Monday, November 28, 2011

MEN in YA: Interview + GIVEAWAY with MR Merrick, author of Exiled

Something totally awesome is happening on the Bookish blog today! I'm very happy and honored to welcome the utmost fabulous MR Merrick to my blog for an interview and a GIVEAWAY:) Matt is the author of the brilliant Exiled - an absolutely gorgeous, action-packed YA debut novel that rocked my socks off (or, in the words of the fab Bookish Brunette: ROCKED MY FACE OFF!!!).

Guys, please give a warm welcome to our fantabulous YA Galaxy Defender, Matt Merrick!

E: Evie
MM: Matt Merrick
E: Welcome to Bookish Matt! It’s really great to talk to you today! Your YA debut novel, Exiled, is on everyone’s lips these days! Could you tell us who or what inspired you to write it?
MM: To be honest, it all has to do with a little girl named Peyton, my daughter. My work life has always been all over the place, I have a bit of problem staying challenged at work. I’ve done dozens of different things, and my schedule has always been erratic, but one thing I promised myself would always remain constant, is being there to tuck her in at night.

Exiled isn’t exactly geared for children, but the bedtime stories I would make up to tell my daughter, sparked a passion for creative writing that I never knew existed. I’ve always loved writing, but before then, I’d never been a storyteller. I owe all of this desire and passion for writing fiction to her.
E: How long did it take for you to write Exiled?
MM: It took me 6 months to write the first draft, and I must have edited it nearly a dozen times before I sent it to a professional editor. I think in total, I spent 16 – 18 months working on it.

When I started this journey, I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t know how to write a novel, format, edit. I had to learn everything from the ground up. That definitely made the process take longer than it needed to. It didn’t help that I had no writing community. There was nothing locally that I could use to help me, besides books. I didn’t find the wonderful world of Twitter until Exiled was nearly published, so I was really left to do it all on my own.

To put all this into perspective for any non-writers. The sequel to Exiled is SHIFT. I wrote the first draft of that in 6 weeks, and when it’s published, I’ll have spent about 8 months actually working on it.
E: How would you describe your book in 5 words?
MMMagical, Unique, Dark, Passionate, Explosive
E: What was the most fun part of the book (or chapter) for you to write?
MM: The part I enjoy the most in writing is the first draft. There are no rules and you don’t hold back. You unleash a fury of keystrokes and a story explodes on the page. There’s nothing more enjoyable than not thinking about anything but an epic story.

I actually have two favorites chapters. The last chapter – including the epilogue, because it’s so powerful, and there is so much magic. And I think Chapter 17, where they first go to the tree. That scene is where everything really builds up and gets exciting for me. I’ve read this book a hundred times, but that scene, every time, gets me really jacked up
E: Are any of your characters based on people in your own life? Which of the characters do you feel is most like you?
MMI think it’s safe to say I’m most like Chase. When I started writing Exiled, his name was Chase, but in a nutshell, he was me. After a few chapters though, he became someone different. I actually had to go back and re-write the first few chapters because he wasn’t the same person he started out as. Everyone else was completely original, not based on anyone I knew, but each of their personalities has a some of me inside them, if only a little.
E: Have you always wanted to become a writer? At what point in your life did you decide that this is the right career path for you?
MMI’ve always enjoyed writing, but up until a few years ago, I never realized just how much I loved it. Exiled was when I started writing fiction, and it wasn’t until I was halfway done the first draft, that I realized I wanted to make a career out of this. I discovered a new passion, and I knew it was the career I wanted, because I’d never felt this way about anything I’d ever done before.It has brought such focus and determination to me; I hope I never lose that
E: How do you approach writing a new book? Are you a plotter or a pantser?
MMThis is a tough one for me. I wrote Exiled as a pantser. No outline, no general guideline at all. All I knew is I wanted to create new monsters, put a spin on old ones, and have a lot of really cool magic. In writing the sequel, I did a solid outline. I plotted it from beginning to end. I thought this would take the fun out of writing for me, but it didn’t, it actually made it more enjoyable. Maybe that’s because the world and foundation had already been built. I think I’ll continue to be a plotter, but if I start writing an entirely new series, I might be a pantser for the first book, and just see how far an idea can take me.
E:  What’s next in line for you? When can we expect to see the second book in Exiled series?
MM: Next is Book 2 in The Protector Series, SHIFT. I think before I start any new projects, I’ll continue working on this series. If all goes well, SHIFT will be available for your reading consumption on February 1st.

In SHIFT, you can expect more of the non-stop action you got from EXILED. It’s a lot longer book, about 1 ½ times longer actually, and we get to see more of all the characters you love. We learn more about Chase, we get to see a new side of Willy, but we really get a solid look into Rayna;her past, who she is, and who she might become.
E: If you could time travel, where would you go first?
MM: There are so many time periods I’d love to visit. I wouldn’t’ go to the future. I like the mystery of not knowing what will happen, but I’d love to go back to the time of the Mayans, preferably near the end so I could know what really went down. That, or like 3000BC, and watch how Stonehenge was built. Of course, this only works if I can speak their language. Do I get like a book, or a special machine that can translate anything and everything?
E: If your book was made into a movie, who would you cast for it?
MM: Oh man…I don’t want to be a party pooper, but I can’t answer this. I have this thing where I don’t like to tell people what my characters look like, outside of their descriptions in the book. I like to leave it all to their imagination. It’s the same reason I don’t put character’s faces on my covers. I might show you a character, but there will be no face.

There’s a few bloggers out there that have posted pictures of who they think would play Chase. They have some pretty wicked ideas. I have a picture of Rayna on my computer. Actually it’s perfect, but I found it randomly and have no idea who she is. If it was up to me to cast her, I’d put a banner across the internet with her picture and be like “If this is you, contact me ASAP.”
E: What genre do you like to read in your free time? Which of your favorite books would you recommend everybody to read?
MM: I love to read Fantasy, Thrillers, and True Crime. Really, I’ll read anything, but if I’m going in search of a book, that’s where I’ll look.

I always recommend the first three books in The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare. I absolutely love that series. I haven’t had the pleasure of reading the fourth yet. And without question, if they haven’t already read them, I will forever suggest The Harry Potter series. J.K. Rowling’s got mad skillz. For real.
I just want to say a quick thank you to Evie, for giving me the opportunity to be here on her blog, and the chance to chat with all her readers!

Matt, thank you so much for joining us today!  
I'm can't wait to get my hands on the second book in the Protector Series!
Huge thanks for being so absolutely wonderful!

I hope you guys enjoyed the interview, for more information about Matt Merrick and his books, please visit his website: Matt Merrick or/and read my review of Exiled.

Here's some more drool-inducing, swoon-worthy awesomeness from Matt!

Huge thank you to Matt Merrick for taking the pictures for the MEN in YA event! <3

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Thanks to the fabulous:
MR Merrick

I have one signed paperback to give away to one (incredibly) lucky winner!!!
I also have one eBook copy for my International followers!
To be eligible to win all you need to do is be a follower of my blog and enter through Rafflecopter below.
The paperback giveaway is open to US/Canada only, the ebook giveaway is open Worldwide!
Ends: December 20th
Please let me know in your comment if you're entering to win the paperback or eBook copy!

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This interview and giveaway are posted as a part of the MEN in YA event (Nov 20th - Dec 20th)
For more awesomeness (reviews, interviews, giveaways, guest posts) please click the banner below!

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About the Author
Evie is the Blogger behind Bookish. She enjoys reading many different genres, especially YA, Paranormal, Contemporary Fiction and Fantasy.
She loves talking to authors and is always happy to welcome them for interviews, and guest posts. She also likes spreading the love for awesome books and  chatting with fellow book-worms.
You can find Evie here: Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Shelfari | The Library Thing


Marthapao said...

Those are some funny pictures! And I can totally relate to the having to make up stories for our children, it's funny now that my kid is four he tells me stories. :)

Marthapao said...

BTW forgot to mention paperback. :)

Anonymous said...

I would love an ebook copy, thanks!

Asheley T. said...

FUN interview!!

I read your thoughts yesterday and felt like I really want to read this, especially after hearing about it on Twitter and another blog or two. But after this interview, Matt seems very cool. So now I'm pretty much dying to read it.

Also, I've never heard the terms "plotter or pantser" - that's pretty funny! I was chuckling quite a bit!

Thanks for the interview and I totally hope I win! (I'm entering for the paper copy!)

Thanks Evie and Matt!!

Asheley T. said...

Okay, I left my comment before I entered the contest. If I got to be lucky enough to choose super powers, I would want to fly and teleport. BOTH. Because that would be so cool!!!

Tiffany Holme said...

I love the pictures lol I can understand why Matt wanted them up :) I don't think I can express how awesome I think this book is going to be!! I have heard so many wonderful things about it and it makes me wish I was an awesome reviewer so I could of gotten me a copy already. I like that Matt doesn't show or say who he thinks would be his cast because so often they are not quite good enough for the real characters :D
I think the most awesome super power would be invisibility:) I mean how awesome would that be lol

Thank you so much for the giveaway! I'm in Canada and would LOVE to win a signed copy!!

Ironstrangeprompts said...

I would want to be able to shape shift.

I do like the idea of being able to travel back and see grand events though.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the giveaway and such a great interview. I like that you don't want to share what the characters might look like in real life. Others have done this with books and most of the time I'm scratching my head at their ideas so thank you for letting our imaginations run with the book. If I could have a supernatural power well is it wrong to want more than one? Lol. I would love to be able to go through anything solid that would definitely come in handy many times. Also the power to heal myself/others would be great. Thanks again for the giveaway and interview I can't wait to read this book.

M.R. Merrick said...

Hey Evie, how come you never asked me what kind of super powers I would have?

Just for the record, I would be able to create/control the elements...or I would be spider man. As long as the suit came with it, I'm not much for sewing.

Thanks for all the comments everyone :)

This contest is open until December 20th. If we get enough entries, I bet Evie could pursued me to give away a second signed paperback...just so you know.

Janie said...

I love finding out more about authors IRL, their process behind writing, etc. It makes me have a whole new appreciation for their work. :) Awesomesauce!

I think if I had a supernatural power...I'd want pyrokinesis...just because I love to play with fire :)

Janie said...

Eek! When I went to go enter my twitter name on the follow MRMerrick - I hit my enter key when I went to hit @tanglemyschmoo was my Twitter

Janie said...

P.S. Entering for the paperback - sorry for leaving 8 zillion comments :P

Arianne said...

I'd love to have the power to be invisible on demand, and read minds on demand :D

K.C. Neal said...

Matt, You're going to offer those pics poster-size, right? Awesome sauce!! Oh yeah, and I loved Exiled, too. <3

Giselle said...

I've heard a lot about Exiled it'd be about time I check it out. Plus, that Mr. Merrick is hot!

Xpresso Reads

AmyS. said...

If I had a superpower it would be super speed. That way I can clean the house much faster. LOL. Thanks for the great giving away.

Giselle said...

Oh. And my superpower would totally be Telekinesis. That'd be awesome for my road rage!! GET OUT OF MY WAY!! MUAHAHAHA

Xpresso Reads

M.R. Merrick said...

KC - Posters? I think that is one of the most awesome suggestions I've ever heard! Haha.

M.A.D. said...

Mary DeBorde [M.A.D.]
zenrei57 (at) hotmail dot com

Paperback copy, if I win ;D

Exiled sounds awesome, love discovering new books & authors! If I had superpowers, it would be the ability to run backwards or forwards in time hehe

Evie said...

You guys are cracking me up so bad with your comments! :D I love the idea of Matt's posters :D That would definitely sell well ;)

Megan said...

Great interview and awesome giveaway!!

If I could have a magical power, it would be to read minds!

LoriStrongin said...

Fun interview! I'm definitely a fan of there being more male protags in YA lit--they're fun and so much more act-first, think-later, so it's a nice change from female protags that analyze everything to death before acting.

Thanks for the giveaway op!


Bookluvr Mindy said...

Good to know!

Magical Urban Fantasy Reads

Novella Vialli said...

Exiled has been added to my wishlist. It sounds amazing. Plus, i love male protags!

Anonymous said...

Woops forget to mention in my comment yesterday that I'm entering the giveaway. Please count me in lol.

Anonymous said...

I'm entering for the paperback copy. Keep forgetting to say that lol sorry for all the comments.

Anonymous said...

WHAT an ABSOLUTELY awesome event, post, blog, photo shoot, give away interview extravaganza! Exiled is awesome, Matt's a really great guy and it's so cool to watch an author like him "blow up" all over the internets and suddenly be, it seems, everywhere! Much deserved and Evie you rock for this great event and this great post!!!

M.R. Merrick said...

Thanks for the kind words Rusty!

And I couldn't agree more. Evie has done an unbelievable job with this blog event.

Kudos to you Evie, and thanks for letting a goofy Canadian take over your blog for a day :)

Unknown said...

i love reading interviews and the book sounds really great
good luck to all!

Leia-Ann said...

Thanks for the great giveaway and interview! I love the MiYA series, it's so much fun.

I'm entering for the e-book, as an international follower ;p.

Read Between the Lines said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Read Between the Lines said...

I have been wanting to read this since SM Reine recommended it so thx for the giveaway and the interview was fun thx. and my superpower would be omniscient. I think that would be awesome.

Carmen Shaw said...

Good! I've been wanting to read this book, and I love the cover! Thanks so much for the giveaway!

Julie S said...

Thanks for the interview and giveaway. It sounds really interesting. I loved in your review that you said it was like the show Supernatural (love love love).

Emelie_C said...

Pick me! :) This book sounds super interesting...

Kelly said...

If I had superpowers, I would like to be superstrong and superfast. Loved the pics so cute! wink wink

FireStarBooks said...

Superpower: MIND CONTROL! :D

Paperback version please :)

PS. Matt is CUUUTEEE ;)

Giselle San Miguel said...

I love the photos of Matt posing in a suit and a gun (haha) and I'd love to be able to time travel or teleport :D

I can't wait to read this. I believe I've found him on Twitter too :P


Giselle @

Giselle San Miguel said...

Oh and I forgot to mention either or will do. Ebook or paperback :)

Giselle @

Ammy Belle said...

Great interview! Thanks for sharing your insights and the great photos! They made me giggle at work :)

Supernatural Power ... I would (and this will make me sound super lazy) want telekinetic powers - so I could grab a book off the shelf with my mind and stir my coffee and bring it to me across the room. Also so I can levitate myself - it totally counts.

Ammy Belle

Erin N said...

Very awesome interview! Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series rocks and so does Harry Potter!

I think that I would want to supernatural power of either time travel or read people's thoughts. It's so frustrating not knowing what someone just won't tell you. And I would love to travel into the past, not the future.

druidgirl said...

This sounds like a great book and I am trying to expand the genres I read
looking forward to reading it

P.E. said...

I've never heard of Exiled before but it looks simply fabulous. I really want to check it out and read it.

That was a great interview. The difference between the time it took to write Exiled and Shift was really surprising.

Thanks for the giveaway! My supernatural power must be of persuasion. I would love to get people to do what I want (like get me a copy of Exiled for instance, jk). Either that or flight. I'd love to fly.

Bhand35 said...

Thank you for the interview. I would love to get a paperback copy.

If I had a superpower it would be to be able to speed read.

Stella Chen said...

Hello. I would love to have the ability to time travel! :)
There will be endless possiblity to that power!

I would love to win a paperback verion of this.

Sebrina said...

I have to say it sounds like MR Merrick has a great sense of humor. Or is it that I'm throwing out the weird way of speaking when I'm reading what he said? IDK, maybe its just me and I'm a lil dorky! :)
Thanks for the chance at this giveaway.
And if I had a supernatural power, it would have to involve the mind. Like mind reading, or influencing others through the mind. Does that mean I'm a control freak? Crap, probably.......*laughs* oh well...Thanks again

SpadesHighReads said...

I would love to be able to control and generate fire... ^_^ EEK!! Yes, I'm a pyro and it will TOTALLY save up on heating bills =) Thank you for hosting this giveaway!!
Have a wonderful holiday!

GFC Follower: SpadesHighReads

Andra Lyn said...

I'm loving the "explosive" sound of this book...definitely something right up my alley! Thanks for the giveaway chick! I can't believe there's all of these guys and books that I haven't heard of...

Anonymous said...

my supernatural power I want is teleportation :) thanks for doing this, it's very cool!!!

Vanessa said...

If I could choose any power I would pick the ability to shoot fire. :D

Vanessa said...

Oh I would love a paperback!

SpadesHighReads said...

Argh! I totally forgot to mention that I wanted to enter for the PB please =P I'm sorry for being so forgetful DOH! =)

Dizneeee said...

So fun! I have read so many great things on Twitter about this book. I "have" to read it!!!

If I won, I would love the PB copy. I'm hesitant to change to an e-reader. Something about holding a book and feeling and smelling the pages. :P

Sam (Realm of Fiction) said...

Exiled sounds great! Thanks for an entertaining giveaway! Love the photos. ;)

Nedraw said...

Superpower I think I would have to say teleporting. I never seem to have enough time to be where I'm supposed be on time.
I'm entering for the paperback.

Unknown said...

Loved the interview! If I could have a super power i'd be to control time.

Sana said...

If I had to choose one superpower I would choose to have the ability to fly because it would save me from a lot of trouble and money, of course =D

Entering the giveaway for eBook.

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