Hello everyone and welcome to my stop on the Escapist Book Tours virtual book tour for L.L. MacRae’s Epic Fantasy novel Moroda! Today, I am excited to help kickoff the tour by sharing an interview with the author!
You can find our Q&A below, along with all of the info about the book, the author, links to purchase a copy of Moroda for yourself, as well as an opportunity to win either an ebook copy of the book! Also, be sure to take a look at the schedule at the bottom of the post and follow along to see the stops from our other awesome hosts!
Moroda by L.L. MacRae
Series: World of Linaria
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Intended Age Group: 14+
Published: May 30, 2022 (Second Edition)
Publisher: Self Published
In Linaria, dragons are revered as gods.
Airships command the skies.
And across the land, war is brewing.
Devastated by their father’s death, Moroda and her sister struggle to make ends meet. Things go from bad to worse when a rogue dragon destroys their city.
Fleeing on a sky pirate’s airship to escape the chaos, the sisters find themselves penned in by untrustworthy companions, a bloodthirsty warlord, and dragons on the rampage.
For Moroda, who would do anything to protect her sister, nowhere is safe. Not even the sky.
The balance of power in Linaria is tipping. Can one woman make a difference?
If you love dragons, airships, and sky pirates, you’ll love discovering THE WORLD OF LINARIA.
Do Not Meddle in Dragon Affairs • With Great Power • (Trying to) Do the Right Thing
Thank you so much for joining us for this short Q&A! Before we get going, please tell us a bit about yourself.
Thank you so much for the opportunity! My name is Lauren, I’m a fantasy author, and I write under the name L.L. MacRae. I live in a tiny village in the middle of the English countryside with my boyfriend and dog. Prior to writing books, I was a professional copywriter – so I’ve been writing for a living for a while!
I want to start things off by asking: what is a great book that you’ve read recently and why should we give it a go?
I’ve been shouting about it a lot, and I’ll continue to shout, but Wolfeater by Anthony Mitchell was fabulous! The audio, in particular, was a wonderful listen that brought tears to my eyes on more than one occasion!
Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of reading/writing? Do you care to elaborate?
I love playing video games, and enjoy plenty of story-driven games and RPGs. The Final Fantasy series is a particular favourite, but also I Am Setsuna, Bastion, and “park builder/management” type games like Jurassic World Evolution or Two Point Hospital.
I’m also a huge petrolhead – my boyfriend and I love our cars! So going up and down the country to various shows and events is always something we enjoy doing whenever we have the chance.
Writing is a hard and lonely affair in the best of circumstances. How do you achieve a good work/life/writing balance?
Having a supportive community really helps. It does take a village to write a book. I’m always bouncing ideas off fellow authors or doing writing sessions with them, chatting to editors, beta readers, cover designers, audiobook narrators etc. Even other readers or fans! There’s always a lot going on beyond just the writing – which really is a tiny fraction of the whole business of being an indie author – so I think there’s a natural balance there!
Do you usually write to background noise, music, etc. or do you prefer silence?
I struggle to write in silence, so I try and have a playlist of some description on while I work. Usually it’s something from a film or video game soundtrack to help with the atmosphere (they’re great for tense scenes, epic battles etc.).
Occasionally I’ll lurk in friends’ streams on Twitch, just to have something on in the background! Also it functions as a bit of accountability as I can pop in/out of their chat every 30 mins or so and say how much (or little) I’ve been writing.
What do you think characterizes your writing style?
I definitely write more light-hearted and hopeful epic fantasy than the darker, grittier style. Dark and bad things happen, of course, but I’ll never go super dark. For example, I’ll never write any sort of rape scene or anything with sexual abuse, nor gratuitous violence.
Although there are “antagonists” and characters who have questionable morals (if any!), most of the characters will be trying to do the best with what they have, and trying to do what’s right. Of course, it gets a bit muddled when “what’s right” isn’t always clear!
There’ll always be dragons featured in some way. And what also seems to be happening is there’ll always be a badass female character who uses a polearm weapon of some type – Amarah wields a scythe in World of Linaria, and Selys uses a glaive in Dragon Spirits!
I also try and “naturally season” my books with worldbuilding details, showing things on a “need to know” basis, rather than huge pages of exposition dumps explaining how things work. And I always try and keep my writing pretty accessible, rather than dense and complex. I want people to have fun reading my book, not have to sit there and try to figure things out!
What are your favorite types of characters?
Ooooh, great question! It’s so hard to choose as I love so many types!
I do enjoy good-hearted (lawful good?!) characters trying to do their best, or staying hopefully even in the darkest of times. I find that very empowering and motivating. I’m also a sucker for grumpy characters being thrust into adventures when they’d rather be at home by the fire. And, probably like most people, I do have a soft spot for the loveable rogues!
How much of yourself do you write into your stories?
Probably a lot more than I realise! It’s not a conscious choice, really. I pull traits that I think work well for certain characters or would lead to interesting dynamics or conflicts. But when I look back at a finished book, I definitely see things in characters that I know are from me. Whether they are behaving in a way that I would, or a way I wish I would, I can definitely see the similarities!
For those who haven’t read Moroda give us the elevator pitch.
Moroda is the first book in L.L. MacRae’s epic fantasy series, The World of Linaria.
It’s a six-book saga following a group of characters as war rages across their world. With pirates and soldiers, smiths and princes, Linaria is a vibrant land with a deeply unsettled past and an equally uncertain future.
Describe your book in 3 adjectives.
Adventurous. Fun. Draconic. Draconic is an adjective, right? 😀
If you had to do so in just one or two sentences, how would you describe the plot of Moroda?
Moroda and her sister’s fortunes go from bad to worse when a rampaging dragon burns their city to the ground, and they escape on a sky pirate’s airship. Although she wants to learn more about the dragons while keeping herself (and her sister) safe, she learns a vigilante from an exiled race is on the warpath – and he’s stealing the power of dragons…
They say to never judge a book by its cover and maybe that’s true in the philosophical sense, but it certainly happens with books. Can you tell us about the idea behind the cover of Moroda?
It’s an upgraded version of the original cover – where I had no idea what I wanted! So I just had the main character appear, with a rough dragon silhouette behind her. The new cover for the second edition is similar, but much better. The dragon silhouette in the background is much more prominent, for example, and the model has been illustrated by the amazing Holly Jameson. It gives off much more “epic fantasy” vibes, with the magical sphere Moroda is holding, the swirling mist, and the light effects!
It was hard to make sure it looked like light-hearted epic fantasy without being YA, in a way that still reflected the book and matched the sequels. Holly did a phenomenal job with it.
One of my favorite things is highlighting quotes that really resonate with me and sharing them in my reviews. Do you have a favorite quote from Moroda that you can share with us?
There are a few lines that I really like:
‘The past has passed,’ Kohl said, closing his eyes. ‘Grudges are a poison better ignored and forgotten.’
From dragon-flame begun, from dragon-flame undone.
‘You do not bargain with your gods.’
‘Live and let live is a kind notion, but it’s not always possible.’
‘There’s darkness in everyone. Good and bad is never set in stone, nor is it clear cut.’
What would it matter if they were killed by the dragon, she wondered. Would Linaria even mourn their passing?
What can you tell us about what’s coming up next for you?
Now I’ve republished the World of Linaria series under my new author name, I’m going to be writing The Shadow Gate, which is the sequel to my novel, The Iron Crown. I hope to get that published before the end of 2022!
Then, it’ll be back to Linaria, writing the fifth (penultimate!) novel in the series.
Additionally, I have a Patreon where I write a monthly fantasy serial called Shadowlight! Think phoenixes, dragons, and magic in a blighted world. It’s ongoing, so there’s always a few more chapters of that to write at any given time!
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer a few questions for us! I always enjoy this little peek behind the curtain. Do you have any parting thoughts or comments you’d like to leave for our readers?
Thank you so much for the interview and the opportunity to feature on your blog!
About the Author
Lauren is a fantasy author of character-driven stories and epic adventure. Her books usually contain dragons, eclectic characters, and are typically fun and hopeful.
She lives in a tiny village in the UK, has a degree in Psychology, and was a professional copywriter before going full-time as an author—swapping corporate copy for magic and dragons!
She has previously published under the name L.L. McNeil.
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