Interview with Maureen Murrish

Published 2014-02-12.
What is your all-time favourite book and why?
Favourite book? Crumbs, soo many. Each book is my favourite as I read it or I put it down and don’t bother, but those that linger in my mind, the ones I just can’t forget and would willing read again if there weren’t so many other books out there to sample I suppose I would class as favourite. Let’s see, the Kim Harrison books have to be up there as they started me off on the whole Rachel Morgan series. And then there is the Other World series by Kim Harrison. I love the way Kim’s fictional world is pulled together through the eyes of so many different groups to form the whole.
From way back in the mists of time the books that started me on the road to avid reading and writing were Treasure Island and The Count of Monte Cristo. They really fired my imagination at the age of 9 or 10 and I’ve never looked back. They hold a very special place in my heart.
How do you approach cover design?
I want something that reflects the content and captures the eye and the imagination. For the Dragon World series I searched for a long time to find just the right thing. I am a pretty good designer and artist but I knew that what I wanted was way beyond my skills to produce. When I saw the Dragoneye created by someone who prefers to go under the name of MaRoC68 I knew it was just perfect. My new book, 'The Wheel of the Year' on the other hand, is a non fiction book and I had very definite ideas about what I wanted so I have designed the cover myself. 'The Wheel of the Year' is due out in April 2014 and you can see it for yourself.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I love my Kindle. I hesitated for ages before I bought it as I rationalised that I could use my iPad and told myself it would simply be an indulgence. I finally gave in though and bought one and only two weeks later the Kindle Fire was released! Talk about mistiming! The only thing I miss on my Kindle is a back light so I can read in in the dark; I love reading curled up beside the fire with the lights out, a cat on my lap and a hot mug of chocolate in my hand. Bliss.
Describe your desk
Well, my desk is large and neat with everything in its place. A picture of order in fact. But that is because I rarely use it! My work place of choice is my kitchen table, unfortunately a round table which makes it a bit awkward to work at and it is usually littered with bits of paper scribbled with 'great ideas' and 'maybe come in handy' snippets, and a kitten or probably two. The kittens are the reason I work at the kitchen table. I often have kittens to look after and don't like leaving them alone for days on end when I get immersed in writing. In fact I have a little white girl tugging at my sleeve demanding attention as I type - and then retype.
What are you working on next?
It is a bit of a change of pace for me as I am working on a non fiction book called The Wheel of the Year. It is based on the eight festivals, or Sabbats in the Pagan year which date back to pre-Christian times and are linked to the changing of the seasons.
I give an outline of the festivals as celebrated by modern Pagans along with their history and ways in which they can be celebrated today. I have used my many years experience as a practising Pagan to provided enough information to satisfy most early seekers without getting lost in detail. It will provide a solid base from where the reader can build on their knowledge.
Is there an author you could be compared to or popular fictional characters your book's characters could relate to and why?
I suppose we soak up a little bit of the style of all the books we read and then rearrange it and turn it into our own unique style. I write books I wish I could have read as a teenager and which still fire my imagination today; fantasy, adventure and strong characters. I read them as avidly now as I would have then. I really don’t know who I could be compared to and I would hesitate to say ‘this person’ or ‘that’. One of my readers referred to my books as ‘Tolkien meets Rowland’ but you would have to make your own mind up on that one! I like magic and mystery and a strong plot.
What types of things/people/music inspires you and makes you want to keep writing?
My characters and their lives keep on pulling me back. I hate leaving one of them at a place they are uncomfortable. Abigail perched on a cliff. Robby in a cage, I can’t leave them; I have to get them sorted. So, I try always to leave them where I know they are waiting for me to rescue them. It’s a very strong incentive.
What is your writing process?
The idea or ideas first of course. Then the beginning and the end. I always have a very definite idea of where I want things to end up. Then come the chapters with brief headings and ideas. This gives me the bare bones of the book. Now it is time to add the flesh and I begin to write in earnest. Changes will happen naturally as the story takes form but I like a structure I can build on.
Can you give us your favourite snippets from one of your books and explain it?
This is one is from the first book of Dragon World - The Bonding Crystal (slightly edited to prevent spoilers) because it outlines how much the relationships between Robby, Abigail, and the dragons, Frenzel and Dimble have altered.

Abigail paused, obviously struggling for the right words. ‘You’ve changed, Robby McRoss. Jaswinder is where you belong. You and Frenzel. Together. Don’t throw that away. Think of what you will be giving up. Me and Dimble, well we know we only have this time together. But you and Frenzel could have the rest of your lives. Don’t give that up because of me.’
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