Author Maya Starling has many writing credits in addition to her fantasy novels. Her short stories have been featured in anthologies and on fandom websites. In 2017, she had the honor of being the Guest Editor-in-Chief for the English installment of a Croatian SF&F Fanzine called Parsek, a Worldcon edition. She was greatly received at Worldcon and was proud to promote local Croatian authors and artists. Please give her a warm welcome to No Wasted Ink.
I’m Maya Starling, a fantasy author from a little country called Croatia. I like to introduce myself as a writer, geek, animal lover and a gamer. I’m a Browncoat, a Trekkie, and I like Star Wars. I’m a big Joss Whedon fan, Buffy all the way, loving Avengers, #TeamCaptain. I think that LOTR are the best Christmas movies. I have two rescue cats. As for the gamer part, I’ve lived the life of an oracle, a paladin, a bard, a rebel, a mortician… all while rolling the dice, sitting around the table with some of my closest friends.
Of course, I love reading, preferably fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal, and romance. So hard to choose a favorite book but there are a few that have left a long-lasting impression. And let’s not forget graphic novels, and one of my favorites is Strangers in Paradise by Terry Moore.
Last, but not least, I’m a mom to a very wonderful little boy.
When and why did you begin writing?
I started about eight years ago and writing pulled me out of depression and gave me a purpose what life kept bringing me down.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
It took me some time to consider myself a writer. At first, I kept writing and saying that I was an aspiring writer, but then a friend said… you don’t aspire, you already write. You are a writer already.
Can you share a little about your current book with us?
I’m currently working on two books. Started the third in my Dragons Awaken series and finishing up a dark fantasy, a stand-alone novel called Vengeance Upturned.
What inspired you to write this book?
An illustration, then the description of the illustration, and then the character and the world were born, encouraging me to write their story.
Do you have a specific writing style?
I don’t think I have a very specific writing style because I’m still growing as a writer. I live vivid imagery without being too wordy. I like casual, down to earth characters, and I especially love making my characters grow. So, most of my stories are character driven.
How did you come up with the title of this book?
I really don’t remember. It just came to me. (feel free to skip this answer)
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I think that Vengeance Upturned has a deep message about overcoming grief, about how different people deal differently with a loss. It’s about hitting rock bottom (mentally and emotionally) and then finding your way back to the light. And that it’s okay to ask and accept help.
What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?
L.M. Bujold, Carrie Vaughn, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Roger Zelazny… All of them are inspiring because they finished a book and got published, and they continued writing something I enjoy reading. But I found L.M. Bujold’s Sharing Knife Trilogy to be defining books when it comes to my writing, the ones that inspired me to write my own story. Simple, effective prose, loveable down-to-earth characters, simple yet complex plot. You just have to read it.
If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? Why?
Not one, but many, especially my fellow authors by providing feedback on my books and stories. That’s how I learned and grew the most in my writing.
Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?
The two books I’m working on don’t have covers yet. But, for my first two, I did the cover design, and for the second of those two, I worked with a local illustrator for the custom artwork, because he is an undiscovered gem and I wanted to promote local talent; Borna Nikola Zezelj.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Persevere. Write. Read. Learn. Write some more. Read even more. Don’t give up. Don’t let the self-doubt win. Ask for feedback. Don’t take it personally, and grow from it.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I’m just happy that you enjoy my characters, my stories, and my worlds. What more could I ask for? I hope I continue creating that magic, and that you keep on reading. And please, feel free to reach out and contact me. Love you all!
Zagreb, Croatia (Europe)
Cover Artist: Borna Nikola Zezelj