Saturday, January 28, 2012

M.R. Merrick - Shift - Author Interview, Teaser, Giveaway, Book Review

Shift (The Protector #2)
by M.R. Merrick

RELEASES: February 1st 2012

Devastated by the loss of his mother, Chase is trying to balance the life he’s been left with, a family he’s still getting to know, and power he never thought he’d have. He doesn’t understand why the Goddess has named him the Protector and granted him two gifts: the Mark, a tattoo that now covers his back, and the ring. But between getting interrogated by the Circle and psychic attacks from Riley, the Mark is the least of his concern. There’s a demon inside Rayna that’s fighting to be released, and it’s not her inner witch. It’s something else–a monster threatening to tear her apart.

As Chase struggles to control his magic, his enemies are closing in. Everyone has staked a claim on his ring, and destroying it may be his only chance to stop Riley. But Chase must decide if stopping him is worth risking the lives of everyone he cares about, or if protecting the ring will be enough to save his world.

My Review:

Anything I can possibly say would be an understatement. Wow, I absolutely LOVED the 1st book of this series Exiled, this one was a home run! Completely, undoubtedly, unbelievably amazing. So far this is a perfect series. I could not put this book down and I finished it within a 24 hour period. Amazing character development, with a whole range of personal struggles. Atomic bomb of action, riveting edge of your seat plot, complete with twists and turns impossible to see coming.  Flawless pace, and incomparable world setting. Perfect balance of romance. This book should come with it's own warning. "Warning: For One sitting only." 

Rating 5 Stars!

Author Interview 

Can you tell us a little about yourself? 

Why is this always the hardest question for me? Let’s see…I’m 27, and a father to two, very pretty little girls. I love movies, and music is a necessity in my life. My iPod goes everywhere with me. I have a strange obsession with cereal, in which I eat copious amounts of it from a salad bowl. I have two dogs; Doyle, a yellow lab, and Asher, a sheltie. I am a MAJOR dog lover, I just can’t get enough of them. Oh, and sometimes I write stuff. 

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? 

Writing has always been something I did. Usually as a means of venting, but up until about 3 years ago I’d never tried writing fiction. That was something inspired by bedtime stories with my oldest daughter. 

What surprised you the most about the writing/publishing process? 

The patients involved. I’m unnaturally impatient, so that was a big learning curve for me. Before I opted for self-publishing, the query process and the amount of time you had wait from one stage of the process to the other, really blew me away. Once I chose to go the self-publishing route, I had to learn it in a whole new way. It wasn’t easy. I had to physically force myself to stop and go through things over and over again. The only thing that kept me going was my neurotic drive to put out the best product possible. With my first book, EXILED, I was ready (or so I thought) a dozen different times. Looking back now, I’m glad it was the one time I listened to the advice I was given and took the time to craft the story to its full potential. 

How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula? 

I’m still new at this, so I’m not sure I have anything set in stone yet. With Exiled, I just wrote and wrote until the story felt done. With Shift, I used a detailed outline and the finished product was amazing. It came out a lot smoother the first time around, which meant less work as the process continued. I think from here on out, I’m going to continue to outline, but you never really know. Sometimes inspiration strikes and you have to take advantage of it. 

What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?

Imagination and insanity. I think you can be an incredible writer and know all there is to know about grammar, vocabulary, structure, etc. but without an imagination, you’re lost. You need to be able to dive build a world from nothing, talk to people who aren’t real, and listen to the *voices* inside your head. They’ll take your story everywhere it needs to go, even the places you’re scared to travel to alone. 

Can you share a little of your current work with us? 

I’m only in the process of outlining the next book in the series and I can’t give any spoilers away from that, but I can give you a taste of Shift:
My eyes tore open to the sound of screaming. The drywall rattled and Rayna’s voice raged through the wall. My pulse jumped as panic set in and I leapt from my bed moving straight for the door.

I ran through the archway, pants tangling on my legs as I tried to pull them up. Marcus, Willy, and Tiki were halfway down the hall, their faces owned by fear.

Marcus reached the door before me, turned the silver handle, and pushed through. The door creaked and the smell of blood, sweat, and something else seeped from the darkness. Marcus flicked on the light and I saw what I already feared. 

In Twitter Fashion use 140 characters or less, sum Shift for us. 

There’s a monster inside Rayna, unknown power swirls inside of Chase, and Willy is about to change, forever. 

How did you come up with a story that was such a whirl wind of events?

I wanted to create something that had things I felt were missing from stories, and TV shows I enjoyed. Something with a fast past, an original spin on old ideas, some completely new ideas, and a taste of everything I love of what goes bump in the night. 

It all started with one scene. The first scene Chase fights a half-demon vampire in Exiled. That scene played over and over inside my head while I wrote it. Who was this guy? Why was the demon trying to kill him? Why was he alone? I needed answers to these questions that weren’t expected. It needed to be more than Chase is a demon hunter and vampires are demons and that’s just the way it is. It needed…depth. I dove into Chase’s backstory to discover his past and once I knew who he was, more and more questions came forward. Each question brought new answers and it became easy for the story to move forward. Ever since I was little I’ve had a pretty vivid - and sometimes overactive - imagination, so once I had the basics I just sat back , closed my eyes, and let my mind run wild. I did run into a few roadblocks because of that, but with a little elbow grease it all worked itself out. 

How long did it take you to write it, and did you have any writer’s block along the way?

Exiled took 6 months to write the first draft, and another year of edits afterwards before I sent it to a professional editor. I got writers block a lot for this story. Not so much for where the story needed to go, I knew that for the most part, but more so how to get it there.
Shift took me 6 weeks to write the first draft. Partly because I had a full blown outline to work off of, and in part because I had learned with Exiled, to take advantage of a good writing flow when it came. With Shift, I had multiple spurts where I wrote over 10k words a night, and to my surprise; they weren’t all garbage. I didn’t have writers block at all with the first draft, but when I started fleshing out some of the characters and the storyline, I had more than a few “this book sucks” moments. All in all I spend about 9 months working on Shift, and a lot of that was down time where I left the manuscript for a few weeks to breath, or gave it editors and beta readers. It moved a lot quicker for me this time around. 

Will we be seeing a following book to this stories? 

Yes. There will definitely be one more book, possibly three. I’m not exactly sure. It was originally planned as a trilogy, but some recent inspiration has given me the opportunity to expand the story on a grander scale. I’m not sure if I’m going to go that route yet though. It’s an idea that will take a lot of time to flesh out, and I don’t know that it’ll work, but there will be one more book coming for sure. 

How did you come up with the Female Lead character? 

I don’t know how Rayna came to be. I knew I need some opposition for Chase that wasn’t an antagonist, and originally I thought that character was going to be Willy, but he just wasn’t strong enough. Then, when the first scene I spoke about earlier (with the vampire) came up, she just popped inside my head and I couldn’t make the scene work without her. Rayna was this gorgeous, witty, snarky half-demon and she didn’t take any of Chase’s crap. She was perfect. 

I always must ask, If you could pick one actor to portray the male lead on the big screen who would it be and why? 

Ugh…you’re going to hate me for this, because everyone who asks me this does, but I can’t answer it. It’s against my rules. But before you say I’m ridiculous, understand it’s the same reason I don’t put faces on my book covers. I don’t want to tell you, or show you who they are. I want to build them up in your mind. For everyone that reads my books, I want them to feel like this is their Chase, and their Rayna. I feel like if I show you, it ruins the part of the story that’s only yours, and nobody else’s. 

Was there anything you find particularly challenging when writing this book?

The pressure. I realize I’m an indie author and nobody special. I’m not a household name and I have a small group of people who enjoy the stories I’ve told so far, but that’s something I’m really proud of. Of course I want to be a full-time writer one day, but before anything, I want someone to love my stories. Exiled has received an overwhelmingly positive response like I dreamed of, but never actually thought could happen, so when it came to writing Shift, I was terribly nervous. Now I had people looking forward to more of my work, more of characters, more of the journey I wanted to take them on. I didn’t care if it was one person, or one million people, I was terrified to let them down. That was a huge factor with the writer’s block I experienced during the revision stages of this book. Luckily though, they seem to be enjoying Shift too! 

What were your feelings when you first saw the cover of your finished book? 

I fell in love with it. People were giving me a hard time about the cover for Exiled. They really loved it and nobody (myself included) thought I could match it, let alone top it. I don’t know if I’ve topped it, but I’m definitely comfortable saying it worked. I had the idea, I relayed it to my cover artist, and she came back with something that far exceeded what I imagined. She did an incredible job and just as with Exiled, there was something about it that just…fit the story.

Follow This Author & Books:



Buy Exiled (The Protector #1) only $0.99 (Ebook) At any of these sites:


Barnes And Noble:


2 Amazingly LUCKY Winners will win an EBOOK of this heart stopping read.

Please adhere to the giveaways rules stated on the left side of this site. Thanks


Anonymous said...

Great post. I've been spotting some great reviews for this title so it has me intrigued. Thanks for the giveaway. :o)

jbherbal at hotmail dot co dot uk

Tore923 said...

I am a follower and email subscriber. Please enter me in contest. I would love to read this series.

Victoria said...

What a glowing review. Any time you can read a book in one day says something for it. I think I'd really enjoy this series. Thank you.


booklover0226 said...

This post was an entertaining and interesting read. I must check out M.R. Merrick's works.

Tracey D
booklover0226 at gmail dot com

moonglitter said...

Just from the review alone, I would pick up this book!!The synopsis really got my attention too! I mean, I am just itching to get my hands on this book!! I guess I need to start reading faster so I can fit in all the books on my list!! ;) Great interview. I like that you were inspired by your oldest daughter and your time together reading bedtime stories. Now, I'm off the buy exiled!! Thanks for the giveaway! ;)

Jen B. said...

The book description is really good. Based on your review, I would love to read this. Thanks for the giveaway.

Ashton Amo said...

Exiled was Legen...wait for it....dary! It was an excellent story and I am so stoked about Shift! M. R. Merrick is a great author and the series is just AwesomeSauce. =)

Great Interview and post! =D

Jen (Books and Other Happy Ever Afters) said...

Awesome post!! I have heard NOTHING but 5 star reviews on this book! :) please enter me in this contest!

tears_of_fire said...

Wow sounds great :o)

Unknown said...

Great post again. Another book to add to my wishlist. I haven't read Exiled, but this sounds like a great read. Love the review and the interview. I love your elements. I have plenty of imagination and even more insanity. Love your Twitter summary, sounds very interesting, I love it. I will be getting book 1 and I hope to win book 2 *fingers crossed* Thank you guys so much :)

drharleyquinn87 (at) gmail (dot) com

Natalie @ Book Lovers Life said...

Thanks so much for the chance. I read and LOVED the first and cant wait for this.


Unknown said...

Another book for my TBR list! I love how you find books that a my cup of tea!!!! delphinareadstoomuch at yahoo

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