Author interview with Iseult Murphy
Let’s start off with your name:
Can you describe your writing space? Where do you go, what makes you comfortable to write?
I’m very fortunate to have a dedicated writing space. It’s a study with a desk, whiteboards for writing up my plans for the week and filing cabinets for my notebooks and maps. However, I often end up writing in the kitchen or my bedroom. As long as I have a pen and notebook, or my phone or laptop, I’m happy to write anywhere.
How did you research for your books? Is any of the content inspired by something in your life and if so what?
I love the natural world, and most of my research involves how a certain animal behaves or how a geological phenomena works, so I can incorporate elements of the real world into my horror or fantasy stories. I also read a lot of myths and legends, and look into folklore and weird things, because I find them fascinating. One of the books I’m writing at the moment was inspired by the death of my sister’s dog, so my life does serve as inspiration for my writing.
How long have you been writing? Do you have any professional background that attributes to your talents and style?
I’ve been writing since I was a young child. I used to dictate stories before I could write, and I started writing poems when I was about 4. Working as a legal secretary certainly helped improve my typing speed. I’ve also worked as a speech and drama teacher, which gave me a different perspective on human behavior, and I’ve qualifications in dog training, which introduced me to the world of conditioning and has helped me with working out why my characters do the things they do.
Do you have any specific dreams for your stories? Is it your goal to make them into watchable content? Maybe you would love to see a comic or graphic novel made?
My dream is to write my stories and for people to read them. I would love to see my work as a movie or tv show, but I’d be very particular about who made it and what changes were made. A friend said to me the other day that he could see one of my stories, ‘A Tracker Becoming’ - available as an eBook - as an anime, and I would love that.
How much world building do you like to do? Is it down to the nooks and crannies, or do you capture the surroundings in a grand fashion?
I love world building. I go in deep with timelines, maps, ancestry, languages, flags, everything. I have so many notebooks, files, random pieces of paper with notes and pictures all over them, that’s why I need filing cabinets to keep everything in order!
What does success as a writer mean to you?
Writing my work to a satisfactory approximation to the story in my head. Other people reading it, and I hope they are enjoying it.
Where is your biggest social media presence? Do you plan to grow it, and how big would you be willing to take it?
I suppose twitter is my biggest social media presence. The #writingcommunity on twitter is incredible. I’ve met so many lovely, warm, welcoming people there. I also have a facebook author page, a website, a and blog. I hope people will read and like my books, and then they might come to find me online.
Do you read the same genres that you write in? What does a book have to present to bring you into a foreign genre?
Yes, I love reading horror, fantasy and science fiction. Apart from being my preferred genres, it is also good to see what is being written about, what works and what doesn’t. I like a book to offer an unusual perspective or to defy a convention, so that is what will attract me to a book, no matter what the genre is.
Describe your perfect book Heroine / Hero.
Someone who has personal difficulties they have to overcome, either physical or mental, as well as big external conflict. Perhaps they are disabled. Someone who people overlook and yet has great strength and hidden depths. A character who fights every day, who understands the darkness and chooses the light.
Have you ever written something that has made you cry? Whether it be from the passion, friendship, or sadness in the scene.
Yes, I have. Actually, my story for March - ‘Return to Hades’, available as an eBook - when I wrote the ending, it made me cry. Even reading back through it makes me emotional. It is a very personal story and means a lot to me. It makes me cry because it is sad, but also because it is about the struggle of continuing after you lose someone you love, and the bittersweet beauty you can find in life after loss.
Which character from your writing is your favorite? What makes them your favorite?
I don’t think I have a favorite. Every character I’m writing is my favorite. Sometimes characters who I think will only appear in one story will pop up again and pitch another story to me.
Where can readers purchase your books?
My short stories are available on Smashwords, B&N, Apple books, Kobo, most ebook retailers. My collection of short stories ‘Zoo of the Dead and other horrific tales’ is also available on Amazon.
What have been some of the biggest inspiration for your writing?
I love animals. Their personality and way of life really inspire me. My dreams have also inspired a lot of my work. Things that happen, a piece of overheard conversation, a headline in the news - it is all inspiration.
What is the key message in your writing that you want readers to feel when they finish your book?
I would like the message to be that life is dark, life is hard, but there can still be humor. There can be light. Don’t give up.
What was your process for getting your book cover made?
So far I have made my own book covers, but for the books I am publishing later this year I will be commissioning a professional artist, and I’m really excited about it, as I am a huge fan of her work.
Were there any key challenges you faced while writing your book?
My biggest challenge is that I get a lot of depression and anxiety and there are some days I struggle to function. Battling the voice in my head that tells me I’m useless and worthless is the biggest obstacle to overcome with my writing.
Are you working on anything special you would like to share with others?
I am planning on publishing a fantasy novella in the summer which is about a character who survives being burned at the stake and has to find out what she is. I’m excited about it, and I hope others will be too.
If you could pick one famous author, movie, and television show to compare to your writing… what would your choices be so that we can better understand your goal?
Garth Nix, The Fall, and Angel.
Lastly: Is there anything else you would like to say to those who will read this?
Be kind, review. Leaving a review after you’ve read a book, no matter how short, makes a big difference. Thank you.