After the Fire has a new cover!
People have been asking me when book two is coming out for this series, and I'm going to shoot for mid-2014. I don't know when I got so busy, but I'm pretty excited to continue this story. There is still so much to cover and so many directions to go. As of this moment, this will be the cover for book two:
Check back here for more info on this!
So I'm getting pretty far into Jenny Undead, and as my fans may or may not know, I tend to take a trip to Crazytown when I'm this far into writing. So I could rant about something weird, but I chose instead to take a page out a friend's book (sorry for totally stealing your idea, Betsy!) and post a list of weird stuff about yours truly. These are in no particular order.
1. I think cats are gross. I've honestly tried to like them. But in the end I just suspect they're just wild rats that would eat you if you held still long enough. I only had one cat I liked. A giant black tomcat we rescued from the pound. And I think I only liked him so much because he just hung out like a dog.
2. I once dated a lumberjack. No joke. It was not fun.
3. I met my husband in a cowboy bar. I was dressed like a punk at the time and played every Billy Idol song on the jukebox (the only non-country music they had, oddly). He asked me to marry him. I said no. Then he bought me a drink.
4. I was a classical singer in high school. Stop laughing, it's true! I sang traditional and classical music in competitions. I even went to state for a German song once. I was also locally famous (it was a really small town) for singing solos in school concerts.
5. I was studying forensic anthropology until writing took over. I was hurtling toward finishing my degree when I wrote Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. My husband read it and gently suggested I take some time off of school to write more books. I've never regretted it.
6. I was on the Dean's List. Every term. Weird, right? Most people assume I'm not too bright. They're probably right, but I'm great with the books! Also, my literature professor asked me to write a memoir about my life. I eventually declined in favor of fantastical fiction.
7. I worship Neil Gaiman. Everything he does is gold, in my eyes. I once met him at a signing in Helena, Montana and almost peed myself. I was shaking and could hardly speak. It was embarrassing. I do not, however, enjoy his wife. She annoys the hell out of me.
8. I was a teenage bride. I got married when I was nineteen. It lasted for a year. It was a disaster on a nuclear scale.
9. I'm obsessed with Gnosticism. I've read pretty much every book and forgotten scroll on the subject. I also love religious history of every sort. I collect Celtic crosses.
10. My favorite food is Sushi. I adore Thai iced teas. I drink coffee like water. I would eat cookies for three meals a day if I wasn't terrified of getting Diabetes. And I have to restrain myself from buying Lucky Charms cereal. I've also tried to become a vegetarian multiple times, but always fall off the wagon the moment someone wafts a steak under my nose.
Well those are all the boring things I can think of right now. Hope I didn't put you to sleep. I'm going back to Crazytown now.
I was recently asked why I feel like I have to work on my books so quickly and obsessively. It's a good question. Sometimes I forget that not everyone thinks about their work every second of every day until a project is done. I make playlists for each of my books and pretty much listen to them nonstop until I write the last word. (Of course, by that time listening to the same tracks makes me physically nauseous because I've heard them so many times) I eat, breathe and speak the characters' motivations. I wake up thinking "What would this person do about..." I fall asleep asking myself the same questions.
So, yeah. I'm an obsessive person. Most people that know me even a little bit recognize this about me. But that's not why I work on my books so voraciously once I start them. Being obsessive is only the reason I stick with writing. The truth is that I write the books quickly because it hurts not to.
Sounds crazy, right? I know it's insane. But as writers we have a responsibility to feel the things our characters do. To understand why they act the way they act and do the things they do. To hurt the way they hurt. And I have a tendency to write very broken characters that are in a lot of pain. And if they're not in pain in the beginning, they will be in the course of the story. In Jenny Undead, the book I'm currently working on, Jenny is probably the most well-adjusted character I've ever written. In the beginning, anyway. Things get very messy (literally and figuratively) for Jenny very quickly. So as Jenny's pain and manic behavior increases, so does my drive to finish the book. The fact that she started as a relatively even person seems to even increase my internalization of her pain. And thus, my obsession with finishing the book increases exponentially with every page. As the book works up to the frenzy that it eventually becomes, the same thing happens in my head.
I guess it's a good thing. I feel my characters strongly, which is what makes the writing work. But I'm sort of screwed when it comes to having a normal life. And one of these days my husband is going to turn to me and say, "You know, J.L., I think I'd like to talk about something that doesn't involve fictional characters." And on that day I'm going to stare at him dumbly and realize I have absolutely nothing else to say.
Being a writer is hard sometimes. But I'm pretty sure being married to a writer is worse. And maybe someday I'll learn to take it down a notch and work on a book like a normal person goes to a job. But for now, I'll keep being crazy, I'll keep being frenetic, and I'll keep writing crazy-ass fiction that makes people go "what the hell is wrong with that girl?" And I'll keep writing to make my characters' pain go away.
J.L. Murray is the bestselling author of the Niki Slobodian series, After the Fire, and Jenny Undead.