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Transcending Time: An Interview with M.Z. Medenciy, author of Island Eight

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Ecuadorian-American M.Z. Medenciy was born and raised in the beautiful ocean state of Rhode Island. She thoroughly enjoys adventuring—if there are lands to be discovered, stories to be told, or fun to be had, you can count on her to be there.

M.Z is a proud member of the International Society of Latino Authors and the Association of Rhode Island Authors (ARIA). She resides in a wonderfully strange and magical home with the love of her life, their two hilarious boys, a pair of energetic pups, and one cat to rule them all.

You can buy Island Eight here.

Are you a writer, too? Submit your manuscript to Atmosphere Press.

Tell us the story of your book’s title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?

Most of my titles begin as WIP; generally, as I write, the title reveals itself. Island Eight was different—the title was as elusive as a field mouse that’s taken up residence on the upper shelf of a pantry. It wasn’t until after my first draft was done that I reflected on what stood out in this adventure. Then it became painfully obvious what it should be. In the novel, Island Eight transcends time, and that’s all I can say without spoilers.

How did it feel when you first saw your book cover? Or when you first held your book in your hands?

Have you seen those ugly cry memes? Yeah. That. But worse.

I’ve always dreamed of sharing my stories, but I’ve also been terrified of it. Emotionally and mentally, this was a huge step for me. That being the case, holding the proof copy in my hands was a poignant milestone in my life and a wonderful moment I will never forget.

Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?

As a child, writing was my escape. My family immigrated from Ecuador, and I am a first generation American. My siblings and I were born into poverty and endured hardships. To protect ourselves, we created worlds from our imagination and used them as a refuge. When I was in third grade, my mother was on her own, and things, while still financially difficult, were getting better. I didn’t need my world of imagination. Therefore, I began writing about it instead of running away from it. My dreams manifested into these beasts that refuse to leave me unless I take pen to paper. There was this one teacher who I will never forget. His name was Mr. Glilett, and I have been forever grateful for his encouragement and kind words. After grading a short story I had written, he pulled me to the side and said, “This was fun. This was clever, and I enjoyed reading it. You have something, don’t ever stop writing.” Someday I hope to tell him how his words echoed in my mind years later during a crucial turning point.

What other professions have you worked in? What’s something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?

I have been an editor for independent films, technical director for instructional videos, and most recently, I was the Department Manager for Rhode Island College’s Multimedia Production Studio. These days I am a Program Assistant for the Upward Bound program. I have always been passionate about helping students achieve their goals. I know firsthand how encouragement and kind words can breathe life into you many years later.

What was the most rewarding/meaningful part of publishing your book?

The most rewarding part was defeating this daunting, all-consuming fear of others reading my work. Putting my novel out there was akin to putting my heart out there, and it took me a very long time to overcome that fear. When I did, the unburdensome freedom to breathe washed so quickly over me I felt incredibly lightheaded and giddy—that was so rewarding.

If your book had a soundtrack, what are some songs that would be on it?

You don’t want to ask me this question. Why? Because the universe will probably have a second Big Bang before I am done listing the track list. Kidding, not kidding. Okay, I’ll shut up and list some songs.

Muse – Take a Bow

Florence and the Machine – Rabbit-Hearted Girl

Fey – Aire

Adia Victoria – Me and the Devil

Killswitch Engage – My Curse

Odesza – It’s Only

Enigma – Following the Sun

What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?

My perfect reader would be someone who had an endless cash supply and would follow me around with a money gun. They would pull the trigger and shower me with $100 bills whenever I completed a sentence. We would laugh, dance, then go out for boba tea.

Okay, seriously, I write to tell stories and hope the reader enjoys the adventure. My perfect reader is up for anything and welcomes genre-bending storytelling.

What new writing projects are you currently working on? Or, other projects that are not writing?

I’m working on part two of the Ataraxia series, short accompaniment stories, and an urban fantasy series.

How was working with Atmosphere Press? What would you tell other writers who want to publish?

Working with Atmosphere Press was a dream. There really isn’t any other way to put it. I felt seen. They are the perfect publishers for authors at any stage of the game. They know what they are doing, keep you in the loop and explain, with clarity, every step of the process. I want to tell other writers that if they choose your manuscript, rejoice! Atmosphere Press is fantastic to work with.

You can buy Island Eight here.

Are you a writer, too? Submit your manuscript to Atmosphere Press.

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