This is the very first episode of my new blog series called MEET THE AUTHOR. In this series I feature lesser known/indie authors to give them a spotlight on my blog.
In this episode, I am interviewing M.J. Marinescu, debuting author of Forsaken Genesis (Deluge Prophecies #1). I have read an e-ARC and I can tell you, it is absolutely amazing. I included a little blurb that gives you an idea of the story without it revealing too much for the people who want to dive into a book as blind as possible. The full blurb is on the book’s Goodreads page.
At the end of this post, right after the interview, there is a short story in the Deluge Prophecies universe. You can perfectly well read it as a stand alone or in preparation of reading Forsaken Genesis. I can tell you, it is REALLY good!
Esmée: Welcome on my blog today, M.J! Thank you for wanting to participate in this interview. As you are a debuting author, many people might not know you yet. Can you introduce yourself a little for the readers?
M.J.: Hi Everyone my name is Mike but I go by the writing handle MJ because the world has enough Mike’s already. Also, my full name would not fit on a cover of a novel nicely so that’s another reason. My dream has always been to be an author, ever since I was little. I remember writing stories for my kindergarten class, through middle school and continuing on to today. I have always loved science fiction, fantasy and horror and these are all elements I have incorporated into my writing now.
I’m a huge animal lover and vegan/vegetarian (sometimes I cheat, bad me I know) and gamer/nerd. I also love music and art both of which play a critical role in my writing as does my martial arts experience.
Fun little side fact, the first story I ever wrote was about a Penguin who went on a space journey Star Trek style. This was the story that my teacher in kindergarten read out to the class every time I wrote a new installment.
E: Your debut is called FORSAKEN GENESIS. Does the title have a special meaning or relation to the story? Does the series title, DELUGE PROPHECIES, have such meaning?
M.J.: My original working title for the book was Forsaken Reverie. After having a few people read it, I had everyone ask me what “reverie” meant. The fact that they needed to look it up or ask made me consider changing it to something else, and so it became Forsaken Genesis.
The title does have a significant meaning which I’ll try to explain without any spoilers. The book deals with elements of Heaven and Hell (albeit with my own twists), but the concept of dual forces of nature/magic exists within the story. Genesis is the first book of the Bible, and so I thought that it was a powerful word to represent a beginning. Forsaken means abandoned or deserted so in combination we have “the abandoned beginning”. The title will become clear when you read the story and apply it to Melissa, the main character as this is ultimately her story.
The Deluge Prophecies will also play a significant role in the future of the series. I can’t say much without some spoilers but there are hints at “something more” within book one. I choose the name again for the Biblical power behind the word deluge.
E: A lot of writers often start drafting a story when they have a small idea or aspect they want to write about, like ‘I want to do a retelling of X, but with dragons.’ or ‘I want to write a book about a girl with fire powers.’ Did you have an idea like that for FG, or was it born as an outlined story?
M.J.: There are many aspects and ideas that I’ve had that were combined into FG. The oldest character is actually one you would not expect, Doctor Orce Newman for example. Even though he plays a secondary role in the novel he was the oldest character in the story that I created over 10 years ago. The same goes with the world, taking ideas I like, modifying them and blending them all together into one cohesive world.
The story itself was born when I created Melissa. I wrote her detailed backstory and fell in love with the character. I even have a tattoo which represents her on my collarbone. She just screamed out to have her story told to me, and so I did. I sat down and knew where I wanted to start and where I wanted the first book to end. I had to trim some things being a debut author I know that it is hard to get exposure and it becomes even harder if your book is oversized like so many fantasy books are. Once I had the start and the end I added the other essential details I needed and started to write.
E: You started writing and making up stories since you were a kid and I can imagine you have written a lot since then. How many books did you write before you were able to get FORSAKEN GENESIS published? Or was this your first full-length novel?
M.J.: This is my first full-length novel. I have written short stories and even longer ones like this book, but I have never tried to pursue writing as a career until now. I had also made a promise to myself many years ago that I would have a book published before I was 35, well my birthday is in November and with my book releasing October I’ve managed to keep that goal.
My other writing I still have in various binders and USB drives, but I’ve mostly only shared them with friends. This is the first story that I am sharing with the world, and I hope everyone likes it.
E: I know you play World of Warcraft, just like me. Did WoW (or any other game) contribute to aspects of the story or inspire you in general?
M.J.: I do play many online games and have been a big gamer my whole life, so I am sure they have inspired me even if subconsciously. One game that really helped inspire FG was The Secret World by Funcom. Melissa was originally created as an RP character for their game. I absolutely love everything about it. The occult, conspiracies, monsters and secret societies. They also heavily draw from Lovecraft who is one of my favourite authors and whom I also draw inspiration from.
As I played the game, I fell more in love with Mel, and that was why I decided to start fleshing out her backstory more. From there it took a turn from The Secret World, and I plopped her into my world, and the rest is history. You can definitely see inspiration in the novel to the game however from ghouls and werewolves to the powerful organisations and people manifesting magic-like powers.
E: We all know writing books can be a time-consuming hobby. How long did it take for you to write this novel?
M.J.: I was very lucky in that I was able to sit at home and work on this project without any other obligations. I had just moved from British Columbia to Alberta and because of the move, I had enough disposable income to be able to focus on my writing. People say you only get one chance in life and you need to take it. I feel like this was my chance, and so I put aside my insecurities and just forced myself to do it.
The character for Melissa was developed over a few years (from about 2015), so I had a tonne of info about her, the things she’s been through, her family, powers etc. I have also spent a few years tweaking and creating the world. Because I had a fleshed out world and protagonist writing the story was much easier than you may expect. I spent about 8 hours a day writing during Jan and Feb. In March I started working with Tellwell, my publisher, and I was assigned an editor. Together over the next 3 months we edited and revised the story to make it as good as possible. So the whole writing process was a few months of solid writing and editing.
E: FORSAKEN GENESIS is the first installment of the DELUGE PROPHECIES series. After reading it, I would expect the series to be (at least) a trilogy. What are your plans?
M.J.: I have enough planned to span between 6 and 9 books (3 trilogies to be exact). Each trilogy will be their own story but will also fit within a larger 3 act structure for the entire series and will feature the same characters and world that you’ll come to know and love over the course of it. Think Star Wars, they’re 3 sets of 3 movies but it’s the same general time period and many familiar characters appear in all the movies.
E: I am really looking forward to the sequel, even though book one just came out a few days ago, and I have so many speculations on what direction the story may take. Is there anything you can tell us about book two and what we can expect?
M.J.: Book one focused on the Order of the Shield and Melissa learning about the world outside of the Seven Star Children’s Foundation, but still within Avalon. I also mentioned another organization who has been gathering Awakened, the Grove. Book two is going to feature much more information about them and the world outside of Avalon. You’re going to learn why the humans have begun to gather inside the hive cities, what drove them there and why the outside world is so dangerous.
The other main mystery (without spoilers) that is not answered in book 1 pertains to the strange thing the characters see at the village. You’ll know what I’m talking about if you read the book. Some of the characters have their own theories about what it is, some even acted like they may actually know what it is, but in book 2 the readers will learn exactly what it is and why it is so important.
E: That sounds absolutely amazing and I am even more hyped now! Can’t wait for book two and more books from your hand. For the people that are hyped aswell or dying to read book one, go read the short story below! It is spoiler free and you don’t have to have read the book to enjoy it.
Talking about M.J.’s work, make sure to follow M.J. Marinescu on his social media as he will be doing a GIVEAWAY(!) for a copy of FORSAKEN GENESIS soon!
Mother: A Deluge Prophecies Story
“Come, children, sit around and let me tell you how this all came to be,” the old man said, his cybernetic eye projecting a holo-image of a swirling galaxy while the group of children watched in awe.
“A long time ago, it was believed there was nothing just an endless void and the mother of all creation. Her serpentine form soaring endlessly through the cosmos. As Mother flew a new realm was birthed into existence from her very breath. This realm came to be known as the Aether, named for the life-giving aether winds that gave them form. As Mother flew, her tail swaying to and fro propelling her forward another realm coalesced from her tailwinds. The original name of this realm has been lost to time but has come to be known as the Other.” As the old man spoke the holo-image flickered and changed. An image of a graceful dragon flying, two swirling energies around her which eventually took form transforming into what looked like planets.
“For a time these realms developed, swirling around Mother as she travelled. Each realm grew and advanced as time passed; light and dark, two perfectly balanced forces, but there was something else that began to notice these new creations. Something lost in the void, older, some say than even Mother.” The holo-image changed again showing an obscured writhing mass far in the distance. The children gasped as they tried to make sense of the ominous thing.
“No one knows how but the balance of the realms was thrown into chaos when the Other was attacked. Mother was unaware of what was happening, and the Aether believed it was an elaborate ruse by their ever-jealous siblings. Meanwhile, the lords of the Other fumed. They toiled against each other, trying to overshadow each other’s creations. Distracted by their own pride and arrogance they did not realise the threat until it was too late. In one devastating assault, the unnamable forces flooded into the Other. What was once a darkly beautiful world was left in ruins, forever changed by the attack. Mother and even the proud lords of the Aether were drawn into the conflict. The Aether blamed the lords of the Other, believing the conflict to be a local fight that spun out of control and nothing more.” The holo-image flickered as the scene changed, buildings collapsed, and people ran screaming as the world died.
“In the end, it was Mother who sacrificed herself to stem the tide of the conflict. Purging the lands of the Other and leaving it a destroyed husk. Her body curled as she collapsed becoming our world, the Between as scholars now call it. Forever linked to our elder siblings the Aether and the Other.” The children watched as the great and beautiful dragon fell, drifting endlessly through the void, her body becoming the third and final realm.
“This is just a fairy tale” interrupted one of the boys.
“Yeah, if we’re supposed to be on a dead dragon wouldn’t we know it?” called another.
“Perhaps it is just a tale young ones, told by a lonely old man who still has a wild imagination.” The deep, gravely voice said as the soldier approached placing a hand on the old man’s shoulder. “Run along now,” he waved a hand sending the children scurrying off down the tunnels, flickering lights guiding their path.
The old man looked up at the soldier his cybernetic eye adjusting as it focused on the face he knew he should remember. “Why did you chase them away? We need to remember, they need to remember.”
The soldier scratched his unkempt beard as he helped the old man up. “They’re too young to think of such things old man. Let them enjoy their youth without your tales of disaster.”
Without protest the old man allowed himself to be lead through the streets. Not the streets he remembered with their buildings of steel reaching high into the sky but the labyrinthine tunnels they all called home now. The sky. He smiled fondly at the memory. If he had only pieced it all together sooner maybe he could have changed the outcome. Would he still have done what he had?
The soldier keyed in the code causing the steel door to open with a hiss revealing the small room inside. It looked like any of the thousands of other domiciles. A bed which could be stored into the wall, kitchen, and all the necessities one needed. “Get some rest old man, and stop scaring the kids.”
The old man heard the hiss of the door as it closed. Alone again he walked over to a small desk and picked up the picture on it admiring the faces fondly. How things had changed he thought to himself. The group of friends, their bold personalities and kinship. His eyes rested finally on the messy-haired girl, her razor necklace and shy smile. Placing the picture face down on the desk he turned out the lights and went to bed.
Are you a lesser known/indie author and interested in participating in my MEET THE AUTHOR series? Fill out this form. For more info, read my initial post or the description of the form. For questions or anything else, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org