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Q&A with Book Country Member Marshall Ryan Maresca, Author of A MURDER OF MAGES!
Janet Umenta, Book Country Assistant
Posted: Tuesday, June 23, 2015 2:46 PM
Joined: 4/7/2014
Posts: 141


Hi everyone,

Book Country member Marshall Ryan Maresca's latest fantasy novel, A MURDER OF MAGES, comes out July 7, 2015! Marshall previously workshopped THE THORN OF DENTONHILL on Book Country. Both novels were picked up by DAW Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House. THE THORN OF DENTONHILL came out last February.

Marshall has gladly agreed to answer questions in this discussion thread about querying, writing, and the publishing process on July 8, 2015. You can post any question you have below.

Thank you!

Janet


Amber Wolfe
Posted: Wednesday, June 24, 2015 1:47 AM

I've got a question!

 

I've read The Thorn of Dentonhill and enjoyed it immensely. My question is this:

 

What was the editing process like for both novels? When the Editor went through a scene and deemed that it needed tweaking, how did you go about the process? Did the editor collaborate with you thoroughout the editing process? Or were most of the changes done by yourself?

 

Thanks for considering my question!

 

Amber


D J Lutz
Posted: Thursday, July 2, 2015 5:54 AM

I noticed you have an agent. Did he help place your work with DAW Books or did you submit on your own? Along the same lines, have you ever considered self-publishing your work? Either method works, in my opinion, but I am always curious to learn what motivates an author to choose one over the other. Thanks - and best wishes on the book launch!

--edited by D J Lutz on 7/5/2015, 3:11 PM--


Lucy Silag - Book Country Director
Posted: Tuesday, July 7, 2015 5:32 PM
Joined: 6/7/2013
Posts: 1357


What was the biggest surprise about writing and editing the second book, as compared to the first book?

Allen Curtis Meissner
Posted: Tuesday, July 7, 2015 6:49 PM
Joined: 9/2/2014
Posts: 22


Is this book a sequel to Thorn of Denton Hill ?
Amber Wolfe
Posted: Tuesday, July 7, 2015 11:15 PM

I have a follow-up question

 

How did you market The Thorn of Dentonhill and A Murder of Mages? How did you go about promoting your novels before and after publishing?


Mimi Speike
Posted: Wednesday, July 8, 2015 2:36 AM
Joined: 11/17/2011
Posts: 1016


Well! I see a lot that catches my interest. 'Fantasy crime' in a (presumably) gritty port city, very promising indeed. What led you into this intriguing setting? I hope you have a good dose of a new-conceived Sam Spade in there. 

.

How do you promote your thing? Give me some nuts and bolts. What support in terms of marketing do you get from your publisher? Or, at least, what sort of direction? What does your trad publisher do for you that you couldn't do yourself?  (Except put their stamp of approval on your work.) What is the most surprising suggestion that your publisher has made? My last question: Are you having fun?

 

--edited by Mimi Speike on 7/8/2015, 8:13 AM--


Marshall R Maresca
Posted: Wednesday, July 8, 2015 11:10 AM
Joined: 3/7/2011
Posts: 55


Hello, all!  Glad to be here!   I'm Marshall Ryan Maresca, author of The Thorn of Dentonhill and A Murder of Mages, both now available through DAW Books.  Both books, in early forms, were workshopped and critiqued here on BookCountry.  (In fact, Thorn was one of the very first things up here, back in the day.)

 

AMBER: 

What was the editing process like for both novels? When the Editor went through a scene and deemed that it needed tweaking, how did you go about the process? Did the editor collaborate with you thoroughout the editing process? Or were most of the changes done by yourself? 



For both books, the editing process-- in terms of content & story editing-- was with my editor at DAW Sheila Gilbert.  It was very much a conversation between us.  It was less directives like "Tweak this scene here" and more things like, "So what's she thinking in this scene?  You could clarify that."  Once we talked it over, I would go back to my manuscript and make changes based on that conversation.  If I had further questions or concerns, of course, her proverbial door was always open.
Marshall R Maresca
Posted: Wednesday, July 8, 2015 11:33 AM
Joined: 3/7/2011
Posts: 55


DJ:

 

I noticed you have an agent. Did he help place your work with DAW Books or did you submit on your own? Along the same lines, have you ever considered self-publishing your work? Either method works, in my opinion, but I am always curious to learn what motivates an author to choose one over the other. Thanks - and best wishes on the book launch! 

 

Thanks!  He's the one who got it on Sheila's desk.  It's true, DAW has an open submissions policy, but I've heard that slush pile is deep.  I honestly believe it's thanks to him that I'm here with DAW now.

 

I'd be lying if I said I didn't consider going the self-publishing route.  That option called like a siren from time to time.  But I also knew that I had to try for the traditional route.  I'm a point to the fences, swing as hard as you can kind of guy.  If I didn't TRY, I'd always kick myself.


Janet Umenta, Book Country Assistant
Posted: Wednesday, July 8, 2015 11:37 AM
Joined: 4/7/2014
Posts: 141


    
Hi Marshall,

 

Do you ever deal with self-doubt while writing? If so, how do you deal with it?

 

Janet


Marshall R Maresca
Posted: Wednesday, July 8, 2015 12:23 PM
Joined: 3/7/2011
Posts: 55


Lucy:

 

What was the biggest surprise about writing and editing the second book, as compared to the first book? 



That's a tough one.  See, I wrote both books before either sold, so there wasn't a, "Now that I've sold one book, writing this one will be ..." or such.  I did learn a lot about story structure and outlining with THORN, so I had that well worked out when I wrote MURDER.


For me, the big surprise in each one was how tertiary characters "pop" and become more than I originally envisioned for them.  So people like Hetzer in THORN or Sister Alana in MURDER -- characters that didn't even exist in the outline-- became something I had not anticipated when I first put them in.  Both those characters started essentially out of utility, but their personalities blossomed in the writing.


Marshall R Maresca
Posted: Wednesday, July 8, 2015 12:25 PM
Joined: 3/7/2011
Posts: 55


Allen:

 

Is this book a sequel to Thorn of Denton Hill ?


No, A MURDER OF MAGES is a parallel series to THORN-- same setting, different characters.


There will be a sequel to THORN.   THE ALCHEMY OF CHAOS will come out early next year.

--edited by Marshall R Maresca on 7/8/2015, 3:44 PM--


Marshall R Maresca
Posted: Wednesday, July 8, 2015 3:34 PM
Joined: 3/7/2011
Posts: 55


Amber, I'm going to fold the answer to your second into Mimi's here:

 

How do you promote your thing? Give me some nuts and bolts. What support in terms of marketing do you get from your publisher? Or, at least, what sort of direction? What does your trad publisher do for you that you couldn't do yourself?  (Except put their stamp of approval on your work.) What is the most surprising suggestion that your publisher has made? My last question: Are you having fun?   


Promotion is a strange beast.  I mean, there's a lot of "invisible" promotion that comes with a traditional publisher.  Just being in a bookstore with a DAW logo on the spine is a lot.  There's behind the scenes stuff with the catalogs they send to bookstores, meetings with sellers, etc. that I don't even have to THINK about. When I went to a Barnes & Noble yesterday, Murder was being placed in the front with high visibility.  That's a thing that gets negotiated behind the scenes.  I couldn't possibly have done all that on my own.  Also, another thing that the traditional publisher does is open doors to reviewers, cross-promotion opportunities, etc.  And with DAW I had a promotion person (the wonderful Nita Basu) who set up a lot of those reviews, cross-promotion blogs, etc.  

 

Not to mention those covers!  Great covers are also promotion, and I've been really blessed with these.  That's another thing I wouldn't have been able to do on my own.  

 

Most surprising suggestion?  I tend to be a bit gun-shy on putting too much HERE IS THE WORLDBUILDING in the books-- I don't want the infodump.  So there were a few moments where Sheila said, "No, it's OK, give us a bit more of that."  

 

YES.  I'm having a blast.


Marshall R Maresca
Posted: Wednesday, July 8, 2015 3:38 PM
Joined: 3/7/2011
Posts: 55


Janet--

 

Do you ever deal with self-doubt while writing? If so, how do you deal with it?  


I think we all get a bit of "imposter syndrome' while doing this.  I don't have much of a strategy beyond tamping it down and pushing forward.  But part of it is I've got a couple dedicated beta readers, as well as my agent and my editor, who I trust will tell me if something isn't working.  I don't have to worry too much about that inner voice when I've got those outer voices.  


Janet Umenta, Book Country Assistant
Posted: Wednesday, July 8, 2015 4:40 PM
Joined: 4/7/2014
Posts: 141


@Marshall Thank you!
Amber Wolfe
Posted: Wednesday, July 8, 2015 7:38 PM
Thanks so much for answering my questions, Marshall!
Marshall R Maresca
Posted: Thursday, July 9, 2015 12:26 PM
Joined: 3/7/2011
Posts: 55


You're all very welcome!
D J Lutz
Posted: Friday, July 10, 2015 7:16 AM
Thanks for the insight. I'm with you - swing for the fence every time, but never discount the fast grounder that gets you on first base (self-publishing!)
 

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