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Maria was born in Caerphilly. She now lives in Pontypridd with her partner, her daughter, and her shih-tzu Bella. Maria studied Creative Writing at The University of South Wales, where she was awarded the Stella Levi Prize for Academic Excellence. She then completed a PGCE. She was one of fifteen selected for the inaugural Curtis Brown Creative novel-writing course. In her spare time you can find Maria watching reality TV with her sass-queen daughter, walking the dog with her true gentleman of a partner or making up her own mocktail recipes in the kitchen. White Petals is her debut novel.
Find out lots more about Maria and her work at her website.
When did you start writing:
Maria: 'I can’t remember a time when I wasn't writing about something. My interest in children’s and YA books really started during my twenties. I used to make up stories for my daughter when she was little, and then I would write the stories and read them to her. She was always my biggest fan! I would like to continue developing my writing for children and young adults, because I think they are some of the most loyal readers you could find.'
Why did you want to tell this story?
Maria: 'The story deals with the difficult but normal issues that teenagers deal with: family, friendship, school, the opposite sex, parents, grief, bullies and facebook relationship statuses. In a way, I wrote it to show the care system in a positive light and to show that not every children’s home story has to end up as a misery memoir. I spoke with social workers, therapists, nurses, teenagers, students, psychics, mediums, and young people in care during my research. This helped me to write the novel as realistically and authentically as possible. Mainly, I wanted to write something that would combine realism and mystery in a witty and intelligent way. I hope that I have succeeded!