Oscar De Muriel’s thoughts on Books, Publishing, Nightmares and Dinosaurs!
I cannot tell you how thrilled I was when my new author crush, Oscar de Muriel, agreed to be my first ever interview with Britain’s Next Bestseller!
For an author so obviously destined for great things, he is incredibly down to earth, funny and approachable.
I first noticed him through a literary agent’s blog. I was looking to submit and they had an article on the man himself so naturally I was hooked! Not only because of his unique voice, but because of this…
This is his signature, one of numerous unique doodles he signs his books with (anyone who knows me will get why I like it!😉)
I am sure you are as intrigued as I was, so here are some words from the man himself…
I was born in Mexico City in 1983, in the building that now houses ‘Ripley’s Believe it or Not’ museum ( some people claim to see a connection there…) I had a very happy childhood even though I did not try refried beans until I was six (I refused to eat anything brown and gooey).
My first attempt at writing stories, aged seven, was a tale about a Triceratops and a Stegosaurus battling a very hungry T-Rex. Their three-page, ten-line long adventure was profusely illustrated by the author. Stegosaurus was extinct millions of years before the first T-Rex hatched, but still I consider it a milestone.
When I was ten, Jurassic Park (the novel) scared the Jesus out of me – reminiscent of that Friends episode where Joey Tribiani hides his books in the fridge (I blogged about that) I'd never thought that written stories could have such a thrilling effect, and as soon as I got JP out of the freezer I decided I wanted to become a writer.
After a few fiascos and blatant steals, I managed to produce a few decent novels in various genres. However, I found myself particularly comfortable writing historical fiction. I came to the U.K. to complete a PhD in Chemistry, working as a free-lance translator to complement my earnings (I was responsible for some cool Johnnie Walker’s ads for Columbia). During this time I produced a handful of academic papers, and the idea of a spooky whodunnit started to take roots in my head.
After several visits to Edinburgh, the city struck me as the perfect setting for a crime mystery. The entire concept of Nine–Nails McGray came to my head while eating pizza with a couple friends (guys, do you remember Cantina Los Perros and the sea monster?)For years I'd been meaning to write a story about the Devil’s sonata (I am a violin player myself, which I should have probably mentioned earlier…) and it fit perfectly as McGray’s first case – the first of many.
I went through the literary agent hunt (I will definitely blog about that some day!) until Maggie Hanbury rescued me from the slush pile and lent me her very professional hand. I currently live in Lancashire in a lovely house that overlooks Pendle Hill, a field of limping sheep, and a very creepy-looking manor I aspire to own one day.
Wow! As I said, not only are his books fantastic, his life is pretty awesome too and he kindly allowed me to ‘open the floor’ for questions, on Facebook (how cool is that…?)
Emma Pullar asked 'Do you believe Storytelling can be taught? Or do you think that Writers have a natural talent and simply hone their tool with experience, like a Singer does their voice?'
Some people train to sing all their life but they will never be Adele.
Great Adele example! I can't sing a note. I do think people are born with different skills, and storytelling is just another skill. Having said that, even if you ‘have it’ you still need to put lots of work into it, polish up your style and technique. The competition is fierce!
Ellen Devenport asked 'How do you find your dark places? Can you open and shut this door freely?'
It is easier to open it than it is to close it!
When I write a spooky or dark scene I usually play some music to get in the right mood, and writing at night also helps. Mind, I wrote the wrapping up chapters of ‘Strings of Murder’ home alone at 3am, and couldn't sleep after that!
Sarah Hodgson asked 'Do dreams, nightmares, influence your work?'
Of course. Part of book 4 will be based on a nightmare I had a few years ago.
Donna Maria McCarthy asked 'Do you believe that getting your book out there is more important than talking verbatim what the industry says about avenues to achieve this?'
That really depends on what you want from writing. I always knew that I wanted to make a career out of it. I think the traditional publishing industry is very exciting, full of creative and talented people that I wouldn't have met otherwise.
Donna Maria McCarthy asked. 'How did you create your fantastic signature? It was how I initially noticed you. Do you think we all need a hook to get noticed, read? The slush pile is a scary place to be!'
I swear this is true:- On a launch party for ‘The Strings of Murder’ someone put a book in my hands and asked me to sign it. Until then I hadn't thought of it so I just scribbled my initials. They looked cool enough so I went on like that! On the other hand I like to draw a doodle on every book I sign, and I come up with a different one for each book in the series. To draw quickly enough I need to practice them a few times, but I think it is worth it, it's my sign of appreciation to the readers.
I absolutely loved this interview, and thank you again to Oscar for taking time out of his busy schedule (he assures me that he is ‘madly writing the climax to book 4’ And I for one cannot wait!
Follow the links for Amazon to dip into this awesome series!