Monday, 2 August 2010

Indie Author Mike Murphy Interview: Lucifera's Pet's author talks to Scathach Publishing

We have decided to do a weekly interview with an Indie author, and the awesome Mike Murphy has agreed to be our first victim. Victim's are something he knows a lot about, as his books are chock full of vampires and werewolves. But not your typical modern age angst ridden sparkly vamps, these creatures are evil and clearly loving it.

His first novel, Lucifera's Pet, is out now at Smashwords and all good on-line bookstores and costs only $0.99, but if even that tiny price tag seems too much, read on to find out how you could bag yourself a free copy!

Hey, Mike. Thanks for agreeing to the interview.

My pleasure, Chris. Thanks for having me.

You are the author of Lucifera's Pet. Would you mind telling us what the novel's about?

Vampires, werewolves, love, death, and revenge. I wanted to tell a story about a vampire and a werewolf who were not simply good guys caught up in the evil actions of their unscrupulous brethren. It is a story about the villains, and how they came to be the way they are.

By the way, we love the name Lucifera. It is sort of like a feminized version of Lucifer.

I wanted a memorable name for a character. Something that sounded both sinister and beautiful at the same time. Lucifera was a perfect fit, though readers will come to find out that the origin of her name is actually quite innocent.

Lucifera's Pet is set out in an interesting manner... first person but with multiple POV characters, one each per chapter. What prompted you to write in such an unusual fashion?

I wanted to give the book an intimate feel. The reader sees first-hand exactly what is going through the heads of the two protagonists. Because they are villains, I still wanted to establish a sense of detachment when they did something particularly heinous. By telling parts of the story from the POV of the antagonists, I tried to show the division between the lead characters' thoughts and their actions. They are aware of their villainous nature, but not aware of just how horrible they appear to their victims.

On your Smashwords profile you have written that you are fascinated by monsters who enjoy being evil, who do not seek redemption. What is about these characters that attracts you?

Book shelves and dvd aisles are full of tales of redemption. The concept goes back as far as mankind has been telling stories. The protagonist overcomes his or her shadowy past and grows into a hero from the ordeal. It's one of the most recycled formulas. What about the real bad guy of the story, though? Was he always bad? Surely the villain doesn't view himself that way. No matter how "evil" his actions are, he is the hero of the story as it unfolds in his mind. That fascinates me.

I suppose I have always had an anti-authority streak. Cheering for the big bad comes with the territory.

You have free fiction available at Smashwords. These short stories are in a very interesting cross-over genre, werewolf westerns. Lucifera's Pet has Nazi vampires and you have a free short story about killer turkey jerky. Your ideas are unusual, interesting and entertaining... where do these ideas come from?

I love the Classic Universal Horror films as well as the Hammer pictures from the sixties and seventies. Similar imagery pops up a great deal in my writing. Because I have settled upon werewolves as the unifying theme for my work, I like to examine different variations in folklore concerning those creatures. If there is a way for me to inject a werewolf into a mundane situation and make it entertaining, eventually I will do it.

With the werewolf gunslinger tales, I definitely draw from western stories. My dad owned the entire L'ouis L'amour western collection in paperback. He would start with the first book and read them in order until he finished book number one-hundred and five. Then he would start over. I bet he read them all a few dozen times each. People are passionate in their love of American frontier tales. I wanted to tap into that and shake it up by throwing one of my furry creations into the mix along with a healthy dose of vampires. It has been a very fun series to write.

Smashwords has rules on what it will publish but, crucially, these rules do not concern the quality of a work. Do you think Lucifera's Pet may be negatively affected by being around work that might be of a lower quality?

With all art, the difference between a smelly, steaming turd and a hunk of gold is truly in the eye of the beholder. I can only put out my best effort and hope someone finds it shiny. There are some Indie works that deserve to be best sellers and some that leave me feeling mentally violated. The trash to treasure ratio for electronic books is probably on par with what you would find on the shelves of the book superstores.

Actually, I love the fact that electronic publishing levels the playing field for everyone involved. It may take readers a little longer to find quality, but good books will always rise to the top.

Books are often judged by their covers, and your covers almost look like bad 70's horror movies. It has the same effect as the PS3 game Wet. I love it. Who is your artist, and where can I find more of her work...?

LOL! Thank you. An old horror movie marquis poster is exactly what I had in mind.

The cover for Lucifera's Pet is an original painting by an up and coming artist named Alissa Rindels ( Her art is beautiful and dark, full of demons, goddesses, monsters, and ethereal landscapes. I am very lucky to have been able to work with her. I let her read an early draft of the novel and gave her my general thoughts on character design. She captured my creations on the cover exactly as I see them in my head. She had free reign for the interior pieces and they turned out perfectly as well.

My short story cover art is a different matter. I put those together myself using various graphics programs with less than stellar results. Updating the Werewolf Gunslinger covers is a priority. Look for new art before the end of the summer. Eventually, I will publish an anthology of stories in that series including a new cover done by Alissa. Target date for that is mid-2011.

I threw the silly cover for Turkey Jerky together in two minutes using Microsoft Paint. Next to Lucifera's Pet, it is actually my favorite cover.

For longer works, my goal is to have a book that can and should be judged by its cover. I don't pen droll commentaries on the state of society. I write pulp-inspired, gritty tales focusing on a werewolf and a vampire. I grew up reading comic books, so I guess my cover preference is a reflection of that.

What can fans of your work look forward to? Are there more stories or books in the pipeline, and will fans see a return of much-loved characters?

I am currently working on the draft for the follow-up to Lucifera's Pet. If all goes as planned, I will publish in early 2011. The action picks up a few months after the conclusion of the first book. Virtually all of the characters who lived through LP will appear. The Werewolf Gunslinger short stories are set in the 1800's, but many familiar characters will also appear there.

Thus far, everything I have published is connected. There are no coincidences or random occurrences. Everything happens for a reason. That reason may or may not come to light until a few books down the road, but it is there.

A large part of this blog's focus is on ways to market fiction. Would you care to share a marketing tip with the readers?

Social networking is the most cost-effective and powerful marketing tool in an independent author's bag, but we have to be conscientious in how we use it. If all you do is hock your wares, people will see right through you. You have to give them something of value: a fresh idea, a chuckle from a funny tweet, an article about something they care about. Social media is like a giant conversation. If you interact with people and be yourself, they will want to know more about you and your work.

Where are you on the web? (ie facebook, your website, etc).

Smashwords (Free eBooks):

Normally there would be a question asking why you didn't go the traditional publishing route, but you have very kindly agreed to participate in the upcoming Blog Carnival on this subject. Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions.

Lucifera's Pet is available at in print and Kindle format:
Also in all e-reader formats via Smashwords:

And Mike has very kindly came up with a freebie offer for Dun Scaith blog readers.

If any of your readers would be willing to review Lucifera's Pet for their blog, I will gladly send them a free electronic review copy in the format of their choice if they email me at the address above and mention Dun Scaith.

Well, that's it from us here at Scathach, thanks for taking the time to answer our questions, Mike.

Thanks again for the opportunity. I hope you'll let me send a few questions your way for my blog when your book hits this fall.