An interview with J.M. Muller, debut author of Colors of Immortality
Saturday, 23 July 2016
You know those books that are written in such a way that it makes you feel like you want to know more about the author behind them? Well, that is exactly how I've been feeling whilst reading debut novel Colors of Immortality, so I decided to catch up with author and mother-of-two, J.M. Muller.
1) How did you get into writing? Had you always intended to become an author or did you have other plans for your life?
I've always wanted to write, and it's honestly been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember. Even still, I'm rather shocked that I wrote a book and find myself reeling from the surprise of it all. Stories, in all formats, hold a level of fascination with me - especially the dark stuff. It's funny how fear can paralyse your ambitions, and it wasn't until I had children that I mustered up the courage to chase my dreams. Looking back, I do kick myself for waiting so long - but I got there in the end so that's all that counts.
2) Tell us more about your debut novel, Colors of Immortality?
Ooh, how I love this question! I've had the idea for Colors of Immortality (which I affectionately call Colors) since I was little. This is going to sound strange (you've all been warned!) but when I was a young girl, I dreamt about horrid monsters. The scary creatures that went 'bump-in-the-night', fascinated me. And here's the thing - vampires, werewolves, goblins and every monster in between, were once new - someone came up with these vile creatures. That's where Colors comes in. I wanted to create a new breed of monster, and bring my dreams to life. Colors is full of rich and complex characters, all with their own story to tell. It's disturbingly dark, in the very best way.
3) The one thing people who follow you on different social media will notice, is that you are an extremely humble and down-to-earth person - describe how you felt when publishing Colors?
Thank you so much for the compliment - that's one of the greatest things to hear, simply because it means I'm treating people right. I'm honoured that people are taking the time to connect with me - it's a humbling experience.
As for how I felt when publishing Colors? Would it be acceptable to say I wanted to hurl? Truthfully, it's been an emotional rollercoaster ride full of glorious ups and downs. Writing a book is a huge undertaking, and I had no idea how much so until I started my own literary journey. But when I hear someone has enjoyed my story, it makes all the risk and heartache worth it.
4) What is it about the dark fantasy genre that appeals to you?
I have a love for villains because they have their own untold story - which is usually more intriguing than any hero/heroine out there. I want to know why they are bad. If someone broke them, or they were simply born that way. The dark side has a way of sparking my mind, making me think, and I love it.
5) Most writers are active readers too. Which authors do you love, and which (if any) have had an influence on your own writing?
Oh, this is a good question! I'll start with the book that spurred my love for all things dark - V.C. Andrews, Flowers in the Attic. I remember finding my mom's old paperback in the basement, dusting them off and losing myself in the story. That series was a turning point in my life because Andrew's showed, beautifully I might add, that there are two sides to every story.
Then, of course, there are the YA greats such as Ransom Riggs, Stephanie Meyers, Suzanne Collins and J.K. Rowling. And it would be downright disrespectful if I didn't mention Stephen King and Anne Rice - they are the champions in the field of horror.
6) In your 'Acknowledgements' you mention that you wrote this book in complete secrecy and never intended to show it 'to another living soul'. At what moment did you decide to release your work onto the literary world?
That was one of the hardest parts about writing my book - deciding on when, or if, I should share it with my family and friends. My hubby didn't even know about it until I finished the first draft. With that said, I am so grateful for all the support I have received as I've allowed my 'secret' to come to light.
7) The cover is extremely striking. How difficult was it, knowing that a lot of book buys can be based on the aesthetics of a cover, to find a design which not only looked great but fitted in with your vision?
I'm pretty darn proud of that cover. I was told it did not conform to industry standards, but I didn't let that stop me. When I began to think about the cover, I was adamant I wanted a photograph (taken by myself) over an illustration. Not to say there's anything wrong with illustrated covers, I just had a different vision for my book. So with the idea firmly planted in my stubborn head, I stitched up a cloak (yes, I made it!) and asked a friend to don it in a graveyard. I mean, how many people are willing to wear a cloak in a graveyard? She was such a good sport. After that, I sent it to Bookbaby who then worked their own magic. I really feel it's a work of art.
8) And how important is it, especially to a debut author, for people to leave reviews and comments about your work on websites such as Amazon and Goodreads?
Reviews are the lifeblood of any new author. I often say that without reviews, our stories can drown in the vast ocean of online books and every positive review increases our visibility. The review doesn't have to be complicated or wordy, it just has to be there. It's the best way to support authors.
9) So, what does the future hold for J.M. Muller? Do you have any new projects in the pipeline?
I'd love to start writing the sequel to Colors, as I have a distinct idea of where I want the story to go and now I just need to find the words to take it there. But time is tricky, and finding enough of it has been a challenge. If only I didn't have to sleep....
10) Any last thoughts for the readers?
To all the readers, thank you for taking a chance on my book. Truly, it means the world to me. And lastly, please don't forget 'The Legend' following the epilogue. It's an easy piece to miss, but it is by far my favourite chapter. It will explain so much without saying much at all.
J.M. Muller lives in Oregon with her husband, and twin boys. She has already taken the literary world by storm, and I cannot wait to see what she does next. Colors of Immortality is due for release on 29th July, but is available for pre-order now.
Connect with Muller yourself on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.