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Monday, December 26, 2011

Exclusive Author Interview J.L. Murphey

Let me start by saying Jo is a great friend who is an experienced Author, Awesome Editor, and so much more.  I got the wonderful opportunity to get to interview her.

AKA JoAnn Murphey/ Jolee Morriss/ J.L. Murphey/ Grandma Jam

1.  I remember reading "Escape from Second Eden", and learning that much of the story is true and based off the life of your parents. Without spoiling anything can share with us some poignant points that were based off your parents and their true to life adventures?

There were enough poignant points to keep me writing the skeletons out of my closet for many years. My father's impression before I started writing them in books was, "What could she know? She was only a kid." He has since changed his thinking and realized just how much my sister and I actually remember of our travels, the Malatov cocktails, the riots, kidnap attempts, demonstrations, terrorist, the martial law, and the dangers involved in their living and working overseas. He always told us when he began our self defense classes, "Honey I love you, but if you are kidnapped no ransom would be paid because you would be dead." That's some pretty heavy stuff for an five-year old. This was years prior to the events of "Escape from Second Eden."

2.  What was your motivation for writing "Sacrificial Lamb"?

The Sacrificial Lamb started as a short piece for a writing exercise, but the main character, Jacqueline Luann, would not leave my head. All my novels have my life experiences in them. A lot of what this young girl went through was similar to the emotions my youngest daughter went through being physically and emotional abused by a relative. All the self doubts, the indignation, the fear of being found out is all part of what I helped my daughter face and recover from. For the bad guy, Olin, he was a compilation of some of the worst scum I ever had the bad luck to meet as a police officer. I wanted the reading public to really hate this guy and I think I succeeded.

3.  After reading the first two books mentioned above, my next forte into your literary work was "Zombie  Apocalypse : Redemption."  I generally don't read horror stories and your book is a perfect example of why I don't.  When you can read a book that scares you in the middle of the day with the sun shining and the lights on, it is pretty scary!  Where in the world did that come from?  What motivated you to go in that direction?  Are you a fan of the Horror Genre?

Actually, no. I am not a horror fan or at least wasn't. I'm basically a scaredity-cat although I have a strong stomach and a medical background. I never thought I would write horror. If you had asked me a year ago if I would ever write horror I'd have said no. The premise behind "Zombie Apocalypse: Redemption" is the rush to find a cure for the plague which turns people into zombies. Which basically makes it a suspense novel which I am good at writing.

The idea came from the May 18, 2011 CDC warning of Zombie Apocalypse Preparedness. I first heard it on Fox News and was shocked, but in reading the actual warning, it was a ploy for hurricane preparations. I was relieved! Then my husband and I were talking later about conspiracy theories and the FEMA camps located in ten states.  I wondered what would make someone WANT to get in a truck to go to one of these...ta da. The whole story formed in about two days in my head. I've always watched shows on home improvement and saw a missile silo home. I got to thinking what if.  That's all it takes for me to form a story...a bunch of what if's.

4.  What is in the works that we can look forward to for 2012?

Currently I have another espionage suspense entitled "The Mayan Serpent," a second suspense southern fiction "Surviving Hank," "Zombie Apocalypse" Travelers" in the horror genre  (I may also publish the third in the ZA series next year"Zombie Apocalypse" Controller), four books in my Sweet Haven series, two ghosting projects which I'm not at liberty to speak of yet, and two co-author works in progress.

5.  You wear many hats.  Minister, Culinary Instructor or Student?, Editor, Blogger, Writing Coach, and still manage to write and publish your own books.  I know you do your own art work, and make or help make movie trailers for your books and others.  How do you do it all?  Do you have a routine?  Just a super crazy schedule?

All indie authors wear a bunch of hats...even you.
Actually I am a retired culinary instructor and currently other than a few classes here and there...not a student. Editor, yes with twelve other authors. Writing coach, for you and about four others I'm always available. My ministry work is as a traveling minister which is basically what a retired minister does. I fill in for ministers who are sick or on vacation, have a drug and alcohol court ordered counseling sessions, perform the odd weddings, baptisms or I'm semi retired.

How it all juggles together? I'm the master juggler and I am woman. I can multitask to beat the band. I take breaks from my own writing to edit others, illustrate, make trailers and assorted other things. I may spend an hour or a couple of days doing these other things. It is all a creative process and outlet. I'm a creativity junkie. I feed off of it and am inspired by it. My major plus is that I can type fast. On average I can finish a 50K word manuscript in a couple of weeks depending on how detailed it is.  Every writer needs breaks, I just use my breaks doing other creative things and by helping others.I jump starts my own creative juices. I also learn as I read others. I also only sleep about four hours a day and have done this for decades.

In my work life, I've always worked two jobs, with husband and children at home, and wrote. I've been writing for a few decades now. This year was my breaking into the fiction market which is standard publishing wise shorter, and harder to get into. I chose self-publishing rather than going with one of my standard publishers because it works for me. It may not work for every author out there but the pace is my own as are the deadlines. If I don't write a book in a few months it only matters to me and my pocketbook. My writing is not an 8-5 job. It's a 6AM-9AM job, a whenever I can squeeze a few words onto a page, edit in a bathtub or doctor's office with my printed pages and a red pen, and when the muses strike type job. This is for my relaxation and escape from my world. I'm often seen wearing a t-shirt which says, "I'm in my own little's okay, they know me here."

It's all in how you prepare to write. I call it doing homework. I prepare in depth character studies on each of my main characters. I have the plot down pat. I know the beginning, the middle and the end or what I think is the end before I start. I'll take a large sheet of computer paper and do a brain storming bubble map and then it's just connecting all the events. If I need an extra detail, the internet is available with just a couple clicks. I layout everything prior to me starting to write. (usually this takes a couple of weeks). The editing is probably the longest period which can last a few months.  I have thought about the NANOWRIMO, but it seemed a bit redundant for me.

6.  Of all the things you do, which do you enjoy doing the most?  What gives you the most satisfaction?

Creating something from nothing. I'm an avid recycler. I can see what it is and figure out what something can be. For example, my son-in-law works in construction. He had a job where all the screen doors of a complex was headed for the dump. I saw something different. I saw a greenhouse.

What gives me the most satisfaction, besides my grandchildren, is helping others. To know I've touched someone else's life.

7.  Tell us about your children's series?

My Sweet Haven Series for children is everyday issues children face. They started out with my grandchildren talking to me and me listening. Listening is a gift and often overlooked. Art Linkletter wrote a book in the late 60's called "Kids Say the Darnedest Things." My grandchildren were talking to me about a local child being kidnapped, bullying, a parent going into the hospital, divorce, stepparents and assorted other issues. Being grandma, I couldn't let them worry and tried to help them understand what was going on in their world. Being grandma, I can spoil my grandchildren rotten and then send them home. (very big grin). It started as a game with storytelling. We'd all sit in a circle with bunches of different candies in the center. Face everyone learns better when it's fun. The series is different than anything I've seen on the market. It helped my grands so I figured other children needed help understanding issues also.

8.  Your writing covers a lot of ground, are their other genres you plan to branch out into in the future?  Mysteries?  Fantasy?  Romance?

Shhh, don't tell anyone. LOL I'm branching out in a co-author spot into paranormal romance next year...another genre I never thought I'd write. I do have a couple science fiction novels which are presently sidelined, but they also fall into the suspense description. "Resident Space" is premised by an assassin aboard a residential space ship similar to the ResidenSea ship on Earth. "Engineered Death" is a futuristic look at what the world becomes with all the current bio-engineering of everything. I'm also looking into screen writing. I'm always hearing about new innovations, discoveries, and assorted other fact which spur my imagination.

9.  Do you see yourself settling into a single Genre, maybe a series, or just keep surprising us with different new and exciting excursions?

Nope, I hope not. There are too many stories rattling around in my brain. It's like a smorgasbord, you want to try everything. I'm an eclectic reader so it seems natural to me to be an eclectic writer. If I ever become a best seller in one area, I may focus more time in that one genre although this is highly unlikely. I know all the publishers and agents say specify one area of expertise, but in my life I've found so many different and interesting areas to try. I do not live my life to have regrets. There are too many of those in life. The kicker is a writer should write what they know and I know too much stuff. I have a phono and photographic memory with a genius IQ. I get bored easily and always look for new challenges.

10.  If one of your books was chosen to make a movie out of it.  Do you have a favorite or one in particular you would like to see turned into a screen play?

I'd love to see "Escape from Second Eden" turned into a movie. The logistics would be killer though. I can see my "Zombie Apocalypse: Redemption" making it to the screen before that happens though...zombie are the new cool thing, but honestly I'd peg it as a medical suspense rather than a horror genre. I mean just because it has zombies it's horror like just because there are clandestine bits in "Escape from Second Eden" it becomes a suspense thriller.

11.  Is there anything in particular you would like our readers to know about you I didn't ask you about that you would be willing to share with us?

I would like the opportunity to say thank you to my readers both present and future. I write because of me, but they read because they want to. It's always nice to be wanted. Whether a review is good bad, or indifferent, I'd really like to hear more from the readers. Without feedback from the readers, it's like shooting a pistol in the dark.

12.  How do we keep tabs on you and follow you about the virtual world?

twitter @jomurphey
Each one of my pen names has it's own facebook page. Jo Murphey orJolee Morriss     Grandma JAM and Johanna Kihara coming soon


J.L. Murphey said...

Looks great Tom! I love it and thank you!

Deniz Bevan said...

Wonderful interview! It's amazing how many different types of stories you're writing.

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