Advocate of the Heroine of Substance (& Size), Author Lynne Murray
Lynne Murray, author of the romantic comedy, Bride of the Living Dead, has had six mysteries published. Larger Than Death, the first book featuring Josephine Fuller, sleuth of size who doesn't apologize won the Distinguished Achievement Award from NAAFA (the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance). She has written three ebooks of encouragement for writers as well as essays, interviews and reviews on subjects that rouse her passions, many of those can be found under "Rants and Raves" on her web site. Lynne lives in San Francisco and when not writing she enjoys reading, watching DVD film directors' commentaries and spoiling her cats, all of whom are rescued or formerly feral felines.
Indie film critic, Daria MacClellan, wants to marry the man she loves, but she's slipping on rose petals as if they were banana peels on her way to the altar. Big, beautiful and rebellious, Daria, who is most comfortable in a monster movie poster T-shirt and blue jeans, finds that her wedding is hijacked by family drama. How did she sign on for a formal wedding planned by Sky, her perfectionist, anorexic, older sister? Daria adores her fiancé and she loves horror films, but her wedding seems to be spiraling downward in that direction. Will a picture perfect pink wedding turn her into the Bride of the Living Dead?
Imagine the movie poster for your novel, BRIDE OF THE LIVING DEAD. What's the logline?
Her wedding day or her worst nightmare? Would she turn into the BRIDE OF THE LIVING DEAD?
What was the spark that initiated the idea behind BRIDE OF THE LIVING DEAD?
I love the humor of chick lit books but the shoes scared me! Also the dresses! The deep-seated obsession with wedding planning terrified me most of all. When I tried to imagine what it would be like to live in these books, I'd see someone who twisted her ankles in the high heels, stepped on the hems and ripped the long gowns, and flashed her underwear at the world while she tumbled head over heels into the gutter. I decided to write about a rebellious heroine who is allergic to frills, but who loves her man and her family so much that she reluctantly agrees to let them railroad her into a formal wedding organized by her perfectionist, anorexic, older sister.
Talk to us about the writing process for BRIDE OF THE LIVING DEAD. Was it a fast write? Did you outline first or just sit and crank out the story?
I'm an incorrigible non-outliner who keeps trying to outline. There's something tremendously appealing in the idea that I could write faster and better and control the process by outlining. So I begin each new book by attempting to outline the story. In the middle of that, every single time, I go off the rails and start writing the actual scene I'm outlining. I've come to accept that breaking rules is part of my process. The structure of beginning to outline gives me something to break out of. I'm the same way with paper--I get lined paper and then write through the lines and around the margin.
What are you doing to promote BRIDE OF THE LIVING DEAD?
I'm not able to do in-person events at this time, so I'm going mostly virtual, and ever so slightly postal! I'm doing my own blogs and visiting other blogs--ChickLitGurrl is the first! I'll also be emailing and snail-mailing people whom I've got to know over the years who liked my other books. Pearlsong Press has frequent call-in telephone events where anyone who feels like it can call, and chat and I may do other call-in events as well.
I know that you have a mystery series that features Josephine "Jo" Fuller, "a sleuth of size who doesn't apologize." How important is it to you to develop stories that feature large and in charge female characters?
About that "doesn't apologize" part, I had to add that and turn it into a rhyme because I had a librarian take off the "of size" part in their promotional literature for an event. That kind of thing mobilizes my rebellious streak. I figured if it was a rhyme and a joke, they couldn't chop it up. I don't tolerate fat-bashing in what I read. I know that some books are what you might call "size neutral" and content themselves with not insulting large people. That's the author's decision, but I'm not good at keeping my mouth shut when I feel strongly about something. I need books that inspire me and make me feel good as a large woman. I wouldn't mind some positive role models as well. So I write what I want to read. I've gotten many, many emails from women and men who found it helpful and healing to read such stories.
Why do you write?
I've loved stories for as long as I can remember. My parents would read little Golden Books to me, and even before I could read or write, I told them I wanted to write one of those books. So I did! My mother typed it up for me and I illustrated it with a crayon picture of the hero--a duck.
What is the most important component of a story for you--why?
I'm a firm believer in the healing power of escape. I read (and write) to go to another place, to make sense of the world and spend time with characters I like, enjoying their adventures, seeing the good guys win. I love the kind of books where you finish the book and wish you could go right back to that world again.
What are three pieces of advice you would offer writers wanting to get published?
Persist. The late mystery novelist, George C. Chesbro, gave a speech at the 1994 Bouchercon Convention that helped me tremendously. He said that there are no child prodigy novelists. Writing talent is not rare, but beyond talent, a novelist above all needs to be neurotic enough to continue writing in the face of years of rejection, criticism and no rewards whatsoever. That is the only way to learn the craft. When I heard those words, I wanted to raise my hand and yell: "Yes! Keep going in the face of no rewards at all--I can do that! I've done that. I'm doing that right now!"
Use whatever works. Never underestimate the motivating power of revenge. As a writer you have a license to kill, fictionally speaking, and often when you do, it heals your own pain. I had a request from some former co-workers to kill a manager who treated us all badly. I made him my next murder victim (slightly disguised so I wouldn't get sued), and I felt much better. Afterward when the former co-workers had read the book, they thanked me and asked me to kill him again! I didn't really need to, though, because I had written my way out of it and moved on to other victims.
Keep notes. Observe the stories unfolding in life with an eye toward using them or just to exercise your curiosity and you'll never be bored.
Who is one of your favorite writers, and how does he/she inspire you as a writer?
Terry Pratchett is my favorite. He can make me laugh and think about serious things at the same time. His Discworld is as fantastical a setting as you can imagine, yet I feel as if I know the characters and learn from them.
Word Association. What comes to mind when you see the following words:
BRIDE OF THE LIVING DEAD: Finding her inner Bridezilla!
WRITING: My passion
LYNNE MURRAY: My self
What projects are you currently working on?
I'm exploring Urban Paranormal realms now. I'm doing revisions on a vampire novel where some of the vampires shop at the Big and Tall Store and generally look like real people instead of slinky supermodels. When that's done, I'll return to my work-in-progress, a ghost story that has a romance as well as vampires and some other paranormal critters.