Mystery and Romantic Comedy Author Lynne Murray

I’d like to welcome my guest Lynne Murray, who is visiting today as a stop on her blog tour to promote her fantastic new romantic comedy, Bride of the Living Dead. Lynne has had six mysteries published. Larger Than Death, the first book featuring Josephine Fuller, sleuth of size who doesn’t apologize, won the Distinguished Achievement Award from NAAFA (the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance).

Lynne has written three e-books of encouragement for writers, as well as essays, interviews and reviews on subjects that rouse her passions. Many of those can be found under “Rants and Raves” on her web site. Lynne lives in San Francisco, and when not writing, she enjoys reading, watching DVD film directors’ commentaries, and spoiling her cats, all of whom are rescued or formerly feral felines.

Lynne, thanks for joining us. I love the concept of your latest title, Bride of the Living Dead, and I really enjoyed the Josephine Fuller mystery that I just finished, At Large. Tell us, what were you doing 25 years ago?

LYNNE: Twenty-five years ago this month, I was writing my first mystery novel. I had finished an earlier novel, a Sensitive Novel of Disillusioned Youth. One word describes it—unreadable.

Daily notes on my personal calendar bring back memories from 25 years ago, a year when way too many bad things happened—a life-threatening illness, a devastating burglary and vandalism in the apartment across the hall. My 1985 calendar records neutral and good days, but often the little squares note things like: “Bad, bad, bad day.”

Silver threads of hope weaving through the days were notes like “wrote 2 pages” or “put 6 pages on D-writer at work.” The “D-writer” was a Displaywriter, a word processing machine the size of a big, microwave oven. Starting the Displaywriter took two eight-inch disk drives, like a toaster set on end. The left drive loaded the software, the right the data.

Three days a week, 10 hours a day I typed documents for the law firm. When work was slow, I pulled out a “borrowed” eight-inch diskette from my backpack and wrote my novel.

On December 29, 1985, I went to work an hour early and stayed late. My note: “Finished TI (my novel) for contest. Done at 9:00 pm exactly. Sent by Express Mail at Airport Mail Facility.” Termination Interview didn’t win the Scribner’s contest, but a few months later an agent accepted it and sold it to St. Martin’s Press.

My first novel was published in 1988—a much better year!

Thank goodness things got better for Lynne! Read more about her work on her web sites and blog.

Check out Bride of the Living Dead on Amazon. Here is a description:

Indie film critic, Daria MacClellan, wants to marry the man she loves, but she’s slipping on rose petals as if they were banana peels on her way to the altar. Big, beautiful and rebellious, Daria, who is most comfortable in a monster movie poster T-shirt and blue jeans, finds that her wedding is hijacked by family drama. How did she sign on for a formal wedding planned by Sky, her perfectionist, anorexic, older sister? Daria adores her fiancé and she loves horror films, but her wedding seems to be spiraling downward in that direction. Will a picture perfect pink wedding turn her into the Bride of the Living Dead?

Also check out Lynne’s mysteries on Amazon.

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  1. Lynne, thanks so much for stopping here on your blog tour! I can’t wait to read your new book.

    How did you get the idea for Bride of the Living Dead? How different was it from writing a mystery novel?

  2. Darcia Helle says

    Lynne, I’m stuck on the fact that you still have your personal calendar from 25 years ago! I love the title of your new book and it sounds like a fun read.

    Stacy, thanks for introducing us to another great author. If my to-read list grows any more, I’m going to have to stop sleeping in order to catch up!

  3. I always throw out my old calendars also, Darcia. There’s something satisfying about accomplishing a year’s to-do lists and then throwing it in the trash!

    My to-do list is growing huge also. This one is going at the top, though!

  4. Lynne Murray says

    Hi Stacy and Darcia!

    Stacy thanks for the opportunity to reflect back on the road that led to this point.

    Darcia, I think I can blame my parents for teaching me to brush my teeth with the “gold star sticker” system. The fact that my dad was in grad school studying behavior modification when I was a toddler probably account for it. But one way I motivate myself to do anything, including writing is to write down what I’ve done each day. It’s a reward, and as I look back on rough times such as 1985, it reminds me that things got better. As we Buddhists say, “Winter always turns into spring.”

    Re mysteries versus romantic comedy, I found the plotting for a mystery to be tremendously demanding. When I set out to write a romantic comedy, the seed of the idea was that the heroine would be what a gay friend calls, “aggressively casual” about her clothing and social style and wanting to marry the man she loves wout force her into a formal wedding.

    Romantic comedy plotting all centers around the mating game, so there is no requirement to include the elements every murder mystery requires: murder methods, suspects, clues, red herrings, violent encounters, solving the mystery, etc.

    It also gave me an opportunity for more funny stuff, which I cherish!

  5. Darcia Helle says

    Stacy, I agree about the satisfaction of tossing that calendar at the end of each year.

    Lynne, I’m sure it’s a boost to look back and see all that you’ve accomplished from those past years. (And I do love the Buddhists’ way of thinking.) I am personally not a saver. I feel overwhelmed looking at my current calendar and to-do list. I don’t think I could handle being surrounded by all of those from my past!

    I love your theory on writing romantic comedy. I never considered it from the angle you mentioned, as having less restrictions in your writing process. My most recent book is a dark comedy, which is a departure from my prior suspense novels. I loved the writing process with that one and the freedom to go wherever I wanted was probably much like you’re talking about with romantic comedy. That type of writing can become addictive!

  6. Lynne Murray says

    I can relate to the concept of darkness in comedy, Darcia! Not everyone appreciates comedy. I know, I’ve been in writers’ critque groups with some who had to have each joke explained, it was a useful experience because I learned to make the material self-explanatory for the humor impaired as well. But comedy arises from truth and pain and a bit of darkness gives it depth!

  7. As a writer, I’ve found that it’s easier for me to work within the mystery structure for a novel, knowing that I have to leave clues, red herrings, etc. It’s interesting as my very first published book was a non-mystery and it was easy to plot as there was a lot of conflict between the characters, but I’m wondering if that was a rare exception for me. Now all the plots that spring to my mind are mysteries.

    My teachers used to say in school that I liked structure, so maybe that’s why I feel drawn to the genre, rather than writing something without those confines. Bravo to you both, Lynne and Darcia, for trying something different! As a reader, I love reading all kinds of novels though, not just mysteries.

  8. Darcia Helle says

    Lynne, I love your comment about the humor impaired! I suppose humor, like mystery, has to be self-evident for those who need a map. 🙂

    Stacy, I always rebelled against structure – and probably still do. That’s probably why I have never written from any sort of outline for my novels. My new one, while a “dark comedy”, still has levels of mystery and suspense, with a crime story running through the background. It’s multi-layered, to satisfy my writer’s A.D.D.!

  9. Lynne Murray says

    Stacy, I know what you mean about writing what feels right. I’ve learned to write what I read–which was about 80% mysteries 25 years ago, now it’s 80% urban paranormal. I’ve had ongoing dialogs with mystery writers and many find the strict structure very liberating, because you know those elements must be included and they act as a framework.

    Darcia, I’m naturally rebellious also. What inspired me about writing mysteries was the opportunity to kill anyone I wanted, anywhere I wanted, anytime I wanted with no legal consequences, so long as the identity of the victim was at least thinly concealed. Very therapeutic! During my crime spree days, I also, on occasion, took requests and happily fictionally killed evil office managers and the like for my fellow, oppressed co-workers.

    • I know what you mean about taking out aggression in your writing, Lynne! I think that’s the nice part about being a writer – having this world where we have complete control. Thanks so much for joining us this week and best of luck on the new book!

  10. Lynne Murray says

    Thanks for having me, Stacy! It’s been a fun visit and some great dialog with you and Darcia. Good luck to both of you on your books!

Stacy Juba