Marion Mavis was born and raised in Ontario, where her love of fantasy novels sparked from a young age. As a graduate from Trent University, Marion spent most of her life both reading and studying literature. Her debut title The Supremacy Witch is the first installment of the trilogy. For more information, visit www.marionmavisauthor.ca
1. Will you tell us about your most recent published work?
My debut The Supremacy Witch is a young adult fantasy novel that was published on October 21, 2018. It’s about a young witch named Evelyn Emmerich who was raised not knowing the full potential of her magic until she finds herself banned from her own coven. Through her journey she meets many new witches, both good and bad, who all seem to have their own personal agendas with her. She has no choice but to make uncertain alliances with corrupt witches who turn out to be the least of the realm’s problems. The Supremacy Witch is the first installment in the trilogy Keepers of Magic, and the second book The Shadow Witch is set to release in late 2019.
2. What personal challenges do you face as a writer?
The most obvious answer for me would be scheduling in the time to write, edit, rewrite, and edit again. There is so much that goes into not only writing a book but publishing one as an indie author, and life can be busy enough on its own. I love every aspect of writing even though things do get complicated and I can get easily stressed when I fall behind or stuff doesn’t go according to plan.
3. What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
I’d have to say the most difficult part of my artistic process is planning. I am without a doubt a planner through and through - I have storyboards that are color coded, dozens of notebooks that have character descriptions, timelines, magical laws and research, I even have Excel spreadsheets of all the important information I need on hand. This of course leads to many hours and nights spent planning everything which in turn means a lot of work. Regardless of how tedious and strenuous this process may be, I think it works out in the end because it definitely helps with structuring my fictional universe.
4. What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?
Is my sanity an appropriate answer? Haha, but in all seriousness, I think I would without a doubt give up any and all hours I could to work towards perfecting my craft. There is such a stigma around authors and the writing community where people believe writing novels is just a hobby, when in reality it’s so much more than that. I’ve had many people ask me “what do you really hope to achieve with being a writer?” as if it's an impossible task to be an author these days. Even though the odds may be against me, I don’t think I could ever stop trying to be a better writer. It’s a part of my identity and always has been.
5. How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
This is such a fun question! Publishing The Supremacy Witch was such a special thing and I love sharing this story. I had actually been working on the manuscript for many years, and it has gone through many revisions (by many, I truly mean MANY). However, in the beginning of 2018 I finally decided that I wasn’t going to continue to wish and wonder if I’d ever become a published author - I was going to do it myself and my own way. Of course, I was faced with many challenges along the way, all of which has undeniably changed the way I write. Not everything was a lesson to be learned though. I’ve made so many important connections with editors and readers who I will use in the future. Now, with the second book well on its way to being published, my experiences helped formulate a structured outline down to the very day!
6. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have? Will you tell us about them?
I guess right now The Shadow Witch is an unpublished book that is going to be released later in 2019. I don’t want to give many spoilers about it being it’s the sequel to The Supremacy Witch. What I can share is that it’s a continuation of Evelyn’s journey and she faces many new challenges as the most powerful witch to have ever lived in the realm. It also takes a darker turn than seen in the first book, which was so much fun to write.
In terms of other unfinished projects, I don’t have any actually written, although I have started to plan other books and series which I will be working on after Keepers of Magic is finished. This series is only going to be a trilogy, but I do have a secret project related to Keepers of Magic that I want to write. Additionally I have another YA historical fantasy I’ve started writing ideas about as well as an Arthurian legend retelling.
7. Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
I know so many people have said its unwise to read book reviews because sometimes they can hurt your heart, but I do admit I read every single one of them! I’ve actually shared all of the reviews for The Supremacy Witch on my Instagram - they can be found in one of the Highlights sections on my page.
Every author loves to see four and five star reviews pop up for their books because it just makes us smile knowing that someone else in the world has enjoyed our words and worlds. However, “bad” reviews are also very important for an author because it offers real and honest criticism that can quite possibly make you a better author in the long run.
8. Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
Yes! The Shadow Witch actually has a couple of these little secrets which I’ve purposely put in because I thought it was funny. If you’re interested in knowing some, I’ve included an animal I’m absolutely terrified of and a Disney reference too.
9. What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
I have made so many friends over the past couple of years that I’ve really connected with in the writing community and indie author world. So many of us are all in the same boat so it’s nice to be able to reach out and help each other, offer wisdom and just be there for each other. RaeAnne of The Lavender Prose is definitely a writer I’ve formed a close bond with, and not just because she’s my beta reader! We can go back and forth over things from both our stories and she’s definitely one of my biggest writing cheerleaders. She’s helped so much with The Supremacy Witch and I’m super excited to read her feedback on The Shadow Witch!
Real talk, Bethany Atazadeh who is the author of The Number Series has so much information she’s made available through her newsletters, Authortube account, and even on her Instagram that I think is just so amazing. In fact, I’m using her publishing plan template to help keep organized for The Shadow Witch!
10. If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Don’t be afraid to do it yourself! I know it’s scary and overwhelming, but I promise you it’ll all be worth it.
11. What are common traps for aspiring writers?
Self doubt is probably the most common trap that I’ve seen. The thought that your work is not good enough, or that people won’t like it. I know from experience that I suffered from self-doubt for years, but I finally realized that I just need to write the story the way I want it to be, and if some people don’t like it that’s ok too.
I think another really common trap for aspiring writers is waiting for the “right moment.” For most of us who are indie authors, there was no right time to start the publishing process. I could’ve been waiting for years if I continued to think like this. I talked it over with my partner and worked out the finances; sure we ate grilled cheese some nights but his continual support is what kept me going. For those reading this, if you need a sign to convince yourself to publish your story here it is. Just do it! The world needs your book.
12. What’s the best way to market your books?
Ugh, marketing is like my worst enemy. It’s so different for everyone and I know personally I struggle with marketing even today as I work on publishing my second book. The best way I’ve found to market my book is through the community I had already established on social media. With Instagram and Twitter I built an audience who were actually interested in The Supremacy Witch before it was even published. Sure, it’s small right now and I don’t have nearly as many sales as other authors I know, but you have to start somewhere!
I’ve also found that posting reviews is a great marketing tool because it allows potential readers to see what others have said about your book. It’s also free to do so which is a plus.
13. What is your favorite childhood book?
I have a few! The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett is the first book I can remember reading many times. I lost my original copy from when I was a kid but my sister managed to find the same edition I had a couple years back. Speaking of my sister, we were obsessed with the Warriors book series by Erin Hunter. My dad used to take us to Chapters all the time so we could get more books and she and I would sit in our beanbag chairs and read for hours. My love of paranormal and fantasy started with Kelley Armstrong’s The Darkest Powers trilogy. I not only loved her books because of the fact they had magical elements, but because I learned Kelley was a Canadian author and I dreamed to one day be published like her.