Today my guest is M. Edward McNally, or Ed to those that know him a little better. Ed is an author and he’s taking time out of his busy schedule to talk to us. Welcome Ed, why don’t you take a moment and introduce yourself to the captive audience you now have before you.
Hello all, I’m M. Edward McNally but I just go by “Ed” (waves). I’m a North Carolinian of Irish/Mexican extraction presently living in the Sonoran Desert, who studied Russian/East European History back in school. So as you might imagine, my interests are fairly wide-ranging. My main writing project is an ongoing “Musket & Magic” fantasy series that combines Polynesian and Asian motifs along with the sort of typical “Medieval European” model – like I said, I am kind of all over the place. 😉
Tell us Ed, what is your writing process?
I’m a “pantser,” in that I tend to write “By the seat of my pants” rather than plotting everything out carefully ahead of time. Just for my own writing, which is largely character-driven, I feel like this gives me a certain amount of leeway to follow the characters wherever they may go, even if I have to reel them back in sometimes. I try to keep where I think I am going in mind, but I still find getting there is really most of the fun.
I’m a pantser as well so I understand the compulsion to see where the characters take you. Is there a genre, other than the one you currently write in, that you wish you could break into?
I do write short stories, often with a more “contemporary” feel. Many of these are published as sets of two in the various volumes titled “Ed’s Shorts – Volume #,” which are free on most e-retailers. Largely so I can say, “Help yourself to a free pair of my shorts.” 😉
Clever! Now tell us what the 5 books that have influenced you the most are, and why?
Wow. Well, okay, just from a fantasy stand point, I have to go with Tolkien’s LOTR Trilogy, but all count that as one. And I will add Fritz Leiber’s “Lankhmar” books for more of a classic “Sword & Sorecery” feel. Beyond that, I will say Vineland by Thomas Pynchon for the intricate plot connections, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams) for the sheer wacky, and Homicide by David Simon as a reminder of how much books can matter.
Great choices! If you could cast one of your works, who would you choose to play your main characters?
This is one of those questions that pops up a lot, which I never really like to answer. For me as a reader, one of the things I like most about meeting new characters is forming an image of them in my own head, just from the words the writer put down on paper (or on the Kindle screen). If the author “sees” their own character as some actor, musician, athlete, whatever – I don’t really want to know it, as I like to see them for myself.
That’s a fair answer in its honesty. I can see how seeing actors playing certain characters have warped the appeal of a book for me, but I still like playing the game. What is the first thing you would do if you woke up one morning to find one of your books on the NY Times Bestsellers List?
Go back to sleep until I sobered up. 😉
I’m sure that’s not the only reason you would find yourself there… Do you have any vices that you turn to while you are writing?
Oh, the caffeine…sweet, sweet nectar of the gods…where would I be without coffee? Pretty much still in bed. 😉
I don’t get the caffeine addiction since I don’t drink coffee, but I am addicted to peppermint tea so I can’t really talk… What do you do when you’re not writing?
Whatever it takes to pay the bills. 😉
Please share with us the first nine lines of your current work-in-progress.
(Hmm…okay, but I have to warn you, this is the opening of the fifth book in a series, and something of a quick recap of things that have happened in earlier books, in places that are just going to look like gibberish words as it is one of those fantasy series with its own geography. Still, here you go) –
From The Channel War, Book V of the Norothian Cycle
Long after the swords have been sheathed and the guns have fallen silent, people of a scholastic bent try to piece together the story of a war. They do so to discover what went so horribly wrong, and to try and make sense of why their world was subsumed for a time in blood and fire.
As the Channel War pitted much of one continent against another, in the years and decades that followed two divergent accounts of the war’s origins developed. On the Norothian side of the Channel, the precipitating event was seen to be the long war between Daul and Ayzantium which led to the collapse of both kingdoms. The old territories of Daul were divided and occupied by powers with their own conflicting interests, while what had been Ayzantium dissolved into civil war between rival contenders for the empty Ruby Throne. As a result, from the Vod Wilds to the Ay Peninsula the coast and ancient port cities of southwestern Noroth slipped into chaos, inviting aggression from outside.
On Kandala, it was unification rather than disintegration that seemed to spur the larger war. The five Martan Kingdoms had been weak and divided for centuries, but in a matter of months all were brought under the control of the Gunnakans: Humans and gnolls cooperating in the service of five powerful dragons. South of the Channel, the rebirth of an old realm seeking a return to greatness seemed to be the spark that began the conflagration.
What an engaging excerpt! Let’s take a moment to look inside the first book in the Norothian Cycle series titled The Sable City…
For the first time in a hundred years, Vod’Adia – the fabled Sable City – is Opening. All across the known world, adventurers hungry for gold and relics from the Witch King’s era are making their way to the legendary ruins. For many of them, the Sable City will claim their lives and perhaps even their very souls. But for one heroic fellowship, bent only on rescue, entering this deadly place may do worse than destroy them. It may destroy the entire world.
The journey begins in the Miilark Islands, where a most unusual dwarf makes a most unusual choice. Captain Block, charged with finding the exiled heir of House Deskata, picks Tilda Lanai to accompany him – a young woman newly trained in the arts of the Guild, but completely untested. But when fate turns against them, Tilda must navigate a strange land with only her instincts as her guide. With the help of a rag-tag company that includes a ronin samurai, a semi-competent wizard, a noblewoman in disguise, a healer, a warrior-priest and two ex-soldiers (one in danger of being hanged for desertion), Tilda’s quest leads her into the very heart of the Sable City–where devils and demons roam freely, and very little is what it seems.
(If you have trouble finding the book for free on Amazon, there may be a glitch somewhere in the system. If that’s the case, please leave me a comment as the author has generously offered to ensure that any Amazon users that want a copy, will get one for free!)
Thank you Ed for taking the time to answer my questions. if you would like to learn more about The Norothian Cycle Series, please visit SableCity, a blog dedicated to the series. You can also connect with Ed on Twitter at @medwardmcnally.
Please join me tomorrow for the Vampire Bites Blog Hop and next Wednesday when my guest will be Lachelle Redd!