Bachman: Before the interview, I asked Brian to share a bit about himself for those reading about him for the first time. Here is what he had to say.
Murray: By day I am a finance director, but at night I transform into a husband, father, writer and geek. I live in Jersey (the island in the English Channel) with my wife, two children and my Man-Cave is full of books, lots and lots of comics and associated paraphernalia. I write mainly heroic fantasy stories, but like to delve into my darker side and dabble in the horror genre. I have an anthology published through Dark Oak Media Press called “Siege Warriors” and the first part of the Chronicles of Death trilogy, “Forgotten Hero” with Burning Willow Press. The other two parts of the Chronicles of Death have been contracted and part two Dark Times will be released at the end of 2017.
Bachman: Is being a writer a gift or a curse?
I would have to say a bit of both. It’s a gift in terms of being able to create new worlds and characters that other (hopefully) find interesting and want to read about. But also a curse as one’s mind does not stop whirling creating new worlds, plots and characters.
Murray: What’s your writing process look like? What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
My approach to writing is simple. I start by having an idea for a story, a scene, or maybe just a character; it’s very really the whole story so usually just a scene or one character. I flesh this out, making scribbling notes on one single sheet of A4 paper. Once I am happy that there is a full story, I develop the overall plot using flowcharts. However, the joy of writing for me, is simple, as characters develop, I usually veer off my set plots, leading to re-plotting and more flowcharts – no story I have created is linear. As I write, I have a page(s) of names and locations to make sure I do not have names that sound to similar. Oh, I am constantly scribbling notes of new characters, locations or sub-plots while listening to music.
Research – yes I do, but the amount of research depends on the story, luckily with creating my own worlds I create my own worlds, places, laws and religions etc., so not much research is required. However, I do do research on weapons and other things like ships etc., and I people watch to learn new character traits (that’s research right?).
Bachman: If you were deserted on an island, which three people would you want to have with you? Why? Criteria:
Murray: One fictional character from your book
Gan-Goran as he is a wizard and would be able to magic all the things we may need whilst on the island.
One fictional character from any other book
This would have to be Druss from David Gemmell’s Drenai saga.He is a traditional older hero and it would be great to sit down around a fire and listen to his tales.
One famous person that is not a family member or friend
You did not mention if the person can be dead or alive, so it would have to be the late David Gemmell. He’s the one who got me totally hooked in the heroic fantasy genre and there are so many questions I would like to ask him. There are also stories hinted in his books never written and I would love to hear what he had planned for them.
Bachman: What about the genre(s) you write in attracted you to them?
Murray: I write fantasy novels. I am a comic collector and always enjoy battles of good versus evil. So when I read David Gemmell’s Drenai saga, I instantly got hooked. Years later, I had an idea for a story and it just seemed to flow. I took a six month sabbatical from work and ended up producing seven full length manuscripts and several short stories.
Bachman: What’s your latest release about?
Murray: My latest release, and my first novel, is “Forgotten Hero” published by Burning Willow Press, the first part of the Chronicles of Death trilogy. It is a character driven, heroic fantasy story with several interwoven plots about a cult trying fulfill a prophecy to resurrect their Master and plunge the world into darkness. Everything rests in the hands several heroes, who must travel across countries and even venture to hell itself to thwart evil. There are mystical creatures, demons and heroes, and also a ‘whodunit’ type mystery running through the trilogy. One of the heroes was evil’s champion, named Death, and it’s unclear what he will do, hence the tag phrase for the trilogy – Who is Death?
Bachman: Do consider yourself to be a successful writer? If so, why? If not, what would make you successful?
Murray: I am part way to being a successful writer. Any writer who has their work accepted by a publisher, be that mainstream or indie should consider themselves to have achieved some success. Personally, until I can write full time, while sustaining my current lifestyle, I will not consider myself truly successful.
Bachman: A brilliant idea hits you, what do you do first?
Murray: Write it down on a note pad before I forget it, my memory is so bad.
Bachman: What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?
Murray: I would love to give up my day job and concentrate on perfecting my writing.
Bachman: Do you believe in writer’s block?
Murray: Yes. I have partial written story and got completely lost with the direction it should go – drew a complete blank. I still have not completed that manuscript.
Bachman: Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
Murray: Yes, I do read my reviews, it’s the only way to gauge how one’s readership is receiving your work. Bad ones, I try to understand why they have written it and see if it is justified (but it’s hard to be impartial about one’s own work). Good ones, I enjoy the warm glow they give and use that to spur me on to other projects.
Bachman: How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
Being published, and going through the editing process has made me wary of some more dos and don’ts, but as underlying process of plotting and writing remains the same.
Bachman: Does a big ego help or hurt writers?
Murray: For me, it’s about the product, the book, not necessarily the author. But so if an author has a big ego I could be put off reading their book, so personally, I believe, a big ego can hurt writers.
Bachman: What is the most unethical practice in the publishing industry?
Murray: I am new to the publishing industry, so not been thrown any of the politics. However, in the past, I have met and, unfortunately, dealt with a rather unsavory agent who put my writing, and my belief in the whole industry, back several years.
Bachman: Does your family support your career as a writer?
Murray: Yes, without their support, I would not be able to write.
Bachman: How do you balance making demands on the reader with taking care of the reader?
Murray: Interesting question. Being new to the industry, I have not as yet had readers make demands of me. However, wearing my hat as an avid reader wanting more and more from my favorite authors I understand as an writer why certain things cannot happen. For example, a reader might want an author to write a novel about something they’d hinted in a published book. Well, as an author I know how difficult it is to plot and write a manuscript and to do this on demand rather than natural creative juices flowing can be hard. Taking care of the readers, I believe is ensuring I keep producing material they want to read – ultimately without them I will no longer be an author.
Brian’s website – www.briangmurray.com
Brian’s Facebook – www.facebook.com/briangmurrayauthor
Brian’s Publisher – www.burningwillowpressllc.com