Author Spotlight: Marc Micciola

Holly Huntress
8 min readFeb 15, 2022

When did you first start writing?

I started writing when I was twelve. Maybe thirteen? I found out Christopher Paolini started writing when he was thirteen so I figured I could start too.

When did you know you wanted to be an author?

It took me a while to come to this realization. Always being directed to more practical careers had me putting writing in the ‘hobby’ category for years. I think it wasn’t until I was twenty-three when I finally put my foot down and was like “I want to be an author”.

Was there any author or book in particular that inspired you to write? Or a teacher/mentor?

Taking a creative writing class in high school further showed me just how much I adored writing, but it also showed me that I was good at it. Christopher Paolini and his Inheritance Cycle provided the spark for me, but I would say it wasn’t until I found Mark Lawrence’s Broken Empire Trilogy when I really got serious about crafting full-fledged stories. Famous world-builders such as George RR Martin and JRR Tolkein inspired me to go the fantasy route though.

How many books have you written? What are they called? Where can they be found/bought?

I have written a grand total of one book! Working on bringing number two to the world! The book I have completed is called Ascension and is book one in the Age of Shadow Saga. Right now, it can be found on Amazon in ebook and paperback forms (click here to check it out!), but I am working on making a hardcover available through IngramSpark too in case you’re a lover of hardcover books like myself.

What genre do you write?

In general, I write fantasy stories. If you want to get more technical, I guess I would describe my genre as epic fantasy with a dash of darkness. That ‘darkness’ is just adding in some real, grounding elements to my fantasy tales, without taking you out of the fantastical experience of going to an unknown world and getting lost in it all.

Are any of your characters based on people you know in real life?

I think, inadvertently, some of my characters might resemble people I know in real life. My opinion on this is that a character always comes from somewhere in our life. Whether they’re who we aspire to be, someone we wish a loved one was, or a carbon copy of a person in our life. I think writers are sponges, and we take everything in our lives into our brains. Our imagination takes all we have and spews out these characters we seem to know like the back of our hands.

What inspires you to write the most?

Well, writing started off as a coping mechanism for my anxiety. I didn’t know I had anxiety at the time. But what I did know was that I felt good with a pen in my hand. I think what really inspires me to write is the idea of creating an experience, in a world both familiar and foreign, that helps someone get through a time in their life they didn’t think they could get through. I know what books did for me from age twelve onward. They gave me a place where I could go and explore, putting the real world behind me while maybe learning something about myself along the way. What inspires me the most? The idea that I can give someone out there the escape they need, to give them that joy-filled feeling of taking in a good book at the end of a long day.

What is your favorite thing about writing?

I’m a fantasy writer so, for me, my favourite thing about writing is world-building. Crafting a place in space and time that only exists in my head and then bringing it to life.

Do you listen to music while you write or read?

When I read I need total silence, but I find I’m more productive if I have some music playing while I write. Sometimes I can’t even bring myself to start writing unless I’ve listened to some music for a while. My favourite stuff right now is Lord of the Rings music and ambience. Ambience Worlds on YouTube is my go-to provider.

What do you write — short stories, poems, novels, novellas, blog posts, etc. — and which do you enjoy writing the most?

I’ve tried doing blog posts and poems in the past, but I was never drawn to them as a style as much as short stories and novels. I’m mostly working on my trilogy of novels, but, funny enough, the whole idea for the Age of Shadow Saga came from a short story I had written! So I make sure to write some short stories every now and then to give myself some feeling of accomplishment in the midst of writing my lengthy novels. As for what I enjoy writing the most? Probably novels.

Have you tried to go the traditional route with publishing? — (getting an agent to sell you to a publisher) How did it go?

Honestly, no. I looked into it like most aspiring authors do, but I wasn’t up for the challenge at the time. Maybe in the future, with another book/series, but I think it was all too daunting of a task for me so I went the self-publishing route instead.

Are you self-published? How did that go and what route did you take (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, other company)? What advice would you give to others who want to self-publish?

I went the self-publishing route via Amazon’s KDP option. It was relatively easy, with a few bumps along the way, but overall I’d say I had a good experience with it. Now, as for advice? Number one for me is make your book cover as amazing as it possibly can be, you’d be surprised how many books people buy solely because they loved the cover.

Number two is research what self-publishing entails before diving into it. I think a lot of authors go the self-publishing route because they know they can get their book out there quicker, but they aren’t prepared for things like ISBNs, formatting, or, especially, marketing.

Number three, and the last piece of advice, is to never lose your enjoyment of the art of writing. Going the self-publishing route requires you to treat your writing like a business, which can sometimes drain you in such a way you see a beloved career path/hobby turn into a task that has to be done. Never lose sight of why you started writing.

What is your favorite genre to read?

Fantasy, fantasy, and more fantasy. Dark fantasy, utopian fantasy, historical fantasy, epic fantasy; it’s all wonderful.

Who is your favorite author now? What is it you like about them?

Oh, that’s a tough one. I have different favourites for different aspects of writing. JRR Tolkien is my favourite when it comes to world-building, Mark Lawrence is my favourite when it comes to overall writing talent, George RR Martin when it comes to character creation, and Tom Lloyd when it comes to action scenes.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

I’m going to relay some advice that was given by George RR Martin during one of his many interviews: just write. Don’t worry about formatting or editing, whether your chapters are too long or too short if your book is a novella or novel. Just get your story from your mind to the page and worry about all the technicalities afterward. Oh, and never sacrifice story to make a book shorter or a chapter longer. The story is the most important part of your book. If you have a five-hundred-page book but the story is compelling the entire way, no point in cutting it short. If you went from a ten-page chapter to a three-page chapter, but it fits the way the story goes, then there is no reason to extend it with lengthy, unnecessary stuff. Just tell your story and enjoy it along the way.

Do you have any favorite books you recommend right now?

I will always recommend the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, as well as A Song of Ice and Fire. I have to recommend anything from Mark Lawrence, and the Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini will always hold a place in my heart. Tom Lloyd and Jonathan Stroud are other excellent writers, so anything from them.

Besides writing, do you have any other hobbies?

I’m a huge hockey fan. I love photography, mostly nature stuff though. A good, story-driven video game is always a fun way to spend some time. Oh and spending time with my two dogs, Ace and Rielly, will forever be my favourite hobby.

Are you on Twitter or do you have an author website we should check out as readers?

Yes I am on Twitter at @MarcMicciola

I also have an author website, www.marcrmicciola.com, which contains some cool things about the world of the Age of Shadow Saga. Examples? There’s character art, kingdom sigils/banners, as well as a general history/backstory of the kingdoms within the book. They aren’t all there yet, but there are a few to take a look at!

I also have an Instagram dedicated to my book series @ageofshadowsaga.mm

Is there anything else you want to share about your writing or that you want your readers to know?

My characters’ mental health is a big part of their build. They respond to certain situations in a certain manner because of their anxiety or PTSD, or whatever else ails them. Not everyone is mentally well and when they aren’t, it often isn’t displayed to a degree I feel is authentic enough by other authors. You don’t tend to find mental health disorders within epic fantasies, so it’s something I try to have within my stories to help ground them and make characters more relatable/interesting.

I want my readers to know that I appreciate them greatly and that I will forever be thankful to them for helping me realize my dream of becoming an author. Finally, I just want everyone to know that they can do it. Whatever it is that you’ve been wondering for years, if it’s possible to achieve; you can do it. Nothing is impossible, it just hasn’t happened yet.

End of Author Interview with Marc Micciola

If you do nothing else — at least check out author Marc Micciola’s website! It is awesome! If it doesn’t sway you to take a peek at his book, then I don’t know what will. His writing is definitely worth reading and gives you some Eragon/medieval vibes. I also love that Marc’s characters deal with mental health topics, because no matter what world you are in, that is always going to be a prevalent issue. I have written a few blog posts about mental health, specifically anxiety, if you want to check those out next!

Tips on Quelling Anxiety

Writing and Anxiety

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Thank you for reading!

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Holly Huntress

Author and content creator. My books - the Broken Angel series & Unbound - can be found on Amazon!