Emily Murdoch

Romance Author

Emily Murdoch love to read and write sweet and steamy historical romance, and if you love falling in love then you’ve come to the right place.

Enjoy her sweet romances written as Emily Murdoch, and her steamy romances as Emily E K Murdoch.

Emily is a historian and writer, and has a varied career to date: from examining medieval manuscripts to designing museum exhibitions, to working as a researcher for the BBC to working for the National Trust.

Emily Murdoch’s book range from England 1050 to Texas 1848, and she can’t wait for you to fall in love with her heroes and heroines!

Follow her on twitter and instagram @emilyekmurdoch, find her on facebook at www.facebook.com/theemilyekmurdoch, and read her blog at www.emilyekmurdoch.com.

Where did the idea for your career come from?

I have always wanted to be a writer. My wonderful father read out one of my earliest school reports when I was only about seven years old. In it, my teacher described me as attentive and creative when it came to writing stories…and not much else.

Nothing much has changed since! I studied the subjects I was passionate about at university, those all about stories – History and English – and it was my boyfriend (now husband) who challenged me to actually write one of the books that I kept talking about.

That’s what I did, and I’ve been doing it ever since.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

Unlike many people’s perception of what an author looks like, I actually have a full time job at a company called Epro, a healthtech company that delivers digital transformation services for the NHS here in the UK.

That means I have to keep my writing around my full time job, and that means I have to prioritise one thing: sleep. Without enough sleep, I simply can’t get it all done!

I’m usually up by 6am, at the writing desk by 6:15am. What happens next depends on where I am in the book I’m writing. If I’m plotting, I try to ‘deep plot’ three chapters – that’s a paragraph by paragraph breakdown of what is going to happen in each chapter. If I’m writing, I aim to write a chapter and a half, which is about 4000 words. If I’m editing, I aim to edit two chapters.

That brings me to about 8am. I have half an hour to eat, shower, and get dressed, and start the real job! After I finish at Epro – usually between 5pm and 5:30pm – I then do another half an hour of whatever writing I’m doing, and then head out for a walk to clear my head.

After supper and any household chores, it’s back to the admin! I receive about 20-30 emails from readers a day, and if I don’t spend a little time in front of the TV doing some admin and replying to their wonderful emails.

And then it’s bed, and usually before 9pm!

How do you bring ideas to life?

I usually start with a conflict series idea, usually starting with a ‘what if?’

What if there was a family who…

What if a woman never believed that…

What if a new rule was created…

From there, I expand it out to a series. How can they be connected? How will these characters know each other?

Bizarrely, I am not a visual person! I often ascribe characters personality traits before physical characteristics, and that helps me to start plot out how they would react to different scenarios.

And then I just…write? I don’t know! It’s hard to describe any creative process I suppose, and after over thirty books, I just kind of get into the zone!

What’s one trend that excites you?

VR. Wouldn’t it be incredible to step into ‘Pride and Prejudice’? Who wouldn’t love to look a closer look at Heathcliff as he wandered the moors? I can’t wait until we can step into the dance, jump on a horse, whatever it is that my heroes and heroines get up to. I honestly think that after audio, virtual reality is going to be the next breakthrough for readers.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Lists! I love a good list. And spreadsheets. Love a good spreadsheet. Love a good colour coded spreadsheet.

I was fortunate in my parents. My mother is a list queen – she even has a list of all her lists so she can keep track of them. My lists are a little more digital than hers, but I think we get the same sense of satisfaction when we tick something else.

From my Dad, I received training and interest in spreadsheets. Being an author who manages her own contracts, investments, and expenses means that I have to be careful about my income, spending, tax, and pension. Without my Dad’s expertise and helping me understand how to use spreadsheets to empower me to make better decisions.

What advice would you give your younger self?

You think you’ll have to wait to chase your dreams. You don’t.

One of the challenges of aiming to be an author is that you look at all your inspirations, and they are in their 40s and 50s. It’s never too late to start, of course, but it’s never too early either.

I would always say, “When I’m older,” or “When I’ve had a career,” or even, “When I retire!”

But the best time to start something new is right now. You’re going to get older anyway. May as well give yourself a head start.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

Not anyone can be an author.

The phrase is often ‘everyone has a book inside them’ and…I don’t know, but after slogging for almost ten years as a writer, I don’t think anyone can just do it.

Not everyone can be a fine artist. Not everyone can be a concert musician. And not everyone (in my humble opinion) can be an author.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Listen to your harshest critics. Either they are right, and so you can learn something from an expert. Or they are wrong, and you can identify immediately someone who is not your target audience.

It can be difficult sometimes, hearing things you just don’t want to, but whichever category they fall into, you’ll be a better entrepreneur.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Consistency. I write in some form every single day – whether it’s plotting, writing, or editing – and so even if I have an awful day and only manage about twenty minutes, I have progressed. I have moved forward.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

As well as self-publishing, I have worked with four other publishers worldwide. When one collapsed a few years ago, I felt like such a failure. How could I have written a good series of books if it had been taken on by a publisher which then collapsed.

It was frustrating. I took back the rights to that series, and re-published it with absolutely no changes, and turned over 5 figures on that series alone in the first year.

It gave me the confidence that actually, it wasn’t my books that were the problem.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

If you are in virtual reality, buddy up with some indie authors right now and get ahead of the curve. It’s coming.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

I hit up one of my regular cover designers recently, to create a Christmas novella cover which is a spin off from one of my most popular Regency romance series.

You absolutely can judge a book by a cover. I spent more than $100, because I know the value of a great cover, and a designer worth their weight is going to cost a little more. I’m willing to invest in things like covers to show my readers that I’m serious about creating an amazing reading experience for them.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

I mean….Word? No, strangely, I’m going to pick Excel.

I have a spreadsheet for my monthly earnings, per book, for the last six years. I can analysis which tropes were working, which books are doing well, which months are great for specific series…

It’s a power house. That data keeps me writing books that delight readers, but keep my author business moving.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Whatever book it is that you bought because you knew you’d really enjoy it and it would have NOTHING to do with your business – but you’d never got around to it. That’s the book you should read.

What is your favorite quote?

“Mind how you go.”

I don’t know if it is from somewhere special, but it is what a special person to me used to say whenever we would say goodbye. It packs in so many things: I’m hopeful you remain safe. I understand you need to go. I cannot wait to see you again.

Key Learnings:

  • The best time to start something new is right now
  • Listen to your harshest critics
  • You absolutely can judge a book by a cover
  • If you are in virtual reality, buddy up with some indie authors right now and get ahead of the curve. It’s coming
  • Love a good colour coded spreadsheet