It’s the back end of April which means… Q&A time! Today I am introducing you to Maria Gibbs, who is a multi-genre independent author. Take a read to find out more about her gritty Children from the Streets series, and discover which books have made a lasting impression.
I started reading and writing from an early age, it has always been my passion and my escape. There are so many worlds out there to discover and to create. I write in many genres; my mind is alive with thoughts and ideas, so I allow them free release on paper.
If I were to sum up what the common denominator is between my books, I would have to say they tug at the heartstrings – in the main. My readers tell me I’ve reduced them to tears. Inspiration comes in many forms and I grab it with greedy hands. I am predominantly a pantser, planning only when needed.
I work full-time but my dream is to be able to make a living from writing and be able to give my undivided time to releasing all the books that are floating around in my over-active brain.
Getting to Know You
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I have always loved reading, as a child I escaped into other worlds created by the skillful use of words by authors who inspired me. My Dad used to take me to the local library, which are now treasured memories. It followed on naturally for me to create my own stories.
I loved reading my handiwork to school friends and their reactions spurred me on. The first novel I wrote took about thirteen years as life and imposter syndrome kicked in. Eventually I met someone who suggested I wrote some short stories and self-publish on Amazon. That’s exactly what I did. I now have three novelettes and seven novels published with two more almost ready to go.
When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
I work full-time as a property manager and writing is what I do in my spare time. In between housework and seeing family, I also enjoy crafting, listening to music, and riding my motorbike.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
When I can completely lose myself in the writing process and forget everything else for a while, which is then followed by a euphoric sense of release.
The Writing Process
What is your writing process?
I don’t have a set writing process, sometimes I write straight onto my laptop but alternatively I love writing the old-fashioned way with pen and paper. I have a mini mountain of unused notebooks waiting for me to pick them. I find I write more when I’m on holiday or when I’m travelling by train or plane with no distractions.
I’m what is classed as a pantser, I don’t spend loads of time planning. I can start writing with no conscious idea of what I am going to write, and it flows. However, I do need to plan sometimes to join the dots.
My next venture will need a lot of planning, though, as I veer into the romantic suspense genre, and I don’t think my normal modus operandi will work. Maybe, that is why I have been procrastinating recently!
How do you get inspired to write?
I find inspiration in so many situations. Sometimes, I find inspiration from a conversation, from nature, even at music gigs. I have more ideas than time.
What’s your advice for aspiring writers?
Simply write. Write what makes you happy, not what everyone tells you to write. Don’t worry if you don’t think you’re good enough, just write. Editing is the time to polish. After you have gone through it again and again, send it to a professional because you will read what you expect to be there and miss mistakes.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton
This book is the ultimate in escapism and imagination. It’s the kind of book I wish I had written. The last time I read it was when my son was young and must be twenty odd years ago now but the characters and the storyline stick in my mind.
The Hobbit by J R R Tolkien
For the same reason as expressed above, escapism and imagination. I read this for the first time when I was about ten years old and many times since then.
Here be Dragons by Sharon Penman
I love all Sharon Penman’s books and am saddened that her death last year means I will never read any new works by her. I love history and she brings it to life in all her books, drawing the reader in and getting a glimpse into a bygone age as the characters in history come to life.
Kingdom of Shadows by Barbara Erskine
This author seamlessly stitches the past and the present together in this time slip story and awakened a love in me for this genre.
Crimson Moon by Sherri A Wingler
This Indie author is one of my favourites and I love all her books. This is an adult fairy-tale, little red riding hood with a twist. This book is imaginative and draws you straight in and the characters become like your best friends.
Wideacre by Philippa Gregory
A book that takes you on a journey of a young woman who lives in an age when she isn’t the rightful heir to the home she loves. But her love of Wideacre means that she will do anything to stay there. This author pulls you into the story and despite the main character being morally corrupt you can’t help rooting for her.
How do you discover the books you read?
I have to admit I don’t get as much time to read now as I would like but I do read a lot by the indie community which I see on Facebook. Other than that, I look for my favourite authors on Amazon and see what new releases they have.
What books are on your reading list this year?
I think I may do a reread of some of my favourites and pick up a few more Kate Mosse books, as I love her books.
A Boy from the Streets
TWINS SEPARATED AT BIRTH. SHAPED BY DIFFERENT DESTINIES.
Pedro dreams of being more than Rio’s best pick-pocket, but there are few opportunities for a boy who lives in a shop doorway. Staying alive is hard enough.
Jose is a kind and sensitive boy. After learning he was adopted and has a twin Jose runs away, hell-bent on finding him. However, the streets of Rio are not safe for a boy used to luxury.
Thrown together by a twist of fate, at first, the brothers struggle to bond. When Pedro hatches a plan to return Jose to his adoptive parents, will temptation cause him to betray his twin and take that life for himself?
Jose is forced to open his eyes to the brutal life of a street urchin, but despite the horrors, he discovers acceptance and love. Can he go back to his old life, when the price to pay will be the loss of his twin?
A Boy from the Streets is the heart-breaking first novel in The Children from the Streets family saga. If you like a gripping page-turner, with twists, turns, and realistic characters, who will tug at your heart-strings, you’ll love Maria Gibbs’ inspiring series.
Buy now to find out whether the boys survive the deception, betrayal, and hidden truths that haunt this family.
What inspired you to write A Boy from the Streets?
Whilst doing research for another series that I’m working on, I read a book by foreign correspondent Christina Lamb. I was looking for information on Afghanistan, or more accurately what it was like to be a foreign correspondent there. In the book, she spoke about her time in Brazil and the children who lived on the streets. There were thousands of street urchins, and they were subjected to horrors as their numbers were culled by despicable means. I felt a cold shiver run the length of my body and then the germ of an idea, which demanded that I tell the boys’ stories.
Is there going to be a follow up to A Boy from the Streets?
The next books in the series are:
Sins of the Father
The Other Side of the Streets
Truth and Retribution
Return to the Streets