Interview with Author Alys Murray

Every once in awhile I feature someone on here that I "met" online, and this sweet lady is one of them. We started chatting because of our mutual love for another author's books, and well, here we are!

She is an extremely talented author and I've been so excited about that news that her book, "The Christmas Company", is being made into a Hallmark movie!! 🙌  

Since she probably doesn't need much of an introduction, lets get started!


Mercy: When did you first realize you wanted to be an author?
Alys: I think I always knew I wanted to write in some capacity. As a kid, I spent so much of
my free time writing and telling stories that it seemed natural to grow up and become a
storyteller for a living. But it wasn’t until about two years ago that I decided I wanted to try
writing things that other people would actually read! At the time, I had just finished what I
called “The Year of Reading Women,” where, for an entire year, I only read books written by
female authors. During that time, I read a lot of romance novels and properly fell in love with
the genre. I talked about them so much that my boyfriend at the time (now my fiancé!)
encouraged me to try and write one of my own. Soon, I was publishing The Christmas
Company!

Mercy: How long does it take you to write a book?
Alys: Well, I’m a bit of a weird bird when it comes to this, actually. Because I’m a fairly new
writer and imposter syndrome something I’m constantly battling, I usually write out a
first draft in 20-35 days. The absolute longest I’ve spent on writing a first draft was
53 days.
When I spend too long on a first draft, I start second-guessing and questioning
myself and then, doubt starts to creep in. Sometimes, that doubt is enough for me to
stop writing the book altogether.
Writing a draft in quick fashion allows me to get all of my ideas down on the page
before my brain has enough time to start saying, “This is stupid. No one will want to
read this. Why are you even bothering?” And then, once I have that first draft down, I
give myself permission to take whatever time I need to do careful editing. That stage
can take anywhere from a few weeks to a year to several years! I’m still going back
and editing the first manuscript I ever wrote because I love it, but not enough to
show it to anyone yet. The editing phase really just depends on the book, and thus
my timeline can vary!


Mercy: What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Alys: I obviously do a ton of reading! But beyond that, I spend most of my time in the
kitchen. I love tinkering with and creating new recipes, and have a special passion for
baking. I really believe you can share your love for people through the act of cooking
for them, and try to do it as often as possible.
Also, I received my Master’s in Film Studies this year, so sometimes you can find me
putting my degree to use by writing and filming cultural critiques (mostly focusing on
Pop Film of Contemporary Hollywood) for my Youtube Channel.

Mercy: How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
Alys: I have written twelve books, two of which are shorts and one of which is a novella.
While The Christmas Company will always have a special place in my heart, I think
my current favorite is a book with the working title of Public Image. It’s about a
Shakespearean actor cast to play a superhero who hires a comic book expert to
teach him all about the character. The book has it all—humor, heart, swoony
kisses—but it’s also a deeply personal book about self-worth and image and how we
can decide to fall in love with and respect ourselves, as well as falling in love with
and respecting another person. It’s currently in the revisions process between me
and my agent, but hopefully it finds a publishing home soon!

Mercy: What was your first reaction when you heard that The Christmas Company was going to
be made into a Hallmark movie?

Alys: Tears! I cried like I’ve never cried before. I wrote The Christmas Company at a very
difficult time in my life, so to see that it’s touched so many people as a novel means
the world to me. Writing it was a joyful escape, a way to feel warmth and love at a
time when I felt like everything was difficult and heartbreaking. To think that my book
could give that same escape to other people in the form of a movie was enough to
give me all of the happy tears!
Then, of course, I called my mom. So, my first reaction was tears and my second
reaction was, “Oh my goodness! Wait ‘til mom hears about this!”

Mercy: Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Alys: This is a hard question, but I think it really just depends on the day and what I’m
writing. In some ways, it can be extremely energizing and I can’t wait to tell people all
about what I’ve written that day. In other ways, it can be totally exhausting because it
forces you to sit alone in front of your computer and tap into a wide range of
emotions, all of which you then have to type out in semi-coherent sentences and
thoughts. I suppose I find it mentally energizing and emotionally exhausting, if that
makes sense. The puzzle of putting together a story excites my mind, but the labor
of activating my emotions can be tiring for the spirit.

Mercy: Who are some of your favorite authors that have inspired your own writing?
Alys: Sarah Sundin writes some of the most heartfelt and vivid books I’ve ever read. The
first book of hers I ever read, With Every Letter, taught me that romance novels could
be stories about people who made each other better and who encouraged one
another to do the hard work of growing up and growing into more compassionate,
open, and loving people.
As a younger reader, both Meg Cabot and Stephenie Meyer opened my eyes to the
way that one can infuse a story with life and stakes by creating compelling and deep
character voices; their stories (particularly Avalon High and Twilight) have stuck with
me even into adulthood. If I could ever write a book that makes someone else feel
the way either of those books made me feel as a young woman, I would be the
happiest writer!
Also, I love Jeanine Basinger. She writes Hollywood histories instead of romance or
fiction, but I’ve always found that reading a historical account of a time can be a
fairly detaching experience. She imbues her work with such compassion and
honesty that you’re never allowed to forget that the people and the stories you’re
reading about are real, which makes the books all the more riveting and engaging.

Mercy: What do you hope people will remember most about The Christmas Company?
Alys: You mean besides the scene where Clark says that dentists who give out candy after
their appointments are a racket? No, seriously, the thing I would like most people to
take away from The Christmas Company is basically what I hope they take away
from every romance novel I write. It’s basically my mission statement as an author:
We, as people, are stronger when we are part of a community. We are stronger when
we connect our lives to others and when we open up our hearts to them. Whether
you do that through romantic love, the love of friends, or the love for the people in
your town, you become better, stronger, and more fulfilled when you allow love to
flow from you and through you. I hope people take the book as encouragement to
reach out and embrace the people around them, because it does make the world a
better place.

Mercy: What does your ideal writing space look like?
Alys: My dad’s half of the family lives on a vineyard out in California and every time I go to
visit, I tell everyone that it’s my favorite place to write! The views are gorgeous, the
weather is perfect and it’s a lot easier to write when you know you can have a nice
glass of wine afterwards! Check out my pictures of the vineyard on Instagram!

Mercy: What is one thing most people don't know about you?
Alys: I’ve run a few half marathons and love swing dancing lessons!

Mercy: Where can we find you on social media to keep up with your work?
Alys: You can find me at all of the cool places below!
Website: http://www.alysmurray.com
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Company-Alys-Murray/dp/1947892312/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=the+christmas+company&qid=1551891304&s=gateway&sr=8-2
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/writeralys
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18155460.Alys_Murray
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/alysmurrayauthor
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/writeralys
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEFlLCbgJJJSkyCoKrci_FA?view_as=subscriber


Alys, it was a pleasure to have you on my blog; thank you for taking the time. I, along with all your other fans can't wait to see what's next for you!

Thanks for stopping by for a chat, y'all!
~Mercy
https://twitter.com/MercyRLyman

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