on food-tasting methods with an expert chocolate taster, her husband, turned out to be a delicious bonus while writing Poison Study. 

Maria has a brown belt in Isshinryu Karate, and enjoys playing volleyball and the cello. Traveling in general and via cruise ship in particular are her biggest distractions from writing. Maria has traveled to Belize, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Europe, Mexico, the Caribbean and through the Panama Canal. 

Maria lives with her husband, son, daughter and yellow lab, Hazelnut, in Pennsylvania where she is at work on more LUNA novels. She is also pursuing a master's degree in writing popular fiction from Seton Hill University. 

Readers are welcome to contact Maria at the following email address:

Where you can find Maria:

Now for the giveaway: 

Be sure to check out the rest of the tour:

Week One:
12/3/2018- Moonlight RendezvousReview
12/4/2018- My Bookish EscapadesReview
12/5/2018- Debbie's World of BooksReview
12/6/2018- a GREAT read- Guest Post
12/7/2018- Two Chicks on BooksReview

Week Two:
12/10/2018- Lisa Loves LiteratureReview
12/11/2018- Wishful EndingsReview
12/12/2018- Good Choice ReadingInterview
12/13/2018- Dani Reviews ThingsReview
12/14/2018- Feed Your Fiction AddictionReview

And you can read my review of Navigating the Stars from yesterday's post! Be sure to check it out!!



  1. Loved hearing how this story came to fruition. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thanks for being a part of my blog tour Jessica!!

  3. I have this book on my wishlist as I love the premise and setting. I love that Maria researched in depth for this book so I know the world building and characters will shine.


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