Welcome to Hackaroo’s Reviews stop on the Release blog tour. I am a huge fan of Mr. Merrick and am glad I have gotten to know him. He is an amazing and talented story writer and I am very honored to have him on my blog today. But first, here is a little bit about Matt:
M.R. Merrick is a Canadian writer, and author of Exiled, the first installment in The Protector Series. Having never traveled, he adventures to far off lands through his imagination and in between cups of coffee. As a music lover and proud breakfast enthusiast, he’s usually found at the computer, between a pair of headphones and in front of a large bowl of cereal.
After uniting the shifters and calling in reinforcements, Chase has to face his toughest challenge yet: learning to control his emotions. But as tensions rise and his powers grow, controlling his emotions becomes the least of his problems.
Terrorized by a multi-shifter who is hell-bent on turning him, Chase questions just how far he’s willing to go to stop his father. Meanwhile, Tiki’s virtuous nature has placed him in the middle of Vincent’s past, leaving Chase to oppose a senate of vampires and defend a demon he hates.
Trying to balance his friends, his enemies, and his inner demons, Chase is left searching for answers about the Mark, his destiny, and where he can find the next soul piece. Stopping Riley is his top priority, but as more obstacles arise, he finds himself doubting all the decisions he’s made – especially regarding Rayna.
One thing is for certain: Chase has finally realized that he doesn’t know anything. The light doesn’t always quell the darkness, the monsters don’t always stay in the shadows, and the past doesn’t always stay in the past – sometimes, the demons inside are the hardest to fight.
Now….on with the interview:
- Where does your writing inspiration come from? Where do you get your ideas?
Both inspiration and ideas come from two places. First, my imagination. It twists and turns things into something more than they began, and occasionally that something is really cool. And second, everything around me. Since I started writing, I pay attention to things in a more acute manner. When I see something of interest, my imagination takes hold and warps it into different things.
Once I have a workable idea, or at least something that has done more than piqued my interest, I daydream about it, brainstorming to see if it’s an idea I think will be worth the time investment of exploring more. Sometimes it is and I do more planning and plotting, other times it’s an idea that either isn’t any good, or it isn’t ‘ready’ yet, and so it goes into an ideas folder for later.
- What made you actually want to start writing?
In all honesty, it happened by accident. Before I started writing Exiled (really the first type of fiction I had ever tried to write), I was having an incredibly hard week. I needed an escape. Usually I would turn to watching movies, playing video games, or reading books for this, but nothing was working. Nothing had exactly what I wanted, and so I decided to create what I wanted for myself.
I sat down and wrote a scene with Chase and a demon, and then all these questions started popping into my head: Who is this guy? Why is the demon trying to kill him? Why is he alone? As the answers came to me, what I thought was a really good idea began to percolate and I just didn’t stop. A few months later, Exiled was born and I was extremely excited with what had just happened. I’d spent every night for six months working on it, and I wanted it to be read. So, I spend the next year editing, revising, and learning everything I could about the publishing industry.
- Do you have a method to your madness when you write?
I wish I could say yes, but in all honesty, it’s different with each book. Exiled was just written from my mind, no outline or anything. Shift had a very detailed plot that I tried to follow very closely. Whereas Release had a solid outline, which I neglected almost the entire time I was writing it. I visited the outline several times to review it, but I hardly looked at it once I really got going. The emotional turmoil of Release went where I wanted it to go, but it got there in a different way than I had planned.
- What is the hardest part in writing a book for you? The action, romance, gore?
The action and gore I don’t have an issue with. Romance was easy because it’s a very minor part of my series, and that had been planned since the beginning. It happens slowly. There is no love at first sight. Everything has advanced naturally for me.
The hardest part is weaving everything together and knowing what to cut from the books. Some characters, sub plots, etc. appear at first to be either very obvious, or cliché. I wanted them to appear that way, but in the grand scheme of things, I knew they were not. Looking back now however, I realize I could’ve put things together in a different manner and in a much better way.
I cut about 40,000 words from Exiled, because 80k-100k was the norm for submitting to literary agents. The problem is I ended up cutting out some pretty cool and important stuff that would’ve built the world better, and I never added it back in when I decided to self-publish. Some of those ‘missing’ or ‘obvious’ things have deterred readers from advancing with the series, and I think it was an issue I had with the delivery in Exiled. I’ve learned a lot over the course of this series, and that’s a lesson that is learned over time, I think. I definitely won’t make that mistake again.
- What is the easiest part to write about?
Building all the different Underworlds and creating new monsters is the easiest for me. I literally just close my eyes, start with a single detail, and construct everything around it. It comes very naturally for me, and I think that’s one of the reasons I love writing in the Fantasy genre so much. I get to build my own world, my own rules, and my own monsters. That’s the part I most look forward to when I sit down to write each book.
- What was your favorite part to write?
The same answer as above applies to this, but also, I love writing the scenes that incorporate magic. The elemental magic in The Protector is something I’ve always daydreamed about, since I was a little kid, and I love bringing it to life in my own way.
- Since you’ve started working for yourself, have you found it easier to write?
I actually find it more difficult since I decided to work from home. I think I write less. I stress about sales too much, since now I’m dependant on them, and since I’m home with the kids all day, I find myself procrastinating and putting it off when I finally have free time to write.
- For those that have not had the chance to read Release, what can you tell us about what we might be expecting?
It’s the most passionate book of the series so far. I always invest all of myself into any book I work on, but this one has my heart splattered on the pages. I knew it was going to be an emotional book to write back when I was working on the first draft of Shift, but when it finally came time to put Release together, it was more emotionally and mentally draining than I was prepared for. I’m still recovering and trying to get back into writing. I was exhausted when it was finished. Release is an incredibly intense piece of the story.
Thank you so much Matt for allowing me the pleasure of having you on my blog. 🙂 I am very honored that you answered my questions.
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Great interview! Thanks for being part of the tour.
Great interview, Jess!