This week I had the privilege of interviewing fellow author and friend Heidi L. Kleinman Murphy. It took me a while to catch up to her because she’s just accepted a demanding but uplifting responsibility at church. Heidi and I clicked when we discovered that we have the same “short list” of favorite female science fiction authors and their heroines. Heidi, who also writes under the pen name Indigo Chase, was one of my nominees for the Very Inspirational Blogger Award. Here is what she shared.
How long have you been writing science fiction?
I started writing WATCHER AT THE GATES OF DAY about six years ago. It’s grown to a series of five books and I’m still honing it to send away. Before I knew what great writing was, I tried to send it out to a major publisher–all 190,000 words of it. Naturally they couldn’t kick it back fast enough. Hopefully I’ve learned a few tons of useful information since then.
My next sci fi book was A TERRIBLE MAJESTY. I’m really excited about it and working to send it out momentarily.
My newest work is a YA sci fi called FIRETHORN, which is about 1/3 done in its raw form.
What other genres do you write in? Small Deceptions is historical romance, isn’t it?
Yes, I’ve done historical romance, paranormal romance, and some religious romance. Most of those are still in the honing stage, though finished. Pivot Point (a religious romance) is in submission.
Do you have a background in science or do you do a lot of good research?
I do loads and loads of research. Also, I live next to an Air Force Base, so knowing lots of fly boys helps with flying information. I enjoy finding out about all kinds of scientific breakthroughs. I go for anything from Blue Smoke to Bucky Balls. One of my relatives was the father of the Human Genome Project and did lots of work on Marfan’s Disease and Dwarfism. He must have passed a tiny bit of that curiosity about how things work on to me.
You mentioned on your blog that you have 13 1/2 manuscripts and/or books. Are they various genres? What was your first one?
My first published book was SMALL DECEPTIONS. I wrote a religious romance next (I keep changing the title), which was kicked back to me, so I’m re-vamping it and turning it into two books. Then came the WATCHERS series of five, and somewhere in there I wrote PIVOT POINT for NANOWRIMO. Then came SUMMERHOUSE, a paranormal romance. After that came A TERRIBLE MAJESTY, and now FIRETHORN. I also have ideas for at least three in the loading dock. I am NEVER bored…:o)
Please tell me a little about Small Deceptions, Terrible Majesty, and Firethorn. Where did the ideas come from, and what was the inspiration?
I love to read Jane Austen’s books. I’d read all of hers, plus a bunch of spin-offs by other authors. It seemed like I was always hunting my next Austen fix. Often the books were not at all what she would have written, ie. sex, unlikely plot lines, etc. so I set to work trying to write something I thought I as an Austen reader would like. I tried to make it as authentic as possible, even as to language. From my experience at three different writing conventions, there are many things I’d change now (especially the language). However, I have so many other stories knocking at my door that re-vamping SD is lower on my list.
SMALL DECEPTIONS is about a young lady who is something of a bluestocking, meaning that, like me, she loves to read. Her mother is constantly trying to get her nose out of a book and marry her off. Francesca rebels until she meets a young man with similar tastes. Unfortunately her mother decides he doesn’t have enough money and wants her to marry a richer man. Francesca and her beau deceive her mother and the deception blows up in their faces. The two must work to repair the damage before they are separated forever.
I love reading sci fi. I voraciously gobble up almost anything I can get my hands on. I wanted to write something with a strong female character but which didn’t completely shut out the possibility for relationships. I think it would be horrendous to live most of my life without the benefit of love or companionship. I really love Lois McMasters Bujold’s books because her characters, while strong and engaging, also have flaws which bring them to life, even while they’re swashbuckling all over the universe. Elizabeth Moon and Ann McCaffrey are great. I love Ray Bradbury’s gorgeous language and Orson Scott Card’s, Isaac Asimov’s, and Frank Herbert’s story-weaving. The list goes on ad infinitum. I’m certain I’m forgetting someone pivotal.
A TERRIBLE MAJESTY: Stars are disappearing and it’s probably the fault of an alien entity slashing across the universe faster than anything humans have ever seen. Malfrion Jump Point and the worlds beyond are in jeopardy of disappearing like the systems in the anomaly’s wake. CU Navy ship Intrepid and the sacrifices of its crew are all that stand between trillions of innocents and certain annihilation.
Lieutenant Kit Bondi and Ensign Vari Faro must find a way to forge an unlikely relationship while discovering what it means to serve Spacefleet. Unfortunately they may not have the chance for romance to come to fruition. The alien threat will require great personal sacrifice–for some, the Ultimate.
I recently went to a book convention with the idea that I’d pitch A TERRIBLE MAJESTY. Unfortunately, I knew going into it that there was only one person interested in sci fi at all, and he only did Young Adult. (I should have gone to LTUE, a sci fi convention.) I pitched it anyway and he loved my ideas. He told me to go home and write him something for a younger audience and they’d plug me in somewhere. So I am. That’s how FIRETHORN muscled into my already packed itinerary.
FIRETHORN: I was playing around with ideas for a different kind of human. Vampires are done to death. Werewolves are right behind them. Fairies are the newest craze. I wanted something unique. So I started flipping around alternates. That’s how I came up with Karyatis Mason. The poor girl is partly wooden. Think Pinocchio but with human guts. Her parents are bio-engineers working on plants which can be their own pesticides. A pregnant Annabelle Mason accidentally ingests a toxic strain, which then breaks the uterine barrier, resulting in a mutant half wooden baby.
Thus begins Karry’s voyage to be a normal girl in a normal school. It’s all uphill for her. She falls for Rafe, who has his own set of problems. Even though Karry knows nothing will ever go anywhere romantically, (she’s a mule, for crying out loud) she can’t stop herself from dreaming. Why is it so wrong to wish for a boy, a family, and life beyond eighteen?
I write sci fi under Indigo Chase and the rest under H. Linn Murphy.
Thanks for the interview, Diann! It’s a pleasure to know you and to have read your books. I’d love to meet you in person some day.
Heidi, I hope we get to meet in person someday, too! Thank you very much for your time.
Next week I’m hosting Angie Lofthouse, another female science fiction author, long-distance friend, and Very Inspirational Blogger Award recipient!