YA Feature: Introducing YA author Matthew. R. Merrick

Hey! This week on Reading Away The Days I would like to introduce to you all the awesome Matthew. R. Merrick. Matthew is the author of Exiled a YA Fantasy series. Please welcome Matthew to Reading Away The Days, by checking out his book Exiled and showing some comment love!

A little about Matthew and his writing career so far:

I’ve always enjoyed writing, but I’ve never been a storyteller. I stumbled upon writing fiction by complete chance. I’ve worked all sorts of jobs. I was a chef for ten years. I managed kitchens. I’ve done project management, deliveries, and sales. A little bit of everything. My hours were always erratic, but one thing that I always promised to remain constant, is I would always be around to make sure I tucked my little ones in. This routine was one of the best parts of my day. We started out reading stories, but it quickly turned into me telling stories and after a while, my wife started pushing me to write children’s books. She felt I had an imagination that would work great for them.  I never gave it much thought, but then one day, in need of an escape, I created a new world, with wicked magic, and cool monsters.

Exiled, is a Young Adult novel, not exactly for children, but this bed time routine showed me a passion I never knew existed within me. I have job ADD, in which I have a lot of trouble staying challenged at work. I jumped around from job to job, trying to find something that could keep my attention. I have yet to find that job, but in the meantime, writing has provided a constant challenge for me. I’ve only been doing it for a few years, but my focus and determination now, is stronger than ever. All because of a few short bedtime stories.

Can you tell me a little about your novel, Exiled?

Exiled is about a young guy, whose entire world gets turned upside down. I know that sounds cliché, but it really isn’t. Chase Williams is a seventeen-year-old kid, who grows up in a secret society of demon hunters. On his fifteenth birthday, Chase is involved in a ceremony every hunter goes through. It’s the moment they discover what type of elemental magic they’ll have. Chase’s father, Riley, is a very powerful, and well respected hunter, so when Chase doesn’t get any magic at all, he’s furious, and has him Exiled – along with his mother – to live a life among the mortals. The Underworld is full of demons who want to kill him, for the sole reason that he’s the son of Riley Williams, so unfortunately for Chase, he doesn’t struggle just to pay rent, but he has to keep himself and his mother safe.

This story isn’t just about a boy who has to saves a world, or many worlds. It’s about a guy who loses his life, his father, and everything he’s ever known in a matter a moments. Sure he’s given the duty of saving worlds, but in the middle of that, he’s trying to figure out who he is, and what his purpose in life is. On this journey he comes to realize things aren’t all black and white. All demons aren’t bad and hunters all good. There’s a massive gray area in between, and in that area, Chase finds friendship among the very people he was taught to destroy – demons. And again, his life is changed forever.

Where did you get the idea for Exiled?

Like I said, I stumbled upon Exiled, but I’ve always had this strange obsession with magic. Especially power that was elemental based. I mean really, how cool would be if you could create and control a flame in your hand, or connect with the earth on such a level, that everything came to life in an entirely new way? Those ideas have always excited me, and I’ve watched movies and read books where they were a reality, but they didn’t deliver it the way I wanted it done. I wanted a strength and uniqueness to the magic, in a story that was beautiful, and anyone could enjoy, while at the same time, if you look closer, it’s darker than it appears on the surface.

I took all those ideas and built on them, and when the moment came for me to escape, I disappeared into that world head on, knowing exactly what I wanted to see and dead set on executing it that way.

Exiled is a YA Fantasy series is there any other genre you would like to tackle in the future i.e. dystopian, contempoary etc

Possibly the Mystery/Thriller genre, but I have such a connection and imagination for Fantasy; it’d be difficult to get me away from it. I prefer to try and incorporate those genres into my Fantasy stories.

It’s hard to say where my creativity will be headed in the future, but at this point in time, I like what I’m doing. I write all my stories geared to be appropriate for a YA audience, but I want it to span straight across the board to adults too. I try to put something in my stories for everyone. Whether it be myths, characters, magic, suspense, a touch of humor, anything. I want anyone who picks up EXILED to be able to enjoy it on some level. 

How is work coming along in the next book in the series, Shift?

I just got SHIFT back from my critique partners, and it’s nearly ready to go. I’m going through a final edit now, just to tighten things up, and smooth out some of the flow. That’s what I’m working on over the next few weeks. My goal is to have it to my copy editor by December 1st, 2011, and ready for everyone February 1st, 2012.

How many books will be in the series?

I originally plotted the books to span into a trilogy, however, in recent inspirational developments; I’m looking at expanding that. It could go anywhere from three to six books. One thing I will not do is run the series longer than it needs to go. Everyone has that one series they love, that took it a little too far. I don’t want to do that. I want to deliver an epic story without sacrificing content. Right now, I have some major plotting to do, to see how the books will play out. Until that’s done and I know what direction the story is going, I’m only committing to three. 

Why should we read Exiled?

Because everyone needs an escape. That’s why we read isn’t it? For the love of diving into another’s world and exploring their imagination?

Exiled will take you on an incredible adventure. It’s filled with magic, monsters, and an emotional journey that’s only just beginning. There are characters you’ll love, characters you’ll hate, and characters like Willy, that will just make you smile. If you’re looking for a story that’ll suck you in and take you to places you never knew existed, Exiled will do just that. It might even leave you teary eyed…maybe.

Matthew's Book History 

Favourite book as a child and why?

I think James and the Giant Peach is definitely up there. Actually, it’s been so long since I’ve read it; thinking about it makes me want to read it again. I just remember loving the story. I was never big on reading growing up, and that was a story I never seemed to get tired of.

Favourite book as a teenager and why?

I skipped reading throughout my entire teenagerdom…but two books that stand out in my mind were assigned reading in school, Lord of the Flies and The Giver. Hrmm….I might have to go with The Giver, but both of those stories had a raw power to them that I can’t explain. I just remember finishing them, and being like “Wow, I should read more books, this was incredible.”

Favourite book you have read this year and why?

I’m slacking a bit on my reading this year. I’ve been so busy with writing/editing/publishing EXILED, and writing/editing SHIFT. I’ve beta read a lot of unreleased book…some that I loved, but I suppose that doesn’t count.. I think I’d have to go with Wildflowers Come Back by Sarah Spann. She’s a fellow indie author, and I have a new obsession with her writing. Her voice, her story telling, everything, I connect to it on some personal level and I disappear into her world.

An author/book you would reccommend to my readers?     
As I said above, Wild Flowers Comback was awesome. Also, I think the entire Harry Potter series is worth reading over and over again. JK Rowling has such an incredible talent for world building. She doesn’t even need promotion from someone like me, but anytime someone asks me this question, or asks me an author I look up to, the answer is always the same. I love the stories, I love the movies, I love everything about her creation.

To go in a different direction, there is this AMAZING book that each and every one of your readers needs to have. It’s called EXILED, and it’s by this super handsome Canadian, who is funny, handsome, clever, creative, and did I mention handsome?

Thank you to Matthew for this awesome interview!

M.R. Merrick’s Website: http://matthew-merrick.blogspot.com/

Buy Exiled!

Smashwords (All eReaders except Kindle): http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/69979

Createspace (Paperback): https://www.createspace.com/3647706

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