Today I am interviewing Marshall Ryan Maresca, author of the new fantasy novel, The Way of the Shield, first book in the Maradaine Elite series.
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DJ: Hi Marshall! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Marshall: Hi, I’m Marshall Ryan Maresca, I’m a fantasy author living in Austin, and I’m the author of the Maradaine Saga, which consists of four different series set in the same magical fantastical city of Maradaine, the latest of which is The Way of the Shield, which is the first of the fourth series, The Maradaine Elite.
DJ: What is The Way of the Shield about?
Marshall: The Way of the Shield follows Dayne Heldrin, a pacifist warrior who is part of the Tarian Order, elite order who study defensive combat arts. He returns to Maradaine after a costly error involving an influential family could lead to his expulsion from the Order, and he finds his principles put to the test as he tries to stop an insurgent plot to assassinate members of Parliament.
DJ: What were some of your influences The Way of the Shield and the series?
Marshall: I’ve been calling it Fantasy Captain America Meets Les Miserables, which should give you some sense of where it’s coming from.
DJ: Could you briefly tell us a little about your main characters? Do they have any cool quirks or habits, or any reason why readers with sympathize with them? What makes them compelling?
Marshall: The two main characters, Dayne and Jerinne, are both people who have a lot of doubts about their future, but they’re also people who immediately step into action when people are in danger.
DJ: What is the world and setting of the Maradaine Elite series like? Marshall: The term I like to use is gearpunk to describe it— like it’s a place that will become steampunk, but it isn’t there yet. It’s a civilization on the brink of a lot of change: social, political, technological. Things are happening, and the characters are living through a sea change. So we see that there’s a king and a noble class, but there’s also a Parliament. And while the Parliament is democratically elected, we also that democracy is full of holes, and as a result, there are bits of resentment and fomenting revolution, both big and small. And we see a civilization that has so much organization and infrastructure, but there still is room for this ancient order with their swords and shields.
DJ: What was your favorite part about writing The Way of the Shield?
Marshall: A big part was crafting action scenes where the goals of the main characters are “how can we save everyone here”, so their approach was significantly different than my characters in my other series. That created a whole new set of challenges.
DJ: What do you think readers will be talking about most once they finish it?
Marshall: Oh, tough one. Let’s say the potentials it sets up for future books.
DJ: Did you have a particular goal when you began the Maradaine Elite series? The Way of the Shield is only the first book, but is there a particular message or meaning you are hoping to get across when readers finish it? Or is there perhaps a certain theme to the story?
Marshall: The big themes I was working on was about finding the right balance between tradition and progress. Dayne’s order is an element of the past, and he feels a lot of connection to it and its heritage. Does it have a place in a more modern world with established military and law enforcement, and if so, what is that place? What is the cost of trying to preserve traditions?
DJ: When I read, I love to collect quotes – whether it be because they’re funny, foodie, or have a personal meaning to me. Do you have any favorite quotes from The Way of the Shield that you can share with us?
Marshall: Oh… I would share by true favorite, but… spoilers. So here’s a foodie bit (because I do love my foodie bits)
Dayne’s plate arrived, just in time to save him from having to actually read the newssheet in front of the three of them. Sizzling lamb chop, dressed in a beer and onion sauce, with a generous mound of crisp—thin sliced potatoes, fried in rendered duck fat. This was a plate of bliss. Dayne stabbed his fork into the crisp and took a glorious bite of the hot, crunchy, salty rapture.
DJ: Now that The Way of the Shield is released, what is next for you?
Marshall: Next up is A Parliament of Bodies, which comes out in March, which is another Maradaine Constabulary novel, with Inspectors Satrine Rainey and Minox Welling, but it crosses over with the Maradaine Elite. And after that we’ll get the next Maradaine Elite novel, The Shield of the People.
DJ: Where can readers find out more about you?
Amazon Author Page: https://amzn.to/2zovTv8
Author Newsletter: https://tinyletter.com/MRMaresca
DJ: Before we go, what is that one thing you’d like readers to know about The Way of the Shield and the Maradaine Elite series that we haven’t talked about yet?
Marshall: Along the lines of “Fantasy Captain America”, if you want some old school silver-age Cap/Bucky camaraderie, but where the Bucky in question is his lesbian gal-pal, then THIS IS THE BOOK FOR YOU.
DJ: Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to answer my questions!
Marshall: Thank you so much for having me!
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*** The Way of the Shield is published by DAW and is available TODAY!!! ***
Buy the Book:
Amazon | Barnes & Nobel | Goodreads | Kobo
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The first novel in the Maradaine Elite series blends fast-paced high fantasy and political intrigue.
Dayne Heldrin always dreamed of being a member of the Tarian Order. In centuries past, the Elite Orders of Druthal were warriors that stood for order, justice, and the common people. But now, with constables, King’s Marshals, and a standing army, there is little need for such organizations, and the Tarian Order is one of the last remnants of this ancient legacy. Nevertheless, Dayne trained his body and mind, learned the arts of defense and fighting, to become a candidate for the Tarian Order.
When a failed rescue puts Dayne at fault for injuring the child of a powerful family, his future with the Tarians is in jeopardy. The Parliament controls the purse strings for the Order, and Dayne has angered the wrong members of Parliament. He returns to the capital city of Maradaine in shame, ready to be cast out of the Order when the period of his candidacy ends.
Dayne finds Maradaine in turmoil, as revolutions and dark conspiracies brew around him, threatening members of Parliament and common people alike. Dayne is drawn into the uproar, desperate not to have one more death or injury on his conscience, but the Order wants him to stay out of the situation. The city threatens to tear itself apart, and Dayne must decide between his own future and his vow to always stand between the helpless and harm.
About the Author:
Marshall Ryan Maresca grew up in upstate New York and studied film and video production at Penn State. He now lives Austin with his wife and son. His work appeared in Norton Anthology of Hint Fiction and Rick Klaw’s anthology Rayguns Over Texas. He also has had several short plays produced and has worked as a stage actor, a theatrical director and an amateur chef. His novels The Thorn of Dentonhill and A Murder of Mages each begin their own fantasy series, both set in the port city of Maradaine.
For more information, visit Marshall’s website at http://www.mrmaresca.com.