#SPFBO7 Interview – ML Spencer

ML, welcome to Lavender Lass Books. Thank you for agreeing to this interview and best of luck in the competition!

Dragon Mage: An Epic Fantasy Adventure is the first book in the Rivenworld series. Here’s the blurb:

Aram Raythe has the power to challenge the gods. He just doesn’t know it yet.

Aram thinks he’s nothing but a misfit from a small fishing village in a dark corner of the world. As far as Aram knows, he has nothing, with hardly a possession to his name other than a desire to make friends and be accepted by those around him, which is something he’s never known. But Aram is more.

Much, much more.

Unknown to him, Aram bears within him a gift so old and rare that many people would kill him for it, and there are others who would twist him to use for their own sinister purposes. These magics are so potent that Aram earns a place at an academy for warrior mages training to earn for themselves the greatest place of honor among the armies of men: dragon riders.

Aram will have to fight for respect by becoming not just a dragon rider, but a Champion, the caliber of mage that hasn’t existed in the world for hundreds of years. And the land needs a Champion. Because when a dark god out of ancient myth arises to threaten the world of magic, it is Aram the world will turn to in its hour of need.

And now to the interview:

1. Is this your first time entering #SPFBO? Why did you decide to enter this book?
No. I’ve entered it 3 before and been a semifinalist 2 times, but never a finalist.

2. Why do you write in the fantasy genre? What make this genre particularly appealing to you?
I love fantasy because of the fantastical nature of fantasy. Characters can save the world or destroy it, bond or fight dragons—anything is on the table. And because the stakes or so high, fantasy can sweep me away to a world where I would want to live, where I feel like I can make a real difference.

3. Why did you decide to self-publish?
Well, back in the day, because I couldn’t get an agent to rep me.  Now I self-publish because it suits my needs better.  I know now that, unless I can get a A-list deal which I doubt I would ever get, I’m probably better off self-publishing. So that’s what I do.

4. Are there advantages to self-publishing? What about the challenges?
Many. I get all the money, after Amazon takes its cut, which I can use to advertise and promote my work. I know a lot of trad pub authors who lack the means to advertise. Challenges are I have to do it all myself.

5. As a reader, and now author, how has the fantasy genre changed over the last several years? How has it stayed the same?
When I look back at most fantasy I grew up loving, I don’t love it anymore. The plots and characters seem frail and oversimplified. Everything just kind of falls flat for me. I think modern fantasy has really dug in and gone for heart and grit.

6. Do you write (or plan to write) in any other genres?
Nope! I am monogamous.

7. What do you look for in a story? Especially in the fantasy genre? (Original ideas, plot lines, character development, world building, etc.?)
I want a main character that can lock me in, make me care, and carry me with them on their journey. If I have that, then nothing else matters too much.

8. Are you working on a new book? Can you share any details?
I am working on the sequel to Dragon Mage. It follows the same characters pretty much right after Book 1.

9. Do you have any advice you would offer to writers who plan to self-publish in the fantasy genre?
Yes.  Only take advise from people who actually know how to sell their own books. Learn how to market your book to readers through advertising.

You can find ML Spencer’s book on Amazon! https://www.amazon.com/Dragon-Mage-Fantasy-Adventure-Rivenworld-ebook/dp/B08PDQ5XT4