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Author interview with Emily EK Murdoch

Get ready to meet The Chances, a brand new series from Emily EK Murdoch! Emily was kind enough to answer some questions for us.

You can get your copy of this delicious historical romance HERE!

Did you always know you wanted to be an author? What is the first story you remember writing? How did you get from there to where you are today? 

I absolutely knew that I wanted to be an author from a really young age. In fact, one of my family’s favourite stories is of me at nursery, so aged around three or four? Apparently I would demand (!) that the nursey-workers would ‘make’ me a book by folding and stapling paper together, and I would then very proudly ‘write’ a story that I would present to my parents. My first school report, aged five? ‘Emily says she would like to be an author when she grows up…’

I didn’t become a child author prodigy, but I did start writing young. I had very enthusiastic, supportive, and most importantly constructively critical teachers all the way through school, many of whom took time after school to sit with me and my latest story attempt, and guide me through the craft.

When I was about to finish my undergraduate degree, my then-boyfriend asked what career I wanted. I replied that I wanted to be an author, but of course I couldn’t do that until I was much older, until I’d had another career. He looked at me, genuinely puzzled, and asked…why?

Reader, I married him.

I also, that very afternoon, started writing my first proper manuscript which became Conquests, my first published book. Over a decade late, I have almost one hundred stories in publication and I have been a full time writer for years.

What is the most inspiring place you’ve visited and has it shown up in one of your books?

Unlike many of my fellow Dragonblade authors, I have a huge advantage when it comes to writing historical romance set in England: I was born and raised in Canterbury, spent four years studying history and English literature in York, and have lived in various places including Bath since then!

Growing up and studying and living in Roman founded, medieval cities with ancient city walls, rivers going through them, cathedrals in the centre, streets still lined with Tudor buildings, Regency assembley rooms, and Victoriana gothic architecture? It’s one of the things I am so grateful for.

I am yet (!) to write Canterbury into one of my books, but I have set a few in Brighton, a place I really love and I think is intensely underrated by visiting Americans. Beyond the fact that it’s close to London, a seaside town, and was hugely popular during the Georgian period, the Royal Pavilion is an absolute must-see.

Does your writing process include any kind of ritual? Story specific playlists, tea, or candles, for example?

I am ridiculously routine driven as a person, and my writing practice is just one of the places that you’ll see that!

Because I know what works for me, I am not very good at deviating from it. My family and friends know by now not to contact me in the mornings unless it’s an emergency because that’s when I get my words down. I feel most creative and most energised between 5am (!) and midday, so that’s when I get my best work done.

I have a specific writing playlist that I have created that I always listen to when I write. It’s full of classical, minimalist music; it’s faced paced and rhythmic, which really gets my speed up when typing, and there are no words because otherwise I start to type them!

Coffee and tea don’t do it for me, so I drink a lot of water while I write, and I prefer to either write at my desk in the study, or in bed in the winter if it’s a bit chilly!

Once I have the words down that I want, I often go for a walk with an audiobook or a podcast. This is a brilliant palate cleanser; not just because I need to step away from the desk and move my body, but because I need to get out of my characters and reset my mind, and walking in nature always gives me fresh energy for the afternoon. I often see and hear skylarks, house martins, and my local heron. Then it’s back to the desk for strategy, administration, and meetings!

What do you like to read when you’re not reading in your genre? Did you have a favorite book or series when you were growing up?

Although it may surprise a few of my readers…I adore space opera!

If you’ve not heard the term before, space opera is a subgenre of science fiction. The way I describe it is if a historical epic that includes romance, politics, intrigue, war, innovation, and family saga…was set in space. There’s often a huge ensemble cast, multiple points of view, lots of mysteries and secrets, and high, high drama with very high stakes. What’s not to love?