I got to sit down with Emily Murdoch to chat writing, characters and her new Kickstarter endeavor that’s full of fun and unique prizes for you!
When did you realize or decide you wanted to be a writer?
Always. At my wedding a few years ago, my father read out some of my school reports from when I was seven or eight, and even then I was apparently telling everyone that I wanted to be an author! I started taking that dream seriously when I was twenty-one, when my then boyfriend, now husband, encouraged me to actually pursue that dream.
What has been your best experience as an author so far?
I’m not sure whether I can narrow it down to one! Writing in so many historical romance genres – medieval, Regency, even 1840s Texas! – has given me so much joy, and I cried recently when a reader got in touch to say that my books were getting her through a difficult time. I just love knowing that my books are being loved by people around the world.
What sort of challenges have you faced as a writer? How did you overcome them?
Time is always the biggest challenge. I work full time as a manager for a communications agency, so my writing always slots around that, but I have learned to be very disciplined with my time and that means that I (usually!) don’t have to compromise on time with family and friends.
How do you research and plan your books? Do you find outlining helps or hinders your process?
I’m all about the outlining! Plotting helps me to explore the characters, their emotional arcs, things that need to happen to them, and often a historical event sparks off the ideas for the planning. For my medieval series, I was reading about the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, and, of course, most of the history books stop at the end of that year. I thought: “What happens to all those people who are then left to pick up the pieces of that country, that culture? How do the two communities come together?”
With so much war and violence in the world even now, those are very modern themes, and so researching that time period doesn’t always feel like a huge stretch. We all have to process the same emotions of fear, mistrust, and loyalty.
Have you learned anything really cool or interesting while researching your books? What’s been the weirdest research you’ve ever had to do?
Forks didn’t become used regularly in England until the 1700s! I just love that fact, because it puts almost every historical book, film, or TV show that is set before the 1700s to shame.
For one book, I had to try and work out what price a prostitute in Texas, 1841 would cost, which led to a very strange internet history – and for my Regency books, I have read (or tried to read) more books on etiquette than I ever thought possible!
What advice would you give to new writers in the field?
Find what you love, and do that. So many people feel like they have to write huge novels, or they have to publish three books a year, or they have to use their own name. Pen names are great, novellas are awesome, publishing one book a year or twenty books a year: it’s what makes you happy. Comparing yourself to other authors never leaves you happy, so just concentrate on what makes you happy.
Tell us a little about your writing nook! Favorite tea/coffee/writing snack?
I have a huge puffy armchair, and I love to curl up in that with a blanket, a pile of chocolate biscuits, and a hot fruity tea. I tell myself that for every 500 words I write, I can have another biscuit – and then I try to hold myself to that!
Of all of your own characters, who would you most want to date?
Ohhh, great question! I think it comes down to two: Aaron Bryant from my latest published book, Love’s Gamble, who is battling a few of his own demons before he runs into my heroine, Phoebe – or perhaps Lord George Northmere, the hero of one of my new books that isn’t published yet, who is equal measure of strength and vulnerability. What’s not to love?
What project are you currently working on?
I am so excited about this: I have launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the editing, formatting, cover design, and audiobook creation of my new eight novella series, Ravishing Regencies! I’m giving away ridiculous rewards like signed paperbacks, audiobooks, and even the chance to name a character, and I would love anyone who wants to get involved (or grab eight novellas for just £3/$5) to join the Ravishing Regencies Team!
What’s next for you?
After my Ravishing Regencies Kickstarter campaign is successful, I’ll be working on getting the books ready for publication and to my supporters, and also writing my next series: medieval again, comprised of four full-length novels with men to die for and women to root for. Join my mailing list to be kept up to date!
Emily Murdoch is a historian and writer. Throughout her career so far she has examined a codex and transcribed medieval sermons at the Bodleian Library in Oxford, designed part of an exhibition for the Yorkshire Museum, worked as a researcher for a BBC documentary presented by Ian Hislop, and worked at Polesden Lacey with the National Trust. She has a degree in History and English, and a Masters in Medieval Studies, both from the University of York. Emily has a medieval series, a Regency novella series, and a 1840s Western series published, and is currently working on several new projects.
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Learn more about Emily’s Kickstarter!
Have you always wanted to work with an author to craft a story? Regency author Emily Murdoch is offering just that if you support her Kickstarter campaign to launch her new eight-book Ravishing Regencies series. If you pledge £19/$25 to her Kickstarter campaign, you’ll get eight ebooks, a signed paperback, an exclusive limited edition bookmark AND a digital surprise! There are rewards for just £4/$5, and opportunities to name characters and make plot decisions, so make sure you grab your rewards before they run out! ♦