RIC Alumnus Produces Award-Winning Fantasy Novel

Melissa Medenciy sits in armchair and smiles

Melissa Medenciy’s “Island Eight” wins International Latino Book Award.

RIC alumnus Melissa Medenciy ’06, whose authorial name is M.Z. Medenciy, was recently honored with the International Latino Book Award in the fantasy category for her novel “Island Eight.” 

This award is the largest Latino literary and cultural award in the United States. It is designed to recognize the greatness in books by and about Latinos around the world – from established authors to those who are just beginning their writing career.

An Ecuadorean American, Medenciy has been writing fiction since a child. This is her first published novel.

Melissa with her parents at award ceremony in L.A.
Melissa Medenciy at awards ceremony in L.A. with her mami and stepfather.
Book jacket for Melissa Medenciy's novel

Published in 2022 by Atmosphere Press, “Island Eight” tells the story of a world on the verge of a cataclysmic war. Sophia, a Salinian entertainer, unknowingly holds the key to the world’s salvation. After narrowly escaping death, with the aid of a mysterious man who takes her to once-forbidden lands, Sophia is unwillingly sucked into the brewing war she had tried to evade. Along the way, she encounters the magic-wielding Fae, discovers her own inner resilience and uncovers a history of the gods and their planet that will change the lives of the people forever.

The author was praised by the “Midwest Book Review” for her ability to create “a compelling and realistic character” in Sophia: “This portrait of a young woman, who steps up in unprecedented ways, encourages intriguing discussions of choice and opportunity, the violations of women and what evolves when the very different worlds of fantastic creatures and human ambition collide.”

“Medenciy’s gripping writing ... keeps the pages flying.”

BookView Review

“Readers Favorite” gave “Island Eight” a five-star review, stating, “One of the features that I loved about [‘Island Eight’] was the unique ways in which typical fantasy elements like Fae people, gods and the magic system were utilized in fresh and inventive ways…A highly enjoyable fantasy adventure with well-written characters and original ideas.”

The “BookView Review” also spoke highly of “Island Eight,” stating: “Medenciy’s gripping writing and effective incorporation of fantasy elements keeps the pages flying. With its well-rounded characters, vivid worldbuilding and nicely incorporated magic system, [‘Island Eight’] makes for a thoroughly absorbing read.”

“I hope that after reading my novel, readers will leave with the feeling of having had a fun adventure.” 

Melissa Medenciy

Speaking about her start as a writer, Medenciy says, “I’ve always had an overactive imagination. It started as a protective mechanism that allowed me to escape, but in high school a teacher reminded me that it is also a gift. He said, ‘Do me a favor. Don’t ever stop writing.’”

She went on to earn her B.A. degree in mass communication/media studies at Rhode Island College in 2006 and started work on “Island Eight” two years later. The novel was completed in 2017 and picked up by Atmosphere Press in 2021. Medenciy is not only a RIC alumnus but program assistant for RIC’s Upward Bound Program and a consultant for RIC’s multimedia production studio.

“Island Eight” is Book One of a three-part series. Book Two is currently in progress. 

“I hope that after reading ‘Island Eight,’ readers will leave with the feeling of having had a fun adventure,” says Medenciy.

To learn more about this fantasy author, hear her thoughts on writing or get a behind-the-scenes look into the crafting of “Island Eight,” visit Micha Medenciy or check out Micha Medenciy on Instagram.