What Everyone Is Saying!
“Wow! There are no words right now that could possibly explain how amazing this book is. It deserves way more than 5 stars.” – OCD Kay (K-Books)
“Matt is an amazingly talented writer!! I would not recommend picking up either of his books unless you plan on doing nothing else because you will NOT want to put it down!! You are propelled into the world he has created and don’t want to leave even after the book is done. There is no circles or parts that you think “okay I am ready to move on” because you just keep moving!!” – Tiffany Holme
“It is no secret that I was positively blown away by M.R. Merrick’s debut novel, EXILED. I just couldn’t say enough good about it. I have encouraged countless readers to pick it up, and have gotten great feedback from those that have. I won’t lie. I was more than excited when the opportunity to review SHIFT came up. When you trust in the ability of an author to bring a fresh, exciting story to life, it’s pretty easy to get stoked.” – Lindsay Cox (The Violet Hour)
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
3 Questions With Matt!
Q: So, usually I like to start off my interviews with a question about your background, “What did you want to be when you grew up?” “Have you really never traveled ANYWHERE?”, but in the interest of entertainment, (and me being incredibly nosey) I going to ask you about your slightly schizophrenic taste in movies instead. On your bio you state that some of your favorite movies are:
Troy, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Definitely Maybe (<–this is the one that really piqued my interest) and Fool Proof.
I don’t know where YOU come from, (oh wait.. that’s right, you come from Canada) but that is a pretty eclectic list of movies. You go from Greek battlefield history to Chick Flick in a matter of seconds!! So my question… are you really a woman? (You know…the whole we can’t make up our minds thing?) And…why THESE movies? What is it about them that you love so much? The Action? The crazy, heartbreaking emotion? Spill!
A: I’m confused…am I telling you what I wanted to be when I grew up, the truth about my lack of travelling habits, my taste in movies, or if I’m really a women? Hrmmm….in honor of being thorough, I’m making a judgement call and saying all of them
I wanted to be a police office, an actor or a singer. I once travelled to Toronto and Montana, but I was too young to remember. I’ve been to B.C. (my neighbour) but that doesn’t count. So other than my youthful and forgotten excursions, I haven’t been anywhere. I know, it’s sad. One day though!
Movies…thankfully you didn’t ask me about my taste in music. That would really throw you through a loop! Aside from really over-the-top comedies, I love everything. It’s the power of the story, the way it pulls at my emotions, and way it makes my palms sweat when I’m dying for the answers to be revealed.
Definitely, Maybe is a huge favorite. It made me smile, laugh, and tugged on my heartstrings. Plus, it’s Ryan Reynolds, my fellow handsome Canadian. Troy got my heart pumping, adrenaline flowing, and emotions reeling. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is hilarious, and Fool Proof, aside from being witty and edge-of-your-seat tense at times, it has Ryan Reynolds. Did I say he was Canadian and almost as handsome as me? 😉
Okay seriously though, watching movies is one of favorite things to do in my spare time. Much like reading, they transport you into new worlds, toy with your emotions, and get you invested in their stories. The difference from books being you use less of your imagination, and it happens on a much quicker timeline. You can put in just about anything (as long as it’s not Cry Baby. One of the few movies I actually cannot watch) and I’ll find something I like. Yes, even The Sweetest Thing. I have a storm of emotions inside me, and just like books, each movie brings out different ones.
I am definitely not a woman. I know exactly what I want, and when I want it. :p
Q: Ok, on to the books, (instead of your cereal obsession, which is what I really want to talk about) Tell me a little bit about how you came up with the concept for “Exiled” (The first book in the Protector series) especially the “Circle” which fascinates the hell (ha… get it, “hell” demon joke? No, *sigh* moving on) out of me.
A: Oh was that I joke? I must’ve missed…I mean whoa! Hahaha. That was hella good. Did you see what I did there?
Exiled…the entire series was really an accident really. And my first attempt at writing fiction. Writing was a means of venting for me, and one day I didn’t want to vent about my life, I wanted to disappear into another world…somebody else’s problems. Chase and Rayna just happened to be there, welcoming me with open arms.
The magical elements came from my personal, long-running obsession with the elements. I’ve always daydreamed about how incredible it would be if you were able to harness them. Create and control them using unseen force. I can describe it in such detail because I’ve spent years envisioning it. The best is yet to come!
As for the Circle, they more or less formed themselves. The first scene I ever wrote for Exiled was Chase fighting the vampire in the street. The entire book formed around that once scene. Questions started flowing into my head. Chase is exiled from a secret society of hunters, why? Who is he? What can he do? Why would the Circle want get rid of him? Who is the Circle, what do they do? All of these answers got my imagination flowing, and the story began to unfold. You’ve only really heard about the Circle so far. In SHIFT, you get to see them, and there is even more to come…
Q: And last, cause let’s be honest….everyone here really wants to read the excerpt below and I’m just holding y’all back. Did you approach Julija Lichman FIRST about doing the absolutly freaking amazing cover art for your novels, or did you just happen to stumble on to some of her work in your quest for brilliance?
A: This is one of those “meant to be” situations. I was in the process of editing Exiled and I’d just joined Twitter. I met a few writers, one of them being Thomas Amo. Since we were talking about our books, I mentioned I was about to start looking for an artist, and he referred me to her. I’d only spoken to one artist so far, and hadn’t gotten my ideas fully across yet, so I e-mailed her my two main thoughts and to be honest, this was not my first choice. Originally I had a different idea. A single flame crackling over an open pool of rippling water. The mock-up she did was…breathtaking. Absolutely amazing. With it, she sent me my second “just to have another idea” idea. It wasn’t as polished as it is now, it was rough around the edges as all mock-ups are, but there was just…something about it. I didn’t know what it was, and as much as I was in love with the first one, I kept coming back to the tree, the fire, the water. It had power. Substance. It spoke to me. I waited a few hours and kept going back. Each time I looked at it, it captured me a little more. Julija is incredible. She does phenomenal work, and she’ll be my go-to cover artist for all my books. Her style and my stories just work.
To learn more about Mr. Merrick…click on his oh so handsome face to visit his website!
Magic ran up my body, into my shoulders, and down my arms in a wave of power. My fingertips tingled as it left me and flowed into Rayna’s body.
I focused on calming Rayna. I didn’t want to hurt her, and I wasn’t sure healing the wounds would help. I focused my energy and hoped if I put enough power into sedating the beast, Rayna could regain control.
The moment my magic filled her, Rayna’s earth element pushed back against me, trying to intertwine with mine. It was Rayna’s way of reaching out to me.
Our elements met and wrapped themselves in each other, coursing from her body to mine in a circuit of power. Our bodies were one in that moment, our elements just an extension of ourselves. My magic moved through her, dancing beneath her skin as it fed off her power.