Maria’s Books


Maria has written seven books. Six in English and one in Dutch.


Outlining and plotting your Novel in Three Constructive Steps

Are you always getting stuck in the middle when writing a story? Are those endless rewrites giving you a headache? Or are you struggling to put all your different story ideas together? In Fiction Builder! Eva Kattz and Maria Staal show you a way out of the most common writer traps and put the fun back into writing.

Now a developmental editor and a cosy mystery writer respectively, Eva and Maria developed a new writing technique that can help you gain control over your own writing. Through three easy, practical steps, plotting and outlining will become creative and inspirational again.

In this book, you will learn how to:

  • Use story structure to your best advantage
  • Keep an overview of all your plot ideas
  • Plot your story in three practical steps

Outlining is not a secret rite of passage that you need go through to become a ‘real’ writer. Outlining is a craft that you can learn to help you produce the best stories you have ever written. If you’re ready to unleash your inner plot-machine, this book is for you.


Fiction Builder! is available from 15th March 2018.


Jacob Hicks Murder Mysteries

When Jacob Hicks, resident weird professor with a phobia for women, is the suspect in a murder case, he reluctantly sets out to prove his own innocence.
He tolerates the help of Emily, the niece of his best pal Dave and on probation for having bitten a policeman.
Together they delve into the gossip and lies surrounding the members of the local allotment society, where gardening implements can turn out to be deadly weapons.

Meanwhile, Paddy the Rat and his friends are plagued by obnoxious teenage rat Cecil, who with his posse is disturbing the peace and quiet of the allotments. This wouldn’t be half as bad if Cecil hadn’t focussed on teasing Mad Maggie, Paddy’s childhood bogeyman. She has recently come alive and is now making Paddy’s life a living hell.

While Inspector McDermott tries to prove Jacob’s guilt, Jacob and Emily deal with scantily clad women, a development project that turns into blackmail and a maniacal old neighbour, who is convinced the rats are out to get her.

Will Milbury Hill ever be the same after this?


Don’t Feed the Rat! is available as paperback and ebook from Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Germany, as well a Smashwords, Kobo and



more stories of time zones and containersA chemical spill out of a container and a collision with another ship – the adventures of life on the high seas continue in More Stories of Time Zones and Containers.

A collection of 16 previously untold short stories More Stories is a fitting sequel to Time Zones, Containers and Three Square Meals a Day. The authors recalls further adventures on board the Serenity River, FTK Kowloon and Galactic Star, as these large container ships travel around the world.

So how quickly does one become seasick in a lifeboat?


More Stories of Time Zones and Containers is available as paperback and ebook from Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Germany, as well as Smashwords, Kobo and



time zones, containers and three square meals a dayDeadly pirate attacks and a near collision with an oil tanker are just two of the dangers faced by the crews of today’s container ships. Time Zones, Containers and Three Square Meals a Day, is the story of life on the high seas, where real adventures still exist.

The author recounts her adventures on the container ship ‘MV Serenity River’in this entertaining narrative travelogue. An unusual trip in a world that is usually hidden from view, and where working and living can become a struggle just because of the constant changing of the clocks. However, lifelong friendships are forged and dolphins play around the ship to the entertainment of everyone on board.

But what happens when a hurricane force wind suddenly comes up in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and starts tossing the ship about like mad?


This book has been translated into Dutch and goes by the name Tussen containers en tijdzones.

Time Zones, Containers and Three Square Meals a Day is available as paperback and ebook from Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Germany, as well as Smashwords, Kobo and



front fire enginesAnyone who is familiar with York’s city centre will acknowledge that York has many churches. They are everywhere – on street corners, on squares, or hidden away behind modern buildings. Most of these churches were built a long time ago, in medieval times.

Besides these visible churches, York has a large number of churches that are not so visible. These churches appeared in the last 200 years, modern looking and new, perfectly blending into the streetscape, thus making them almost invisible.

These new churches were built by people who called themselves Dissenters – people who didn’t want to conform to the Church of England. After many of the Dissenters’ churches stopped being places of worship the uses of the buildings changed – some were even demolished.

From Dissenters to Fire Engines brings these churches back to life. Looking at the history of each church in turn, revealing the surprising, and sometimes moving stories, of York’s invisible churches.


From Dissenters to Fire Engines has come out as paperback and is available from Dales Court Press.



romans, vikings, churches and chocolateWalking through the city of York, United Kingdom, you might think it is not possible to track down the town’s history in the modern streetscape. However, if you look a bit more closely you will see that it is still possible to recognise the Roman streets and soon you will not only imagine yourself in medieval times, but also find yourself roaming a Viking settlement and smelling the gunpowder from the Great Siege of 1644.

Romans, Vikings, Churches and Chocolate, reveals York’s fascinating history with the help of lots of pictures and maps. This is not a book with guided walks, but a book with which you can choose to discover your favourite historic period in your own time.


Romans, Vikings Churches and Chocolate has come out as paperback. Unfortunately it is out of print.