This week’s author in the spotlight is author Charlotte Murphy! This interview was a lot of fun because we did a video chat, and I actually got to talk with Charli about her writing and her books. The answers here are transcribed from our chat. Without further ado, here is my interview with author Charlotte Murphy!
Interview with Author Charlotte Murphy
When did you first start writing?
So, I started writing very early on, in what we call primary school, or preschool. It was always poems or little mini stories, or that kind of thing. The age-old response. But, I started writing fanfiction when I was like, 15/16. We were really obsessed with a boyband called B2K at the time. We used to write fanfiction about being with them and that kind of stuff. In our lunchroom at school, everyone would be like “oh, Charlotte’s reading.” And our friends would gather around the little booth in the cafeteria and read the next part. So, I had to write everyday to read to my friends. It was the most hilarious time. And then friends wanted to be in the story. So, I gave the characters their names and stuff.
So, I say seriously for people to hear and see, probably about 15. But in terms of putting it out there into the wider world, probably only in the last 5 or 6 years or so. And then really involved probably in the last year. The answer is, I started properly about 15/16, took it really seriously in my early thirties.
When did you know you wanted to be an author?
I always knew I wanted to write. With me, I didn’t know the avenues to get there. I studied English and creative writing at University. I have the degree, I have the “credentials.” But even in my classes there wasn’t really this understanding of like, you need to put together a summary, and it needs to be formatted this way, and you query to agents, and you go to publishers. There wasn’t the understanding of what other writing jobs there were. I didn’t really understand about being an editor, or an agent, or a publisher.
So, at the end of my three-year degree, I knew I could write good, but what do I do with it? There was no real long-term understanding. In my head, writing was just a thing I did. It wasn’t achievable — I didn’t know where to go. And until discovering the writing community, there was no one to ask.
It wasn’t until lockdown, where I had all the time in the world and all I wanted to do was write. And then when I got the message from my job “you can start this date” and the way my heart dropped. I’m not going to be able to write anymore. It was like a ding-ding-ding. It was a moment of, I don’t want to “work” — it wasn’t until that exact moment that I knew I was hurt that I would have to work, conventional work. So, June 2020 was the moment I knew I wanted to be an author and that was the only thing that was ever going to make me happy. Because at the moment, I work to fund my reading habit. I work to buy books. I work to write books. You do need some kind of income — I’m doing this for a reason.
How many books have you written? What are they called? Where can they be found/bought?
In total, I’m going to go with five. Three are out, one was out before I discovered the whole writing community and I didn’t like how it looked, so I recalled it. It was a romance, and I took it off all distribution. I’m going to rewrite that and send it out. The fifth is a prequel to the trilogy that is out, which hopefully I’ll be able to release at the end of this year, or January.
On my page — I’ve got a link tree, on my Instagram. As well as on my Twitter and Facebook page. @charliauthor everywhere. Available on Amazon, Kindle — wherever they distribute. Link in bio!
What genre do you write?
I say fantasy because we all love fantasy. But I’ve been a bit confused myself as to whether it’s YA or whether it’s NA, New Adult. Because it feels normal to say YA, but I feel like my content is more adult, but not “adult.” So, I feel like I’m in the middle. Technically it’s NA. How I’ve written and my subject is more NA. It’s not 100% adult.
Are any of your characters based on people you know in real life?
My first book, my trilogy, Trista initially was based on me. In the sense of, I grew up with a really strict dad. I wasn’t allowed out quite early on, with my friends and after school, so it was school home. It was that age-old trope of a dull and boring life and discovering that you are something special. That was definitely what I fed into her. And, she doesn’t have a lot of friends.
That was definitely something that I took from my own personal experiences. I had friends at school, I wasn’t bullied or anything like that, but there was a whole section of friendship that my friends made after school when they went bowling, or when they went to get pizza… and I was at home. So, I missed out on certain bonding things. I always felt separate from my friends. I definitely fed that into Trista. In the sense of, you’re part of something perfectly fine, but still on the outskirts. So, Trista was me in that regard.
There is an older character, you meet her in book two. She’s called Iona, she’s based on my mom. She’s really warm and homely and loving. She cooks and bakes, and she is definitely based on my momma.
Dana is based on my cousin. She’s like my sister. I love her beyond everything. Dana starts out as this farm girl, really nice, but as the story progresses, she learns combat and she doesn’t just follow Trista along. She learns about medicine; she can defend herself. I put my cousin’s strength in Dana.
What inspires you to write the most?
What makes me write is the fact that I can’t not. If I’m not jotting down on a napkin, or a ragged bit of paper, or a blank document, I don’t feel complete. I don’t feel finished. My inspiration for writing is my love for writing. It just happens it just comes out of me. It’s a thing I must do! For me, it very much is telling stories people enjoy.
What is your favorite thing about writing?
Definitely the beginning, the idea building. A character comes into your head, and you wonder what can I do with them? The beginning part, the fleshing it out…it’s not just world-building, but the building of the steps. Establishing where you want it to go, who’s going to do what.
Do you listen to music while you write or read?
I don’t, I’m one for silence. Not complete, but no music or tv in the background. When it’s writing time, I’ll go in my little room and sit down, and go.
Do you write anything other than novels? Short stories, poems, novels, novellas, blog posts etc. — and which do you enjoy writing the most?
I don’t, I used to. During Uni and after Uni for a couple of years, I was doing a lot of journalism. But then I stopped, and now it’s been novels. I wanted to do the blogging thing, but it was too much for me. I didn’t like the idea of having to post or give something on a timeline, because that’s not how I work, I felt restricted. So, I write mainly novels.
Have you tried to go the traditional route with publishing? — (getting an agent to sell you to a publisher) How did it go?
Not yet. I’m just navigating the writing community. I’m taking baby steps. The trilogy I put out all by myself. I’ve learned so much since then. For a new series I’m starting, I will be trying to go the traditional route. I’ve said I’m going to do it for NaNoWriMo.
What advice would you give to others who want to self-publish?
Get your money up! It’s so expensive. That sounds negative but understand that you’re going to spend a lot of money. It’s up to you how much you spend, but if you want things done right to a certain standard, then you’re going to have to spend it.
Also, embrace the writing community. Everybody is so helpful. And everyone is so welcoming. You’ve got friends all over who understand what you’re going through. Make friends!
What is your favorite genre to read?
YA — it has to be. You know what you’re gonna get. The most fun thing about it is even the not as great ones, they’re still alright. It’s really hard to be terrible. But, when they’re good, like Six of Crows or ACOTAR, you really dig it. I do love a bit of crime, which is completely different. One of my favorite crime writers, Chris Carter, he writes a lot about serial killers, that kind of stuff. Some really scary stuff. Above all is YA. People can twist the tropes, but still make them a bit different. And there are so many book boyfriends to have!
Who is your favorite author now? What is it you like about them?
Last month it was Leigh Bardugo. But, I’ve only read Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom. I’m going to go with Mark Lawrence at the minute, I just discovered him. He’s written two trilogies, the first is Prince of Thorns. It’s so good, I recommend. It’s quite Game of Thrones-y. The Broken Empire Trilogy.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
My advice is to work at your own pace. There are people at different points, editing a certain way, writing a certain way, churning out books every six months. Don’t look at that — everybody’s process is different. Work at your own pace and don’t let anyone else’s points of progression deter you from anything.
Do you have any favorite books you recommend right now?
The Prince of Thorns, by Mark Lawrence. The Priory of the Orange Tree, it’s really good. Really female-led — strong women, assassins, warriors, dragon riders, it’s got it all. Girls of Paper and Fire is alright.
Besides writing, do you have any other hobbies?
My hobbies are movies. It’s not that much different, but me and my partner are movie junkies! Movies, TV Shows, and eating! I love eating. Reading, movies, and FOOD!
Are you on Twitter or do you have an author website we should check out as readers?
I don’t have an author website. My main place of collectivity is Instagram. A lot of that shares on Facebook and Twitter. But in terms of what I’m up to everyday and posting, Instagram is where it is.
Is there anything else you want to share about your writing or that you want your readers to know?
My writing — I don’t think I’m the greatest or the best writer ever, there are so many things I could learn, there are so many things I could change. But I feel as though I’m a storyteller at heart. If someone enjoys a story and are really invested in the story — that brings me so much joy and so much happiness. And I love to talk to people about stories, my own and others.
I want people to take away from my writing, imagination, and the magic for lack of a better word. The excitement of the other. In terms of what I am doing next, make sure to follow me. My prequel is coming out this year. Follow me to look out for that. My new series is going to be based on werewolves, so if anyone is interested in werewolves, I’m bringing werewolves to the forefront. The country they are based in is one of the countries in my trilogy, it’s the same world but with different people. In the essence of inclusion and being an author of color, this series is going to feature black main characters, villains, side characters. I want to bring that to the forefront as well. And just fun storytelling!
End Author Interview with Charlotte Murphy
I hope you enjoyed reading and listening to my interview with author Charlotte Murphy! We had a lot of fun chatting, and it was great to learn so much more about her writing journey. I recommend checking out her trilogy, The Antonides Legacy. Her prequel for that, Genesis of Dragons is coming out soon! Make sure to follow her on Instagram to keep up with that.
If you want to read more author interviews, check them out here!