Gail Interviews the Infamous Mur Lafferty

Today, Gentle Reader, I welcome the brilliant Mur to my blog for a visit. Mur and I are old chums, she gave me one of my first interviews on her popular podcast, I Should Be Writing. I’m still a devout listener and heard recently she has a new book out so I invited her round for one of my silly interviews.

About you, the Author!

Tea or coffee and how do you take it?
Both. Although I usually prefer coffee. I like my tea untouched, coffee with sugar and cream. Unless you’re talking cold drinks, and then I am a card carrying Southerner with my love for sweet iced tea.

Describe your personal style for author appearances. 
 I prefer to dress up (dress up for me, that is) with a cardigan or jacket, geeky tshirt, jeans (Sorry, Gail) and boots.

If I were to observe the writer beast in its native environment, what surprising thing might I see? What does the environment look like? 
I work at a standing desk attached to a closet door in my office. The door is covered in post-it notes. I have plants on either side in various states of death. Although strangely my carnivorous plants are doing quite well these days. Also a mug warmer for my coffee because I drink very slowly.

If you were to go fan addlepated over someone, who and what form would the addlepation take?
The only living author who influenced my childhood is Robin McKinley. (The other two are Madeline L’Engle and Anne McCaffrey, RIP) I would probably be struck dumb and not able to talk to her. It’s embarrassing really. I never want to be a screaming fangirl, so I’m the silent fangirl to the side, screaming on the inside. Which possibly makes me creepy. Uh oh.
I’ve gushed at China Mieville on the phone (thankfully after an interview, not during).

No deviating: vanilla or chocolate ice cream on a plain or a sugar cone? (Gail will use this to determine your level of sanity.)
Vanilla. I like most things chocolate except ice cream and fudge. Go figure.
Gail suggests, (as Mur forgot her cone preference) this indicates Mur is absentminded with possible psychotic tenancies.

What’s most likely to make you laugh?
That’s a very hard question, because the obvious answer is “funny things.” But to go deeper I’ve found myself laughing out loud at smart humor that doesn’t punch down. I’m a huge fan of Brooklyn Nine-Nine because they have black, Latina, and gay characters, but the humor on the show rarely goes the “easy way” and punches down.

Since writers inevitably end up in the bar, what’s your poison? 
 It used to be gin, but gin and I broke up about a year ago. These days it’s red wine (I like it dry and spicy) or dark rum. I won’t deny, I got a special thrill when I discovered that the drink of rum and ginger beer is called a dark and stormy. “I’m drinking a WRITER’S drink!” Which made me feel better because I can’t stomach scotch or whiskey or absinthe, which is a writer’s stereotypical drink.

Photo by JR Blackwell

Mur is a podcaster and author living in Durham, NC with her husband and daughter. She plays too many video games, not enough board games, and someday will bake a good batch of croissants. But not today. She wants to run a half marathon in Disney World.

Her books include
The Shambling Guide to New York City, nominated for the RT Best Urban Fantasy of 2013 award, and Ghost Train to New Orleans. She is the recipient of the 2013 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer.

You can find her at or on Twitter @mightymur

Gail blogged a bit about Mur winning the Campbell last year.

From my trip to ALA in New Orleans


About your book!

What should readers eat while consuming your novel?
Either the souls of the dead, or gumbo. Get that NOLA taste in their mouths, yah?

What form does evil take within its pages?
That would be telling. But there’s a vampire with a grudge, an old witch woman who should be dead but isn’t, and a cowardly assassin.

Which one of your characters would you most want to kiss and why? 
That’s tough. There is an incubus in the book who is by nature to be the best kisser (and more), but the hangover is epic. I’d probably kiss either Christian the incubus or Bertie the dragon – the later simply out of curiosity.

What’s your favorite period in history and does it influence your world building?
Actually I’m learning a lot about ancient Rome right now specifically for worldbuilding in my new novel, and it was a fascinating time/place.
Gail pops in to say: I did some excavating in that time period so if you have any odd questions about food or pottery…

Which one of your characters would you most like to slap and why?
Kevin the vampire is too full of angst and anger and desire to get our heroine fired. He needs a good slap.

Without spoilers, what’s the funnest (or funniest) part of the book?
During their ride on the ghost bullet train, our heroes are robbed by cowboys. Ghost cowboys. And they find out they’re not real ghost cowboys, but just some unfortunate souls who died during a corporate team building exercise on a dude ranch. But their guns are real.

If your story smelled of something, what would that be?
This book would smell like a very strong tea, but not one you’d want to drink. Even though the nice old lady is encouraging you to.

Ghost Train to New Orleans (The Shambling Guides)

Ghost Train to New Orleans

Zoe Norris writes travel guides for the undead. And she’s good at it too — her new-found ability to talk to cities seems to help. After the success of The Shambling Guide to New York City, Zoe and her team are sent to New Orleans to write the sequel.

Work isn’t all that brings Zoe to the Big Easy. The only person who can save her boyfriend from zombism is rumored to live in the city’s swamps, but Zoe’s out of her element in the wilderness. With her supernatural colleagues waiting to see her fail, and rumors of a new threat hunting city talkers, can Zoe stay alive long enough to finish her next book?

Self in New Orleans for ALA


Gail’s Final Thoughts:

  • Mur is awesome!
  • She and I share an editor at Orbit. (Devi who picked up Soulless, she has excellent taste.)
  • Mur’s first book is currently on sale for $2 in ebook form. I recommend giving it a try because it revels in the silly.


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

2014 LWren Scott

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Tipsy Vase, Clear

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
7 Simple Improvements That Perfected Everyday Products

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  
Fore-Edge Paintings: The Secret Works of Art Hidden Inside Book Pages


Curtsies & Conspiracies
~ The Finishing School Book the Second. Out now!  
Soulless Vol. 3 (AKA Blameless the manga) ~ Out now! 

Waistcoats & Weaponry ~ The Finishing School Book the Third. I honestly do not yet know the exact release date. Probably early November 2014.
Manners & Mutiny ~ The Finishing School Book the Last. Working. Working.
Prudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the First: Delayed. Why? Rewrite begins soon.


The Books! 

The Finishing School Series: 1 Etiquette & Espionage, 2 Curtsies & Conspiracies


The Parasol Protectorate Series: 1 Soulless, 2 Changeless, 3 Blameless, 4 Heartless, 5 Timeless
Parasol Protectorate Series manga graphic novels
 $0.99 short stories (ebook only) Marine Biology, My Sister’s Song, & Fairy Debt
Audiobook of Crudrat releasing end of April 2014. Find out more at

Book News:
The Bookwryrm’s Hoard says of Curtsies & Conspiracies: “Curtsies & Conspiracies is almost as much fun as the first book in the series, Etiquette & Espionage — and that’s saying a lot, because E&E was terrific.”

Quote of the Day:
“I choose my friends for their good looks, my acquaintances for their good characters, and my enemies for their intellects. A man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies.”
~ Oscar Wilde


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