It’s my blog tour stop with MTMC Tours to interview the author of Macario’s Scepter!
You might remember my review for Macario’s Scepter by M.J. McGriff back in February, where I talked about this action-packed adventure of sisters and pirate schemes and dazzling plot twists. Now today I get to interview the author!! But first 👀👌🏻 a little recap on why this book should be on your tbr…
Reasons To Read Macario’s Scepter
- Think PIRATES (including charming roguish pirate love interests)
- enemies to lovers romance
- destines and prophecies and a search for magic and secrets
- it features twin sisters, Seraphina and Samara, who are like ice and fire (and we love them for it!!) Samara is the headstrong badass who wants to dive into adventure, while Seraphina is the nun, trying to live a quiet and contemplative life but ends up chasing after her sister’s mad and reckless adventure.
- banter and bickering and sibling bonds
- reluctant Chosen Ones
- sea serpents and fights
- magic and mayhem
It’s definitely the kind of fun pirate adventure that you won’t want to put down!
She belonged out on the sparkling sea, sailing into that beautiful sunset. No more veils. No more prayers. No more judging eyes. This time when she left, she’d leave for good.
An unlikely Chosen One, her pirate captain ex-lover, and a treasure-hunting nun. A prophecy that unleashes a fire-breathing sea serpent pouring its wrath on the isles. A magical scepter with the power to destroy—or save—the world.
Samara is a ship wrecked at sea. She can’t seem to get anything right, especially her love life. Her former pirate captain, the famous Baz Blackwater, broke her heart and stranded her on an island of religious hypocrites. Samara wants nothing more than to escape to the freedom of the sea, so when her ex-lover shows up offering a chance at a magical treasure—and secret revenge—she jumps at the chance.
Seraphina prays every day for her wayward twin sister to stop chasing the pirate life and find the peace she’s discovered in her own quiet life at the convent. But Samara has nothing but contempt for her sister’s beliefs and religious rituals. Yet when Seraphina uncovers an ancient prophecy revealing the horrifying curse of the treasure Samara and Baz seek, she must leave her convent—risking the wrath of her Order—and search for the truth about Macario’s scepter.
In a world of friendship and betrayal, monsters and magic, seedy pubs and adventure on the high seas, will Samara’s magical powers, Baz’s cunning plans, and Seraphina’s unshakable faith be enough to slay a cursed sea serpent destroying everything they love?
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MJ McGriff writes fast-paced YA fantasy and sci-fi stories featuring pirates, exotic locations, and amazing characters of color. She loves all things Marvel, Star Wars, and whatever she can find on a dessert menu. She lives in sunny South Florida with her two daughters who love to play pretend just as much as she does. Find her online at Website | Instagram | Goodreads | Twitter
Hi MJ! Thanks so much for chatting with us about Macario’s Scepter! Can you tell us a bit about how it went from first idea to published novel?
I first got the idea to write a story about a female pirate back in the summer of 2017. I was on maternity leave with my second daughter and had my 4-year old home with me too. So in between nap times I was watching Black Sails, a pirate drama on Starz and got the idea for a story. It would take another year to get the first draft to my editor.
I thought the story was solid, thinking I would only need to do a couple of tweaks.
Boy was I wrong!
I had to cut out 30,000 words and an entire main character and get the draft back to my editor — in a month. 😭
After a 2-day pity party with cheesecake and wine, I got to work taking apart the story, putting it back together with \ stronger characters and a better storyline..
By the time the second round of edits were completed we were in the middle of a very nasty pandemic. But we pulled it together and I self-published Macario’s Scepter in ebook, paperback, and hardcover in April of 2020.
Honestly cheesecake helps ALL writing crises. So glad Macario’s came together so marvellously in the end 😩🙌🏻 What’s your favourite part about writing epic fantasy?
Creating the worlds is my absolutely favorite part! I’m a bit of a history nerd so I get to mash up my favorite historical events as well as weave in rich cultures you don’t see often in the YA fantasy genre. By doing that I get to create worlds that truly reflect what I love as well as what I want to change about the world we live in.
Escapism is such an incredible part of the reading experience for sure too. Now to talk about the stars of the book…can you introduce us to Samara and Seraphina?
Samara and Seraphina are identical twins but that’s where their similarities end. Samara is brave but impulsive, who took the first opportunity to leave her island home for a life on the seas. After the pirate captain she served left her stranded and broken-hearted, she’s back in the Majestic Isles trying to scrape together a new life.
Seraphina chose a life of religion and service, committing herself to a life as a nun for the Order, the religious government of the Majestic Isles. She would love nothing more than to keep her nose in the books and spread the light and love.
What I love about their relationship is that they learn to love each other for who they are and not in spite of who they are. It’s an amazing thing to watch unfold.
I adored their relationship too!! I have such a soft spot for sister stories (I have 4 sisters of my own!!) and Samara and Seraphina are the bessst 😍 A sneaky question now … 👀 Can you give us a sneak peek on what you’re working on next?
I’m in the second round of developmental edits for The Spell Keeper, the third book in the series. After the events of The Secret Library, the 2nd book in the series that was released this past April, the gang from both books are all back together. They’re in a new land where they have to work with a new set of heroes to defeat evil monsters and the sorceress controlling them. This book is so much fun because I finally get to have a story that’s very Avenger’s-like in style and action.
We are so looking forward to it!! Would you rather spend a day in Samara and Seraphina’s world…or bring them into our modern world for a day?
Oh I would LOVE to spend a day in Samara and Seraphina’s world! The island realm is heavily inspired by Santorini, Greece and it’s just absolutely breathtaking. Plus, I get to play on a pirate ship — and who wouldn’t want to do that for a day?
I absolutely would choose to be a pirate for a day too 😂 And lastly! Was any chocolate harmed in the making of this novel? 😉
No chocolate, but many slices of cheesecake have lost their lives during the making of the story! LOL
Cheesecake is the best anyway so I highly approve. So lovely to have you, MJ, and learn more behind-the-scenes details about Macario’s Scepter!! Good luck with writing book 3!! 😍
Enter the Rafflecopter below to win a hardcover of Macario’s Scepter via Book Depository! This is open internationally & it ends on August 4th, 2021 at 11:59pm EST.
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