Maria Hoagland has a knack for procrastinating, but somehow, eventually things usually get done. She has three children, a very supportive husband, a job working with English language learners at a local elementary school, and teaches in the women’s organization, called Relief Society, at her church. She’s looking forward to the summer to write the rough draft of her next novel and spend time enjoying the sun and raspberries in her backyard. Maria currently has two published novels, Nourish & Strengthen and Family Size and enjoys editing and formatting for other authors.
Welcome back to my blog, Maria. Please tell us about your new book Family Size.
Thank you, Linda, for hosting this interview! I’m excited about my newest novel, Family Size. I had so much fun writing from three different perspectives in this book—three main characters who experience unique situations dealing with fertility and their individual families and then weaving those stories together: Sloane desperately wants a baby, Jessica needs a break, and Maya could just use someone to lean on. It is a novel about friendships and faith as well as fertility, and one I think any mom can relate to.
Stories that we can relate to makes it more interesting. Where did you get your inspiration for this novel?
You know when a group of women get together—especially at a book club or play group for the kids—and the conversation so often turn to labor stories? It always gets me to thinking about how we have no idea what’s going on in someone’s life. There was a time in my life when I was saddened by these stories, wondering if I’d ever have one of my own, which is probably why I always felt that adoption stories were a special treat. All of the women’s stories I’ve heard over the years have inspired me, and after mulling over them for years, I formed characters that I felt had interesting family stories to share that I think most women should be able to relate to and feel inspired by.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
I love doing research for fiction. Medical issues intrigue me. My ideas usually start with anecdotal information—personal experiences either in my own life or in the life of family and friends. I also do a lot of internet research on blogs to see how people feel and react to specific situations I plan to use in my book. I do as much fact-checking as I can on informational websites, but then where I am especially lacking in experience, I make sure to send the manuscript on to someone who has expertise that I don’t—in this case, with adoption.
You love to write Women’s Fiction. What intrigues you most about writing stories like this?
I started writing women’s fiction because it is my favorite genre to read. Sure, I appreciate a good Harry Potter or The Giver or The Night Circus, but I enjoy realistic fiction that teaches without being overly instructional, lets me experience without leaving my house, and entertains and enlightens. So that’s what I try to do. I figure if I like to read it, someone else probably will, too. At least that’s what I’m hoping!
Thanks, Maria, for this wonderful interview. I really appreciate getting to know you.