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Indie Author Spotlight: March McCarron

DivisionIf it’s Thursday, then it must be time for another indie author spotlight. Today we are honored to have March McCarron with us.

How did you get started writing?

It all began when I noted to my second grade teacher the stunning and deplorable lack of ‘alien-books’ in our library and reading curriculum. She responded, “Well, why don’t you write one then?” And I remember thinking, “Well, yeah, of course I’m going to do that.” Since then, writing has been like an embarrassing habit I can’t shake—I’ve done it always, when no one is looking, and not spoken of it afterwards.  It took college graduation and staring into the cold, unforgiving eyes of real-job-dom to motivate me into completing a novel, and letting actual human beings read it.

What’s your preferred genre and why? 

Fantasy is and always has been my favorite genre. To me, the fantasy genre is defined by the sense of wonder it inspires. And that is what I love about it. Reading is always like entering a new world, and reading fantasy even more so. It has magic, and I’m not talking about the actual magic written about on the page. I’m taking about the magic you experience as a reader. It’s how I felt, as a child, when I read about Narnia, or Neverland, or Middle Earth—places that became real for me. It’s the wonder.

Who are your favorite authors and why?

My all time favorite is Jane Austen. I do an annual Austen-athon and read all of her novels, to keep them fresh. The more I write, the more I am awed by Austen’s skill at characterization. She has this beautiful ability to create fleshed out, interesting characters, without, in exposition, ever defining them—the characters reveal themselves. Another favorite is Robert Jordan. As a high schooler, The Wheel of Time Series was something of a revelation. I’ve never felt so fully immersed in an author’s world.

Are you a plotter or a pantser? (In other words, do you plot ahead of time or just write and see where it goes?)

I write much like I drive: with a destination in mind, and no idea how to get there.  Any effort to create a scene-by-scene outline has always been a waste of time for me. As soon as I’m writing, I think of something better and chuck the map.  I do, however, know where I am going in the end—and any alterations are more like shortcuts than deviations.

Do you go the self-published route or do you have a publisher? Why did you make the publishing decision you did?

I chose to self publish my novel. I never submitted to any publishers, not did I ever intend to. After doing research, I felt that I had a greater shot at success (my definition of success) as an indie.  Independent authors have the ability to slowly build an audience; trad authors need to find their audience immediately or their books get pulled from the shelves. It seems, to me, that there is more hope for building a career in the independent arena. And if all publishing is a gamble, I’d like, at least, to hold the cards in my own hand.

What is the hardest part of the writing process for you? The easiest?

Writing the first draft is simultaneously the hardest and easiest part for me. In that, some days the book is so vividly rendered in my imagination, and the words flow onto the page effortlessly. And other days, each sentence feels like a Herculean trial and, even as I’m laboring, I know that the prose I’m producing is garbage and I’ll probably have to rewrite it. Its those days, though, that I know writing is my job and not my hobby. If it were a hobby, I surely wouldn’t bother with it. But for a job, I’ll push through the difficult parts and persevere.

Do you have any quirky writing rituals? 

I always go to a cafe to write. This might not sound quirky, except that I tend to get really into the scenes I’m writing. I make a lot of strange facial expressions. During the writing of one particular scene, I even cried. And I’m not talking silent, glistening tears sliding romantically down the cheek, either. As I’m a white person living in South Korea, and therefore already the object of a lot of stares, I have a feeling that I scare the locals a bit. Wacky waygooks, always weeping over their laptops…

How do you balance writing with the rest of your life? 

I view writing as my main job. I won’t watch TV or go out to a bar if I haven’t put some time into my writing yet. Sometimes I feel that, between writing and my paying job, I don’t have a whole lot of time. But I can’t think of anything I’d rather be doing. There is a difference between wanting to have written and wanting to write. I want to write. Or so I remind myself when a Doctor Who marathon is calling my name.

Tell us a little about your current works. This is your opportunity to sell your book and yourself. Why should folks buy your book?

I just released my first novel, “Division of the Marked.” It is the first in a fantasy series. It takes place in a world that is pseudo-Victorian (no steam), where, once a year, 50 children wake up with a symbol marked upon their necks. The brand signifies that they are members of an elite culture of martial artists, scholars, and superhumans called the Chisanta. Except, the year my protagonists are marked, only 49 children arrive. Every year for the next decade, more and more marked children go missing.

The main characters—Yarrow and Bray—meet when they are fourteen and feel uniquely connected, but are then separated for a decade and taught to suspect and dislike each other.  When they are thrust back together, to solve the mystery of their dwindling numbers, they are torn between fond memories and cultural distrust.

Why should folks buy it? Well, I think my book offers a lot for readers. In the opening, my characters are fourteen. They are torn from their homes and face the trials of initiation—something they never asked for. It’s a coming of age story. But then ten years pass, and we catch up with them as twenty-somethings. It is a mystery and an adventure. It has romance and action. But more than anything else, I believe people will enjoy my characters. They are flawed, they face difficult decisions, they struggle, and sometimes they make mistakes. While it has its romance plot line, it is also very much a story about friendship. About what we would give to save the people we love. About sacrifice.

Do you have a favorite quote, line, character, scene?

I can never choose a favorite character—I’m too invested in all of them. I’d have to say my favorite scene is at about the halfway mark in the book. Bray and Yarrow meet and have a rather adorable relationship as teens, but when they encounter each other for the second time they’ve spent ten years learning to hate each other. All of that distrust and prejudice builds up and—as they are both experts in martial arts—they eventually come to blows. The two of them fight in the remnants of burnt down building, exchanging jibes as well as blows. Its the major turning point in their relationship and was a ton of fun to write.

How can my readers find you? (Purchase links, blog, website, twitter, Facebook, etc)

Website: http://www.marchmccarron.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/marchmccarron

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MarchMccarron

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/marchmccarron/boards/

Good Reads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7181835.March_McCarron

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Division-Marked-The-Series-ebook/dp/B00E2QYVLM/ref=zg_bs_6809431011_39

You can read the first half of my novel for free! Download it here:  http://www.marchmccarron.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Division-of-the-Marked-First-Half.pdf

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