Author Interview with M.A. Ray

Copyright © M.A. Ray
Copyright © M.A. Ray

May I present to you the author of “Saga of Menyoral.”

1. What genre are your books?

Fantasy, of course!

2. What draws you to this genre?

It’s hard to choose just one reason, but I think the most compelling for me is that fantasy allows us to explore the things that bother us most at a safe remove. The issues of the world are difficult to discuss sometimes, but twist it around, put elves and dwarfs in it, and suddenly it all feels easier to handle. That’s why I love fantasy most.

3. What project are you working on at the moment?

I’m working on three projects just now: the fourth installment in Saga of Menyoral (I’m calling it Hard Time), a short story collection, and the first in a new series set before the breaking of magic in Rothganar (which I’m calling The King under Mountain).

4. What’s it about?

Hard Time, well, it’s about spoiler, spoiler, can’t tell you, sorry! The short story collection is all about legendary heroes from Rothganar’s history. The King under Mountain is about Dingus Xavier’s grandfather, Eagle Eye Wormsbane. He’s just slain his first dragon, and he’s drawn the attention of the beautiful, damaged Crown Prince, Brother Fox. Pretty soon, he’s off for adventure as the Prince’s sole guard.

5. Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is special?

Dingus Xavier is the hero of Menyoral. He’s a half-elf, and he’s endured a lifetime of prejudice, but he hasn’t let that—or the berserker rage he’s always fighting—stop him from becoming a compassionate young guy. As the series has progressed, he’s really come into his own as a hero, and as an adult.

6. Have you written anything else?

I have a couple of stories floating around in independently-published anthologies, but it’s all been in Rothganar. I’ve been playing with it for over ten years now.

7. What are your ambitions for your writing career?

I want to tell as many stories as I can. That’s basically it. Of course, it’s nice when other people read them and like them, and even nicer when they pay me money for them, but all I really want is to tell stories.

8. Which writers inspire you?

So many. Got a few days? Tolkien, C.S Lewis, Christopher Moore, Robin Hobb, M.L. John, J.K. Rowling, some of my writers’ group friends who haven’t published yet… on and on.

9. When did you decide to become a writer? Why do you write?

I’ve been telling stories since, oh. Before I can remember. I suppose it wasn’t ever a conscious decision, just something I do. I’ve always loved to read, and the more I read, the more I wrote. I love words, and I love putting them together. I thought I wanted to do other things with my life, but the more I write, the more I want to. So I’m a writer.

10. Do you have a special time or place to write?

Not particularly. I’m always writing, everywhere I go, even if it’s just in the back of my mind. I usually work at the table (when there’s no food on it), in the nerve center of my house. It’s right near the center of my life.

11. Where do you get your inspiration?

A lot of my inspiration comes from music, especially power metal. I listen while I work. The whole Menyoral saga was inspired by one verse in a DragonForce song, and grew from there. I also read a lot of comics, and books in general, and like I said, the more I read, the more I write. I’ve been slowly working through Fritz Leiber’s Lankhmar stuff, and it’s really exciting. My style is different, but I find that inspiring, especially since one of the current projects is knives and sorcery.

12. Do you work on an outline or do you prefer to see where the idea takes you?

I have a general idea of where I want to go, but I much prefer to let the story grow organically.

13. Do you ever get writer’s block? How do you overcome it?

I don’t believe in it—not for myself, anyway. That simple. Sometimes I need a day off, or a few days, but that’s okay.

14. What is the hardest thing for you about writing?

Two things. First: bringing the people in my head to life, falling in love with them, and then imposing upon them the hideous plots that spin out of my mind. Second: choosing every single word and putting it where it belongs. Think about it! To write a book, you have to pick each and every one of those thousands of words.

15. How do you market your books? Why did you choose this route?

Honestly? I play it by ear. Mostly I try to be a person, the person I really am, and hope people like me and want to read what I write. I want my fiction to speak for itself.

16. How much research do you do?

Tons! Dingus is a ranger. I spent years researching tracking and wilderness survival.

17. Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?

I prefer my laptop. If that’s not available, I always have pen and paper with me.

18. What are some of your favorite books/authors?

One of my all-time favorites is Throne of the Crescent Moon, by Saladin Ahmed. It’s beautifully written and characterized, in a non-European setting that’s just fantastic. I can’t wait for the next one. Another is Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal. It’s funny and blasphemous, yet somehow respectful, and I really enjoy it every time I read it again.

19. Are you currently reading any books?

I am. I’m reading Controlled Descent, by K.M. Herkes. It’s very well-done, a near-future dystopian thriller. I’m also working my way through The Three of Swords, by Fritz Leiber.

20. How can readers discover more about you and your work?

They can join me on my website. I have free stories available to read, book excerpts, and I sometimes rave about writing.

Twitter: @menyoral
Amazon Author Page:
Book Links:

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