Thursday, October 27, 2016

Marshall Ryan Maresca Interview - An Import of Intrigue

Photo Credit: © Kimberley Mead

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


Series: Maradaine Constabulary (Book 2)
Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: DAW (November 1, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0756411734
ISBN-13: 978-0756411732


“Maresca’s debut is smart, fast, and engaging fantasy crime in the mold of Brent Weeks and Harry Harrison. Just perfect.” —Kat Richardson, national bestselling author of Revenant

“Veranix is Batman, if Batman were a teenager and magically talented.... Action, adventure, and magic in a school setting will appeal to those who love Harry Potter and Patrick Rothfuss' The Name of the Wind.” ―Library Journal (starred)

You grew up in upstate New York; was there a defining moment during your youth when you realized you wanted to be a writer?
I can’t think of a pure moment, but I remember when I was a kid Bruce Coville would come talk in the middle schools, so that was a moment of, “Hey, writing books is totally a thing people do.”

What’s one thing that readers would be surprised to find out about you?
I once got hired (a cook in a diner) without giving any personal information at all. Saw a sign they were hiring, walked in and said, “Hey, I can cook.” “Can you come in Tuesday at 9am?” “Yeah.” “See you then.” Later the manager told me he thought to himself, “I really should have gotten his name… Hope he shows.”

Is there such a thing as a formula for storytelling?
I prefer to think in terms of “structure” rather than formula. “Formula” feels too clinical, like, “Do this on page 7, and then this on page 19, and the rest of the instructions to a Bestselling novel!” Structure, on the other hand, informs you with the shape of things, without necessarily taking the specific magic out of it.

What was the greatest thing you learned at school?
For me, it was “Kill your babies”. It’s a concept that pops up with various phrasings, but it means the same thing regardless. The gist of it is to mercilessly ditch those precious ideas that aren’t working, that you try to shove into the larger narrative. It might be a great scene or turn of phrase, but if you’re trying to bend over backwards to force it in there because you love it so, kill it.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?
I was at a workshop years ago (The ArmadilloCon Writers Workshop), where John Scalzi was the guest of honor, who told us all about “Embracing the Power of Sucking”. The gist of it was to accept that what you write might suck, and that’s okay. Use that, use knowing that, to push forward.

What are some of the common challenges that new and experienced authors face and what advice do you have for over-coming them?
Hmmm… The challenges we all face are unique, so that’s hard to say. I would say not to get too caught up in a narrative about how you’re supposed to write (for example, You Must Write X Words Per Day, or You Should Let The Story Take You, or some other presumption that is absorbed as Writing Gospel), and instead take time to learn about how YOU write best. And sometimes for experienced writers, we need to constantly re-examine our presumptions of How We Write.

For those who are unfamiliar with your novel; An Import of Intrigue (The Maradaine Constabulary #2), how would you introduce it?
Two Maradaine Constabulary inspectors: Satrine Rainey and Minox Welling, have to solve a murder of a dignitary in “The Little East” a neighborhood of foreign enclaves, before the different factions turn on each other and tear the city apart.

Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
Always. This book is the second Maradaine Constabulary novel, and I’ve got a third one planned, A Parliament of Bodies.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating Rainey?
For me, it was delving into her past. Like, I talk about how bad her past was, and I didn’t want to sugarcoat it, make it this Disneyfied happy-waifs-homeless-on-the-street, but I didn’t want to delve into the darkness either. It’s part of her past, but it doesn’t define her. But then, that brought about a scene in A Murder of Mages that’s one of my favorites, where she talks to an old friend from those days. I hadn’t planned that scene originally, and it just came about organically, but… I love everything it tells us about Satrine Rainey.

Why do you feel you had to tell this story?
Largely because I wanted to do something I hadn’t really seen much in fantasy, showing foreign enclaves in a city where they had to interact with each other, interact with the main culture, interact with law enforcement. I had built this entire world, and this was a way to tell a story about the larger world in microcosm.

If you could introduce Minox to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
From another Maradaine book? Because, well, keep an eye out for The Imposters of Aventil next year.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
Well, next year I’ve got two more books coming out. The first Streets of Maradaine novel, The Holver Alley Crew, comes out in March. Then there will be the third Thorn novel, The Imposters of Aventil, later that year. I’ve got two more scheduled for the following year, the second Streets novel, Lady Henterman’s Wardrobe, and the third Constabulary I mentioned earlier.

If I came to your house and looked in your closet/attic/basement, what’s the one thing that would surprise me the most?
No basement, and the closet is pretty much my wife’s clothes. There’s an attic above the garage, and that I use for archival storage. Which probably isn’t surprising: bankers boxes of old drafts, notes, and concept/worldbuilding work of old.

Where is the best place in the world you’ve been?
Oh, that’s a tough one. I’m inclined to go with the McDonald Observatory in Fort Davis, Texas. Possibly the most spectacular view of the night sky you can have, especially if you go when there’s a new moon.

If you could be any mythology creature, what would you be?
It’s an admittedly strange choice, but I’m going say a banshee.

When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?
Can you tell me any spoilers for the next book?

What's the worst summer job you've ever had?
I don’t know about worst, but the oddest was one summer where I worked for a 24-hour gym once a week. Basically my job was to be the warm body in charge from 11pm to 7am, in exchange for free membership. Which was a good deal, but who shows up to work out at 3am? You don’t want to know.

When was the last time you cried?
Dude, Bingbong’s sacrifice in Inside Out is a killer. Those Pixar people know how to weaponize emotional connection.

The protagonists of the Maradaine Constabulary novels—Satrine Rainey and Minox Welling—are family people. Who they are is defined not only by the work they do, but also why they do it, and for whom.

Satrine is a wife and mother, and the sole provider for her family after her husband has a debilitating accident. She grew up as a street urchin, abandoned by her own mother at a young age, and her biggest concern is making sure that her daughters do not have to live anything like that. She works to make sure they are supported, educated, and never have to deal with the hardships and horrors that she grew up with.

However, the burdens of the job means that she’s often leaving early and coming home late. She’s a constabulary inspector, often investigating murders, and that sort of thing doesn’t conform to a time-table. In A Murder of Mages, she had to figure out how she was going to balance work and family. An Import of Intrigue has her trying to live that balance, and occasionally having to deal with the consequences of it. Just as the job but her husband in a debilitated state, she knows that she is constantly putting herself at risk, and that risk can follow her home.

Minox is the son of a constabulary officer, and the grandson of two. The Welling family has deep roots in the city, and Minox is surrounded by family who work for the constabulary and other city services: siblings, cousins, aunts & uncles, all doing their part as the fabric that holds the city together. His sister Corrie works horsepatrol at his stationhouse, and his cousin Nyla is a desk clerk there as well. For him family is a pervasive, constant part of his work life.

And there is the difference between the two. For Satrine, family is the priority, the responsibility that keeps her working so hard. For Minox, the work itself is his priority—he would happily stay at the station all night, working on the cases that everyone else considered dead, and family is the anchor that keeps him grounded. Especially since for him, family is also the reminder that he can easily get lost in the work. Both his grandfather and his cousin Evoy gradually lost their minds, becoming so focused on trying to solve everything that they didn’t do anything else. Minox feels that same pull himself, and fears where it could bring him.

Therefore Minox and Satrine, both having to balance their desire and their responsibility, find respect for and balance in each other. And in that, are ideal partners when they get assigned the especially strange cases.

Mixing high fantasy and mystery, this is Marshall Ryan Maresca’s second novel in the Maradaine Constabulary series, companion to DAW’s Maradaine Novels.

The neighborhood of the Little East is a collision of cultures, languages, and traditions, hidden away in the city of Maradaine. A set of streets to be avoided or ignored. When a foreign dignitary is murdered, solving the crime falls to the most unpopular inspectors in the Maradaine Constabulary: exposed fraud Satrine Rainey, and uncircled mage Minox Welling.

With a murder scene deliberately constructed to point blame toward the Little East, Rainey is forced to confront her former life, while Welling’s ignorance of his own power threatens to consume him. And these few city blocks threaten to erupt into citywide war unless the constabulary solves the case.

You can purchase An Import of Intrigue at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you MARSHALL RYAN MARESCA for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of An Import of Intrigue by Marshall Ryan Maresca.


  1. I have dreamed about being an artist, a writer, and an actor. I think some or all of those things *could* happen...someday.