For this week’s post I interviewed Kim Murphy, author of the paranormal Dreaming series, Whispers series, and the Promise trilogy. Her books have won a Next Generation Indie Book Award, ForeWord Magazine’s Book of the Year Award, an IPPY from the Independent Publisher Book awards, and a nomination for RT Reviewer’s Choice Award.
She’s also a fellow history geek with a degree in anthropology, and has published a few nonfiction works about the Civil War (We had a minor geek-fest during our email conversation. It was awesome.). She also has two adorable dogs and is unafraid to address women’s issues in her writing, so she wins all the things.
Thank you, Kim, for joining us on Dragons, Zombies and Aliens!
DZA: Tell us a little bit about what you're currently writing.
Kim: I'm currently researching a spinoff/continuation of The Dreaming series. I haven't gotten far enough to talk much about it yet, but it will basically be some of the same characters from the trilogy in a different "realm."
Where did the story of The Dreaming series come from?
With my anthropology background, I've always been intrigued by the shamans. Historians often like to argue that the European cultures didn't have shamans, then I stumbled on the cunning folk. The cunning folk were the healers of European societies (each culture had a different name), using herbs and magic. Many had spirit guardians as well.
All of my stories are based in Virginia because it's easier for me to research. Again, historians argued that the cunning folk never made it to Virginia's shores. I haven't uncovered any records to the contrary, but during the 17th century the cunning folk were much more common than doctors. The average person of the era couldn't afford a doctor. Those who could often didn't trust them. Because the cunning folk were so common, I believe they did arrive on Virginia's shores. In fact, some of the witch trials held during the era have definite signs that the accused women may have been cunning women.
The Dreaming series is a mix of the modern and the 17th century. The two time periods have a definite connection.
What's been the most difficult part of writing The Dreaming series?
The most difficult part was researching the Native people of the 17th century. Most of what's written are biased historical records. I dug deeper by reading the anthropological records and contacting the Native people themselves for their side of the story.
Give us an insight into your main character. What makes them special?
In modern times and under hypnosis, Phoebe Wynne tells the story of an ocean crossing to Colonial Jamestown. Soon after, her tale continues with mass starvation in the colony. With no recollection of the current century, she claims that she escaped death by running off to the Paspahegh, a nearby Indian tribe.
The other main character is Lee Crowley, a seasoned police detective. He's skeptical of Phoebe's story, but being a Native American himself, he's intrigued. Phoebe also seems to understand his pain and anger of being caught between two cultures.
She shows him "the dreaming," which is a cunning woman's shamanic journey. I think that makes her special because even though Lee has no idea if she's telling the truth, it helps him make a connection to his own past.
Why did you want to be a writer?
Writing chose me. I've written stories (mostly historical/paranormal) for as long as I can remember. In fact, one of my books, Whispers from the Grave, started out as a ghostly short story in a high school English class. The sequel, Whispers through Time, is dedicated to my seventh-grade English teacher because she encouraged me. What's even more fun is that we're friends as adults.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
I often don't take my own advice, but the story doesn't need to be perfect in the first draft. Sometimes I'll waste time over a word or sentence that doesn't sound right, and I'm not satisfied. That's what edits are for. Finish the story first. Once it's written, then worry about the flow.
Is there anything else you'd like to add that I haven't included?
Walks Through Mist is the first book in The Dreaming trilogy, followed by Wind Talker, and finally Circle in Time.
Thank you for inviting me on your blog!
You can find Kim on her website, Facebook, and Twitter.
You can find her books on Amazon and Books-A-Million (BAM).
The first Dragons, Zombies and Aliens blog was started in 2015. Somewhere between college coursework, paying rent with door-to-door sales, and keeping up with my sorority sisters, I wrote reviews, rants and commentaries on books, TV shows, and movies. Now, this blog has moved, improved, and the sky's the limit!