We are still celebrating Indie/Small- Press month and today we have a special guest on - M.R. Merrick. If you know of him, you probably know he is a little crazy and a whole lotta hilarious (which you will know for sure after reading below :) We are very pleased to have him on today.
1. What has your writing process been like? Did you try to go the traditional route at first? What have been the most surprising things you've learned about publishing a novel?
My process has been all over the map. I’ve only written three books, and only two are published (the third isn’t due out until December 2012) so I’m trying a lot of different things with each book to find a groove that works best for me.
Right now I like to write either a detailed outline, which gets the story solidified in my head, or a list of goals and accomplishments to be made clear in each book. This way, at a glance, I can see where I need to go.
I have tried writing without an outline and the ‘just seeing what happens’ approach, and while it’s fun and doable; it makes the revisions process a lot heavier. At least that was my experience with it. I prefer to streamline things whenever possible.
I didn’t put much effort into going traditional. I did spend two years while writing my first novel researching the industry and I did start querying, but after about a dozen querys I found Amazon’s KDP program, which was a savior.
I don’t have the patience to approach traditional publishing the way they want me to. Waiting 8 weeks in some cases, just to get a form rejection didn’t work for me. So I approached publishing independently, but the same lack of patience I had with querying disappeared. I knew I needed to put out a product that could rival the traditional industry, so I hired a professional designer for my covers, as well as multiple professional editors.
Now that’s not to say I wouldn’t traditional publish, but they would have to approach me, I think. After all I’ve learned and the experience I’ve gained independently, I think I would be in a great position to traditionally publish, because I would put the same amount of work in I do now, only I’d also have others working on my behalf as well. That being said, I’m not convinced that I’d go that route even if I were approached, but it’s something I would seriously consider.
What’s surprised me the most is how we all find success and failures independently. What worked for me might not work for the next author, and vice versa. Each book has to travel its own path, and each book finds its audience in different ways. It’s not a matter of publishing and everyone promoting in the same manner. There is no one path or secret to success, it all varies depending on genre, the style in which it’s written, who the author is, etc.
2. Can you give us a teaser from The Protector series?
From a chapter in Exiled, Book 1:
“My, can it be true? One day you’re putting knives to my throat and calling me a filthy demon, and the next you’re having sleepovers with an Underworlder?” - Rayna
And here’s the first few paragraphs of SHIFT, Book 2:
My eyes tore open to the sound of screaming. The drywall rattled and Rayna’s voice raged through the wall. My pulse jumped as panic set in and I leapt from my bed moving straight for the door.
I ran through the archway, pants tangling on my legs as I tried to pull them up. Marcus, Willy, and Tiki were halfway down the hall, their faces owned by fear.
Marcus reached the door before me, turned the silver handle, and pushed through. The door creaked and the smell of blood, sweat, and something else seeped from the darkness. Marcus flicked on the light and I saw what I already feared.
I’ll save the spoilers from book 3, RELEASE, another day.
3. Have Chase describe Rayna, and have Rayna describe Chase.
“Rayna is…how do I say this…she’s not going to read this is she?”
“Okay good, cause you know how she can get. Rayna’s a firecracker. She’s confident, she hits like a brick wall, and she doesn’t take crap from anyone - including me. She doesn’t take no for an answer; I think she might always get what she wants in the end - which isn’t always a good thing. But on the flip side, she’s loyal to a fault, and I know if a demon rushes my back, she’ll get it before it gets me. Rayna’s a soldier, but also, she’s a girl, even if she doesn’t show that side of herself very often. One thing I do know is I’ll let her watch my back over anyone else.”
“What’s Chase like? In three words; he’s an ass.”
“ More? Okay, he’s an arrogant, hot-headed ass, who needs to be kept in line. That’s where I come in.”
“Look, in all honesty, Chase is difficult in so many ways. He stands up for what he believes in, even it means he’s going to get hurt. He’s emotional, although he would deny that to the end, but everyone around him sees it. And he acts first and deals with the repercussion afterwards -which almost always gets us in trouble. What else can I say? He’s a seventeen-year-old boy. But, he’s also my friend and sometimes, when he’s not being a jerk, he’s not horrible to have around. Except for when me smiles and squint’s his eyes. He knows you want to give him whatever he wants and I hate that. That’s when I want to hit him the hardest.”
4. If you were sitting down to eat with Chase and Rayna, what would you eat and what would you all talk about?
Well, seeing as Chase’s diet is mostly made up of Pizza Pops and chocolate bars, and Rayna likes Pasta and cooking, maybe home-made pizza?
As for a conversation piece, is there a guard at the door? You know, one who could confiscate weapons and such? Because I don’t think I’d agree to dinner without that…and maybe a fire-proof jacket or something…
I think Chase would probably curse me out for everything I’ve done to him and Rayna wouldn’t be far behind. If we could all get past that initial awkward moment where they’d be looking at me like “I know who you are and everything you’ve done, and I’ll get you for it,” then I think we’d have a nice little chat - probably about what a jerk Vincent is. The night would come to an end with another awkward moment of Chase telling me I’d better be nice in the last book or he’ll be back.
5. What part did you play in the process of developing your covers? What did you hope to achieve with them?
Short of physically doing the work, I did the rest. I found the cover artist I wanted through a referral from a friend. I gave her two designs to work with, stating what I was looking for from each one, and she made them. I had a really hard time deciding between the two, because they were both so different, but something about the tree, with the fire and water on both sides, just spoke to me. There was a type of power in that image that represented the story, and she brought it to life in an incredible manner.
The rest of the covers were the same. I described the design and what I wanted to see, and she’s made it happen better than even I imagined. It’s a nice setup.
6. if you were to wake up tomorrow & Demons (or Half Demons) have taken over the world what would be the first thing you'd do, and what would you do to assure the survival for you and you loved ones?
Put on my most durable pair of cargos, find the biggest blade I could, and either be really brave and enter the new world, or make sure all the doors and windows were locked. There is a slight chance I’d try to friendly with them and see if they could turn me into some all powerful creature…maybe…
The Protector, book #1
Chase Williams is a demon hunter in the Circle, or at least he was supposed to be. On his fifteenth birthday, Chase stepped up to the altar to claim his elemental power, but it never came. Elemental magic is passed down to a hunter through the bloodline, but on Chase's birthday, the bloodline stopped.
Exiled without the Circle's protection, Chase has spent two years trying to survive a world riddled with half-demons and magic. When he has a run in with a frightened and seemingly innocent demon, he learns the Circle's agenda has changed: the Circle plans to unlock a portal and unleash pure-blood demons into the world. Vowing to stop them, and knowing he can't do it alone, Chase forms a reluctant alliance with Rayna — a sexy witch with an attitude and a secret.
In their attempt to stop them, Chase and Rayna find themselves in the middle of the Circle's plan, leaving one of them to decide what their friendship is worth, and the other's life depending on it.
The Protector, book #2
Devastated by a terrible loss, Chase is trying to balance the life he’s been left with, a family he’s still getting to know, and power he never thought he’d have. He doesn’t understand why the Goddess has named him the Protector and granted him two gifts: the Mark, a tattoo that now covers his back, and the ring. But between getting interrogated by the Circle and psychic attacks from Riley, the Mark is the least of his concern. There’s a demon inside Rayna that’s fighting to be released, and it’s not her inner witch. It’s something else—a monster threatening to tear her apart.
As Chase struggles to control his magic, his enemies are closing in. Everyone has staked a claim on his ring, and destroying it may be his only chance to stop Riley. But Chase must decide if stopping him is worth risking the lives of everyone he cares about, or if protecting the ring will be enough to save his world.
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