Friday, June 10, 2011

Interview with Dean Murray author of The Guadel Chronicles

First let me remind everyone that the contest Dean has going is still good.  If you write a review on Frozen Prospects (The Guadel Chronicles) or Thawed Fortunes (The Guadel Chronicles Volume 2) you will be entered to win some pretty nice prizes.  The contest goes until July 1st so there is still plenty of time!  Check out Dean's site for more details. 

I'rone (The Guadel Chronicles)When did you decide to become a writer?

I've been an avid reader since the second grade, and toyed with the idea off and on for almost as long as I can remember.  I took a stab at novel writing in junior high and the results weren't pretty, so I more or less stopped thinking about it (although I continued to read voraciously) until my third or fourth year of college.  In my quest for new reading material I stumbled onto a fanfic writer who was really, really good.  At the end of each of his stories he said something to the effect of "Don't be intimidated by the number of words I put up, writing's actually easier than you might think, you should give it a try."  I took his challenge to heart, and wrote a couple of fanfic novels over the next two years, and haven't really looked back since.

If you are not a full time writer what do you do to pay the bills?
My formal education was in accounting and economics, but I went on for further education in accounting, so that's what I do to keep a roof over my family's heads.  Like anything else, it's got pluses and minuses, and although I'm very grateful for my current position I'd very much like to be able to write full-time someday.

What was your route to Indie authoring?

Frozen Prospects (The Guadel Chronicles)I was listening to a podcast by some traditionally published authors who talked about Dean Wesley Smith and his views on getting an agent.  I wandered over to his blog, which ultimately directed me to JA Konrath's blog and I realized that while the two of them had some very different opinions on things, they both treated writing like a business, which given my background really resounded with me.  At the time I'd shopped around a couple of novels, but I knew they were a bit of a long shot generally because one was too long and the other was too short.

Ultimately I decided that there really was some real potential when it came to Indie authoring and decided to take the plunge.

Any tips for your fellow Indie authors?

It's probably premature for me to be giving tips to anyone specifically in the area of writing, but with life in general, I think that hard work usually pays off, so a key thing I focus on is just continuing to work towards my goals.

What served as your inspiration for Frozen Prospects?

Frozen Prospects started as a half-formed idea after I'd read some stories involving couples who fought as a unit and who were magically more than the sum of their parts. Roberta Cray has a great book called the Sword and the Lion that shares some common themes, and there was a short story I read prior to that which helped start me down this particular road.

Actually, the world and magic system of Frozen Prospects was originally created as part of a much larger epic fantasy world.  I still plan on one day putting that world down on paper, but in the meantime I realized that the Guadel needed their stories told, and unlike the larger epic, I was ready to write the Guadel Chronicles.

What other work do you have available?

As of the time I'm writing this, I've got another full novel available (The Greater Darkness) on my site, as well as five short stories which span a number of different worlds and which are available both separately and as part of a collection.

The Greater Darkness was my third novel, before Frozen Prospects, but after the two fanfic novels.  I really like it, but do have to admit that I've grown a lot as a writer since I finished it.  For now it's available in its entirety for free-at some point I might go back and do some additional cleanup before uploading it to the various sites for purchase.

What sites is your work available on?

As I mentioned previously I've got a number of finished work and samples up on my site, Additionally, everything I've currently got ready for sale is up on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords.  It being up on Smashwords and having been approved for their premium catalog means that eventually my work will also be up on Kobo, Diesel, and Sony, as well as a number of mobile app stores, but that all will take a while.

Are you currently working on anything new and if so when can we expect to see it?

One of the things that really drew me to indie publishing was the fact that it meant I could take my backlist and get it up in a matter of months rather than years.  I'm very excited about my current projects.  I've currently got a sequel to Frozen Prospects which should hit Amazon today.

After that, I've got a double novel which is also done but for the editing and cover which I'm very much hoping to get out before Christmas.  The two stories in the double novel are titled 'Broken' and 'Torn' and I think they are my best work to date.  They are set in the same world as The Greater Darkness and The Scent of Tears, but have such a different feel to them than the former, that if I didn't tell people it was the same world, most wouldn't make the link.  Ultimately I'd like to tie the characters from Broken and Torn into the characters from The Greater Darkness and The Scent of Tears, and tell a much larger story through a host of smaller series and semi-standalone novels.  That's the part I can tell you about Broken and Torn, but there are some other, very exciting aspects to the story that I'm keeping under wraps until I'm ready to release them to the general public.

The sequel for Broken and Torn is currently done through the rough draft stage, but it still needs quite a bit of editing done to it, so that's much further out as far as a release date, but I think it will be worth the wait as I'm taking my two main characters some unexpected directions and answering some of the questions people will have still after finishing Broken and Torn.

Lastly, I'm in the middle of several short stories which are set in my Dark Reflections world.  The basic premise is that I've taken the world readers will come to know and love in Broken and Torn, and then more or less shattering it.  It's ultimately going to be a kind of parallel time line where some key events didn't take place, which has all kinds of interesting ramifications.

Are there any authors that you really look up to?

I've talked about Dean Wesley Smith already, but I really respect what he and his wife are doing from the standpoint of trying to get writers to think like businesspeople.

What do you see the biggest challenge in being an Indie author as?

I think getting exposure/an audience is the biggest challenge.  There are plenty of other forms of entertainment out there competing for peoples' attention, and it's awfully easy to make a very tiny splash rather than the medium-to-big splash one was hoping for.  People who blog, review, or otherwise spread the word about Indie authors, are priceless.  

Have you ever been published in any magazines or any national publication?

Nope-I plan on continuing to submit to magazines though, so eventually it will happen.

Do you have a homepage/blog/twitter/facebook etc... that fans can follow your progress or contact you at?

Yep, the best place to keep up to speed with what I'm doing is at It's not pretty, but it's nice and simple and it's got a fair amount of content up already in addition to being the place to follow all of my latest exploits.

What is your favorite book/series?

Like most writers, it's very hard to pick just one.  I grew up on the Wheel of Time series, and that's ultimately what pushed me towards the epic of which the Guadel Chronicles is a subset.  I also like the Black Company series by Glen Cook.  It's got a wonderfully dark feel to it along with the refreshing attribute that the protagonists aren't really movers and shakers in the world-at least not in the first few books.  They are just more or less ordinary people who are doing the best they can while being caught up in much larger events.

I also find myself returning to David Webber's writing again and again.  There are others, but those are the three that I've probably spent the most time with.

Are there any specific sites that you visit for advice or inspiration?

Again, I hang out at Dean Wesley Smith's blog fairly often.  JA Konrath's blog and the Kindleboards also help reassure me when I start wondering if it's really possible to make enough money as an indie writer to ever be able to do this full time.

Thanks for taking the time to do an interview with me Dean.  I look forward to reading Broken and Torn when you get them ready for the public.

Thanks for your time, Scott-I really appreciate all that you and the other book bloggers do to help get the word out about indie authors.


  1. Nice interview, both of you.

    Dean, you are pumping out a serious amount of work right now. How long have you been working on all these projects?


  2. Hi, Justin.

    It feels like a really long time, but I just went back and and counted up the years. I started Frozen Prospects a, bit less than five years ago. I had some work I'd done before that, but I scrapped all of that and started completely over while between jobs. Absence was before that, but everything else has been written since finishing up Frozen Prospects. I was still unemployed when I started Thawed Fortunes, but started a new job about halfway through the book. Over the two or so years I was there, I finished up Thawed Fortunes and wrote Broken. Between that job and my current job, I wrote I'rone, backlash, and Beginnings, and started Torn.

    Since starting this job, I've finished up Torn, written Scent of Tears, and drafted Splintered as well as drafting four other short stories, three of which will eventually be put up for purchase.

    As you can see, a fair amount of what I'm putting up right now is backlist from the last few years that just needed one last editing pass. The pace of new products going up is going to dramatically slow unless I can get to a point where I can write full time.