Author Spotlight: Marc Mulero (RINGS OF WAR: THE DARKEST DAWN)
Growing up, Marc was out of his mind (and perhaps still is). He knew full well that his creative, untamed mind was divergent from the pack. Ill-equipped with an inability to focus in school and a strong desire to explore, Marc was barely present wherever he was expected to be. It wasn’t until his twenties that he retreated from indulging in the vibrant scenarios playing out in his mind and emerged to join the business force, or as he called it, the Spock-side of this world. So there he went, earning his master’s degree and CPA license in the process. Surprisingly, he managed to find some enjoyment while experiencing this new chapter in his life.
One winter’s night, in the midst of a bout of insomnia, he heard the sound of a lightsaber beam within his head. Being an avid fan of all things unnatural and missing the colorful world of imagination, he realized that he had abandoned a part of him that he held dear. So in the spirit of staying true to oneself, he decided to resurrect his passion in the form of a novel. He worked long hours during the day dressed in suit and tie, so that he could relish in scribing his fantasies deep into the night. His tenacity was an attempt to unload one of his stories onto the world: a story with depth, intrigue, and complexity, one he’s hoping people will get lost in.
Welcome to the Hive, Marc. Let’s start with the basics: dazzle us with an elevator pitch! Why should readers check out your work?
Depth, mystery, drama, and action are all key parts to a well-rounded story. Originality and uniqueness, too. I want every one of my books to be a carefully crafted concoction of the above-mentioned elements, all while I pay very close attention to any “slow” points that could creep up. Why? Because I loathe being bored, and would hate for one of my readers to suffer monotony at my hand. So, kind person that shares this elevator with me, if you want to enjoy a good book, read Rings of War!
Tell us a little something about your writing process – do you have a certain method? Do you find music helps? Give us a glimpse into your world!
I write very, very early in the morning. I’m generally up by 5:30am, make some coffee, and then get right into it. Music is a must. It allows me to get lost in the worlds I’m concocting. In fact, I really don’t know how anyone concentrates without it. Thank the old gods and the new for epic music composers because without them, I’d probably be about half as productive as I am. I write once a day, no exceptions, with a minimum benchmark of 1k words. I refuse to stop!
Seriously though, if I do miss a day, I feel awful… like I’ve fallen down a mountain that I’ve been climbing months to reach its heights. My joints hurt, my head feels heavy, blah! But I guess that’s the cost of being hard on yourself. So best not to fall. It’s best to keep going.
Speaking of worlds, what inspires your worldbuilding? Do you have a magic system/s? If so, can you tell us a bit about it?
Here’s a little glimpse into the setting of The Darkest Dawn:
The world of Ingora is made up of two conjoined spheres (think of it as two planets joined together like a Venn diagram). The Osa Sphere is inhabited and is broken out into many territories (as can be seen on the map), while the Verglas Sphere is a large desolate sheet of ice. The protagonist, Eres, lives in the Dolseir forest within the Osa Sphere, which is very close to the school that he is set to attend. There he meets his first friend and crush, Windel, as well as his instant rival, Crow. There are great and terrible proctors along the way too that help Eres (and the reader) through the introductions of the world.
Some curiosities include obscure tech that is used in war, such as:
- Glite: Armor impervious to all projectiles, which was created to keep combat hand-to-hand.
- Crule: A chemical that douses weaponry in a fire-like substance, which can be used in limited spurts to pierce the impervious Glite armor.
- Impellers: Wind generators that can burst the user into the air for faster travel and amplified movements in battle.
Also, there is a magic system called Reach, which can pull elements from a person’s surroundings for various purposes – a shield made of tree bark, a vine sharp enough to impale, fire from friction, a guided tidal wave from calm waters, anything if the user has the right affinity.
What (or who) are your most significant fantasy influences?
Brandon Sanderson, George R.R. Martin, and J.K. Rowling are some of my favorites. Shout outs to them will be lost in the wind, unfortunately!
As a self-published author, you have to encompass many roles yourself: what aspect of self-publishing do you find the most difficult? Alternatively, which have you enjoyed the most?
Most difficult? Marketing. Hands down. Finding your exact audience and attempting to drive a profit after much trial and error can be very discouraging. Enjoyed the most? Writing, for sure. I can get lost for hours and hours at a time bringing a story to life, whereas building advertisements might as well be the slowest crawl imaginable while chewing on glass. Yin and Yang, though. Can’t have one without the other in the self-publishing world. Both aspects are 100% essential.
Are there any fellow self-published creators whom you’d love to collaborate with?
Just the artists and creators I’ve already worked with! I wouldn’t trade my team for the world.
What is your process for choosing a cover for your book? Do you have a clear idea of how you want it to look, or do you give your cover artist full creative license?
I had a vision for the cover since chapter 1, and I must say, it was realized on such a high level that it surpassed my imagination. Billy and Shawn (Shawn T King) are dangerously good at what they do, both of whom are awesome people to boot.
We started with my vision for the cover, the characters I wanted to be included, the tone, the communication through art, and from there drafts were drawn up by Billy and his team. It was a collaborative effort the whole way. “His hat is too tall, his nose is too big, the armor is too bulky.” You name it, we worked on it. Shawn gave opinions, I gave opinions, Billy offered suggestions. Back and forth, back and forth, until finally – boom. This beautiful cover was complete.
It was an honor to work with them.
Every writer encounters stumbling blocks, be it a difficult chapter, challenging subject matter or just starting a new project. How do you motivate yourself on days when you don’t want to write?
On those days, I just write anyway. But I have to say, the initial draft during such times is abysmal compared to a good day. Every sentence feels dragged out because, well, they kind of were. Coffee is the ultimate motivator though. I’m sure you’ve gotten that answer a thousand times.
The world shifts, and you find yourself with an extra day on your hands during which you’re not allowed to write. How do you choose to spend the day?
Give me a 4-wheeler and some hilly terrain and I’ll happily endure a few bumps and bruises for the day. Is it cold out? Fine! Drive me to the nearest mountain to ski! Hiking works too. A game of Magic the Gathering with my friends is always a good time. A good glass of scotch and meeting some new people could also work. Anything, really!
One of our favourite questions here on the Fantasy Hive: which fantastical creature would you ride into battle and why?
A griffin, of course! I’ve spent way too many hours playing Warcraft 3 and World of Warcraft, and I can only imagine how much fun it would be to have the wind blowing in my face while traveling across Azeroth.
Can you tell us a little something about your current work(s) in progress?
I can tell you that the sequel to Rings of War: The Darkest Dawn is fully mapped out in my head, and I plan on writing it if I find success with this one. Other than that, no details :X!
I’m also working on a LitRPG novel that I plan on releasing this year as well. Stay tuned!
Finally, what is the one thing you hope readers take away from your writing?
I want readers to say “Holy sh*t” when they’re done. Good or bad, that’s what I want, because that means I’ve made an impact.
Thank you so much!
Ring Wars: The Darkest Dawn is out today – good luck with the release Marc!
You can order a copy from: