Thursday, September 27, 2012

Blog Tour: Interview with C David Murphy

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book?
A Diary's House is based in the mountains of North Carolina just after the Civil War. It relates the life of a young boy (Landon Hampshire) growing up in his youth and trying to become a young man. The diary he discovers reveals the secrets of a world nearly forty years before. Through this diary he becomes more than a witness on the generations of life, the bounty of love, what true love really means, and the rekindling of lost love – but he finds himself living within its boundaries as his own life unfolds. The diary is of a young woman who lived during the times of the Trail of Tears, how she fell in love with a young Cherokee boy, the troubles and trials that this would present, and the endurance of love throughout all times. It turns into a sweeping romance that transcends time and place. It’s more than a boy's journey into manhood, but the mysteries of so many lives unknowingly intertwined, now brought together in a climatic ending; all from the engrossing world embedded in a forgotten diary; a diary of a woman.

Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?
This novel has been through quite a journey. From its earliest inceptions nearly a decade ago tills, its final evolution and the eventual novel it has become. During my initial querying agents and publishers, I did receive interest from multiple sources. I decided to keep the story back for such a long time, making what I felt were necessary adjustments and waiting until I felt the right moment would come for me to enter it into the ‘Indie’ world. Which I believe the time is now…

Do you belong to a critique group? Have they helped improve your writing?
I’ve been in a loose-fit of local groups from time to time here in Charlotte NC. But I have always felt like a writer’s journey can be quite an individualistic travel. The stories I write are unique unto themselves, diverse, with a narrative just as unique. If a reader finds the scope of the novel plausible, they will read on. If they enter into several chapters and discover the book viable, then the novel probably will get a full read. A Diary’s House is immersed in the complexity of its storylines, the diverse nature to its culture, the intricate backdrop; the times and nuances of that age, and the lore and legends which make this location such a special place. Being set in the mountains of NC was the perfect place for such a novel’s setting.

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish to Amazon?
The biggest factor is that there is now a concrete avenue for writers under the ‘Indie’ autonomy which gives the writers the necessary freedom to ‘test’ their works in the open market. Before you had to wait weeks, if not months for publishers to go through the ‘snail-process’ of accepting or rejecting your work. If, after you are successful in this venue, then you are looking at months, perhaps years before your work is exposed to the general public. There are also greater bounds for success in the ‘Indie’ process, though the arena might be convoluted with a vast array of entries for the readers to choose from. The reader now has the freedom to choose what they like and what they want to read.

What is your writing process?
I begin with a captive sentence; something that could appeal to the general reader. A Diary’s House started with the simple phrase of ‘a woman in the diary’. From there grew the antidote of the principal relations between a grandmother and her grandson. Their story only deepens the mood of this story; the ties are far-reaching, and the story will go in directions the reader will not suspect. But in the end, the relevance of its truth regarding ‘true, essential love’ will reward the reader with its unforgettable ending. The emotional impact, I feel, is riveting and profound to the reader.

Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you.
Both – sometimes one takes principal importance over the other. Character pre-development, storyline invention, scene sketching all form and weave the novel into the comprehensive story that it becomes. If I were to have a concrete methodology upfront, and all the development has to be established before writing a word, then I might find myself with an itch I can’t scratch. Many times the characters will dictate the tale and scope, and the ultimate direction the work will take. I have to be genuine to the lives I write about, and the reader has to know the sense and sensibility on the genuine nature of each character. It binds ‘viability’ to the story.

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
The publisher and I bounced back and forth on the editing collaboration before the publication date.

What have you’ve learned during your self-publishing journey?
There are more avenues for self-publishing than there used to be. Just a few years ago there was virtually nothing out there for the self-published works. Now there are so many to choose from, the writer should be cautious on who carries the ‘rights’ to their works. The biggest thing is to be realistic about your expectations (on your genre for the work and your writing skills), and to persevere through all obstacles which might present themselves during the process. It’s not enough to desire ‘self-fulfillment’ simply because you have written a work you have pride in. It’s important for each writer to learn the market place and to fully understand their rights as the creator of intellectual properties.

Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
A Diary’s House is on a multitude of sites. www.Smashwords.com , www.Kobo.com , www.barnesandnoble.com , Google Ebooks, Indigo, Abebooks, Alibris, Indiebound, Half, Audible, Ibookstore to name a few. I would suggest googling A Diary’s House.

What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?
It’s funny… I’m not the most savvy when it comes to this. But I do have a twitter account www.twitter.com/cdavidmurphy ; www.facebook.com/cdavidmurphy ; my website www.cdavidmurphy.com  for more info about me, reviews, my ‘Language from the Heart’ blog series and also ‘Landon’s Journal’ series as well as my dedication to my son – Landon Murphy. Check back often as more will be posted on a very regular basis. I also post sample chapters of my works on www.fictionpress.com ; www.scribd.com ; www.goodreads.com .

Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
My publisher Digital Publishing Expert has been very, very helpful. Marlene Diaz has been super through this whole process. I am greatly indebted to her. But still it takes time to write the blogs, keep up with postings, look at reviews and comments and responding in kind.

What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
Be wise – quickly. Understand you can have the greatest novel ever written, but without adequate exposure as an unknown author, you are fighting an uphill battle. Being good in your craft doesn’t necessarily mean you will obtain the success you desire upfront. But knowing yourself and being dedicated to your passions for writing always gives you greater opportunities down the road. There is a certain aspect of catching ‘lightening in a bottle’, but also perseverance will increase your chances and then ‘destiny’ might well find you. My next novel fits just in this category. The reviews I have received for it have been extremely encouraging - all the way to the point that it is right in Oprah’s wheelhouse and that she should take a good hard read on it. But still it is an unknown work. You have to believe in what you write, but also have a discerning eye so that your writing skills progress and get better over time. 

Besides writing, do you have any other passions?
I love the outdoors - and growing up in the mountains of NC means that it’s always in your blood. I love the beauty and majestic nature of this world and I find great adventure (as Landon Hampshire does) in exploring every nook and cranny I can discover. Sports, music, Church activities are all key to me.

What’s next for you?
Well, the next novel ‘When Tomorrow Never Comes’ is complete – just a few tweaks here and there. It is a family drama with real and viable circumstances. The compelling nature of this story tests the very will of the ‘James’ family in ways they could never have imagined before actually falling into a tragic world of survival. It’s an American family tale which should resonate with a large audience base. You discover how lives can change and alter in ways that are very, very unscripted. It’s based on a true story – a relationship novel with many layers.

Another novel now in its final edits ‘The Chronicles of Good and Evil – Dracula’s Lair/The Darkest Tower’ is the beginning of a series of books. It is the galactic struggle for humanity. A Christian fictional novel – its composition turns visionary and will provoke the debate on how humanity should travel and how the age-old war between good and evil is truly universal. Timing placed aside, it is a story which will resonate into today’s world – very much so. I wanted to create a form of Christian ‘superhero’s’, if you will, a legion of angels. I believe it is a provocative tale which delves into the real life and times of Dracula, the true battles of Satan and God, and how the attrition war for humanity still greatly affects us today. I am truly excited about this novel.