Today we probe the mind of best-selling author of the Walker Papers paranormal fantasy series and the new Dublin Driver cozy mysteries, Catie (C.E.) Murphy. For more information about Dead in Dublin, her latest book and the first entry in the Dublin Driver series, see my review here.
1.You are more famous as the author C.E. Murphy, who writes the Walker Papers paranormal fantasy series. Before that series, you were Cate Dermody writing romantic suspense. How did you decide to write a cozy mystery? Was it your idea or someone else’s?
I have a pile of cozy mystery series ideas sitting around (as you do, right?), and an editor I’d worked with before—the editor of the Walker Papers, actually—asked if I happened to have any cozy ideas. I was kind of like, “Of course I do, how many do you want,” and the Dublin Driver pitch was a hit with the acquiring editor. 🙂
2. Do you have a special place to write? Where is it and what does it look like?
I have TWO! My actual ideal place to write is in my home office, which has an amazing fully split keyboard that attaches to the arms of the chair, and is good for my back. My other favourite place is a local cafe, where several of my writer friends and I get together as often as possible to make each other work. It’s got huge cozy armchairs and couches to sit in, and the staff knows us so well that when we can’t get our usual couch they have a hard time finding us because it’s where we belong. 🙂
3. How did you get the idea to set the book in Dublin and to feature a limo driver as the amateur detective?
The limo driver who drives in and out of mysteries/trouble was actually my husband’s idea, and I set in Dublin because I’m an American living in Dublin and thought it would be a lot of fun to be able to showcase the city that way.
4. What fiction book would you take with you if you knew you were soon to be stranded on a desert island by yourself for a year?
Only one? You’re a harsh mistress. TIGANA, by Guy Gavriel Kay, but…well. I mean. I mean, really, I’d have to take, like, The Complete Works of Shakespeare in a single volume, but if that’s cheating, yeah, it’d be TIGANA. Or Diane Duane’s DEEP WIZARDRY. Only one, really? That’s too hard. O_O
5. How do you prepare to write a new book? Do you outline your book first? Or do you just start writing with the idea in your head but no clear ending in mind?
I mostly (mostly) sell books through proposals, so I have to figure out a synopsis/outline so I can prove to the editors that I have at least SOME idea of where the story is going. 🙂 I don’t especially like writing them, but honestly, they force me to figure out problems in the book early on and fix them, so they’ve become increasingly helpful for getting a book done relatively quickly.
If I’m writing something entirely on spec, like, I’m just gonna write the whole book and hope I sell it afterward, I’m more inclined to go for quite a while without a synopsis, although there’s usually a point at which I end up sitting down and figuring it out. Either way I often know the end well ahead of time. It’s the middle that’s hard. 🙂
6. Megan, the heroine in Dead in Dublin, is an ex-Army veteran and combat medic. Do you or someone close to you, have any history in the military?
My husband’s family is military, but honestly, I wanted a middle-aged protagonist (Megan is 40, I think, in the first book, and 41 in the second) who had a career behind her and had made a choice to move on from that career. Military meant she could have a retirement, which is helpful because Dublin’s a really expensive city to live in, and it meant her career had some effect on her personal life that she had to make some choices about. And, of course, it gave her the potential for a skill set that cozy protagonists don’t always have—she’s trained to deal with emergencies, particularly medical ones, which I thought was helpful for someone who was gonna keep running into murders, and it gives her a legitimate reason to be able kick some ass, if she needs to!
7. Does it take longer to write the first book in a new series or a new book in a long-running book series?
It doesn’t take me very long to write any book, but it gets *harder* as I go on. 🙂 For one thing, there’s all this stuff you have to remember in later books, and you’ve also got a legacy to live up to at that point, and then at some point you’ve got to write a satisfactory ending, and that’s hard. I mean, the flip side is that you get to know your characters really, really well and you can be really confident of their actions and choices, but yeah, I think it kinda gets harder as it goes along.
8. What’s next for you and Megan?
Well, there are two more books already written for the Dublin Driver series—DEATH ON THE GREEN will be out in October 2020 (it’s available for preorder on Amazon & B&N right now!), and I think the 3rd book is scheduled for around June or July of 2021—and beyond that, if sales justify continuing the series, I’ve got something in the region of 12-15 books planned, altogether. I really hope I’ll get to write more of them, because they’ve been great fun so far!
Thank you Catie. I have to look for the split keyboard. It sounds awesome! And, of course, I’m looking forward to reading the future books in the Dublin Driver series.