Hello everyone! I'm so happy to have you here this week, and truly honored that you've taken time out to come visit. So I hope this week's guest will WOW you as much she WoW'ed me.
This week, my guest is JL Murray, aka Jessica Leigh Murray, or just plain Jesse. I don't remember how I happened upon her book Jenny Undead, but I was so thrilled when I finished it that I just had to find her and thank her for such a great book. So sit back with a coffee, or a glass of ice tea, and meet this fantastic indie author!
Jesse, welcome to Dream Weaver Novels on Blogger! Would you introduce yourself to my readers? Tell us where you're from, your day job, how you got into writing...
Hi Su. I'm a full-time indie writer.
I am originally from Montana, having grown up in a tiny lumber mill town. I began writing at an early age, which isn't unusual. I know a lot of writers say that. It's true, though. I have books from when I was seven or eight years old which I wrote, illustrated and bound with yarn. Maybe a precursor to being an indie writer. My first real writing, though, came when I bought an electric typewriter at a school auction when I was twelve. I was obsessed with Sherlock Holmes at the time, and I started writing mystery stories. It was all downhill from there. I never really stopped.
I am a HUGE fan of your novel JENNY UNDEAD (a truly unique take on the
|I LOVE THIS COVER!!!|
Originally, I was going to write Jenny Undead as a comedy about a cheerleader that finds herself zombified. But as I started fleshing out the world and the characters, it became very apparent that this was not a comedy. And Jenny was anything but a cheerleader.
I didn't really have a specific inspiration for the book. I've always sort of wanted to write about a zombie antihero. And I wanted a world that was full of chaos and anarchy. You see so many zombie books where it's all about rape and killing other survivors. I didn't want that. I wanted to show how humanity would find a shaky sense of order no matter what happened in the world, no matter how devolved society became. I may touch on some of the darker survivors later in the series, but it will never be the focus.
As an indie author, is there one website or tool you've found that you just can't live without? What site has been most helpful to you?
You know, I used to read anything I could get my mitts on about the indie scene. J.A. Konrath, Hugh Howey, whatever I could find for inspiration. But I've come to realize that these sites are not what is important. They're the golden feather. The writing always needs to come first. Before martketing, before social media, before blogging. The best advertising is the next book, so I try to just keep my nose to the grindstone and write as much as possible. In the past three years I've written eight books, so I guess it's working.
What is your writing process like? Do you make goals? Create outlines? Or are you a pantser?
I don't really have a process. I do like to make rudimentary timelines, and sometimes I do in-depth outlines if the book calls for it. I wrote After the Fire without an outline, and I tried to outline Jenny Undead but it kept jumping the fence, so to speak. I often just do an outline to get started and then let the characters take the story in all kinds of crazy directions.
I drink a lot of coffee. When I finish a book my husband and I usually drink a fancy bottle of champagne. Mostly my process is to just have fun. If I'm not having fun, what's the point? I think readers can tell when the writer stops having fun, too, so I try to keep life interesting.
I generally write three books a year, which is a good goal for me. My books are fairly short compared to some in the genre, so this is doable.
We'd love to know more about other books by you. What else can we get our hands on?
I mainly write in the dark fantasy genre, but I also write sci-fi and horror. My most popular series is the Niki Slobodian series which is sort of a dark, twisty urban fantasy. After the Fire is the first book in a fantasy series about a group of gods in a world that has been largely destroyed. And Jenny Undead is, of course, the first book in The Thirteen series, which is about a group of people that survived horrific experiments as children which enables them to survive the zombie apocalypse.
Currently I'm working on a standalone (I think) about a society where vampires have taken over the governments of the world. If it works out, that one will be available before the end of the year. Then I can start work on book two of The Thirteen, tentatively entitled Jenny Alive.
I listen to music a lot when writing. I'm a big fan of Spotify, and I make a playlist for each book I write, which I then listen to over and over while writing. Much of my plotting or the big, intense climaxes are written to classical or intense instrumental music. But the actual writing is to a lot of rock and roll usually. The playlist for Jenny Undead naturally had a lot of punk rock music, where my Niki Slobodian series generally has slower, more intense music.
Tell us something unique, quirky, or different about you. Any author pet peeves?
I have a checkered past. I used to go to a lot of punk rock shows before I cleaned up and went back to school. I studied Forensic Anthropology for a long time before settling on Creative Writing. My family and I live in Hawaii now, which can be fun, though I find myself complaining about the sun way too much. I'm a rainy day and cup of tea kind of girl when you get right down to it.
My pet peeve is people putting out books that are not ready for public consumption. As indies we have to be careful, and despite popular opinion there is still a stigma attached. We need to be putting really amazing fiction out there. When someone reads a terrible book with plot holes and spelling errors and bad formatting, it can sour them for indie writers permanently. Don't do this. Hire an editor, a proofreader, and a formatter. Find some beta readers that aren't related to you. It can be expensive, but it will be worth it in the long run. I've tended to run my career like a small business. You wouldn't open a store that had insulation sticking out of the walls. Don't publish a book that isn't ready.
I wholeheartedly agree. Is there anything you'd like readers to know about that's coming up for you? Book Launch?...
Yes. My fifth and final book in the Niki Slobodian series, The Devil's Backbone, is currently out at the editor's. My beta readers will be reading it this week and I'm going to have a book release party on Facebook sometime soon. I'll be making an announcement on the date on my fan page, but it will probably be pretty soon.
If I gave you a marble, a feather and a skull, what kind of story would you write? Give it a title if you want.
JL, I'm so happy you came to visit today! And I'm very excited to share you with my visitors. Thank you for your jewels of wisdom and sharing your work with us!!
And thank you, as always to the great readers and fans that stop by each week to meet a new author. I fell in love with Jenny Undead and then the author. I hope you'll take a few minutes to check out Jesse and her books. Here's how to find them:
All of her books are on Amazon!
I'm on my way now to check out some new reading. How about you?
Dare to Dream!