An Interview with Emily Murdoch, author of Captives: Kingdoms Rule Hearts
I’m not going to be reviewing your newest novel, but from your other published novels, is there one that is your own personal favourite?
To be honest, my favourite novel is usually the one that I’m currently writing! But if I had to choose one of my published novels, it would be Captives: Kingdoms Rule Hearts. So often historical novels focus on young people under thirty, and so I wanted to write about a heroine who was not only older, but a mother with a grown up daughter. That was really fun to write.
Everyone has a ‘first novel’, even if many of them are a rough draft relegated to the bottom and back of your desk drawer (or your external hard-drive!). Have you been able to reshape yours, or have you abandoned it for good?
My first novel was my first published novel! It took a good deal of work to get it to a publishable standard, but it’s made it into the world as Conquests: Hearts Rule Kingdoms (the first book in that series).
Some authors are able to pump out a novel a year and still be filled with inspiration. Is this the case for you, or do you like to let an idea percolate for a couple of years in order to get a beautiful novel?
Some almost come out of my mind fully formed, whereas others seem to take forever! In 2015 I had a series of four novellas almost write themselves which is unusual, and now I’ve gone back to a manuscript that I first started working on in 2013, so it’s a bit of a mixture.
I have heard of writers that could only write in one place – then that cafe closed down and they could no longer write! Where do you find yourself writing most often, and on what medium (pen/paper or digital)?
I’m definitely a digital writer, but only really because I can type faster than I can write with a pen! I’ve written all over the place: sofas, beds, cafes, desks, England and New Zealand! As long as I can have my music blaring as loudly as I want, I can write.
Before going on to hire an editor, most authors use beta-readers. How do you recruit your beta-readers, and choose an editor? Are you lucky enough to have loving family members who can read and comment on your novel?
Fortunately my wonderful mother is my editor and first beta-reader, and having her is invaluable – sometimes editors and beta-readers don’t feel as though they can be completely honest, and my mother never has that problem! I know that she wants what is best for the book, so even if it is sometimes difficult to listen to, I know that she’s right.
I walk past bookshops and am drawn in by the smell of the books – ebooks simply don’t have the same attraction for me. Does this happen to you, and do you have a favourite bookshop? Or perhaps you are an e-reader fan… where do you source most of your material from?
I love both to be honest! My background is in the medieval era, and whilst doing my MA in Medieval Studies I was able to study some manuscripts from the 1300s in the Bodleian Library, Oxford. Walking down those corridors and getting my hands on a book that had been written almost 700 years ago was absolutely breathtaking. There really is nothing like the written word when you can hold it, smell it, put a bookmark in it, and make notes in the margins! But at the same time, I love the freedom of ebooks, the ability to hold thousands of books in your hand.
My favourite bookshop is one in a little seaside town called Whitstable. There’s no rhyme or reason for their selections, and every time you go there, there are completely different books. My idea of paradise!
I used to find myself buying books in only one genre (fantasy) before I started writing this blog. What is your favourite genre, and do you have a favourite author who sticks in your mind from childhood?
I loved comfy fantasy when I was a child – the sort of thing that Enid Blyton used to write, lots of smugglers or fairies, with little danger and a lot of humour! As I grew older I delved into Philip Pullman, Terry Pratchett, and Meg Cabot, and I think my eclectic reading tastes have continued from there. I’m just as happy reading a cosy Amish romance as I am space opera by Peter Hamilton, all the way through to murder mysteries. As long as a story is told well, with characters that I just can’t leave alone, I’m happy.
Social media is a big thing, much to my disgust! I never have enough time myself to do what I feel is a good job. How do you approach it?
I’m on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and unless I am very regimented with myself I can spend hours on there! That means that I’ve had to learn to be strict with myself, and so I have assigned specific days for each platform so that I don’t get completely overwhelmed. It’s amazing to meet readers from all walks of life on different platform, and although when I’m deep in a book I slip a bit, I try to be on there regularly.
Answering interview questions can often take a long time! Tell me, are you ever tempted to recycle your answers from one to the next?
Haha, never! Partly because I owe it to be respectful to the readers and my blog host, partly because the questions are always so different and fascinating, and partly because I always love answering them!
Thank you so much for having me!