Happy end of August everyone! Today I am please to have Dean Murray over answering a few questions about his series and life. You can find my review of Torn here.
Now onto the questions.
Hi, Cassay. Thanks for having me here to talk about Torn and Broken. I’ve talked about this a fair amount, so for anyone that’s been following my work for very long they’ve probably heard me answer a version of this question, but I think it’s a great starting point! I’d been writing on and off for years and had pretty much stopped writing when I picked up Twilight. I loved it-in fact I read both Twilight and New Moon in less than 24 hours. When I finished New Moon, I realized that I wanted to try and write something that touched other readers like Twilight had touched me. The more I learned about Stephenie’s journey to publication, the more inspired I was; but there was one piece to that story that my mind kept worrying at.
She indicated that she’d loosely modeled Twilight after Pride and Prejudice, which I’d just finished reading for the second time not too long before I’d picked up Twilight. I kept thinking about the ways in which Twilight could have been more like Pride and Prejudice, and what that would have done to the storyline.
A short time later I had an outline for what I’d end up calling Broken which I hoped would have a lot of the same feel and impact that Twilight had had on me, but which went a different direction.
2) Why did you decide to write 2 separate novels instead of switching narrators?
One of the things that really impresses me about Pride and Prejudice *spoiler alert* is the way that we start the book hating Mr. Darcy and then by the end we’ve completely revised our opinion of him. Jane Austen accomplishes that through some sleight of hand and by having Mr. Darcy grow a bit as a character during the course of the book.
The kind of sleight of hand that I’d need to do in order to mimic the bits of Pride and Prejudice that I wanted to bring into Broken would have been hard to do in anything other than first person, so I wrote Broken in first person and figured ‘that was that’. I’d had to do some acrobatics though to make sure that Adri was confused about who was the good guy and who was the bad guy, and I kept thinking it would be really neat for the reader to see some of what had happened with Alec.
I couldn’t tell those bits of plot in Broken without fundamentally changing the kind of story it was, so I ultimately went back through Broken and cut a few bits here and there and then wrote Torn to answer the questions that Broken didn’t answer.
3) Besides writing, what is a normal day in the life of Dean Murray?
A normal day for me has changed significantly in the last little while. Up until recently I’ve done all of my writing in the evenings after finishing up long days working as an accountant. My work is starting to sell quite well though, so as of a week or so ago I took the plunge and am ‘writing’ full time.
I actually haven’t done any writing to speak of since quitting; instead my time has been focused on proofing the audio book version of Broken and doing print layouts for Frozen Prospects and Thawed Fortunes.
I’m starting to get to the end of the non-writing tasks, so I’ll likely be starting the next book in the Guadel Chronicles in the next few days; at which point my day will mostly be just writing with the occasional break to respond to fan mail. I get to have lunch with my wife and kids now which is a decided plus.
4) Which character was your favorite to write? Least favorite to write?
I actually don’t know that I can say I liked either one more or less than the other, but I definitely liked writing them for different reasons. With Adri, there was a real sense of adventure when I sat down to write. I knew generally where I wanted to go with the story, but there’s always parts that come together unexpectedly for me when I sit down to actually execute on the plot arc that I have planned out at the start of a project. That is scary (for me at least) but it’s also really energizing.
With Alec’s point of view, I loved the fact that I already had a master plot arc that I had to fit my story inside of. Instead of wondering how I was going to get where I wanted to go, Torn was really more about building on that structure and seeing what kinds of neat things I could do inside of the framework that had already been established.
5) Are you currently working on any new stories or more companion novels to the Torn/Broken series?
Yes. I’ve actually got quite a bit in process right now. Broken and Torn are part of my ‘Reflections’ series which currently consists of Broken, Torn, Splintered and Intrusion. I’m also working on a series I call ‘Dark Reflections’, which is basically about taking Alec, Adri & the rest and sticking them in an alternate timeline and using that to highlight various relationships and aspects of my characters that I won’t be able to get to in ‘Reflections’. Currently there is just one short story (Handoff) live in ‘Dark Reflections, but there will be another one (True Believer) going live in a week or two.
Beyond that I have some miscellaneous romance and Sci-Fi short stories and an epic fantasy series called “The Guadel Chronicles”. Currently I’ve got two novels and a short story live in that series.
Sorry, that’s a lot of background there, but now I can tell you want I’ve currently got in progress.
I’ve got two more Reflections novels essentially done and now going through the editing and production process. As I mentioned above, I’ll be starting the third ‘Guadel Chronicles’ novel very soon, and then I’ll go back to writing a ‘Reflections’ novel that will progress Alec and Adri’s story as unfortunately Intrusion, and the two works in progress bring in new characters to help set the stage and don’t progress Alec and Adri’s situation much at all.
6) If Torn and Broken were to be made into a movie who would be your “Dream Cast”?
To be honest I haven’t thought much about this. The main guy and girl off of ‘The Covenant’ would do a pretty good job I think, but there are so many talented actors and actresses out there that I’m sure there are dozens of others that could do a really good job.
7) Why did you decide to self-publish over the traditional route?
I’d done the query-go-round with 3 novels before I decided to go the indie route, and it always frustrated me that I had to spend so much time and effort researching agents and then writing query letters when what I actually wanted to do was just write more books. At the same time I knew that the best way to get to write more books was to be able to quit my day job which wouldn’t happen without selling books.
Through a long chain of events I ended up on Dean Wesley Smith’s blog and then went over to JA Konrath’s blog. When I realized that I could go direct to consumers via Amazon, iTunes, B&N and the rest, it was like a light turned on. The things they revealed about their experiences with traditional publishing just made me more convinced that now was the time to go it alone.
8) Since publishing your novels how has life changed?
We’ve already highlighted the biggest change, which is that for at least the next little while (depending on how well I’m ultimately able to make ends meet with my writing) I’m doing this full time. I think that the other main thing is that there is an incredible sense of validation when you have a reader reach out to you and tell you that they loved something you wrote.
9) Which of your characters is mostly like yourself?
I have little pieces of myself in many of my characters. Va’del’s self-doubt was something that I carried along personally at some points of my life, while Alec’s determination is something that I think I still have. In all cases though I try to make sure my characters take on a bit of a larger than life aspect to their personalities.
10) What is your favorite novel to movie adaption?
I’d have to say Harry Potter is my favorite movie adaption. I think they did an incredible job on that whole series, but most especially with the first movie.
Book: Right now I’d have to say Atlas Shrugged. It’s served as a catalyst for things that have been floating around in my head for ages, and at some point there is a book idea that I’d like to explore that I think can be traced back to one of the themes in Atlas Shrugged.
Author: Robert Jordan
TV Show: Vampire Diaries
Ice Cream: Vanilla
Music: Too hard to narrow it down to just one. Right now I’m listening to Red House Painters. Yesterday I listened to Blink 182
Vampires or Zombies: Vampires all the way
Star Wars or Star Trek: hmm, probably more Star Trek at this point, but haven’t had much to do with either for years now.
Morning person or Night Person: Night person trying very hard to move towards a morning person as I’ve heard over and over again that morning people are more productive
Thank you Dean for stopping by! I also love Underworld and Vampire Dairies! We also had the same career choice and I now can say accountants aren’t just math and numbers we can be creative as well