Saturday, July 18, 2009

Mur Lafferty is Playing For Keeps

Mur Lafferty first hit the scene of podcasting in 2004 with her debut podcast Geek Fu Action Grip. It later became Lesson From a Geek Fu Master as a podiobook featuring original essays written by Mur herself. If you love reading David Sedaris, you'll love listening to her 40 plus essays which had me laughing on those long drives to and from work. You'll hear funny stuff as to why she hates the color Pink, why all the pharmacy is a stage and why everyone would have a much funnier day if they just said, "Smurf You!"

She later podcasted her first serialized novel Heaven followed by the sequel Heaven: Hell.

Mur then followed up with a show discussing the art of writing itself called i should be writing, now in it's 122nd episode. "A podcast for wanna-be fiction writers, by a wanna-be fiction writer." It won the 2007 Parsec award for Best Writing Podcast.

She is now in her fifth season of the Heaven series and published a novel in 2008 entitled Playing For Keeps from Swarm Press.

I am delighted to have her here.

Now, please welcome Mur Lafferty to the Tales and Troubled Times blog.

What is your earliest memory of writing?

I was around 12 and I took my mom's electric typewriter/word processor to try fanfic of Fred Saberhagen novels and my own opus concerning unicorns.

How does it feel being published?

Unreal, honestly. It's an odd feeling. I keep waiting to accept it in stride.

When did you decide to be a writer?

About the time I stole my mom's word processor when I was 12.

Do you get writer's block? How do you combat it?

Not really. When I don't write it's because i have problem with too much to do and I have problem focusing on what to do first.

Where do you write? Do you write longhand, typewriter or computer?

I write in a horrible ergonomic area, either my rocking chair or my couch. And computer- my handwriting is terrible.

Tell us about Playing For Keeps and how you decided to self publish at first.

PFK is a book about people with superhuman powers, but not terribly good ones. I had wondered why all superhumans had crime fighting (or causing) powers, and wondered what would happen if someone had a crappy power. I got inspiration from The Tick, Piers Anthony's Xanth series, the comic books Powers and Astro City, and James Maxey's Nobody Gets the Girl. My protags were people who looked at superheroes with envy and bitterness, as they weren't successful enough to fight crime as well.

After I wrote PFK I tried for 10 months to get an agent. I sent it to one publisher who kept it for around a year. When I didn't sign with an agent, I decided to release via podcast and self-publishing halfway through, hoping interest in the podcast would drive sales with impatient listeners who didn't want to wait for the end. After a successful podcast run, Swarm Press contacted me and offered to publish it. I pulled the POD and the Swarm version launched in August.

What was your inspiration for writing it?

My good friend Jason seemed to have a power to summon an elevator during a busy convention, and I thought that would be the lamest power, but so useful right then. That got the ball rolling.

What are you working on now?

I'm writing the fifth and final season of my podcast serial, Heaven. I'm editing my novel that is untitled but I call Project: Underground. It's about a publishing company for monsters. And I have an agent now and am waiting on her to get back to me with suggested edits for the novelization of Heaven.

Favorite writers?

Neil Gaiman, Connie Willis, China Mieville

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Persistence is key. If you keep going, you will eventually succeed in something. You will get better. If you quit, you never will get better, and never will get published.

"...set your fantasies in the here and now and then, if challenged, claim to be writing Magical Realism." ~ Neil Gaiman

1 comment:

Elisa said...

Congratulations, Mur!

Funny, you featured co-panelist Adam Shepard, and now my other co-panelist! I was totally unworthy for that particular panel -- Mur stole the show, and rightfully so.