Sunday, February 3, 2013

Talking with Linda Murphy about Reaper

I'm happy to be talking with L.S. Murphy today about her YA Paranormal Romance, Reaper, published by J. Taylor Publishing.

Linda lives in the Greater St. Louis area where she watches Cardinals baseball, reads every book she can find, and weaves tales for teens and adults. When not doing all of the above, she tends to The Bean (aka her daughter), her husband, and a menagerie of pets. Reaper is her debut young adult novel and was released on January 7th, 2013.

She is a co-rep for the Southern Illinois region of Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and a member of the St. Louis Writer’s Guild.
Repped by Julia A. Weber of  J. A. Weber Literaturagentur.

About the book: There's no way sixteen year old Quincy Amarante will become the fifth grim reaper. None. Not over her shiny blue Mustang. Her Jimmy Choos. Or her dead body.

 She’s supposed to enjoy her sophomore year, not learn about some freaky future Destiny says she has no choice but to fulfill. 

It doesn’t take long for Quincy to realize the only way out of the game is to play along especially since Death can find her anyway, anywhere, anytime. And does. 

Like when she’s reassuring her friends she wants nothing to do with former best friend Ben Moorland, who’s returned from God-knows-where, and fails. Miserably.

 Instead of maintaining her coveted popularity status, Quincy’s goes down like the Titanic. 

Maybe...just maybe...that’s okay. 

It seems, perhaps, becoming a grim reaper isn’t just about the dead but more about a much needed shift in Quincy’s priorities—from who she thinks she wants to be to who she really is.

Do you outline, write by the seat of your pants, or let your characters tell you what to write?

All of the above. I’m more of an outliner these days, especially with novels, because I need to keep my thoughts in order. HOWEVER, the characters tell me what to do. That usually means I stray from the outline. Reaper was outlined. My shorter works are usually written by the seat of my pants.

How do you name your characters?

In Reaper, Quincy’s name has meaning. She’s told she’s going to become the fifth grim reaper. Quincy means five or fifth. Her last name, Amarante, means unfading, which seemed appropriate for a grim reaper. I really believe character names need to have meaning, if only to the author.

What would your main character say about you?

Quincy would call me a scrub.

I like writing characters who do and say things I never would, as well as characters who do and say things I wish I could. Do you have characters who fit into one of those categories?

Quincy is like that. I’m more reserved than her and was never part of the in-crowd.

What book are you currently reading and in what format (ebook/paperback/hardcover)? 

Quantum Prophecy: The Awakening by Michael Carroll in hardcover. I just finished reading Blue Moon by J.A. Belfield in ebook.

Do you have a routine for writing? Do you work better at night, in the afternoon, or in the morning?

I write in the morning only because it’s the only time I have to write. The house is quiet. Sometimes, I’m able to fit in some words in the afternoon too. That’s nice when it happens.

Do you ever get writer’s block? What do you do when it happens?

Yes, I do. *Crosses fingers* But I haven’t lately. When I do, a change of location is in order. Instead of writing at my desk in the basement, I’ll go to the bookstore or Starbucks. Even the living room can jump start my brain.

What’s one of your favorite quotes?

"Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." ~ Winston Churchill

"Be careful what you pretend to be because you are what you pretend to be." ~ Kurt Vonnegut

What three books have you read recently and would recommend?

Blue Moon by J.A. Belfield is a great read. I really love her Holloway Pack series. Great characters and I’m a fan of anything set in England.
Girl of Nightmares by Kendrae Blake. I loved Anna Dressed in Blood and GoN lives up to expectations. I didn’t want it to end!
After Dark by Emi Gayle is a fun paranormal YA with a strong female character.

                                       Reaper book trailer



A spitball stops in mid-air less than an inch from my nose. 

It hangs there. I assume everyone else notices the wet wad of paper too, but when I turn to my bestie Jordan, her mouth is stuck open with her eyes half closed. 

She was just laughing. Now she’s ... frozen? 

The sudden silence is louder than a room full of gossiping teenagers.

Mini-quakes creep up my spine like a centipede hurrying toward my hair.

I’m not entirely sure my heart is beating. I wave my shaking hand in front of Jordan, hoping this will break her free of whatever happened. 

No reaction. 

Why am I moving?

So many times, I wished Jordan would stop talking. Now is the one time I need her high-pitched voice to pierce my ears.

Quin, relax. It’s okay. No way this is real. I pinch my arm hard, but it doesn’t change anything.

A loud pop makes me spin around in my seat. A man stands in front of the chalkboard in a bluish-white robe staring at me through blizzard white eyes. He holds a staff in front of him that looks like melting glass. 

“Hello, Quincy,” he says in a deep velvet voice. “How would you like to see your future?” 

I stand and stumble toward the back of the room. “Who are you supposed to be? Gandalf?”
I’m unable to keep the tremor out of my voice.

“One person dresses up like me in a movie, and that’s all I hear.” He leans back on Mr. Spragg’s desk. “I’m far more attractive than him and so much more fun.” He winks and lifts his robe, revealing a pair of yellow and red striped Bermuda shorts and orange flip-flops.

My eyes pop wider at the mismatched mess, but I keep my thoughts about his sense of fashion to myself. “Who are you?”

His sigh echoes off the walls. “I’m Destiny.” 


Rolling his eyes, he raises the staff high to his left. Like a swordsman, he stabs and swooshes it down in an arch. The air ripples as a dark slit opens. A man in a deep brown pinstripe suit steps through. His cheap sneakers don’t match the formality of the tan fedora and horn-rimmed glasses.

A pony-sized white German shepherd saunters in behind him, and I take an automatic step back. The dog turns his head, black orbs where its eyes should be.

Pinstripe man glances my way before turning toward the person who calls himself Destiny. His features contort and a maroon tint creeps over his face. 

“What the f—” 

Destiny flips his finger and the new guy shuts up. After a moment, he does another finger move.

“We said when she was eighteen, Des.” 

“I’m aware of that, Forsyth.” 

“She’s not eighteen.” 

“Really? I never would have guessed.” Sarcasm fills each word as Destiny raises his eyebrows like a flag on the Fourth of July. 

Forsyth glares. “Then why am I here?” 

“I let you pick the date, but I never agreed to honor it.” Destiny pats the dog on the head with sneer and wipes his hands on his robe. “Now is the time. Teach her.”

Connect with Linda:

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