An Import of Intrigue: Marshall Ryan Maresca Q&A, Guest Post & Series Giveaway!
***The giveaway is now over, thanks to everyone who entered!***
The BiblioSanctum is pleased to be a stop on the blog tour for An Import of Intrigue, the latest novel in the Maradaine Constabulary series by Marshall Ryan Maresca! We have a lot of goodies for you today – first an interview with the author himself, then a guest post in the form of a Culture Report that will provide a deeper look into one of the many diverse neighborhoods of Maradaine. Finally, join the fun and enter our giveaway for a chance to win your own set of the two books in the series so far, A Murder of Mages and An Import of Intrigue!
MRM: Thank you for having me!
I’d like to begin by congratulating you on the upcoming release of your next Maradaine novel, An Import of Intrigue! This will be the latest in the Maradaine Constabulary series so I’d like to talk more about that today. Can you kick us off by telling us what this series is about?
MRM: The Maradaine Constabulary books follow two inspectors in the constabulary: Satrine Rainey and Minox Welling. Satrine is a former spy, who’s been a wife and mother for several years. After her husband suffered a catastrophic accident, she dusted off her old skills to get a job in the Constabulary that she could support her family with. Minox is her partner—an eccentric but brilliant investigator who is never satisfied with “official” answers—and an untrained mage. Neither of them are very popular in their stationhouse, but they have immense respect for each other.
You have a couple of very remarkable protagonists starring in this series. What inspired you to create the team of Satrine Rainey and Minox Welling? Did they ever surprise you in the character development process?
MRM: The main inspiration was I wanted two people who were outsiders in very different ways, but in ways that they could recognize each other’s competence and respect that. Possibly the biggest surprise was Minox’s family. I initially saw him as an aggressive loner, but something wasn’t right, and I realized I was talking about him having deep familial roots in the constabulary, but not showing them at all. I really enjoy the extended Welling family.
I also think An Import of Intrigue highlights very well the sheer size and richness of the world of Maradaine, featuring the city as being home to a number of neighborhoods, cultures, factions, and peoples. Each of your series also seeks to explore a different facet of life in Maradaine. How long have you had the idea for a diverse city like this, and what is the process behind your world-building? Did the concept come fully formed or did it start from a single seed and grow out from there?
MRM: The world as a whole came first, and I realized at first I was trying to write about THE WHOLE WORLD in a way that was too grand. So I narrowed my focus on the city of Maradaine, and knew that I had to know the whole city in a detailed, intimate way. Building it out allowed me to bring the diversity of the world into the city, and that gave me so many story opportunities.
Speaking of your other series, I hear that you will be launching a third one soon with a book called The Holver Alley Crew, and that it will be a companion to the Maradaine and Maradaine Constabulary novels. Is it a challenge to juggle multiple series, and what is it like to switch between them when writing? How are some ways you keep each series unique with their own individual “flavor”?
MRM: It is a challenge, but a big part of it is I’m familiar with all these characters, and knowing them helps me keep the “flavor” of each series straight. Asti and Verci Rynax, the heroes of The Holver Alley Crew, have a completely different method of solving problems than Satrine and Minox, and none of them approach problems like Veranix from the Thorn books.
Do you have plans for any more series and books set in Maradaine? And will all of these different stories and characters eventually connect to form a larger picture, like maybe a secret grand plan you’re working on? Come on, you can tell me…
MRM: There are three more books scheduled after Holver Alley. After that is the third Thorn novel, The Imposters of Aventil, then the second Holver Alley (Streets of Maradaine), called Lady Henterman’s Wardrobe, and then the third Constabulary novel, A Parliament of Bodies. I’m working on the first of a fourth series, of which the first book is tentatively titled The Way of the Shield. I have a couple novella-length stories and one-offs in the outlining/early drafting phase. As for connections and larger picture… yes, there is a grand secret plan. Imposters of Aventil is when that will start to pay off.
Do you have other creative outlets besides writing? What hobbies do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
MRM: I’m pretty much constantly in the kitchen when I’m not writing. I love cooking, pretty much all types of cuisines. I remember there’s a bit in The Omnivore’s Dilemma where he says it’s “fine” to eat just about anything if you make it from scratch, and I thought, “That doesn’t limit me at all, really.”
It’s been wondering chatting with you today, Marshall! Before you go, tell us something readers might be surprised to learn about you, that can’t be found in your author’s bio or on your website!
MRM: I’ve worked as a late-night pizza-delivery driver. So I’ve seen some things.
Maradaine Culture Report: Fuerga
An Import of Intrigue takes place in a part of the city of Maradaine called “The Little East”, a handful of blocks populated by enclaves of immigrants and foreigners from all over the larger world. Most citizens of Maradaine avoid these enclaves, and their only understanding of other countries and cultures comes from Augustine Montrose’s memoir, My Travels of the World. Here we look at an excerpt from his book, where he talks about one of the cultures encountered in An Import of Intrigue.
For much of my time in Fuerga, I was the guest of the Astev, one of the richest and most influential families in the area. Through them, I leaned how the concept of family is deeper and more complicated in Fuerga than I could easily imagine. Their language has many different words for “family”, and each one contains nuances that I would fail to comprehend.
For example, the Feurgans can be broken down into three key social groups: the sikar— the city people, the sinar— country people in small communities, and the kanar, the nomadic people who live on the roads. Any grand family, such as the Astev, have members among the sikar, sinar and kanar, and while to each other these groups were all family, there was a strong sense that within the family the divisions between these social groups were hard and uncrossable.
Regardless of these distinctions, it was very clear that family, in all its iterations, was something that every Fuergan held in high esteem. Each family has a unique set of of chains, loops and hooks that is worn on the left ear, much like how our nobles possess family crests.
One key thing that became clear after a short time in Fuerga— further muddying my understanding of the importance of family, is that their concept of marriage is radically different from our own. They seem to engage in a form of group marriage, where a dozen or more men and women are all equal co-spouses. And since any one of these dozen people have their own blood relations, and the unions can continue to add new members over the years, well… needless to say, I gave up on trying to create accurate translations for the hundreds of different terms the Fuergans have to describe their relationships with each other. We Druth simply do not have the vocabulary.
However, these unions are exactly not equal. As united as families are, including these marriage-groups, wealth is extremely individual. Wealth is also tied directly to an individual’s rank or title, which is called a korai. Fuergans traditionally where an outer garment, a kind of vest of varying length, that identifies their krai. They will literally wear a declaration of value of their personal fortune. Between the vest and the earring, a Fuergan can easily identify crucial information about a stranger with a glance.
There is call for that, based on what I observed in the Fuergan morning market. In the morning, the streets are filled with traders. Deals are almost never made in offices or private negotiation, but in the streets, regardless of the size or scope. Because the streets are crowded and noisy, much business is done here using the capathla, the hand gesture language of the Fuergans. This is a system involves large, wide gestures, and allow them to strike an arrangement with someone a block away. This also means an adept trader can act as a bridge between a buyer and seller who cannot see each other, and make a profit as an intermediary. Doing well in the street trading requires sharp eyes, fast hands and quick thinking.
By late morning, the deals have been made, and the streets clear out. Traders go and make their preparations for the deals made on the streets that morning. This is a critical part of their custom: on the street no money or goods exchanges hands. It isn’t until the afternoon, privately, that the deals made in the morning are fulfilled. Of course, if one cannot fulfill one’s deals in the afternoon, it will hurt one’s reputation and status, and may cause retribution to occur. The retribution can be quite ugly.
On the surface, Fuerga seems like a wonderful culture, filled with commerce, art, and the most generous of people. However, there is a frightening reality beneath that. If someone disagrees with your business, or you cannot fulfill your debts, they can assault you, lock you in a cell or leave you dead in a ditch. Not only are there no legal ramifications, their leaders encourage and participate in this. There is a line not to cross in Fuerga, but to an outsider, it’s impossible to know where that line is.
But we accept this in our dealings with them. Why? Because they grow tobacco, distill whiskey and other hard spirits, and breed the most fantastic horses known to man. And when you are their guest, they treat you like family.
The Maradaine Constabulary Series Giveaway
Interested in checking out the novels in the Maradaine Constabulary series? Here’s your chance to win this great set of books! With thanks to the publisher, we’re happy to be hosting this giveaway for A Murder of Mages and An Import of Intrigue. This giveaway is open to addresses in the US and Canada. To enter, all you have to do is send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your Name and valid Mailing Address using the subject line “THE MARADAINE CONSTABULARY” by 11:59pm Eastern time on Sunday, November 6, 2016.
Only one entry per household, please. The winner will be randomly selected when the giveaway ends and then be notified by email. All information will only be used for the purposes of contacting the winner and sending them their prize. Once the giveaway ends all entry emails will be deleted.
So what are you waiting for? Enter to win! Good luck!