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1. What’s your bio?

Iseult Murphy started writing at a young age, entertaining her family with magazines that she wrote and illustrated as a child. In her teens, she won several local and national short story competitions, including three time overall winner of the RDS Young Science Writers competition, and had work placed in international writing competitions such as the BBC Wildlife Poetry competition.
Iseult is drawn to horror, fantasy and science fiction, as she feels that the most difficult aspects of life can be best explored through the lens of speculative fiction.
She currently resides on the east coast of Ireland with five dogs, two cats, a parrot and a couple of humans. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys reading, art and spending time with her animals.
Iseult’s speculative fiction short stories have appeared in over two dozen venues, some of which have been published in her two short story collections, Zoo of the Dead and Other Horrific Tales and Return to Hades and Other Adventures. She also has published two horror novels in the 7th Hell series.
Iseult Murphy books

2. What attracts you to horror/speculative fiction?

Horror helps me understand the painful and frightening aspects of life. What if monsters were literal monsters? Are the demons that haunt a character preternatural? What would happen if the crack in the pavement really did swallow you up if you walked on it? Where would you find yourself?
I find it easier to understand and explain reality through fantasy and horror than through the mundane. I think a lot of people do, as myths and fairy tales have taken the same approach for millennia.

3. What was the first thing you wrote that made you think ‘I’m a writer’?

I’m still waiting to write it! I’ve been writing stories since I was four, sharing my work outside my family since I was a teen, and I still expect people to tell me I’m a fraud.
Dan: lol, we all have imposter syndrome:)

4. If you could take a writing class with one author, who would it be and why?

If it was any author, living or dead, it would have to be J R R Tolkien. He has inspired and influenced me so much and I would love to chat world building with him. For contemporary authors, Garth Nix, Jeff VanderMeer, Peter S Beagle or Dean Koontz would all be cool.
Dan: Dean Koontz would be one of mine too. He has that ability to be both commercial and yet often clever and beautiful with his choice of words. 

5. Have you got any strange writing habits?

I like writing in bed! I don’t know if it’s strange. My health isn’t very good, so sometimes I can’t sit up in a chair but I can still write a few words from my bed. I’ve recently discovered dictation and that makes writing while lying down possible, which is great.
I don’t have any writing rituals or rules though. I can write where or whenever.
Dan: Ah, dictation is one of my tools too, more because I’m dyslexic and the computer spells better than I can. But also for the health side. I love getting out for walks and dictating chapters as I go. 

6. What’s the hardest thing about being an author?

Finding an audience. There are so many books published, it is hard to draw readers attention to yours. With limited money and marketing skill, promoting my books has been the hardest part of being an author so far.
Dan: I couldn’t agree more. It’s my hope that this blog will be a tool for other writers as much as me to get the word out. We’ll be stronger as a network. But, yeah, it is one of the most difficult things is finding an audience. One-thousand true fans, isn’t that what they say? I think I’m a way off that yet.

7. What’s the best thing about being an author?

I love living in the story world while I write, and even though it can be difficult, I love sculpting a book until the characters, setting and plot come across as much like the vision in my head as I can get it. It is wonderful, and scary too, when others read the story and it comes alive in their heads and to get feedback on how the world grew and changed in their imagination is magical.

8. What’s your all time favourite horror movie and why?

I can’t possible name one. Night of the Living Dead, and the original Romero trilogy, fostered my love (and fear) of zombies, and showed me how well social commentary can be integrated with horror while remaining a compelling, entertaining story. The original Body Snatchers from the 1950’s changed the way I looked at other people. John Carpenter’s The Thing complimented that fear of others and added in body grotesques to be afraid of too.
Dan: They are great picks. The Thing is pure brilliance. 

9. You’re a great book reviewer and everyone should check out your blog. In your opinion, who’s an indie author everyone should be reading (apart from yourself, of course)?

There are so many! There is a certain author called Dan Soule who I think everyone should read. If I had to pick one, who wasn’t either of us, I’d have to say Joseph Sale. I love his work. It is so richly layered and has such deep meaning, as well as being highly entertaining on a surface level. I also love his mash up of fantasy, horror and science fiction.
Dan: lol, I’ll send you the Euro’s via PayPal later;) Thanks for that. Yeah, Joe Sale is great and varied too in his work. His interview is coming up next week actually, so keep an eye out for that everyone.

10. What’s the first horror novel you remember reading? What impression did it make on you?

Dracula was probably the first horror novel I read and I loved it. I was familiar with the story from movies, but I much preferred the book and I loved how Stoker provided verisimilitude with the epistolary narrative.
While it isn’t a horror novel, the disembowelling scene in Jurassic Park was the first time I’d read anything like it (I spent my first twelve years reading mostly classic books and this was my first time reading a more modern novel) and it spurred me to find more books with such deliciously gory scenes.

11. What’s the best book you read this year and why?

2021 is new so far, but I’ve beta read a couple of books that are strong contenders for best book of the year already. Joseph Sale’s Black Gate Omnibus was the best book (or three books) I read in 2020. It starts off as a science fiction adventure and turns into this almost Grecian epic with magic and some of the best character arcs I’ve ever read. It is a great trilogy of books.

12. What’s your spookiest life experience?

I’ve had some weird experiences. One of the spookiest was when my computer used to boot up by itself at odd times of the day and night, and at night I used to hear footsteps on the stairs that sounded exactly like my cat and dog playing except they’d both be asleep on my bed with me. Everything stopped after my sister sprinkled holy water over my room and the stairwell.

13. Where did the idea for your last book come from?

The idea for 7 Weeks in Hell started out as a play. I used to be involved in amateur dramatics and I thought I’d write a zombie play which was set in one room with a
woman looking out a window and seeing her town slowly taken over by the undead. At the end of the play, the characters would be given a choice, and the audience was supposed to choose which ending they wanted to see.
A lot has changed in the novel, but the character of a shut in unable to leave her apartment and the choose your own ending have both remained.

14. Can you tell us something about your current ‘work in progress’?

I’m currently working on getting a horror novella ready for publication. It is called ‘All of Me’ and is about an overweight woman who gets help for quick weight loss from the devil that produces some unexpected side effects.
Dan: When you told me about the idea of this before, I thought it was great. I still think it is great and can’t wait to read it 

15. What are your plans for the next year of writing?

I have three novellas and a fantasy novel that I hope to publish this year, as well as another book in the 7th Hell series. I also hope to finish some novels I’ve been working on and write some short stories.

16. What book of yours should people start with?

For horror, 7 Days in Hell is the best place to start. If they would like to read some of my fantasy and science fiction stories, Return to Hades and Other Adventures is the book to begin with.

17. Have you got a newsletter/reader magnet?

I have a newsletter and subscribers get a free copy of my horror short story collection, Zoo of the Dead and Other Horrific Tales. Anyone interested can sign up here. iseultmurphy.com (mailchi.mp)

18. Where can people stalk you online like a serial killer?

Haha! I’m most active on twitter @AuthorIseult and on my blog where I post book reviews regularly and free short fiction semi regularly.

19. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Buy Dan Soule’s books. For range of plots, great characters, cute dogs and lots and lots of scares. You won’t be disappointed.
Dan: Aw shucks, I’m blushing:) And thanks. Thanks for answering our questions, and let me say the same, buy my books… only joking, buy Iseult’s books, you won’t be disappointed either.
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