Interview with Michelle Murray, author of “The Dream Walker”

A common misconception entwined with authors is that they are socially inept, how true is that?

Actually being a self-published author I’ve had to come out of shell so to speak. I find myself talking to people about my book, joining book clubs, online communities. I find myself emailing bookstores, libraries, reviewers, book bloggers, and numerous other people. Since writing this series, I’m probably the most outgoing person I’ve been in a long time!

What makes this particular genre you are involved in so special?

I’ve always had a passion for two thing in life, writing and children. I wanted to combine my two passions. I thought it was important for kids (especially teens and tweens) to have a fun book to read instead of all the violence and bullying that is in books now days. I wanted to create a fun fantasy world that teens/tweens could read about without the overly adult content of some of the books that are out. I took my inspiration from Wizard Of OZ, Chronicles of Narnia, and A Wrinkle in Time. While it is true the fantasy and middle grade genres seem saturated currently, I myself could not find any books out there like mine!

What works best for you: typewriter, fountain pen, dictate, computer, or longhand?

I’m a bit old fashioned when it comes to writing. I handwrite everything first with pen and paper. I’m very picky about my pens! I usually use ball point pens that have good ink flow. Sometimes, I write so fast, I have a hard time reading what I wrote. Once everything is written down, I go back and type it up on the computer. This is very time consuming, especially since I don’t always write the story in order. I have to go back and figure out where everything goes for good flow and a good reading experience. I’ve tried just typing on the computer, but I just don’t get the same creative feeling as pen and paper.

Do you think writers have a normal life like others?

I can’t speak for other writers, but my life is pretty boring and normal. I have a full time job, two sons, and a husband. When not writing, I enjoy spending time with my family. I do everyday things like laundry, cleaning, shopping, and making sure my sons are on track!

Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?

Yes, I read a lot! I think there is some truth to the saying you must read to write. I enjoy the classics, Shakespeare, Mark Twain, Edgar Allen Poe, Robert Frost, as well as fantasy books. JRR Tolkien, Margaret Weiss (Dragon Lance) and Robin Hobb are among my favorite authors. I also enjoy a good mystery from time to time. My son and I both read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Series and it was really good! About the only books I do not enjoy are erotica, and romance. You will not find any Danielle Steel books on my kindle!

Do you proofread and edit your work on your own or pay someone to do it for you?

I pay someone to proofread and edit my work. I’ve been having a little bit of a challenge in this area, as readers are still finding errors. Going forward, I’m going to start asking for references before hiring someone! I think it is hard to edit your own work, and I would not recommend it.

Have you left any of your books stew for months on end or even a year?

I’ve left pieces of stories and poems sit and stew for months or even years. Sometimes, I will go back and look at my old writing and try to gleam a story or poem from it. It may take a different take than originally thought, though! I think it’s good to lay some things aside from time to time and see where they take you later.

What is the most important thing about a book in your opinion?

In my opinion, the most important part is the story. Stories have been told for years, centuries. The good ones live on and on. The Odyssey, the Iliad, for example are both Greek Classics that have been around since ancient times. The tale of King Arthur, and Shakespeare’s plays continue to be retold and revamped for modern times. Stories that find a place in people’s hearts and souls are what stay around. You may not remember every detail about the book or tale, but parts of it always stay with you. Some people say classics are a classic for a reason, and I think this is one of them. The story touched something, some spark, some piece of us and continues to do so.

What is your take on the importance of a good cover and title?

The cover is the first impression, and unfortunately people do judge a book by its cover. I’ve had mixed reviews on my covers. A lot of people love them, some find them confusing, and some just don’t like them at all. I personally think they are beautifully done. The title can play in role when people are searching for your book. For example, if you name a book “Michelle’s Book” they might have a hard time finding it. The title needs to grab people’s attention and make them wonder what the book is about.

Do you read and reply to the reviews and comments of your readers?

I read all reviews of my books, good, bad, negative, and somewhere in between. I’ve found it best not to reply. I do take into consideration what the reviewer had to say and try to use their comments to improve and or change things if I find it necessary. In the end, it is my work, and I need to be happy with what I created. You can’t please everyone, and if you try your work will not have the unique voice that is yours.

Does a bad review affect your writing?

A bad review does not affect my writing. I may be a little disappointed, or not agree with the reviewer, but that is okay. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I read what they have to say, and make decisions on whether or not I need to change anything. It is a tricky balance, because you want to make the readers happy, yet want to keep your own voice.

Is there anything you are currently working on that may intrigue the interest of your readers?

I am currently working on two book. Dream Walker’s Fight, the Dream Walker Land of Mystica Series Volume four and Lightning’s Journey. Dream Walkers Fight takes Miranda on a journey through the dream realm, where she discovers the origin of her dream magic. The Darkness fights her every step of the way, along with the God of Night’s minion Night Shadow.

Can she fight her way through the dream realm and chase the darkness away from her dreams once and for all?

Lightning’s Journey is a prequel and is about the white wizard Lightning before he was turned into stone. He goes on a journey to fight and destroy a rogue black magic that is invading Mystica.

Poets and writers in general have a reputation of committing suicide, in your opinion why is that the case?

I think as a writers, we feel more, see things differently, and take things more personally. You might say something to a writer thinking you are helping, and they might take it literally and have hurt feelings over it. I myself have been told I worry too much what other people think of me. We tend to keep things inside instead of airing them out. It’s kind of ironic in a way we show the world our soul through our writing, but there are still parts we keep hidden.

I love the new semi colon project, where people get a tattoo of a semi colon to remind them to keep going, and not give up. The other part of being a writer which gets depressing sometimes is the rejection. Putting yourself out there is not easy, and then to get letter after letter or email after email telling you no is not easy to deal with sometimes!

How do you see writing as a hobby or a passion?

For me, writing has always been and will always be a passion. I’ve been told to stop, it’s a waste of time. Yet, I go on. I take a break from time to time. I don’t always write every day, but I always go back to it. I’ll get an idea and the pen will start flowing once again!

Is it true that authors write word perfect first drafts?

There is saying that the first draft is always crap and there is some truth to that. I don’t know any author that writes a perfect first draft. Usually, the first draft is just getting the idea and story down on paper. Then, you go back and revise and edit. And edit some more. When you finish, it probably still isn’t perfect! I tend to think I should have done this or that or maybe I can add this or that. After hitting publish, you don’t want to change too much, or your readers will get mad at you!

Have any of your books been adopted into a feature film?

No, not yet. However, I would love to see Dream Walker on the big screen. I’ve had a cosplay done of the main character, Miranda. It is so cool to see a character you’ve created come to life! I would love to see the other characters, especially the wizards, and Mystica created for a film!

Are you satisfied with your success?

It is satisfying to see Dream Walker being read and getting such good reviews on Amazon! I especially loved reading the book to a troop of girl scouts. The cosplay that was also done was awesome! It was a surreal experience to see my character come to life in real person!

I would like the book to get out there a little bit more, and maybe see a movie made out of it one day. Still, I am happy with what I have achieved so far.

What do you do in your free time?

In my free time, I read, spend time with my family, and do crafts. I paint flower pots and ceramic items. I tried painting one of my poems on canvas, but it didn’t quite work out. I also enjoy spending time outside, going for walks, swimming, and hiking.

Was it all too easy for you – the writing, the publication, and the sales?

This is probably one of the hardest things I’ve done. To put myself and my work out there for the whole world to see, and yet the most rewarding. It can be challenging some days, especially when I get those nasty rejection letters! Sometimes I just have to take a breath, a break and know it will be okay. What will be will be so to speak!

Have you ever considered writing an autobiography?

I actually started one, an autobiography. It is based on three experiences in my life that shaped my life and the person I’ve become, so I’m not sure if it’s a complete autobiography. I’m not sure if I’ll ever publish it, as I basically just wrote it for myself.

Writers are permanently depressed, how true is that?

I personally tend to be a pretty happy upbeat person. I do have my days when I feel down, or sad, or things are just not going my way. Don’t we all? There are days I feel a black cloud hanging over my head, like a rain cloud is following me everywhere. Then my boys will do something to make me laugh, or my husband will pull me into a hug, and everything will be okay again. The sun will shine, and the feeling will pass, as in the old saying “This too shall pass.”

How many children do you have? Do you see any young writers in any of them?

I have two children, two young men. One in high school. And one in college. My oldest, Patrick seems to have caught the writing bug. He is writing his own story when not busy studying or working.

Do you enjoy theater? Would you ever like your stories to be turned into a play?

I love the theater! My son and I went to see Macbeth at a local college, and it was really neat. Once for my birthday, some friends and I went to see Into the Woods. I would love to see Wicked, but the tickets are way too expensive for my budget. I would love to see Dream Walker into a play! That would be so fun!

Subscribe to our book recommendations