Maria Bolanle Moses lives in the heart of Toronto, Canada. Her love for stories and creation started at a young age and has gradually taken over her life. She’s obsessed with mythology, anime, and the performing arts. When she’s not writing, she can be found designing dresses, reading and auditioning for her next big role.
Let’s get started with a quick rapid fire.
Q1. If you could be transformed into one mythological creature, which one would you choose?
Easy! A kitsune, which is basically a mythical Japanese fox. They can shape shift, and in some circles they are considered divine.
Q2. What time do you usually go to bed at night?
I’m in bed by 10. If I’m lucky, I’m asleep by 12.
Q3. What are the least-likely three words someone would use to describe you?
Petty. Lazy. Party-girl.
Q4. Where did you go on your last vacation?
Calgary. Never again in winter.
Q5. Would you rather find your dream job or win the lottery? You can’t do both.
Win the Lottery. I don’t need to find my dream job, I already found it.
Q6. What is one thing you regret spending money on?
Junk food. I know better, but I don’t do better.
Q7. What object do you misplace or lose the most?
My mind. But seriously? House keys, it’s never where I think it is.
Q8. If you were a spy, what would be your codename?
Q9. What secret about the universe would you most want to learn?
Was there a right answer to life?
Q10. What never fails to make you laugh?
My siblings. My parents have three kids and all of us are hilarious.
Q11. What was one “before” and “after” in your life?
My belly size when I wake up and sleep. Like magic.
Q12. What do you think people misunderstand about you?
People think I’m intimidating when they first meet me. In truth I’m a giant nerd with no people skills.
It’s time for a more detailed conversation, Maria.
You’ve answered our rapid fire brilliantly, Maria. Now, it’s time for our readers to know more about the person behind the book.
Q. Tell us something about yourself that’s going to keep us wanting more.
I have watched over 300 anime. This is a crazy amount and may actually make some people back away instead of want more but if you love stories, I think you may want to stick around. I started at age 13 and just kept going. Anime has a different set of tropes and story structure from western animation and stories. I use some of those tropes in hopes to add some uniqueness in my stories.
Q. Well, that’s just…memorable for sure. So, what books have you read more than once in your life?
This is going to sound so bad, but, I don’t re-read books. I have so many that I have to read, so many incomplete series, so many new authors to discover and not to mention my own books and series to plan and write. I don’t have enough hours in my life to re-read books, no matter how much I loved them. Maybe one day.
Q. Interesting. Who has been the biggest supporter of your writing?
One of my beta-readers! I would say her name but I don’t know if she’d want me to. She’s been with me for years, even before A Curse of Roses. On days that I think I’m not good enough or I should quit, I always think, “Oh, but she’s waiting for the next draft or next book. I can’t let her down.”
Q. Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
No. Not in this book. I’m still building and developing my craft and worlds. One day they will be easter eggs for days, but until then…enjoy the ride.
Q. Now comes the most anticipated question that every author must answer. How do you process and deal with negative book reviews?
Oh I love this question and my answer is going to sound kind of weird and cheesy. There’s this idea that your books are not for everyone and that is 100% true! Now, I have a real life example that I draw from to ease my nerves. Sarah J Mass, author of ToG series, ACOTAR, and Crescent City series. She is both wildly loved and loathed. There are people on both extreme ends of the spectrum. This gives me perspective and even some hope.
Q. What comes first for you — the plot or the characters — and why?
Characters, probably because creating different people for similar scenarios can make a deeply compelling story if done right. My book, A Curse of Roses, is kind of The little Mermaid, if everyone knew Ariel was a mermaid and she always had something to say.
Q. How do you develop your plot and characters?
I try to simplify this as much as possible. For characters I give them two core attributes that sets their foundation, one is how they view themselves and the other is how others generally view them. These two views can conflict. From there I build up the character to make both valid. Perspective is everything. As for plot, again I simplify it. I start at A and need to get to Z. I decide my beginning and my ending, and then it’s a matter of stamina (getting there).
Q. You got 100 points. You need to divide them on the basis of how relevant and important they are to you as a reader and a writer for your book or someone else’s as a reader. Your options are Plot/Story, Dialogues, Book Cover, Marketing, and, Reviews.
20- Dialogue, 20-plot/story, 20-book cover, 20-Marketing, 20-Reviews. Team work makes the dream work. If someone is lacking in any of these, the chances of failure suddenly sky rockets.
Q. So, now, about your book. Talk to us about it. No major spoilers.
My book, A Curse of Roses, falls under the YA Fantasy genre. The blurb goes like this: Stay Hidden. Run if you can. Fight if you must. Those are the rules Lillianett must follow to survive her year-long curse in Glorus, the world of her ancestor that created the cycle of Renai. As the ninth generation Renai the curse is a glorified birdcage of boredom and isolation but that all changes when Lillianett’s recklessness causes her to save a prince’s life—putting hers at risk.
Q. What part of the book did you enjoy the most while writing?
There’s a scene I spent the most time writing and re-writing. The scene involves my two protagonists playing the piano together. I wanted to portray the feel of the piece they played and make it poetry in motion when visualized. It was difficult but I deeply enjoyed creating that moment.
Q. What is your kryptonite as a writer?
Writing scenes that don’t move the plot forward. I am terrible for this, and my editor keeps telling me to stop but those scenes are the most fun to write. I am working on the sequel and had to cut out 5 whole chapters and even more minor scenes.
Q. What risks have you taken with your writing that have paid off?
This is going to sound odd but I made my main character have many attributes that are considered stereotypes of a black girl. I made her loud, angry, and physically strong. I didn’t do this to upset anyone but to validate these attributes and make people understand that there is nothing wrong with them, they shouldn’t be vilified. And people love my main character. She’s loud because she wants to be heard. She’s angry because people don’t treat her right. She’s strong because she’s a fighter and has always had to be. It’s not glamorous but it’s reality.
Q. Let’s talk about the process of writing. Do you do research while writing a book to add more authenticity? What kind and how far do you go – ever traveled to a foreign place just for the sake of your book?
I have a lot of action in my book, my main character is a fighter in every sense of the word. One of my weakest skills as a writer was action scenes. I would say a lot of my research for this book went into learning how to write fight scenes, watching fight scenes, learning about how the human body moves and reacts. I had my siblings model out stances a lot.
Q. What was your hardest scene to write?
There is a scene in my story where everything suddenly changes. Writing this scene without making it feel like it was completely out of nowhere was a bit of a struggle, because I really didn’t want my readers to be taken out of my story.
Q. Well, this has been great. Now, before we wrap this up, do you have any suggestions to help someone become a better writer? If so, what are they?
The best advice anyone can give anyone about writing is: Write! (The second best is to read) Write as much as you can and as often as you can stand. Reading articles, watching videos, attending classes are all well and good but nothing and I really do mean nothing will make you a better writer than writing often. As a bonus, find friends who read and/or write. They are gems.