Monday, 10 November 2014

Author Interview - M.R. Merrick (The Protector & Sacred Cities series)

I am pleased to be able to welcome the wonderfully talented M.R Merrick to the blog today. Back in 2011, I read the most amazing fantasy series – The Protector, it is a series that I absolutely adored and I am super excited to hear he has a new series, Sacred series soon to be released!

Books in order: The Protector

Exiled (The Protector, #1)Exiled (2011) Amazon

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.

Shift (The Protector, #2)Shift (2012) Amazon

Devastated by a terrible loss, Chase is trying to balance the life he’s been left with, a family he’s still getting to know, and power he never thought he’d have. He doesn’t understand why the Goddess has named him the Protector and granted him two gifts: the Mark, a tattoo that now covers his back, and the ring. But between getting interrogated by the Circle and psychic attacks from Riley, the Mark is the least of his concern. There’s a demon inside Rayna that’s fighting to be released, and it’s not her inner witch. It’s something else—a monster threatening to tear her apart. 

As Chase struggles to control his magic, his enemies are closing in. Everyone has staked a claim on his ring, and destroying it may be his only chance to stop Riley. But Chase must decide if stopping him is worth risking the lives of everyone he cares about, or if protecting the ring will be enough to save his world.

Release (The Protector, #3)Release (2012) Amazon

After uniting the shifters and calling in reinforcements, Chase has to face his toughest challenge yet: learning to control his emotions. But as tensions rise and his powers grow, controlling his emotions becomes the least of his problems. Terrorized by a multi-shifter who is hell-bent on turning him, Chase questions just how far he’s willing to go to stop his father. Meanwhile, Tiki’s virtuous nature has placed him in the middle of Vincent’s past, leaving Chase to oppose a senate of vampires and defend a demon he hates. Trying to balance his friends, his enemies, and his inner demons, Chase is left searching for answers about the Mark, his destiny, and where he can find the next soul piece. Stopping Riley is his top priority, but as more obstacles arise, he finds himself doubting all the decisions he’s made - especially regarding Rayna. One thing is for certain: Chase has finally realized that he doesn’t know anything. The light doesn’t always quell the darkness, the monsters don’t always stay in the shadows, and the past doesn’t always stay in the past - sometimes, the demons inside are the hardest to fight.

Endure (The Protector, #4)Endure (2013) Amazon

Wrapped in darkness and woven with defeat, every action Chase has taken since being exiled from the Circle has been met with a devastating response. Now he's been burdened with a quest that seems impossible, and he needs to evolve into something more, something greater than he ever thought he could be.
Armed with magic, friendship, and an unbreakable will, Chase must build an army and find a weapon capable of defeating the ultimate evil. But he knows that nothing great comes without sacrifice. Blessed by the very gods who have abandoned him and carrying the fate of all the worlds on his shoulders, Chase Williams is about find out just how much one man can endure.

Sacred Cities (Sacred Cities #1 2014) 

Welcome to Obsession with Books, Are you able to tell us a little about your new Young Adult series Sacred Cities and yourself? 

Thank you so much for having me! Sacred Cities is about two brothers, Alex and Joshua, who have spent most of their childhood growing up in a post-apocalyptic Earth. The story starts with the brothers making the trip to Freedom, one of the few remaining cities left. They’re hoping that they can find some kind of safety inside the city walls. A new life perhaps. What they don’t realize is that although the walls might keep the demons on the outside from getting in, it also keeps the monsters on the inside from getting out. As the boys discovery they’re not the typical teenagers they thought, everything they had planned for the big city gets derailed. After being nearly forced to take shelter with a small group of outsiders, Alex struggles to discover if they’re friends or foes, but is left with few other options. As he digs a little deeper into the group, he finds himself caught up in a world he never even knew existed. Alex has to decide whether or not he wants to walk away from the group and risk his life chasing a dream, or face the demons he’s spent his entire life hiding from. Either way, he’s about to lay his life on the line.

Now that you have finished The Protector series, going back would you make any changes?

That’s such a difficult question. I love the way the story is now that it’s completed. I learned so much writing and publishing it, it’s hard to say that I would change anything. I’m a better writer today because of how things have unfolded with that series. That said, if I were to write the series today as if it were a brand new idea with the added knowledge that I have now, I would change so much. The general story would be the same, of course, as would the worlds and characters I created. I love everything about the series. What I would change is the way I approached some things, the delivery, and maybe some of the structure. I feel like Chase isn’t represented as well as he could be, and that’s my fault. He’s so much more than some people realize, and I think I failed to bring that across in some ways. I’m so much stronger as a creator now than I was then, it’s impossible to say that’s as good as it can get. Even so, it’s my first, and it’s amazing in so many ways. I’ll always love it.

How many books do you have planned for the Sacred Cities series?

This book is written as a standalone. It isn’t going to hinge on any other instalments. However, I already have plot points and some other things for a sequel. It’s a pretty open ended world and there are a lot of things I can—and will—do with it. Right now I have the second book in the back of my mind, but I’m only focusing on the first at the moment. 

What is your ideal day as an author?

Assuming I’m back writing full-time and no longer working a day job: I wake up and get the kids ready for the day. My oldest goes to school, my youngest and I read some books and watch a movie in the morning. When she goes down for a nap, I spend the entire afternoon writing. I cook dinner before the wife gets home, spend time with the family, put the kids to bed, do some social media and/or promotional work, watch a movie or a show with my wife, and go to bed. Repeat as much as possible.

Is there anything about you that would surprise your readers? Any quirks, habits, routines etc.

Oh, most definitely. Skipping all the ones nobody needs to know, I love to sing so much. I acted in high school and for a long time it was my dream to do it professionally, but when push came to shove, I committed zero effort to doing anything with it. As for quirks or routines, I won’t leave the house or go to bed without brushing my teeth, and I can’t stand when my feet are dry. It’s like nails for a chalkboard for me and I need to find some lotion. 

How will the characters in Sacred Cities differ from those in The Protector series?

In The Protector, Chase was hard. He hid his emotions, was head strong and a little obnoxious, but he always had the best of intentions. In Sacred Cities, Alex isn’t afraid to admit when he’s made a mistake. He tries to take the whole situation in and then make a decision, rather than jumping in feet first. The biggest difference though, is vulnerability. Alex is vulnerable in a way Chase never was. He’s not a cocky demon hunter, he’s running from the demons, but at the same time he’s not weak. He’s a strong character, just in a softer sort of way. 

Are you able to tell us about your research and writing process?

I’d love to, and if I ever figure it out, I’d be happy to. To be honest, it changes so much from project to project, I think I’m still trying to figure it out myself.

Are there certain influences that inspire you when writing? (literary and non-literary)

Not really. Some projects require music all the time, other stories are created in silence. The one thing in common is the way in which the story comes to life. I don’t heavily plot or design anything. Really, I just start with a single idea, close my eyes, and hit the keyboard. Whatever happens happens. 

If The Protector or Sacred Cities series was to be made into a movie, who would you chose to play the roles of your main characters?

I’ve never really thought about it. I have some ideas for who would play some of the side characters in each book, but none for the main characters. I did find a model who was the perfect Rayna once, but I have no idea who she is. I found the image online and never could trace it back to find out who was in the photo.

What is up next?

I have two projects in line for when Sacred Cities is done. I’m really struggling right now with which one will go first. One is completely original and a little darker than what I’m used to. At the same time, I think it’s going to be written in a different point of view as well. The other is based off a character some will know, but with what I feel is a completely original twist, placing them in an entirely different world, and is going to take my imagination to the extreme. They’re both a secret at the moment, but I promise you they’ll be exciting.

Quick Questions:

Fave band / television series / movie? I don’t know if I could pick a favourite band. I have favourites in each genre for different moods.  Favourite TV show is Supernatural. Favourite movie…that one just isn’t possible to answer. It kind of falls into the same category as band.

Coffee or tea? Always coffee.

E-reader or hardcopy? E-reader. Going back to the dry feet/hands thing, when they’re dry, I can’t handle feeling paper slide across my skin.

Ideal travel destination? Greece!

Fave book – Standalone or series? At the moment, I’m still pretty hung up on Harry Potter. I love that series so much. 

M.R. MerrickABOUT THE AUTHOR: M.R. Merrick is a Canadian writer, and author of Exiled, the first installment in The Protector Series. 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.


  1. Enjoyed the interview. This is a really great series and I liked it very much.

  2. Fantastic interview Sharon. I have Exiled and hope to read it soon. So many have loved it.


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