Happy Sunday! Today we’re joined by author Niamh Murphy. She’s answering ten pressing questions and giving away an ebook copy of her latest release, Escape to Pirate Island. To enter, simply leave a comment below. We’ll draw the winner on Friday, Aug 18.
Introduce yourself to the rest of the class. Who are you and what makes you tick?
I am Niamh (pronounced ‘Neve’) Murphy, I am a historian and a novelist and I passionate about telling exciting and adventurous tales, with a brave heroine overcoming obstacles and meeting a girl along the way.
What does it mean to you to be an author? What makes a writer a writer?
I am a storyteller. I always have been. I think we all tell each other stories, about other people or about our day at work, what makes a writer or an author different is they tell stories more often, and for longer than other people. Being a full time author would mean that I could tell my stories all the time! And that would be a dream come true.
Are you promoting a specific book? Tell us about it. Include the book blurb if you’d like.
Well, I have recently released my second novel, Escape to Pirate Island. As you can imagine it is filled with treasure maps, gold, pirates, and plenty of action, as well as a love story:
You can’t run away from yourself…
The year is 1720 and two young women are about to find themselves in more trouble than they could ever have imagined possible.
Cat Meadows is a smuggler who’s built her reputation on the backs of unsuspecting souls.
Lily Exquemelin has been left nothing by her father but his troubles and his treasure map.
Forced to make a desperate escape, they each find themselves on a Trans-Atlantic adventure that will pit them against pirates, mutineers, lost treasure, and each other!
Can they learn to trust one another and escape the clutches of their would-be captors or will their past’s finally catch up to them?
Find out in this swashbuckling, romantic adventure!
Tell us about your biggest guilty pleasure. For example, to you sit naked in your pantry in the middle of the night and eat Nutella with your fingers?
I think my biggest guilty pleasure is watching conspiracy theory TV documentaries, anything with aliens building pyramids or Nazi’s having a Hitler body double! I just can’t get enough of it! I think it’s because conspiracy theories always have a slanted view and I find it fascinating to look at the world in a completely different light. The more far-fetched or and unlikely the theory, the better.
Tell us one thing that you’re passionate about. For example, would you strap yourself to an oil rigging a la Lucy Lawless with a Greenpeace sign in your hands?
I get very passionate about a lot of things and then end up spreading myself far too thin and getting overwhelmed! I have had to try and really streamline my passions and focus on where I might be able to make a difference and I believe that might be in my writing. I’d like to keep working with other Lesbian Fiction Authors on producing stories with lesbian protagonists. Stories which don’t follow the mainstream formula for lesbians (which all too often involves certain death) but includes realistic women from all walks of life, being true to themselves and having their story told.
What’s your writing process? That is, do you have a particular place you write and/or time of day? Do you have any particular things you do before you write? (e.g. do you listen to music, drink coffee, take dance breaks…)
I have struggled for years to find a writing process but I am getting better at it. I used to just write in a few snatches of time here and there; writing plots on scraps of paper during my break at work or suddenly having the compulsion to write a ten at night and staying up until first light. Now that I am trying to really focus on finishing a few novels I am working on a schedule that involves ninety minute ‘sprints’ followed by a thirty minute break doing something completely different. I can often get three of these sprints done by about 2pm and then I’ll try and catch up with emails or social media in the afternoon. But balancing this with shift work can be tricky!
Tell us something that most people don’t know about you (unless you’d have to kill us, in which case tell us something that some people don’t know).
This is quite a tricky question, there is an awful lot that people don’t know about me but that doesn’t mean any of it is interesting!
Not many people know that I took a stand up comedy course – I struggle with stage fright and talking to people face to face but it is something that I really want to overcome and so I took a six week course to learn how to do stand up comedy, which culminated in a live five minute set at a comedy night! It was absolutely terrifying! But I managed to make the crowd laugh and I got through the whole five minutes without keeling over in pure terror, so I think I would count that as a ‘win’!
Is there a book by another author that you wish you had written?
I recently finished reading The Seafearer’s Kiss by Julia Ember. It is a Sapphic retelling of The Little Mermaid, but she has put her own unique twists on the tale. It is a wonderful story and she has really managed to build a whole other underwater world with its culture and its own unique people and problems. This is something I struggled with a few years ago when I was working on my own version of the tale. I ended up putting the manuscript in a drawer and moving on because there were so many things I just couldn’t work out – but Julia Ember has done a wonderful job of something I completely gave up on!
If time and money were no problem, where would you most like to go in the world?
Everywhere. I have always wanted to travel but time and money, as well as health, are always the biggest factors holding me back. Luckily with the internet and nature documentaries I get to travel vicariously and there is nothing I like better than snuggling up at the end of the day and listening to the dulcet tones of David Attenborough describing the various dances of the birds of paradise or the migration patterns of the Monarch Butterfly.
And finally, what sorts of writing projects are next for you?
I’m currently busy finishing a [really] rough first draft of a fantasy novel, think Lord of the Rings with Lesbians! There are dragons, wizards, magic swords, a quest, and an unlikely heroine. It’s a story I have wanted to finish for a few years so it is great to finally be able to get my teeth into it. All being well I should be able to release it before the end of the year, I just have to knuckle down and get working on the re-writes.