Tim Marquitz Interview
Writer, publisher, MMA aficionado, editor and a man of myriad talents, Tim Marquitz stopped by the Fantasy-Faction Headquarters (which caused a bit of a stir because we didn’t know we had one) and graciously agreed to be interviewed about his publishing empire, his writing, books and Kickstarter. Without further ado, here we go.
So, Tales of Magic and Misery, is your new book; how would you describe it to potential readers?
The latest actually is Influx, book one in a new urban fantasy series I’ve brewed up, Clandestine Daze; dark and gritty. But yeah, Tales of Magic and Misery was released about a month back. It’s a collection of my Demon Squad shorts and has plenty of stuff that folks haven’t seen before, including the first two chapters of the Tales of the Prodigy sword and sorcery novel I’m writing, the character the one I’ve written about in the anthologies Blackguards, Neverland’s Library, and the forthcoming Grim Oak Press book Unbound, which also features Jim Butcher. I’m all giddy at that.
But anyway, Tales of Magic and Misery is like a sample platter of my styles and stories. There’s something in it for everyone, even folks that don’t like me. (The books includes a never before released story by C. L. Werner, ToMM includes: Armand Rosamilia, Nathaniel Connors, Adrian Collins, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, R. B. Wood, N. X. Sharps, Daniel Weaver, Amanda Shore, Glenn Hefley, Chris Garrett, G. R. Matthews, and J. Cameron McClain.)
Why did you include stories from other authors in the collection?
I love being supportive of authors. I’ve had so many folks give me an attaboy or pat on the back or a leg up since I started writing and it’s made such a huge difference in my confidence and career. If I can pass a small amount of that feeling on to another author who is struggling to make it I feel I’m doing the right thing. Publishing can be a tough business, full of rejections and bad reviews and failed opportunities. I just want to pay forward the help I’ve received and maybe that will allow one more person to achieve their dreams in the business.
How could I forget Clandestine Daze! I read the Eyes Deep novella when it came out and really enjoyed its pace, grittiness and background politics. The main character had an interesting skill set to say the least. How excited were you to start a new series off?
Thanks, man. Glad you enjoyed it. As for starting a new series it’s kind of fun and exciting and nerve wracking at the same time. I like being able to step away from a series I’ve been writing for seven years and do something different, but it can be hard to find an audience for something new when you’re not a major publishing rockstar everyone follows. I feel I’ve written a fantastic start to a new world (of course I’m biased) but because it’s struggling to take off there’s a lot of frustration involved in the process. You just never know what’s going to work so that’s always in the back of my mind as I begin something new.
All that businessy stuff aside, I still love creating new worlds and characters and digging into new books. Clandestine Daze has a sharper focus on the world than the Demon Squad, less big crazy chaos and more of a noir feel to it, which makes it fun to write.
You write in many genres and sub-genres: fantasy, urban-fantasy, dark-fantasy and horror. Is this a conscious decision to diversify?
Absolutely. All of my stories are ultimately bound together by my twisted sense of storytelling but I like to expand what I’m doing so as not to get stuck in a rut. Ideas come to me and I don’t want to have to push them aside because I’m an urban fantasy author only. That would get boring. I want the story to take me somewhere regardless of where we end up. As long as I can do that I feel the reader will feel my excitement leaping off the pages and will be dragged along.
Demon-Squad is eight books long, at the moment, are the ideas still easy to come by? Is it a world you still enjoy writing in?
I love the Demon Squad world and often have to do something else to keep from flooding the market with them. And yeah, the ideas are definitely still there. From the start of the series it’s been rife with open-ended concepts that allow me to take the story anywhere, from aliens to demons to old gods to what are essentially superhumans. I’ll write in the Demon Squad world as long as I enjoy it and I haven’t completely jumped the shark as far as my audience goes. I want it to go out with a bang not a whimper.
Readers, myself included, tend to find a genre (or two) and stick to it. How would encourage them to try something new; the epic fantasy readers to try horror?
That’s a tough one because there is often so much in each genre that readers aren’t forced out of their comfort zone to find something to read. There’s always something there for them. For me to convince folks to try something different I think I would highlight the similarities between different styles. Take Mark Lawrence’s Broken Empire books. There’s a lot of darkness in those, a lot of gritty characterization. The same can be said for most true urban fantasy (not paranormal romance). There’s a similarity in the way the characters approach life and the world around them. The worlds might be different but there’s much of the same feeling between the two genres. I’d go that route.
Ragnarok Publications is still a relatively new publisher. Why did you decide to start it up? What was the dream? What is the future for Ragnarok?
Insanity, pure and simple. That aside, I’ve always kind of pictured publishing as being somewhat similar to the stock market in that it pays to diversify. Be one thing and that falls apart you end up taking a bath. But if you’re an editor, author, publisher, artist, or whatever in combination you stand a better chance of weathering any storms that come your way because you have some options available to you.
I started Ragnarok with Joe Martin partly because of that diversification concept but also because I felt he and I would make a good team, our skills and personalities complementary of each other. Turns out I was right. We got together and started the company and good thing after good thing happened, opportunity after opportunity knocking, and it’s gone gangbusters. Too much so in certain aspects, to be honest. It’s gone from a side business to full time and then some.
As for the future, I think we’re starting to get a handle on certain aspects that have eluded us so far. We’re going to sharpen our focus genre-wise and stick to what’s been working for us more and we’ve got some fantastic concepts coming up in the near future.
If you could go back in time to talk yourself two years ago when you thinking of starting Ragnarok, what advice would you offer?
Walk away! Well, maybe I wouldn’t tell myself that, but I would definitely knock a little sense into my head and warn myself about too much of a good thing being a bad thing sometimes. Try to teach myself a little patience and restraint.
Kickstarter is favoured by many games publishers. You’ve used it successfully a few times now. Blackguards was particularly strong, with a number of famous authors involved. What is it about Kickstarter that draws you to it?
The potential to create something greater than we could do without it. I know some folks don’t like the idea of Kickstarter but we use it much like a pre-order system with a sense of collectability involved. We use it to create a limited and collectible run of books that are far superior to what we would be able to do with a standard pre-order model. It allows us to pay the authors more, get more interior art, and better covers as well as a higher quality of material inside. There are a lot of pros to its use.
This is a bit desert-island books (stolen from BBC radio) or “Time Enough At Last” without the nuclear holocaust and smashed glasses: You’re stuck on a desert island, all the food, water and shelter that you require. No other worries. What three books would really wish you had with you? Oh, and you can’t pick Boat Building for Beginners.
I definitely wouldn’t want to escape from that. Sounds like Heaven. I’d likely go with an all Clive Barker list: The Great and Secret Show, Imajica, and likely Weaveworld. These are books I can read over and over and lose myself in the beauty of the prose and the yet still find enough sex and violence to satisfy my interest in darker, more perverse content.