Today I’m beyond thrilled to welcome back ML Spencer to the blog as we kickoff Dragon Mage Book Tour presented by Storytellers On Tour! This week we’re showcasing her High Fantasy novel, Dragon Mage, book one of the Rivenworld series – a gloriously chonky book filled with adventure and DRAGONS. I’ve been a fan of ML’s since I cracked open Chains of Blood for my very first Ladies of Grimdark feature, and I’m looking forward to reading this one as soon as I possibly can. I can’t wait to hear what readers have to say about this one, so stay tuned for some fantastic features from our Roadies – it’s going to be an awesome week.
ML stopped by for a chat where we discuss how her book came to fruition, the extensive research that went into telling this tale, what she hopes readers take away from this story of hers, the road ahead, and more! Keep scrolling to learn more about the book and author, check out the awesome interview, and enter to win yourself a copy of Dragon Mage!
We’ve enlisted a group of wonderful and talented bloggers and Bookstagrammers to help us feature Dragon Mage. This is what we have going on, so make sure to check out each and every one throughout the week for some brilliant content, including reviews and more.
JUNE 16TH – THE KICKOFF
Whispers & Wonder (IG: @whispersandwonder)
The Sword Smith
Beneath A Thousand Skies
The Bibliophile Chronicles (IG: @thebibliophilechronicles)
Book Steff’s Bookish Blog
Out of This World SFF
Lost in Storyland (IG: @kestlong)
I Can Has Books? (IG: @carrieicanhasbooks)
Under the Radar SFF Books
Sean Reads Books
Witty and Sarcastic Bookclub
OneReadingNurse (IG: @onereadingnurse)
Book & Nature Professor (IG: @bookandbatureprof)
JUNE 22ND – THE ENCORE
Queen’s Book Asylum
For more info, visit the official tour page at Storytellers On Tour.
Aram Raythe has the power to challenge the gods. He just doesn’t know it yet.
Aram thinks he’s nothing but a misfit from a small fishing village in a dark corner of the world. As far as Aram knows, he has nothing, with hardly a possession to his name other than a desire to make friends and be accepted by those around him, which is something he’s never known.
But Aram is more. Much, much more.
Unknown to him, Aram bears within him a gift so old and rare that many people would kill him for it, and there are others who would twist him to use for their own sinister purposes. These magics are so potent that Aram earns a place at an academy for warrior mages training to earn for themselves the greatest place of honor among the armies of men: dragon riders.
Aram will have to fight for respect by becoming not just a dragon rider, but a Champion, the caliber of mage that hasn’t existed in the world for hundreds of years. And the land needs a Champion. Because when a dark god out of ancient myth arises to threaten the world of magic, it is Aram the world will turn to in its hour of need.
ML Spencer lives in Southern California with her three children and two cats. She has been obsessed with fantasy ever since the days of childhood bedtime stories. She grew up reading and writing fantasy fiction, playing MMORPG games, and living, as mom put it, “in her own worlds.” ML now spends each day working to bring those worlds into reality.
Welcome back to Whispers & Wonder, ML! Since we already have your official bio, care to share a random fact about yourself?
I am a former windsurfing instructor 😊
Give us an idea of how Dragon Mage came to fruition.
I had the idea for the split world a few years ago and just slowly started worldbuilding it over the course of a few years. For a long time it was just a world though, with no story to inhabit it. About a year and a half ago, I got the idea of a main character on the autism spectrum. But no matter what I did, I couldn’t find a story to fit both him and the world. Then one day I came up with the epic ballad that is in the beginning of Dragon Mage and that basically sparked the entire story!
Can you share with us something about Dragon Mage that isn’t in the blurb?
There are a few scenes where the main character, Aram, has to help forge his own sword. I studied blacksmithing pretty extensively by watching youtube videos, but I still had some questions. So I finally ended up going to r/blacksmithing and asking the nice folks there to help me out. I had about three blacksmiths reply, leaving me pages of information to help flesh out my forge! One blacksmith in particular, David Langlinais, wrote me practically a book that really gave my forge real character and life!
Was there any specific research you’ve done or inspiration you’ve pulled from for this story of yours?
I did a ton of research on ASD, more than I’ve ever done before, and it really shed light on a lot of my own quirks that I really never linked with ASD before. I had a lot of “OMG! That’s why…” moments. It also really helped me understand that it’s not just me. Other people have these experiences too. Which is a truly validating feeling
What do you hope your readers take away from Dragon Mage?
I think that the big thing is just an awareness of what it’s like to be a high-functioning autistic. So many people see it as a disability, but it’s not. People on the spectrum like me have so many strengths. I honestly attribute my ability to just sit and single-mindedly and even obsessively focus on tasks like writing to ASD. Knowing what I know now, I see it as my great strength. I would never want to be neurotypical.
Do you have a favorite character you’ve written? If so, who? What about them sets them apart from all the others?
Aram really is my favorite character because he is basically me. I really channeled myself into him, and I found out so much about myself in doing so! I really had to delve deep into my own experience with ASD.
If you could go back and change how you approached writing your debut novel, what’s the one thing you’d do differently?
I would have self published it instead of trying to go the traditional route. I should have also studied the self-pub industry a lot more before hitting the “Publish” button.
Writing can be a stressful pursuit. Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?
Take care of your body! Writing is unbelievably stressful on the body, from the threat of carpel tunnel syndrome to back and neck problems, vascular problems from sitting too long…there is so much that go wrong! Be proactive—get ergonomic keyboards, chairs, maybe a standing desk, have your watch remind you to move every so often.
Ok, let’s see what kind of person you truly are.
Coffee or Tea?
Winter or Summer?
Physical books or Ebooks?
Mountains or Oceans?
Beer or Wine?
Neither! I don’t drink.
Books or Movies?
Cowboys or Aliens?
Pie or Cake?
Rural or Urban?
Work hard or Play hard?
Thank you again for taking the time have a chat, ML. Tell us what lies ahead for you!
I have to finish up at least two more novels in the Rivenworld series. After that, I really don’t know!
Enter to win a copy of Dragon Mage! Grand prize is a beautiful hardcover copy, and runners-up will take home an equally beautiful paperback!
US Only • Ends 6/23
That’s all I got for ya! Be sure to keep an eye on the official Dragon Mage tour page over at Storytellers On Tour to see what the other bloggers and Bookstagrammers have to share!