Thursday, February 18, 2021

Marshall Ryan Maresca

Marshall Ryan Maresca is a fantasy and science-fiction writer, author of the Maradaine Saga: Four braided series set amid the bustling streets and crime-ridden districts of the exotic city called Maradaine, which includes The Thorn of Dentonhill, A Murder of Mages, The Holver Alley Crew and The Way of the Shield, and a newly released dieselpunk fantasy, The Velocity of Revolution. He is also the co-host of the podcast Worldbuilding for Masochists, and has been a playwright, an actor, a delivery driver and an amateur chef. He lives in Austin, Texas with his family.

My Q&A with Maresca:

How much work does your title do to take readers into the story?

I struggle a lot with titles, to be honest. With a lot of my other novels, the titles were very fluid in the development process. Sometimes I’m not 100% sure what a book is really about, and thus what the title should be, until the draft is done.

But with The Velocity of Revolution, a novel about cycle riders who race through the streets as part of a rebellion to throw off a colonial yoke? That title— a term used in math and physics-- came to me early on and was perfect. You’re going to get speed. You’re going to get a revolution.

What's in a name?

So, my central character, Wenthi Tungét, goes undercover with the name Renzi Llionorco, and the names “Wenthi" and “Renzi" were designed to be the “same” name from two different cultures, with different root languages and different phonemic inventories. The same name, but both so much about where they come from. Wenthi, from the culture and language of the colonizers, combined with a family name that, while an important family name in Ziaparr, is also from this foreign culture that has left its bootprints all over Ziaparr. “Renzi Llionorco” becomes the name he might have had, the person he might have been, were his country not currently occupied by a colonizing force.

How surprised would your teenage reader self be by your new novel?

Radically. Like, my Maradaine series, he would have been surprised and thrilled at. They are, frankly, exactly the books he wanted back then. But this book, I’ve got to be honest, he’s not ready for. He’s still in the 80s, in somewhat of a sheltered bubble, so the idea of a queernorm world like this, where all sorts of sexualities and polycule families aren’t just accepted but treated as the cultural norm? He’s never seen anything like that. It would shock him, and he wouldn’t be sure how to react. But he’ll get there, though. Trust me.

Do you find it harder to write beginnings or endings? Which do you change more?

Beginnings are always harder, figuring out how to on-ramp the worldbuilding, jump right into the story in a way that engages but also gets the reader up to the speed you want them to be at. With endings, I’ve always found it’s a process that by the time I get to writing the ending, it’s all very much done in my head, and it’s a matter of just getting it out of my fingertips.

What non-literary inspirations have influenced your writing?

With this book, food is such a critical influence, and the opportunities I’ve had over the years to explore the cuisines of Mexico and Latin America, especially learning through the work of chefs like Roberto Santibañez, has been instrumental. If you aren’t ordering tacos while reading this book, I may have done something wrong.
Visit Marshall Ryan Maresca's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Velocity of Revolution.

My Book, The Movie: The Velocity of Revolution.

--Marshal Zeringue