So then, enough about me for the minute as I am now going to introduce you to the multi talented Maria Kuroshchepova. If I had to take a stab at pronouncing her surname it would probably come out something like Ker - osh - chee - po - va. Right then, moving on. Maria is going to introduce herself and tell you all about her multi talented life style. How she has time to write books I have no idea.
Anyway, here she is. Quite mysterious me thinks..
So over to you Maria.
Q. Tell me a bit about yourself:
A. I am originally from Zaporozhye, Ukraine. Came to the United States as an exchange student to study Mechanical Engineering. Somehow managed to acquire a few more career paths between then and now: in addition to being an engineer by education and a data analyst by trade, I also became a writer, translator, illustrator, beta reader, photographer, and amateur model.
Q. Where do you live:
A. I live in a no-man’s land in the West North Carolina Mountains above Hendersonville, NC.
Q. Family/pets etc:
A. My husband and I have six four-legged children – two cats and four dogs.
Q. What inspired you to start writing?
A. It’s hard to tell – a combination of things, really. Growing up in Ukraine, storytelling and reading were essential parts of life. So, it was only natural for me, once I learned how to write at the age of seven, to start writing things down.
Also, my favorite aunt was married to a career officer, and they always lived somewhere far away. As soon as I knew how, I started exchanging letters with my cousins, and that was great fun.
At school, we had three sets of language classes – a language and a literature class for each of the three languages we were studying: Russian, Ukrainian, and English. There were lots of writing assignments – composition, interpretation, translation. So, all this sort of came very naturally as part of my upbringing and education. I tried writing science fiction and quit when I was fourteen because I realized my work at the time was poor imitation of my favorite authors. I picked it up again five or six years later, and it worked out much better this time around.
Q. Favourite authors and why.
A. Too many to name. Asimov and Clarke because the science part of their sci fi was always so well-researched and intelligent. Heinlein – for his irreverence and humor. Alexander Kuprin and Alexander Grin – for their unabashedly romantic outlook on life. Ivan Yefremov for his optimism and faith in humanity. My favorite book of all times is The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov. It’s just…. Insane… I love it.
Q. Books you’ve written.
A. My first full-size book published in the US was Stories for Anastasia, which was actually a translation of a series of letters I’ve written to my niece Anastasia. She was very sickly as a child and spent a lot of time in and out of hospitals. I used to write her these long letters to entertain her.
My two other non-fiction publications are A Child in Translation – a set of autobiographical essays about growing up in Soviet Ukraine – and Paris Diaries – sort of a fun and irreverent look at one of my favorite places in the world.
I also have a series of short stories and novellas out there, some of them gathered in an anthology called Elemental Tales and Other Unusual Adventures. For Christmas 2015 I published a little stocking-stuffer format book – a futuristic fantasy Madam Enigma – my homage to my favorite operetta of all times, The Circus Princess by Emmericht Kahlmann.
Q. Work in progress.
A. Three translations: Faces of Hardship – an anthology by a Ukrainian writer Ivan Franko, Terra Phantasticum – an anthology by Alexander Grin, and The Air Merchant – a science fiction novel by Alexander Belyaev. A short story of my own A Mermaid’s Song. And a story/cookbook The Binge.
Q. What makes you giggle?
A. Lots of things. Cute animals. Z Frank’s True Facts videos. Damn Your AutoCorrect posts. I am very fond of English humor. When I was a kid, my dad introduced me to Three Men in a Boat, and we used to read it together and laugh our heads off.
Q. Favourite TV program?
A. We don’t have cable where we live, so we are not really “up” with what’s the latest on TV. I love a good mystery – we own the full 13-part DVD set of Agatha Christie’s Poirot with David Suchet (of course!) and Ms. Marple with Joan Hickson. My husband has been slowly introducing me to old American shows, so we’ve been watching Alfred Hitchcock Presents a lot. I LOVE Dr. Who.
Q. Any film that made you cry.
A. It’s a long list. I am a very easy crier – both with books and with movies. I cried at least a bucket when I watched the last episode of Poirot with David Suchet. Neverending Story (yes, the Swamps of Sadness scene) – two buckets. The scene in Return of the King, where Pippin sings for the Steward of Gondor.
Q. Where do you write you books?
A. In my head more often than not. I often carry the idea in my brain for months and then just sit down and get it out there. I have a little desk area at home, where I have my laptop set up, and that’s where the rest of the process happens – the writing, the typesetting, the cover design, etc.
Q. Do you prefer the quiet or do you have music when you write?
A. It really depends on the mood and on what I’m writing. I wrote my Master Thesis listening to Beethoven’s symphonies and Bach’s piano concerti. When I was writing Madam Enigma, I had Emmericht Kahlmann’s music playing non-stop, because that was the inspiration for the story. Sometimes, if I go deep into science in the middle of the story, I turn everything off.
Q. Any tips on book promotion which work for you?
A. Hootsuite. I love Hootsuite. I’ve been using it for five years now. It’s free up to five channels. I have an ad tracker I set up for myself, where I record what promo spots I have scheduled, where, and when. Interestingly, it doesn’t matter whether I promote my own work or the work of other writers and artists (which accounts for almost half of all my promos) – the more promos go out, the more I sell.
Q. You can choose an animal from any time frame to live with you what would you prefer?
A. He-Man’s battle cat.
Q. You have the opportunity to be cast away on an island. Which part of the world would you choose and why?
A. I am SO going to cheat here – Ile de la Cite in the middle of the Seine in the middle of Paris. Do I really need to explain why? ;-)
Q. You have an opportunity to open a FB publishing house. What would you call it and whom from your FB friends would you allocate jobs to?
A. Tree Castle Publishing, because we call our house the Tree Castle. It’s like a giant tree house, and when you are there, all you can see out the windows are trees. I would appoint writer and PubRight Manuscript Services owner Diane Nelson Editor-in-Chief and librarian and editor Virginia Woods Roberts the Operations Manager. I’d be the Chief Accountant and Pickle Supplier.
Links to Maria's work:
Link to FB page:
So there you have it my little chickadees. I did say Maria was a very busy woman. Pop over to her FB page and say hello. The link is above.
Oh go on then it's here as well - https://www.facebook.com/maria.kuroshchepova