Friday, October 25, 2019

Interview with Author/Editor Sandra Murphy


Sandra Murphy lives in St Louis, the land of the blues, brews, and shoes. Her short stories appear in her collection, From Hay to Eternity, and in anthologies such as The Eyes of Texas, The Extraordinary Book of Amateur Sleuths and Private Eyes, The Book of Historical Mystery Stories, The Killer Wore Cranberry #4, and others. On occasion, she is privileged to co-write on with Michael Bracken, who has more ideas than his keyboard can handle.


Question: What is the title and genre of your anthology?  Why did you select them?

Answer: The title is A Murder of Crows, twenty-one cozy stories each featuring the collective name of a group of animals and a crime. I looked for a mix of established and new writers, a variety of animals, settings, and time periods. One is in the 30s, one in the 40s, two set in England, the rest current time and in the US. Among the animals are tarantulas, koalas, dodos, goldfish, bees, goats, penguins, alpaca, bears, and of course, crows. The rule was no animal could be maimed or killed and that included what people ate and wore.


Question:   What inspired this book? How did it come about?

Answer: Kaye George, who writes multiple series of cozies, made a casual remark on Facebook. She saw a large number of birds in her yard, realized they were crows, and said, “How cool is this? I’m a mystery writer and I have a murder of crows in my yard.” I suggested it would be a good theme for an anthology but she didn’t have time so I got to be editor for it.


Question:   What are you working on now?

Answer:  I have a lot of half-finished projects that need attention. One is a mystery set in an animal sanctuary. Untreed Reads has said we may be able to publish it next year. It’s in need of editing!

In the meantime, the next anthology is underway. It’s tentatively titled, Rebellion, Revolution and Rock ‘n Roll—The Sixties in Music. There will be about twenty crime stories inspired by or that revolve around 60s music. It’s a lot of fun hearing how writers chose their songs.

Question:   What made you start working as an editor?

Answer: I was volunteered to edit a newsletter for a group I belonged to. When that ended, a position came open for a similar job. I get a lot of editing experience with my writers group, Writers Under the Arch. We meet weekly and critique/edit each other’s work. Editing others makes my own writing better.

Question:   What advice would you offer to those who are currently writing?

Answer: Read good books, read better books, and read terrible books. You need to read the overwritten, too much dialogue, too many plot twists, too many characters books so you recognize good writing when you see it. Don’t copy anyone else’s style. Find your own. Practice. Write scenes, write description, write characters, before trying to put them all in one place. Eavesdrop to hear how dialogue sounds. Read oddities in news streams to spark ideas. Don’t try to sound like a writer. It makes you come across as pompous.

Question:  Where and when will readers be able to obtain your anthology?

Answer:  It’s available now in e-book or paperback on Amazon at https://tinyurl.com/y6dujr5y

Note: This anthology is published by Dark House Books.


Comments for Sandra welcome here!

15 comments:

  1. Enjoyable interview Sandra and Jacqueline. Thanks!

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    1. Thanks, Paul, looking forward to your rock and roll story.

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  2. Jacqueline and Sandra, two of my favorite people, in one place at the same time, Nice. Good interview.

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    1. Your goats and geese story was a great addition to the book. Thanks for sending it.

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    2. We like you too, Earl! And I agree with Sandra, you always write a great story.

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  3. There will never be enough anthologies. I always enjoy reading the wonderful selection of stories contained therein. It is also a great opportunity for beginning writers to get published. A good interview, I enjoyed reading.

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    1. I'm glad you liked the interview. You'll love the stories in the anthology.

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  4. Thanks for this shout out, Sandra! It's such a fun group of stories--glad it got done. Thank you for hosting this, Jacqueline!

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  5. Thanks for your story and the comment you made that started the whole thing. I had a great time with it.

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  6. The Unknown Commenter is me, Sandy. For some reason, blogspot wants to protect my identity. Hmm, another story idea?

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  7. Great interview Ladies!
    Good luck and God's blessings to you both.
    PamT

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  8. So true that good writers become editors--for each other and for wanna-be writers. Editing is a true skill. Best wishes for continued writing and editing success!

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  9. Pam and Susan,

    Thanks for your comments!

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