Saturday, 20 August 2016

BOOK PROMOTION & AUTHOR INTERVIEW - HOME BY ELIZABETH MURPHY

Title: Home
Author: Elizabeth Murphy
Genre: YA contemporary
Release Date: 21st July 2015

BLURB supplied by the Author
Aspen Kirkland is a slut. Or at least, that's what she's spent all of high school believing. So when she goes to visit her estranged father the summer after graduation, she has no reason to believe things will change. But then she finds her childhood best friend Sean again, and everything changes.
Sean is smart, driven and Harvard-bound: everything Aspen isn't. But the more time she spends with him, the more she feels their old connection. He makes her feel like the person she was before high school, before her life did a 180. But Aspen doesn't want to change, and she doesn't want to make any more mistakes. Between her renewed friendship with Sean, a cute local boy and the revelation that her father may not be as clueless as she once thought, Aspen feels the ground shifting beneath her every day. As the summer unfolds, she finds herself working to reconcile her past, present and future, and carve out a place in her constantly changing universe to call home.


AUTHOR INTERVIEW

What is your name, where were you born, and where do you live now?
 My name is Elizabeth Murphy, and I am a born-and-bred Texas girl.

Did you always want to be a writer? If not, what did you want to be?
Yes! I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I was the only kid I knew whose imaginary friends had entire backstories. I wrote my first “book” at age 8. I have an incredible passion for creating stories, and I can’t think of a day in the past several years when I haven’t written something, even if it’s just a couple of sentences. Becoming an author doesn’t even feel like a conscious decision, to be honest; it seems like something I was just meant to do.

Did it take a long time to get your first book published?
 In the grand scheme of things, no, but it felt like a long time to me. It took me eight months to write my book, and then I put it in a drawer for another seven. I spent a year pitching to agents before I finally decided to self-publish, which I was really hesitant to do at first. I’m a public relations major, and I know how much of an advantage it is to have a team of professionals helping you market, edit and design your book. But I was ready to start my career, so I took the plunge. The book was released in July of 2015, almost two and a half years after I started writing it.

What genre would you place your books into?
 I write YA and new adult.

Why did you decide to write that genre of book?
 I write YA because I know it on such a personal level. I was 18 when I wrote Home, and the emotions and experiences were extremely real and easy to put into words. I’m 21 now, and many of those feelings are still with me, although they’re less raw than when I was a teenager. As I enter my 20s, I’m branching into new adult as well, because the early 20s years are a great period to both live and write about. I love writing YA especially because it gives me a unique opportunity to reach out to people. So many teenagers feel so alone, and reading is an incredible source of comfort. One reason I became a writer was to provide hope and inspiration to other young people. I hope that readers all over the world will someday see my work, but if I’ve helped even one person, then I’ve done my job.

Where do you get your plot ideas from? Who/what is your inspiration?
 There’s no telling where a great idea will come from. I got the idea for Home sitting on a bench in front of my high school, waiting for a ride. I do generally find I’m more inspired when I’m taking a writing class, though. A good teacher can open your mind to so many things, and I’ve been fortunate to have had a few truly phenomenal teachers. I also am extremely inspired by fall imagery for some reason. You can imagine my excitement when I discovered Pinterest.

Do you have anybody read your books and give you reviews before you release them?
 Yes, my mom. She is a former editor, so she has a sharp technical eye, and she’s extremely honest in her critiques of the plot, dialogue and characters. It’s great to have an outside perspective, because I can get stuck on a loop sometimes. Having someone come in and give an objective, straightforward opinion has gotten me out of some really tight spots.

Do you decide on character traits before writing the whole book or as you go along?
My main character Aspen’s voice came to me completely organically (as cliche as that sounds). At the time, I was actually working on another idea, but I couldn’t get her character out of my head. So I started writing her story. All of my characters really came to life as I was writing; I don’t think I could have sketched them out beforehand.

Do you choose a title first, or write the book and then choose the title?
 With my first book, the title came to me as I was writing. With my second book, I came up with the title almost as soon as the idea came to me. I think a lot of factors go into when and how you choose your title. When I wrote Home, I had never written a book before, so things like that didn’t even occur to me. The writing process is different when you’ve done it before; you’re more on your toes the second time around, and you think about so many things you never would have with the first one.

What is your favorite book and why? Have you read it more than once?
 I adore the entire Harry Potter series, although if I had to choose a favorite I would go with Order of the Phoenix, because to me that book is the one in which the characters start to grow up and fully see the darker side of their world. I definitely have read it more than once; I have actually lost count of how many times I’ve read it by now.

What do you do to unwind and relax? Do you have a hobby?
 Exercise really helps me relax. I love to swim, and I’m actually working toward getting an instructor certification in Pilates. Reading and watching TV are also some of my favorite ways to spend time (I’m a big fan of Breaking Bad and Frasier).

Did you read a lot in school and write lots of stories, or is being a writer something newer in your life?
Yes, absolutely. My teachers introduced me to some of my favorite books of all time. I also had an extremely writing-heavy curriculum in my junior and senior years of high school. Essays, short stories-we wrote pretty much everything. It helped me develop my craft, and as a bonus, I can still write a badass literary analysis!

Have you ever suffered from “writer’s block?” What did you do to get past the “block?”
Yes, definitely. I think this is a common thread throughout most writers’ careers. For me, writer’s block comes from being stuck on a loop, so I try to get out of my own head when it hits me. Getting away from your story and completely investing yourself in something else forces your mind to focus elsewhere, giving you a fresh perspective (or at least renewed incentive) when you return to your writing.

Do you think ebooks will ever totally replace printed books?
 I hope not. There’s nothing like the feeling of holding a book in your hands and reading words on a page. I hope in twenty years or fifty years, people still want to keep that magic alive.

What do you think makes a book really good/a bestseller?
 I think great books are about great characters, ones who transcend ink and paper to become real for the readers. That, more than anything, is what gets someone invested. When a character becomes real to the audience, they cry over their tragedies, celebrate their victories, and go along with them as they live out their stories.


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