Friday, 26 March 2010

Interview with Melissa Murphy

Spring has sprung! This is my favorite time of the year. I get such a feeling of hope and optimism and simply enjoy the warmth and blossoming nature. Ahhhh.

On this fine spring day, we're chatting with promising aspiring writer Melissa Murphy. Welcome, Melissa. Tell us a little about yourself.

Hi, Dorothy! Thank you for inviting me. I am a married mother of four busy boys, and we also have numerous pets living with us as well. My love of writing and reading started way back in elementary school. At twelve I entered and won a writing contest which resulted in my short story being published in a children’s magazine that is dedicated to encouraging young writers under the age of thirteen, Stone Soup. I was hooked after that, but as it often does, life got in the way and I only just picked writing back up a little over a year ago.

The main thing is you got back into it. That's great! What is the name and genre of your manuscript?

My latest manuscript is called Secrets of the Gentleman Thief. It is a paranormal romance set in the mid-1800’s.

I like the title! I'm interested already. Here’s the part where you pitch it. What’s your story about?

Secrets of the Gentleman Thief is set in a fictional land, the Dark Forest. The forest’s great ancient trees conceal the existence of tiny magical creatures, guardians of the precious secret of all life.

Haunted by a traumatic event in her childhood that is locked away in the deepest recesses of her mind, Alisa Fenton embarks on a quest to find answers to the questions about her irrational fear of the Dark Forest that lies near her home. She begins by seeking out and interviewing those who are known to believe in the fairies of the Dark Forest. During one of her interviews, a psychic warns her about a dark stranger who is searching for her and could be her salvation or her ruin. Alisa’s brother, William, comes up missing forcing her to alter her plans. She then searches for answers to new questions. Unbeknownst to Alisa, the two situations are connected.

Her dark stranger, Daniel Emerson, an undercover agent for the Crown, is also looking for Alisa’s brother, though for very different reasons. William Fenton holds important information that Daniel’s superiors fear may fall into the wrong hands. Daniel fabricates a story of William owing him a large sum of money in order to protect the secret government organization. He suspects that Alisa knows more about her brother’s disappearance than she has divulged.

Despite their mutual distrust the two are compelled to travel and work together. Even the startling physical attraction that they both feel doesn’t allay their suspicious minds. Silencing anyone connected to the missing brother, a murderer closes in forcing them to flee and go into hiding. Passion erupts in seclusion reawakening the trauma lurking in Alisa’s subconscious and stirring Daniel’s guilt in the death of a woman he once loved.

Each driven by their own agendas, Alisa and Daniel follow a series of magical maps to the core of the Dark Forest, indeed into the very belly of the earth. The answers they find there only lead to more questions and uncertainty about the small amount of trust they have built. In the end, Daniel and Alisa must believe and trust in the magic of the fairies of the Dark Forest and in each other as well, to save all.

I'd definitely read this story! How did the idea come to you?

It’s kind of funny really. I was babysitting the three year old daughter of a friend of mine one day. She crawled up in my lap and asked me to tell her a story. Five to ten minutes later when it was done, I thought, that wasn’t half bad! I decided to write it down and then that led to the idea of turning it into a novel. In the beginning it was to be a YA novel, but it grew, changed and took on a life of its own, becoming so much more.

What stage is the novel at now?

It is complete. Well, complete until the next time I take a notion to do more revisions. lol I can’t seem to ever stop tweaking. I have been querying agents for this project and just last Friday got a letter from one who seemed interested. So, keep your fingers crossed for me, OK?

I'll definitely do that! So do you have a critique group/partner or beta readers?

Yes. For the first few manuscripts I wrote, I had only my two sisters and a couple of friends. Recently, I joined Romance Writers of America and found a great critique partner through them. I have also asked a couple of wonderful ladies who I met on twitter to help with a chapter that the interested agent asked me to revise. It never hurts to get another’s opinion.

I agree. What’s the hardest part of writing for you?

For me, the hardest part of writing is trying to do it with constant distractions. Between the children, pets and twitter, it is sometimes hard to get my head into the story. I have found that I do my best writing late at night when the house is quiet and dark. Of course, I can’t do too much of this, for I do still need sleep.

Ah, this mysterious "sleep" I keep hearing about. Maybe one day I'll find out what it is. LOL Any tips you’ve learned about writing you’d like to share?

Never give up! A friend reminded me recently that a lot of really great manuscripts get turned down before the authors find the right home for them. The trick is to persevere until you find that agent/editor who likes your style of writing and loves your story as much as you do. It will happen!

Great advice. Hold on to your dreams, people! So do you have an idea of your book’s cover art?

I love the covers of Mary Balogh’s books where the heroine is shown only from about her lips down. It allows the reader to use their imagination to put on her the face that they want.

Draw them in with mystery. Good plan. Who are your inspirations?

Of course, I have already just mentioned on of my favorite authors, Mary Balogh. Another one that I love to read is Karen Hawkins.

Let’s get to know you on a deeper level. What are your most favorite and least favorite words?

I guess I don’t really have a favorite word. It is how you string them together and create a new and interesting world that I adore. Words that I don’t care to hear or use are any kind of curse words, or words used to put others down.

Is there something that you absolutely need to have nearby when you write?

I don’t have a thing, but I do have a place. The little office that I share with my husband has huge windows along one wall that over look the valley and next ridge. It is an awesome view. It proves to be another distraction at times, though. *grin*

Sounds great! Color me jealous—all I see out my window is the neighbor's house, lol. Here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Who would you like to give a shout out to?

Certainly I could not do this without the support of my husband and family, but I must also include my betas, my lovely sisters and friends. There are so many who have helped, I could not possibly name them all.

And finally, where can people find you online?

For now there is only twitter – @melissamurphy2. I know I need to branch out more, but for the time being I think I have enough distractions already. lol

Yes, distractions are a curse on the world! Oh, sorry, got carried away. Thank you so much for chatting with us, Melissa. I'm crossing my fingers for you to hear good news soon!


Kirsten said...

Great interview!

Gina said...

Enjoyed the interview! Love the question on favorite words but also her answer! It truly is about how they are put together that really gives them their power...otherwise they are just type face on a page. Best of luck on the road to publication! (Thanks for another great spotlight Dorothy!)