Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Marshall Ryan Maresca Interview - The Way of the Shield

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 www.mrmaresca.com.


When/how did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill?
Hard to say exactly when. I mean, I always knew I wanted to write, and world of Maradaine has been simmering in the back of my head for a good twenty-five years. But it took a while to see the shape it needed to take.

Was there a particular event or time that you recognized that writing was not just a hobby?
There reached a point in 2007, I was 34 years old and working this terrible job that I just hated, and I asked myself, “What am I doing with myself? You keep saying you want to be writing books, but you aren’t doing it. Why aren’t you doing it?” And I quit that job, reorganized my life, and got serious about writing.

If you could be a character in any novel you’ve ever read, who would you be and why?
That’s a hard one to answer. I don’t tend to insert myself into novel characters too often. Partly because, thinking of it: most novel characters go through a real mess of problems. There’s the adage that a writer’s job is to chase their characters up a tree and throw rocks at them. I don’t need the tree or rocks in my life.

Can you tell us when you started THE WAY OF THE SHIELD, how that came about?
So, at some point in that 2007 epiphany, I wrote out on a single sheet of paper some brainstorming. It started out with four bullet points: “Magic Student/Street Fighter”, “Fantasy Cops/Magic Crimes”, “Brothers Thieves/Heist”, “Pacifist Warrior/Ancient Order”. Over the next few years, those bullet points expanded into The Thorn of Dentonhill, A Murder of Mages, The Holver Alley Crew and finally The Way of the Shield. I wrote the first draft of Way of the Shield in 2012, as the last of those four series to develop, and over the course of developing all four, put together the greater plan for the whole Maradaine Sequence, of these four series which were each their own thing and part of a greater whole.

What part of Dayne did you enjoy writing the most?
So, Dayne is a fascinating challenge, because he’s someone who could solve many problems with shear strength and fighting skill. But he won’t do that. He’s the guy who wants to save everyone, even the people he’s against.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Stina Leicht. Stina was running the ArmadilloCon Writers Workshop when I was still learning craft, and saw the potential in the early first chapters of Murder and Holver Alley. She made a point of being helpful and supportive in those early years, and then brought me on to help run the workshop with her. When I got the word about my first sale, she was the first non-family person I called.

You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your readers. What would it be?
Take all advice with a grain of salt—only you can figure out the best way for you to do things. I can show you my toolbox, but you’ve got to decide which of my tools are ones you can use.

Which incident in your life that totally changed the way you think today?
The aforementioned bad-job epiphany. It made me realize that this life is not to be wasted, and to focus on the things that were most important to me.

Are there any distractions that kept you from writing?
ALL THE DISTRACTIONS. Right now it’s the daily news and the reaction to it. And all the Marvel movies. ALL OF THEM.

When you looked in the mirror first thing this morning, what was the first thing you thought?
“It’s too early.”

If you could live in any period in history, where would it be and why?
“We’ve been to the past. We’ve been to the future. We’ve been all around the afterlife. And you know? The best place to be—is here. The best time to be—is now. And all’s we can say is… LET’S ROCK!” -Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey

Yeah, that’s what I got for that.

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.

Praise for the MARADAINE Universe

“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)

"Marshall Ryan Maresca is some kind of mad genius…. Not since Terry Pratchett’s Ankh Morpork have we enjoyed exploring every angle of an invented locale quite this much." —B&N Sci-fi & Fantasy Blog

“A well-conceived and well-written melange of popular fantasy sub-genres: there’s a university with a magic department, there is some vigilante derring-do and thievery.... If you’re looking for an action-and-adventure-filled new fantasy series, then The Thorn of Dentonhill will suit very well.” —Civilian Reader

“The Thorn of Dentonhill is a light-hearted, fun read, and Maresca has introduced a hero with plenty of room to grow, a couple of villains who will provide plenty of conflict in upcoming books. And, most importantly, he’s created a character that I care enough about to continue reading.” —Relentless Reading

“Take the caped avenger of Batman, the teenage-superhero angst of Spiderman, the street-gang bravado of West Side Story, and toss in the magic of Harry Potter, and what have you got? Marshall Ryan Maresca’s The Thorn of Dentonhill.” —Kings River Life Magazine

“Maresca brings the whole package, complete and well-constructed. If you’re looking for something fun and adventurous for your next fantasy read, look no further than The Thorn of Dentonhill, an incredible start to a new series, from an author who is clearly on his way to great things.” —Bibliosanctum

“The Thorn of Dentonhill was a fast-paced read with action from start to finish. I loved every minute of it.” —Short and Sweet Reviews

“Definitely a fun read, and one classic fantasy fans will likely enjoy.” —Bibliotropic

“So much of it is terribly exciting and fun.... What I really liked about the ending was how it set up relationships and possibilities for the next book (which I definitely plan on reading).” —Tenacious Reader

You can purchase The Way of the Shield 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 The Way of the Shield by Marshall Ryan Maresca. 


  1. "What was a time in your life when you were really scared?" When I read "The Last Mrs. Parrish."

  2. Climbing to the top of the fire tower. The steps are pretty far apart/have a huge (seems huge) gap between them.