Posts tagged ‘Cerece Rennie Murphy’

December 27, 2013

Meet Cerece Rennie Murphy author of Order of the Seers Series

Today I have the pleasure of introducing to you Cerece Rennie Murphy the author of the Order of the Seers Series. I had the pleasure to meet Ms. Murphy in October when I attended the Black Authors and Readers Rock Weekend presented by the Reading Divas in Bowie, Maryland. She was the only science fiction and fantasy writer present for the weekend, so you know I was excited to meet her. When she agreed to do an interview for my blog I was over the moon. So here it is my interview with Cerece Rennie Murphy.  Enjoy!

A.H. Tell me about yourself. Cerece Rennie Murphy

C.M. Ok. I am a city girl, born and raised in the beautiful city of Washington, DC.  My parents are West Indian, from Grenada and Trinidad and thankfully moved to DC in their late teens to go to Howard University.  I am so grateful to them for picking this city as my hometown.  I wouldn’t be who I am if I wasn’t raised in DC.

In my former professional life, I did fundraising and program development for a number of community-based and international development organizations.  But these days, I am a part-time writer/business owner and full-time wife and mother to our two kids.

A.H. What author has influenced your current style of writing?

C.M. You know, I never know how to answer that question.  I don’t consciously try to write like anyone else.  But I can tell you the authors who leave me in awe and inspire me to dig deeper for the right word or to be unafraid of the emotion in a scene.  At the top of my list is Toni Morrison.  For me, her writing turns reading into an experience for all five senses.  Her stories aren’t linear, which I love.  They twist, turn and curl back on themselves.  You have to pay attention.  I love reading books like that.  Octavia Butler’s Wild Seed was the first book that ever blew my mind.  I read it over and over. It’s frightening and genuinely fantastic.  Other writers I love include everyone from Amy Tan to Lynn Emery to a fan fiction writer named YellowGlue.

A.H. Tell me about the Order of the Seers Trilogy.

C.M.  The Order of the Seers Trilogy is about a group of people who can see the future and are enslaved for that ability.  The first book in the trilogy, titled Order of the Seers, is about how the Seers escape the organization that seeks to exploit their gift, reclaim their power and start fighting back.  The second book in the trilogy, titled The Red Order, picks up right where the first book leaves off, but is quite a bit darker because you get to know your villains really well in the second book.  Having made some gains in the first book, the Seers are now faced with a larger mission and a deeper understanding of their gift and its potential.  I am working on the final book in the trilogy now.  I’d like to think that the first two books answer the question of who the Seers are and what they are capable of.  The final book answers the question of why the Seers have their gifts at this specific time.  I am really looking forward to sharing the final chapter in this story.

A.H. Where did you get this idea? Was there a person, event, place, or idea that inspired the idea?

C.M.  The idea for Order of the Seers came to me randomly as I was washing the dishes almost 4 years ago.  It was only later, after I read through the first complete draft that I realized how many of my own questions about human potential and the importance of spiritual connection permeated the book. That was not my intention starting out, but the books have been very cathartic for me in exploring those issues.

A.H. I know personally, that sometimes my original idea isn’t necessarily what the story turns out to be in the end. Did that happen for you with this book?

C.M.  Not yet.  I did a story outline pretty early on in the writing process, so I knew the story arc and how things would end from the beginning.  Then, before I wrote each book, I did a detailed chapter outline, which helped me figure out the goal, message and tension in each chapter before I started writing it.  For me, the adventure is always in how each chapter unfolds.  Even though I know what will happen, how it happens is almost always a surprise.  It’s so much fun!  Though I am following the same process with the 3rd book, I can already tell that this installment is going to keep me guessing in a whole new way.

A.H. Of all the characters in this book who is your favorite and why?

Order of the SeersC.M.  My favorite character in the book is Marcus Akida.  Marcus is who I want to be when I grow up.  Marcus is a man who has suffered unimaginable loss at the hands of the Guild.  In some ways, he’s suffered even more than other Seers because he was taken when he was older – he had a wife, a son and an entire life of his own that was taken away.  Despite this, he never loses sight of who he is and what is important to him and that inner strength is what makes him the most powerful Seer.  But even more important than his supernatural powers is Marcus’ ability to inspire the best in others.  Everyone around him tries harder and becomes better as a result of following his example.  I am so honored that he chose me to tell his story.

A.H. Let’s talk about creating worlds because as Science Fiction and Fantasy writer that can make or break a story.  What’s your process for creating worlds? Do you have a book where you write it down or on a poster board?

C.M.  I do a lot of outlining in notebooks. Order of the Seers is contemporary sci-fi, so instead of creating an entirely new world, I wanted to offer a new interpretation to some common assumptions in the “real” world.  I wanted the world of Order of the Seers to feel very familiar, so that when I started folding in the secrets and the lies, it feels like maybe you could be living in the world of Order of the Seers.

One of my next projects is a two-part space opera, so I am sure that will require even more outlining, but I like to work out the framework as much as possible before I get started.

A.H. What’s your take on being a woman in science fiction and fantasy? What challenges have you faced? And how did you deal with them?

C.M.  You know, I look at it like everything else – there is always going to be something in your way, whether it’s because you are black, you’re a woman or someone doesn’t get what you’re trying to do.  You just have to decide what you believe in and who you believe is truly in control of your destiny.  I have the luxury and ability to push forward because of all the doors that have been opened for me by my ancestors.  That is the legacy they have left for me.  I honestly believe there is nothing I can’t do if I am willing to work hard enough and smart enough for it.  With so many avenues opening up in the publishing industry, this is especially true. I am not someone who sees my gender or my race as a disadvantage.  I think, as an African-American woman, I’m used to a certain amount of struggle, which makes me more prepared to fight the battles I need to fight.  There are many things that people thought were impossible, right up until the moment when somebody did it.

I think one of the biggest challenges for African-American authors in any genre is overcoming the perception that stories written by African-American authors are only intended for an African-American audience.  There is a very pervasive belief within the industry that there is no point in marketing our stories to a wider audience because no one outside of our community will read them.

Fortunately, I am my own publisher, so I’m not subject to anyone’s limited interpretation of the market for my work.  I can place myself wherever I think I can find an audience and sell my books and that is a huge advantage.

A.H.  Tell me about being your own publisher.

C.M.  I started LionSky Publishing in 2012 to publish and promote my work.  The learning curve has been steep, but I enjoy the control I have to decide how and when my work is presented.

A.H. Where can people buy your book?

C.M.  The first 2 books in the Order of the Seers Trilogy are available in paperback on Amazon, BN.com, Books-a-Million and in your local bookstore. If they don’t have it on the shelves, they can always order it for you. Both books are also available in eBook format on Kindle and Nook.

A.H. What kinds of questions do you want people to consider when reading this book?

C.M.  I think mostly I would like people to question their own assumptions about who they are and what their potential really is.  I’d like to challenge them to look past the stories they have been told about themselves and redefine their own expectations.  The Seers spend a lot of time believing other people’s stories about who they are and what they are meant for.  It’s only after they escape the Guild and begin to answer those questions for themselves that their true power emerges.  I think that dynamic is true of all of us.   I’d also like people to reconsider occurrences that we regularly dismiss, like déjà vu and dreams that come true, and ask themselves if there is something more going on.  Finally, I’d LOVE it if people would reconsider their own understanding of their relationship with God (however they define it) and become really curious about what that relationship might look like if there was no separation between us and our creator.

A.H. If people wanted to meet you where will you be promoting your book? (Do you have a link to a book tour schedule or blog tour schedule?)

C.M.  In November I finished a book tour with Orangeberry Book Tours (http://www.orangeberrybooktours.com/2013/11/ob-phoenix-30-cerece-rennie-murphy/ ).  And this week I finished a book tour with Prism Book Tours (http://prismbooktours.blogspot.com/2013/10/new-ominous-tour-order-of-seers-by.html ).

A.H. Do you have any suggestions for those interested in writing science fiction and fantasy?

C.M.  My main suggestion would be to just GO FOR IT!  Don’t let your own self-doubt stop you from telling the story you have inside you.  Enjoy that process of bringing your unique vision to the world as much as you can.

A.H. Do you follow any bloggers on writing Science Fiction and Fantasy?

C.M.  Not really and I don’t know if that is necessarily a good thing.  I tend to live in a little bubble that let’s in very few outside resources.  I am easily overwhelmed, so most days, I only have time to figure out what I’m going to do.  I find reading advice on writing both helpful and intimidating.  I don’t want to start censoring myself based on someone else’s opinion of “how it’s done”. The upside of isolation is that I stay pretty self-directed.  The downside is I think I miss out on a lot of opportunities to feel connected and learn from the successes and mistakes of others. I did just recently start following the Black Girl Nerds blog, though and I absolutely love it.  It’s nice to know that I am not alone in my geekitude.  J

A.H. I’m a big fan of Black Girl Nerds too! So in true geekitude in a dystopian world what would you hoard?

C.M.  Food, and anything that could help me ensure the safety of my family.  The other thing I would hoard is music.  I can make up stories to tell my kids, but both my husband and I can’t sing worth a damn.

A.H. Thank you Cerece for your time. Connect with her at:

Goodreads

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