Interview with M.A. McComas, Author of Start of the Storm: Trials of Transcendence Volume I

Good morning, today’s interview is with M.A. McComas, author of Start of the Storm – Trials of Transcendence – Volume I.

Please see below and enjoy!


-Vincent Lowry


1) What is your author name and in what state do you live (or country if not in the US)?
          My name is M.A. McComas and I am from Pennsylvania.
2) What is the title of your newest book and what is the genre?
           The title of my debut novel is Start of the Storm: Trials of Transcendence Volume I and it is an Epic Fantasy.
3) What is the book about?
The continent of Transcendence is fractured and segregated. It’s races–long ago chased from their own world by humans–keep to themselves and live in isolation from each other. But for the first time in æons the future is beginning to brighten and hope for the continent’s unification blossoms.

In Mystwood, Lethelas, prince of the elves, questions the veracity of his people’s historical records and shakes off the xenophobia of his father. Down in Qaagire, Corguul, the youngest son of an orc chieftain, dreams not of slaughter and endless warfare, but instead of traveling the world and meeting the menagerie of peoples who inhabit it. And King Bræman of the dwarves sits his throne in Resonate Hall, aching to develop trade partnerships that will allow his people to showcase their labors across the land.

The unexpected, storm-blown arrival of High Commander Terrin Korsing and his fleet of humans, however, may jeopardize these hopes of unity.

But Eræn, the Ranger, charged with the care of the continent of Transcendence and all its peoples, has been working toward peace for too long to let it slip from his grasp now. He may be the only one with a chance to bring them all together despite their determination to erase each other from the land. And with a larger, darker storm looming to the south, intent on sweeping them all from the face of Transcendence, coming together is their only hope.

4) Where did you come up with the idea?

For generations the fantasy genre has been populated by a landscape of unique, carefully built worlds–worlds full of mythic and magical races. And in these worlds, humans are often presented as the newcomers, the younger race in a land they did not inherit. Authors sometimes allude to a time æons past when humans first made their way to these lands, but readers are left pondering what that time looked like. What events brought the humans here? How did the races already inhabiting the land respond? What heroes and legends rose up out of the æther as a result? I wanted to finally tell that story.
I have three brothers: one older and two who are eight and ten years younger. I played a lot of games with my younger brothers growing up and quite often these were games I had made up for us. One year when they were both teens, in late February, I was looking for a game we could play together while the weather was bad. Both of my brothers enjoyed World of Warcraft, but I was looking for something we could sit around a table and play together. One of my brothers played Dungeons & Dragons with a group of his friends, but that required a little too much paper and pencil than I wanted. To me, the ideal table game would combine the best elements of both.

So I decided to design just such a game. And in the course of designing it I sketched a quick and poorly drawn map and and the land of Transcendence was born.

It was not the Transcendence you will find in my book, however, but rather it was Transcendence 1,000 years in the future. Like is the case in many fantasy worlds as I mentioned above (see Tolkien, Paolini, Sullivan, etc.), the one I was shaping was a world in which humans were the late-comers to a land filled with magic and mythical races. The map I drew showed a fully developed city of Stormhaven, the progressive, melting-pot city of Erætor, and a sylvan city of the elves within the bounds of Mystwood, their ancestral forest. And these cities were all interconnected with roads demonstrating the fact that the races engaged in free movement and free trade. It was pretty standard for a fantasy RPG game and a perfect world in which to develop a character for oneself and set off for exploration and adventure.

As I began to write out some backstory, however, I started to think through some of this world’s history. The ideas that came to me were rich with detail and seemed to have the foundations of a narrative that was truly epic in scope. Perhaps this was a story I would write someday, I told myself… The problem was, the ideas would not stop coming and it became harder and harder to focus on creating the game. I tried for about a week, but finally I had to admit to myself that my long-ago promise “to write a book someday” had come calling.

So, I put away all the supplies I was using for the game, pulled out a blank piece of paper, laid it over top of my poorly drawn map, and traced its features minus the cities and roads. Here now was a section of barren coast land ready for the arrival of Transcendence’s first humans. And from that new, empty map, what is now chapter 1 of Start of the Storm was written.

5) How long did it take you to write it?
It took me ten months of nearly full time writing to write the original manuscript. Then I actually put it away for three years only bringing it out to be beta read on occasion and to compile some notes. Then, with a lot of encouragement from my now-fiancee Emily, I finally pulled it back out and spent a year editing and revising and self-publishing it.
6) Did you learn anything from the project?
I learned an immense amount from the project. While writing it, I devoured articles on writing and poured through my Chicago Manual of Style working to hone my control and use of the English language.
7) Do you have an author website and/or blog? How about a book video?
I have a blog that can be found at There you can find more information about my writing including behind the scenes looks. Also, every Monday I write a blog post spotlighting one of my characters and exploring their backstory.
8) Do you have any success tips to pass on to fellow authors? How about any great editors/cover artists?
My best success tip is to create an outline. Have at least a general idea of where you’re going with your story, an end goal. Fix that final scene in your mind and work toward it one page at a time.
9) What genres do you like to read? Are you open to reading new authors and reviewing their work?
I enjoy reading Fantasy (obviously), Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction, and the Classics. And I would be happy to review others books.
10) What is your favorite book of all time and why?
    My favorite book of all time is Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe. I read it over twenty times as a kid because I loved the adventure. I loved the idea of being able to develop something from        nothing and survive. My book definitely is a product of some of Defoe’s influence in the way the humans respond to being shipwrecked in a strange new world.
11) Fun Question: Do you have any pets? If so, what kind?
     I do not currently have any pets, but my fiancee as taken to feeding a pregnant neighborhood cat on my back deck. We named her Corrine after the Corona Virus because that’s when she         started coming around.
12) Fun Question 2: Do you own an electronic reading device? If so, what kind and how do you like it?

I do not own an electronic reading device, but my fiancee has a Kindle and likes it for certain situations. But I am a bibliophile. I love the look, feel, and smell of real books and I own well over a thousand of them. I recently purchased my first home and I wouldn’t even consider a house that didn’t have a room in it that I could turn into a library.

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