I would like to thank Kate McMurray for taking the time to talk to us about her latest novel, her times as President of Rainbow Romance Writers of America. Check out the review for The Silence of the Stars here. There is also a giveaway, so stay tuned for that.
Thanks for having me!
Can you tell us what your time as President of RRW is teaching you about the LGBTQ sub genre of romance writing currently?
I think the biggest thing is that new doors are opening every day. The romance market is expanding and growing all the time, and there’s more room for LGBTQ romance than ever before, even at the big houses. One thing I’ve seen is that a lot of readers and authors are clinging to old notions of what the publishing industry is like and so aren’t really putting themselves out there and taking advantage of all these new opportunities. But LGBT romance authors are being taken more seriously now and the explosion of erotic romance has brought many new readers to our little niche. (That and mainstream authors like JR Ward, Suzanne Brockmann, Lori Foster, and others including LGBTQ stories in their books are grabbing new readers all the time.) Writing LGBTQ romance is a viable career option in a way I don’t think it ever has been before. So the future looks bright.
Your new release, The Silence of the Stars, includes a violinist as one of the main characters and is a spin off of The Stars that Tremble, which was about opera. I know you are a violinist do you like writing about arts and sports you appreciate yourself?
I love it. It gives me a chance to be nerdy. I have a few weird, specialized interests, and I think it’s fun to write about them and share my knowledge. (I’m totally your annoying friend at the party who is always spouting trivia.) Writing is just as much an escape for me as reading is, so I want to spend time thinking about and writing about things I’m passionate about. A lot of my ideas come from things I think about or pay attention to anyway. I’ve been wanting to write a story about a violinist for a while, so writing Everett in The Silence of the Stars was really fun for me.
Going on from the previous question do you think you can put as much passion into a book if it’s about a subject you hate?
I’m not sure I see myself tackling that, but I think if I got into the head of a character who did something I might not normally be interested in otherwise, I could do it. I can’t think of any subjects I really hate. I find finance kind of boring, but I just finished writing a book in which one of the heroes is a banker, so apparently nothing is off limits! On the other hand, one of my good friends is a huge hockey fan and she’s been pestering me to write a hockey romance. I’d have to learn about hockey in order to do that—big dudes in pads skate into each other a lot is pretty much the sum of what I know about hockey—so I keep putting her off. Hockey was never my thing, despite having gone to a college where it’s practically a religion. So maybe I’m not the one to write that book. I don’t see myself writing anything especially kinky, either, but who knows? When I first started writing romance, I thought, “I’ll never write paranormal,” and yet now I’ve written two. (Across the East River Bridge and Show and Tell.)
Do you attend conventions like GRL and UKMeet and if so can you tell me one thing you like about them and one thing maybe you don’t?
Yes! Not the UK Meet yet, but maybe someday! I’ve been to every GRL so far and am planning to go this year. I’ve also been to RT, RWA, and a handful of smaller cons. I love conventions, I really do; I’m naturally more of an extrovert and I like talking to people, so it was a pretty natural fit for me. Really, spending a few days among people who also love books and want to talk about books is the best part. It’s like being welcomed into a tribe. (I just got home from RT. I can’t tell you how many times I had a conversation that included, “Oh my god, I loved that book, too!” It’s so great!) I’ve met many friends and people I talk to regularly at conventions. I wish they didn’t cost so much, but I write them off on my taxes.
With the advent of Facebook, Blog sites and websites like Goodreads, do you think the reader has too much power or influence over their favourite authors?
Generally, I don’t think so, but I do think authors do sometimes feel pressure, be it to write faster or write a sequel or what have you. I don’t blame readers for that; some of us authors are overachiever types who are always striving to make the next book better or put out a certain number of books in a year, etc., and we’d be putting pressure on ourselves anyway. It’s easy enough to ignore Internet chatter; I mostly don’t read reviews of my own books, unless someone points out a good one to me. And my interactions on social media are actually more often about other people’s books or, like, dumb stories about my cat or living in Brooklyn. I occasionally get email from readers asking for things like a sequel to Out in the Field (never say never, but I don’t currently have any plans for that) and I’m grateful that my readers love my books enough to ask me for those things, but I’ve got my own plan for the next year or two that I hope to stick to.
I read that you work full time as a non-fiction editor and have many outside interests, how do you find the time to write?
It is tough, honestly. But I like to keep busy. Nora Roberts has said, “You don’t find time to write, you make time,” and that’s my personal philosophy. I write whenever I can, basically—since I have a day job, that’s usually most nights and weekends, or I sneak in writing on my lunch break, and I’m thinking about my stories constantly.
Do you have a special writing place/den and do you find yourself easily distracted when you should be writing?
I don’t currently, though I have in the past. I’m thinking about converting my dining room into an office, because I think there is value in having a dedicated writing space, or at least a table to sit at so you don’t hurt your back. (This aging thing, man. I can’t sit contorted into strange shapes on my bed anymore and still expect to accomplish anything.) I can write just about anywhere, though. I like writing in cafes because tuning out the background noise helps me focus. (That sounds strange, but it’s true.) I have enough self-discipline that I’ve gotten pretty good at tuning out distractions. And a lot of it is just, “I’ve got two hours free right now, I would rather spend them writing than on Facebook,” and then going about my work accordingly.
I thought I’d ask a controversial question from a slightly different angle, why do you think so many female authors want to write m/m fiction?
I think it’s different for everyone. We all have our own reasons. And whole books have been and could still be written on this topic, particularly about gender and how women and gay men relate to each other. For me, it mostly comes down to the fact that I started reading gay romance almost by accident around the time I got over my post-college pretentious phase and started writing romance novels, and I just really loved both reading and writing those stories. I’ve been doing this long enough that a lot of the characters that show up in my head happen to be gay men, so I keep writing their stories. I’m open to writing other kinds of romance, though, and I will when those ideas come to me. (I’d like to write a lesbian romance one of these days. And I have a het historical sitting on my hard drive that I will finish eventually.)
From the Publisher:
Columnist Drew Walsh made his career by publicly criticizing conservative, anti-gay politician Richard Granger. So when a rumor surfaces that Granger’s son Jonathan might be gay, Drew finds himself in the middle of a potential scandal. Under the guise of an interview about Jonathan’s new job teaching in an inner-city school, Drew’s job is to find out if the rumors are true. Drew’s best friend Rey is also Jonathan’s cousin, and he arranges the meeting between Jonathan and Drew that changes everything.
After just one interview, it’s obvious to Drew that the rumors are true, but he carefully neglects to mention that in his article. It’s also obvious that he’s falling for Jonathan, and he can’t stay away after the article is published. Still, Jonathan is too afraid to step out of the closet, and Drew thinks the smartest thing might be to let him go—until Jonathan shows up drunk one night at his apartment. The slow burn of their attraction doesn’t fade with Jonathan’s buzz, but navigating a relationship is never easy—especially in the shadow of right-wing politics.
About the Author
Kate McMurray is a savvy New Yorker and voracious reader and writer. Her books have won several Rainbow Awards. She is currently serving as president of Rainbow Romance Writers, the LGBT romance chapter of Romance Writers of America. When she’s not writing, Kate works as a nonfiction editor. She also reads a lot, plays the violin, knits and crochets, and drools over expensive handbags. She’s maybe a tiny bit obsessed with baseball. She lives in Brooklyn, NY, with a pesky cat.
Kate McMurray has kindly offered an ebook of The Silence of the Stars to 1 lucky commenter.
Contest ends 2nd June 2014 @ 11:59pm CST. Must be 18 or older to win. Void where prohibited.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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