Interview with Iseult Murphy

Published 2018-08-06.
What tools do you use to help you plot?
I put quite a lot of work into plotting out a story before I write it, but I don't use any special software, usually just a pen and paper and MSWord. I start by sketching out the structure - beginning, middle, end at the most basic - and fill in the details for each section, then write notes on theme, mood and character at the side of the page. When I am satisfied with the story on paper, I type my notes up in MSWord and start filling out the details. If I get lost once I start writing, I come back to my initial paper sketch to remind me what the major feels, themes and events are that I want to portray.
What are you working on next?
I am currently putting together a collection of my horror short stories for publication, as well as finishing a dark fantasy novella and preparing to start work on a novel set in the same world as my story, 'A Tracker Becoming'.
Who are your favorite authors?
Bram Stoker, Richard Matheson and Dean Koontz are some of my favourite horror authors. Peter S Beagle, J.R.R Tolkien and Beth Cato are some of my favourite fantasy authors.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My beautiful cats and dogs, who are always hungry and eager to be fed first thing in the morning.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I read a lot, spend time in other creative pursuits such as drawing or sculpting, or chill out with my cats and dogs.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I love BookBub for finding new authors. I also will check out new ebooks that have been recommended by my author friends, or which have been published by the publishers I follow.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I'm not sure about the first story I ever wrote. I started writing journals, even when I couldn't write. I would fill up the pages with blocks of marks that mimicked the print I saw in books. One of the first things I ever wrote was a poem, called 'The Lament for Pit the Pony', which was about a little toy pony I lost in the garden. Another early work was a poem called 'The H Poem', which was about all the things that made me angry, but instead of writing the words, I wrote the initials.
What is your writing process?
I like to plan things out. There is a certain structural process to my planning. My theme and 'feel' of the story comes first, and then the characters and the world. I plan out all the scenes and try to write a fast first draft. Then I read it to see whether it fits into my idea for the piece. It usually doesn't, so I write a second draft bringing it more in line with my vision. After that, I share the story with beta readers and make changes, as necessary, based on their feedback.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The first story I ever read was a picture book about hedgehogs and wasn't very impactful. I saw the movie 'The Last Unicorn' when I was three, and it had a profound affect on me. I used to be read books at night before I fell asleep, but the Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien was the first of my bedtime books that I started reading myself because I couldn't wait to find out what happened next. 'The Sheep Pig' by Dick King-Smith was another major influence in my formative years.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
'The Last Unicorn' by Peter S Beagle, because it has everything I want in a story. 'I am legend' by Richard Matheson, because it has all the feels I crave from a horror story. 'Brother Odd' by Dean Koontz, because monks, dogs, ghosts and weird monsters are awesome. 'Sheep Pig' by Dick King-Smith, because it is all about animals and doing things in a new and different way. 'The Hobbit' by J.R.R Tolkien, because he is the master.
What do you read for pleasure?
Anything and everything.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I read ebooks on the kindle app on my iPad or iPhone.
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