Thursday, December 5, 2013

Coastal Magic Con Spotlight: MR Merrick

Coastal Magic Con is an awesome weekend celebrating paranormal romance and urban fantasy in Daytona in February! Today, I'm featuring one of the featured guests, MR Merrick.

M.R. Merrick is a Canadian writer and author of  The Protector Series, a Young Adult mash-up between Urban and Epic Fantasy. 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.

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YAtopia: Do you have any weird writing habits?

MR: I'm not sure how weird it is, but when I'm starting a story, or at any point when I get stuck, I use daydreaming to get through it. I'll find a comfortable place to sit or lie down, and depending on the mood, plug in my earphones and turn on some tunes. If I'm just starting out, I just try to envision the emotion I want from the story. I take the base characters I have started with, or want to create, and I imagine them in this world in various situation, reacting to one thing or another, sometimes each other. When I'm at a road block, I'll dream the story that I've written thus far. This way when I get to the point in which I'm stuck, it seems easier to envision what might naturally happen next. It's not really "out there" as far as strange things go, but I like to play things in my head like a movie before I start writing them down.

YAtopia: Name three books you think everyone should read.

MR: The Harry Potter series is a favourite of mine. For me it has characters and creatures that come to life in such an incredible way, and the vivid world building astonishes me. The story took me away and I love coming back to them.

A book blogger gifted me Stephen King's The Long Walk last year and demanded I read it, and when I was done, I wished that I had read it so many years earlier. There isn't much for world building in it, but the simplicity and dynamic of the characters as they go on their journey is incredible. I loved it and although I've only just recently read it, I think it's a fantastic book.

Lastly, The Giver. It was a book we were forced to read for school, and other than Lord of the Flies, it's the only one that stands out in my mind. I'll never forget reading it as it was the first book I can remember enjoying, and I think it's something everyone should experience at some point.

YAtopia: Which one of your characters has the most of you in him/her?

MR: They all have bits and pieces of me. I know for certain that Chase is very much like I was as a teenager, minus the whole killing demons part, but his anger and thick skull were definitely an attribute I carried in my younger years. I'd have to say that Tiki and Willy probably have traits that work more towards my current mindset now, but I really could pull a little bit out of each of them and say that's definitely me.

YAtopia: If you could only give aspiring writers one piece of advice, what would it be?
Write the story that you want to read. The market isn't important, the advance isn't important, the critiques aren't important. Find the story that's missing in your life and put it on paper. Create characters and monsters that you want to see come to life on the page, take an adventure with twists and turns you want to experience, and when you have your imagination overflowing, just close your eyes, put your hands on the keys, and let go.

YAtopia: What's next for you? What are you working on now?

I have three projects on my mind right now. One is in the idea phase as it's a fairly complicated three book project, and I'm plotting it out silently in my head. The other two are right there and ready to go. One is a few chapters in, but is on the back burner at the moment. I don't like to be hands on with more than one book at a time, and right now I'm working through some obstacles with it. The other is coming along great, but at a slower pace than I like. It's the first in a new series, and that first book is always the toughest for me. I need to really build a solid platform for the rest of the series, and I'm taking my time with that. This one is a Post Apocalyptic Urban Fantasy…I guess that makes it a Dystopian of sorts? Anyways, it's pretty fun and has my imagination moving all over the place. It's a darker story, and full of a lot of emotion. I'm very proud of it so far, and I truly hope to see it out late this year or early 2014.

YAtopia: Thanks for stopping by today! 

Do you love urban fantasy and paranormal books? Check out Coastal Magic Con

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.

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