March 22, 2012

M.R. Merrick is the author of  The Protector Series books Exiled and Shift.  Once I read Exiled (and loved it…see my review here) and I found out he was Canadian…well, I just had to know more!!  He was kind enough to answer our questions and provide insight into his books, his writing style and his plans.

So read the interview and then go read the books…they’re great!!

Want to know more?

It’s unusual to find a male hero in a YA book…why did you decide to make Chase your lead character?
I don’t know if I decided as much as the story was his to tell. The idea for Exiled just came to me one day. I wanted to vent, but I didn’t want to use my usual outlets. I wanted to escape into another world, and Chase’s world was there for me. It unfolded from my mind and in the blink of an eye; there he was, standing in the street, surrounded by shadows, with a unique version of a whole new kind of vampire coming at him. That’s originally where the story started and as I started writing, questions popped into my head. With the answers, came more of the story and there was no way to tell it other than from Chase’s perspective. It also helped that I wanted to write a story that I would read and there are few Male leads out in YA.I wanted something I hadn’t experienced much of and Chase was just the person to give that to me.

There are such possibilities in this adventure that Chase is experiencing, so many interesting characters and possible situations.  How many books do you envision in this series?
I am torn on this right now. I had originally intended it to be a trilogy, but about halfway through writing Shift, I realized there was a lot more to this story that I had planned. Things were happening on a grander scale than I had envisioned. I haven’t committed fully to the idea yet, but there may be up to six books in the series. I have to play with a few outlines and ideas before I can be sure.

What was the most difficult part of this book to write?  What was the easiest?
The most difficult part for me was the ending. It took me a long time to be satisfied with the climax and the way the story closed off. I also had my work cut out for me with building Chase and Riley’s relationship. I’m not sure why, but I struggled off and on with it.
The easiest part to write was Chase and Rayna’s relationship. The way it progressed, the banter they shared with each other came naturally. Both their voices were so prominent in my mind, I didn’t’ have to think, their words were just there, and they worked.

Chase and Rayna have a great relationship.  It’s feisty and the sparring is great.  Can we anticipate it might grow into something more?
Well, I’ve purposely strayed from the romantic aspect of the story. I know it drives a lot of reader’s crazy, but the story as a whole isn’t a love story, so it’s not that prominent. The other thing I wanted was a realistic approach. These two are 17 and 18. Although Exiled is a Fantasy, I wanted some realism to it, and I wanted to show their relationship grow naturally. But, to make a short answer long, you can anticipate some growing. Maybe just a little.

Your book covers are extraordinarily beautiful.  Who designed them?
Thank you! I’m beyond in love with them. They’re not fully understood at first glance, but once you read the books, you can see how perfectly they represent the story inside. Both my covers are designed by Julija Lichman a very talented Australian artist.

Have you always envisioned yourself becoming an author?
Not at all. Growing up I always thought I’d be a famous actor, or singer. Not a struggling writer!

What is your favorite genre to read?  Who are some of your favorite authors?  What are you currently reading?
I love to read Fantasy, but in reality, I’ll read absolutely anything. I love J.K. Rowling. Her world building leaves me breathless. I’m just getting ready to start Pyxis by K.C. Neal.

What has been the harshest criticism you’ve received?  What has been your biggest compliment?
The harshest was someone telling me that my writing sucks, I must have slept through basic English classes, and I am robbing readers everywhere of their money, while at the same time giving all self-published authors a bad name. And yes, that’s all from one single person.
The best was a private message I got through Goodreads. A reader told me my books transported them to another world unlike any other, they got lost in my writing, and my story had instantly become their favorite series. 

What advice would you give an aspiring author?
If you want it, don’t give up. Don’t let anyone tell you, you can’t. And dream big!

Thanks for your candid answers!!  We appreciate your willingness to share your thoughts with us and look forward to more adventures with Chase and Rayna!


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