I met MS Murray through a mutual acquaintance in a little readers group called Readers of the Hidden Trove. Check it out on Facebook, if you’re not already a member. We’ve chatted via Skype a few times and I gotta say, I love her accent! I look forward to introducing you to her here in this interview!! Oh…and get this…her hometown has a castle! A castle, people!
About MS Murray, the author
Tell us about your bo
oks/series, feel free to include links!
At the moment I have only two books out. One is a standalone and the other is part of a series of books called CASSIE. The standalone is called Silver Bells, Curses and Spells and Spells that was co-written with the fabulous K.M. Thompson. The book is based in New Orleans and is about a witch who has no luck with anything she casts. She’s a bit of a hot mess when it comes to spells. She ends up accidently causing it to snow in New Orleans making for a white Christmas that’s only a few weeks away. Eryx Castille is the asshole tycoon that wants to knock down the block she lives and works in and so she tries everything to deter him. Of course in her anger she turns to her spells to help and ends up cursing them both. They’ve both been given a tough lot in life and start to thaw a little toward each other. But first they need to get though the curse.
My other book CASSIE Black Sand was released in February this year and follows Cassiella Iron. Cassie comes from a long line of Hunters, a secret organization of people who keep the supernatural in order. Cassie ends up in a magical accident when she turns eighteen and for her, that’s the final straw. She doesn’t want to follow in her mother and father’s footsteps. All she wants is a normal nine to five doing something mundane and ordinary. On the day she graduates she’s moving from her family mansion into the guest house and on her last trip to the main house, it explodes, with her parents and little sister inside. She soon discovers that her parents were inside but that Jess her sister has been taken. From there Cassie dons her Hunter training like a glove and goes on the hunt for her sister and answers. She seeks out Vampire Lord Gabriel when the car she’s tracking leads into his territory. Together they search for Jess, but Cassie is suspicious of Gabriel. Why is he helping her and asking nothing in return?
The CASSIE series will have six books in total. In May I finished the second book CASSIE Blood Ties and just last week started writing CASSIE Bloodlines.
Amazon US: http://alturl.com/2jji9
Amazon UK: http://alturl.com/y6cj3
Amazon CA: http://alturl.com/rr3ps
Amazon AU: http://alturl.com/exmux
What genre(s) do you write in?
I don’t specifically write in any one particular genre. I’m more of a free spirit writer or as I like to call it a fart in the wind writer. I go wherever it takes me. My favorite genre to write in is fantasy. I love making up everything in the story, imagining something completely new. I have roughly at this moment in time ten books that I’ve started writing and in various genres. In my projects file I have a contemporary standalone, a contemporary romance series, a fairytale contemporary series, a dystopian series and a werewolf/shifter romance series to mention a few lol. Just a few. I know some writers pick one genre and stick to that, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, I’m personally just not like that. I’m too random of a person to not write in a variety of genres.
Are any of your books your favorite?
That’s a tough one. I can’t say that I prefer one to the other. They’re so different and I love them for different reasons.
Where do you get your inspiration from? How do you come up with your characters and stories?
This happens in a variety of ways. As I’ve said, I’m a pretty random person. Sometimes I have a dream about a story and when I wake up I instantly write it down so I don’t forget. Other times I’ll hit me like a shovel to the face. I’ll be talking to someone, watching something or cleaning and it’ll hit me. I sometimes get inspiration from TV or other books I read. I don’t steal other writer’s ideas or anything, just sometimes I’ll read something and the shovel strikes again.
Are there any characters you love more than others? Why?
There are. I can’t say too much but the second book in the CASSIE has some new characters who I love to pieces. Cassie, Gabriel and Andrea are probably my favorite. Cassie’s kinda feisty. She’s got an inner strength I completely admire and she’s a bit of a badass. Gabriel is a bit of an arse, but there’s more to him than that. I always write a little piece of myself in my characters and Gabriel represents the quiet part of me. The internalizer. As for Andrea, well she’s a little clumsy and a lot feisty too. I can totally relate to her when she does something stupid. I do silly things all the time then wish I could use the Idea Shovel to bury myself.
Any characters you hate? Why?
Ishtar. I definitely hate her. She’s a power hungry Hunter in the Cassie series. In the first book there’s only a little about her but the second book you get to know a little more. I’ll leave it like that because I can’t give too much away. Mwahahaha!!
If you had a bad day, which one of your characters would you reach out to for support?
Gabriel. I know a bit strange given he’s an arse and well an arse. But most of the time if I’m having a bad day I just really want someone to listen. I don’t need someone to tell me everything will be okay because sometimes it won’t. Gabriel wouldn’t bullshit me.
Are there any pieces of you in your books?
All of them. I can’t help but write myself in there. As I said before my character have some of my characteristics. They’re not me but they’re little pieces of me.
Which of your books would you recommend to a new reader?
Honestly I’m not sure. I think I’d say Silver Bells, Curses and Spells, more because it’s a standalone. I think if I recommended my CASSIE series they might not want to commit to a full series, especially if they’re new to reading.
Why and when did you start writing?
I started writing as a hobby. I fell in love with reading when I was roughly twenty-three. From there I got this idea for a story and started writing little bits and pieces. I honestly had no intention of writing a book, but the more I got into it the more I wrote. My step-dad passed away within two weeks of being told his cancer had returned after being given the all clear. I think when you lose someone you start to re-evaluate your own life. At the time I was a stay at home mum and had been for roughly eight years. I was a young mum and so my life had been bringing up my children. Something that I had chosen. When they went away to school I was a little at a loss on what to do with myself. That’s when the reading stared which eventually lead to my hobby. After Frank passed I put all my writing together and sent it off to an editor who encouraged me to keep going. I had the support of my family and friends but it was her encouragement that made me say, ‘this is it. This is my thing.’
What’s the most difficult part of being a writer?
God, there are so many. Time and juggling kids, house and husband every day. Keeping to my deadlines. Research and keeping up with social media. I could go on haha.
What’s your favorite part of the writing process?
The End. It’s so satisfying finishing a book. I can’t even begin to describe the high I get when I write those two little words. I also love when major parts of my story come together or I write I plot twist. I love those parts. When I write a plot twist I laugh an evil laugh and rub my hands together.
How do you handle criticism…constructive or otherwise?
Oh I love constructive criticism. The way I look at it is, I don’t always see what’s wrong with my book. Sometimes it takes another pair of eyes to find it and says Michelle your book sucks then point’s out the sucky parts. I encourage my Betas to be as harsh as possible. How do I expect my books to do well if the material is awful and unreadable? I haven’t had any bad reviews yet but I know there yet to come. I know myself they’ll hurt but the beauty of a book is always in the eye of the beholder. What one readers loves another wont. It’s just how it goes.
Do you have any quirky writing habits?
I have many haha. When I’m writing an MS I put on a movie in the background. I then proceed to watch the movie on repeat until I’ve finished what I’m writing whether that be a chapter I need to finish or the entire book. When I was writing CASSIE Blood Ties my second book in the CASSIE series, I watched Jurassic World all day every day for two weeks. I find that when I’m in the ‘zone’ that I need background noise and when it’s repeated then I can keep my focus a lot better. During the making of one of my books I watch on average three – four movies, depending on what I’m writing and where I am in the story. That’s just one of them though. I have loads more.
How do you handle writer’s block?
Oh man!! I have a few different ways. One: dance. I fling on some tunes and dance like no one is watching, which I hope no one is, and dance it out. Sometimes it works just to focus on something else. Two: I read. Sometimes I just need to chill and not try to push the story too hard. Three: I talk to Kayla when I have writer’s block. Sometimes talking to someone can help me climb the wall blocking my creative juices. Four: Take a step away. There are times when none of this works and I have to take a breather. A few days where I do nothing in conjunction to writing. I don’t think there’s any right way to deal with it, I think what works for one writer won’t work for another.
Do you have a go-to book blog?
Not yet. It is on my to do list. Find a good book blog, right along with the other hundred things I’ve got to do. Any recommendations?
What is one thing you want people to know about you as an author?
I’m definitely as crazy as you think I am and I talk sooooo much. Jennifer can attest to that.
Do you have a current WIP, upcoming release, or other exciting book news you’d like to talk about?
I have a few projects I’m really excited about. The first would be that CASSIE Blood Ties will hopefully be released in the next few months. I don’t have a date as I’m waiting for my editor to get back to me. There is also a secret project I’m working on with the amazing Kayla Smith, but I can’t say too much about it at the moment.
About MS Murray, the person:
What do you do when you’re not writing?
When I’m not writing I spend time with my husband and kids. When we’ve got nothing planned I tend to read or buy stickers. I’m in love with my planner and buy too many stickers for it.
Favorite thing about your hometown?
Oh there’s lots I love about where I live. My favorite thing is probably the Castle. We have a Castle that sits on a hill in the middle of our village and it’s pretty awesome. There’s a lot of history here.
Farthest place you’ve traveled from home?
Switzerland. We travelled there with the school and oh, my, god, it was breathtaking. Honestly amazing. I’d love to go back one day.
Favorite…Food? Color? Place? Movie? TV show? Song? Band? Etc…
I don’t have a favorite color. I think the fact that we even have color is amazing. They’re all so pretty. As for food, man that’s even tougher. I love chocolate, pizza, pasta, Tyrells crisps, steak, all kinds of BBQ food – especially if it’s pork, haggis, food…there’s too much amazing-ness to choose from. At the moment my favorite movie is Jurassic World. Gotta love some dinosaurs and a bit of Chris Pratt. As for TV shows, at the moment I’m loving Wayward Pines. Holy crap, I didn’t see that plot twist coming. I had to pause the TV and freak out for a second. But overall I love Supernatural.
Any weird collections?
I haven’t got any weird collections recently, but in my loft (attic) I have roughly three boxes filled with porcelain dolls that I started to collect when I was roughly nine. They’re so pretty but they freak my husband out. Maybe I’ll bring them down for Halloween, wait till he’s asleep then place them all around the room. Pretend to sleep myself then wait for the girly screams. Yes, I’m evil. I know.
Yes, I can’t have space between my husband’s pillow and mine. I know when there’s a gap and instantly wake up and fix it. It’s weird I know.
What is something you’d like the book community to know about you as a person?
I love you guys. Which means I love myself too cause I’m part of the book community lol. Without your support over the past few years I wouldn’t be here today. I greatly appreciate every single one of you!!
Anything else you’d like to add?
Don’t be afraid to reach for your dreams. Nothing in this life comes easy, not a thing worth having anyway. You gotta work hard to reach them. Don’t give up, your stronger than you think you are!!
Thanks for coming by, MS Murray! It was so good to have you here and learn more about you and your books!!