…we're keeping our name but expanding our offerings!
1. Starting from scratch: Tell us all about you. What do you want us to know?
I am a writer, obviously. By day, I work as an editor, currently for a small press in Brooklyn, NY, where I also live. I grew up in the New Jersey suburbs and went to college in Massachusetts, so I’m all northeast all the time, which probably shows in my writing. If I were not writing, I’d be doing something else creative; I’ve played the violin since I was nine, I like crafts, I used to paint and draw a lot. I very seriously considered a career in fashion design before settling on the slightly less impractical publishing career.
2. 10 Questions about books:
How did you get interested in gay romance?
Here’s a long-winded answer! Basically, after a long, post-college hiatus, I got into reading romance again maybe eight or nine years ago. (At the time, I was reading a lot of nonfiction—which I still do—but also a lot of pretentious literary fiction because I thought that I was sophisticated and urbane or something. Then a friend loaned me a Nora Roberts novel and I remembered how much fun reading could be.) Anyway, I started reading review blogs, which led me to Suzanne Brockmann and Josh Lanyon. I got to the Robin/Jules arc in the Troubleshooters series around the same time I also read the first two books in the Adrien English series, and I loved those stories so much, I wanted more. Gay romance was a little thin on the ground at the time—or, actually, there was probably a lot of it in places I didn’t know to look—and since I wanted more, I decided to write it myself. (I’d been writing romances at the time, none of them good enough to publish, but something clicked when I came up with this closeted cop character—that would be Noah from In Hot Pursuit—and suddenly I was in business.)
Best book you’ve read in the last 3 months?
I really loved The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion; the narrator is on the autism spectrum, so the story, as filtered through his POV, has all these layers, plus the book has a strong sense of humor. It’s really delightful. The last gay romance I read and really enjoyed was KJ Charles’s Think of England. So good. I want there to be more gay historicals!
Best book you’ve written in the last 3 years?
Ha, it’s so hard to choose. Probably Four Corners, which came out in 2012. I think I really tapped into something with that book. It’s my favorite trope, for one thing—childhood friends to lovers—but there’s also a lot in the book about identity and holding onto the past. (It was a struggle to write, too, and not only because my hard drive died in the middle of the process and I lost about 10,000 words—back up early and often, everyone!) Reviewers were all over the map on that book, but I stand by every word. I think it’s the ones you struggle with that end up meaning more to you as an author.
What book would you recommend to someone who’s never read your work?
I change my answer whenever I get asked this, but right now it’s basically a toss up between Out in the Field, probably the book I’m best known for, and The Stars that Tremble, which is artsy and New York-y and full of the kind of detail I really love.
What book would you recommend to someone who’s never read gay romance?
I also change my mind on this whenever asked, but Faith and Fidelity by Tere Michaels is not a bad gateway drug. Then I always rec Heidi Cullinan, but which book depends on how kinky you like it. You want sweet, go with Love Lessons. If you’re cool with kinky, my favorite of Heidi’s books is Nowhere Ranch.
Your favorite character you’ve written?
I like all my characters, of course, but Drew from Blind Items is among my favorites. I find my more neurotic characters especially endearing, but Drew, at least, gets a lot of good one liners.
Your favorite character someone else has written?
I have many, but the first one that popped into my head was Al from J.L. Merrow’s Muscling Through. She is so talented, and I love that she can write these compelling characters with strong voices that come right off the page.
What plot bunny has been sitting in your head that you haven’t committed to writing?
I want to write more historicals. I’d particularly like to write a story set in Regency or Victorian England that takes all the trappings of a typical historical romance and twists them, but I don’t quite have the right story yet. I also really want to write about spies. Maybe historical spies!
What’s on the horizon/in the pipeline?
I have a bunch of things that will likely be out in 2015. I have a contemporary that my agent is calling “a gay When Harry Met Sally” about two guys who are old friends but are never quite in the same place romantically at the same time. That’s called When the Planets Align. I also wrote a Jazz Age historical that I’m shopping around. And my big summer project is a series about an LGBT amateur baseball league set in NYC; I’m hoping to have the first three books done by the end of the year.
What’s the BEST thing about being an author?
I love writing, I really do. The fact that I make money doing something I spent most of my life doing just for fun is still kind of mind-blowing to me.
3. Would You Rather…
…Write a book that sells a ton or a book that generates a ton of discussion?
I think one that generated discussion? Amy Lane said something on a panel once that stuck with me, which is that she writes contemporaries so that she can write the wackadoo genre-bending stuff that strikes her fancy but won’t be as popular. (I’m paraphrasing. She probably sounded more clever when she was talking.) It’s creatively and intellectually satisfying to write a book everyone talks about, or to write a book that you love but is kind of weird but just doesn’t catch on for some reason, but on the other hand, if I write a book that sells a ton, that’ll finance my more wackadoo ideas, if you get what I mean.
…Have a book with 100 4-star ratings or a book with 50 2-star and 50 5-star ratings?
50/50. Even if people have reacted negatively, I still feel like I’ve tapped into something—it’s still a strong reaction.
…Write fluff or angst?
Angst. I like a fluffy book, but it’s when I’m sobbing at my keyboard that I know I’ve gotten something right.
…Have a book made into an indie-movie that told the exact story or into a long-running tv show that was only inspired by the story?
So, I should preface this by saying that I am a control freak. So really this question is: would I choose letting everything happen my way or is it better to give up creative control and have the end product be so different from my intentions that it’s pretty much a different thing entirely. (So… Game of Thrones vs. True Blood, kind of.) I tried writing a screenplay once and was completely terrible at it, so probably I’d have to give up some creative control. With great reluctance.
…Have written Twilight or 50 Shades of Gray?
Twilight. Honestly? I’ve read both. With Twilight, I remember getting really caught up in the story as I was reading but then putting it down and going, “Wait, what? Oh, no.” But I could understand why people liked it. If I’d read it as a tween and not as an adult, I probably would have loved it. But with 50 Shades, I didn’t get it at all. Don’t get me wrong, I think 50 Shades has had a net positive effect on the industry, insofar as it has given a legitimacy to erotic romance—and by extension, LGBT romance and BDSM romance and lots of other niches. But, wow, that book. I read it, actually, to see if I’d have the same Twilight experience, where I read the book without liking it per se but completely understanding why other people did. For me, that book’s failing was in characterization, particularly with Ana Steele, who doesn’t at any point act like the educated 20-something adult she’s supposed to be—she’s far to naïve, in a way I found unbelievable—and that was too big a hurdle for me to get over. So while I think it’s generally been a force for good, I did not understand that book’s appeal when I read it.
4. Two Truths and a Lie…
Tell us 3 things about you…2 of them are true, 1 is false.
I live above an ice cream parlor (like Central Perk, with more waffle cones)
I was on my high school debate team.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Kate McMurray has been writing stories since she could hold a pen. She picked up her first romance novel when she was thirteen and has loved the genre ever since. She started writing gay romance after reading a book and thinking there should be more love stories with gay characters. Her first published novel, In Hot Pursuit, came out in February 2010, and she’s been writing feverishly ever since. She likes stories that are brainy, funny, and of course sexy, with regular guy characters and urban sensibilities.
When she’s not writing, Kate works a nonfiction editor. She also reads a lot, plays the violin, knits and crochets, and drools over expensive handbags. She’s maybe a tiny bit obsessed with baseball. She lives in Brooklyn, NY, with a pesky cat.
You can email her at kate (at) katemcmurray.com. Website: http://www.katemcmurray.com/
Kate is represented by Saritza Hernandez of the Corvisiero Literary Agency.