Today we’re traveling to Melbourne, Australia to chat with Kate Murdoch. We’ll talk about how a secret desire, a dream about a vivid character, painting, tenacity, and tarot cards come together as part of Kate’s background and her writing life.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m an artist turned writer living in Melbourne, Australia.
In which genre do you write?
I write historical fiction.
How many published books do you have?
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?
I’d always had a secret desire to write a novel and had written stories since I was a child. However, I was swept up in various careers along the way, mainly as a visual artist, but also as a graphic designer. It wasn’t until after my children were born and I had reached a pivotal moment in my art career, that the impetus to finish a novel came. I had a dream about a vivid character and began to write about him. Eight months later I had the first draft of a supernatural thriller. I never looked back.
What does your ideal writing space look like?
It would be a couch with a lap desk, looking out to the sea. There would be potted plants around the room, paintings, scented candles and a blazing fire. A small dog would be nuzzled up next to me as I worked.
What are you currently reading?
Imperfect, by Lee Kofman. It’s a book about people who have scars or other imperfections, and how this influences their sense of self, along with the way they interact with the wider world. The author’s honesty and candor, along with her astute observations, make this a wonderful read.
What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?
I paint, read, travel, lunch with friends, spend time with my family, and keep up my yoga/pilates/running.
What do you miss about being a kid?
Unlimited time to be creative along with the lack of inhibitions and self-doubt in my creativity. I miss the feeling of unlimited possibilities.
Do you believe things happen for a reason? Do you have an example from your own life to share why you believe this?
Yes, I do. It’s played out in my life in a number of ways. One example is the fact that I came to writing after a career in painting. I feel that being an artist prepared me, in a much gentler way, for being a writer. In both professions, you have to put yourself on the line, because what you create is so personal. Yet in writing, there’s a lot more self-disclosure surrounding this. In coming to writing later, I had time to win and lose, try and fail and become accustomed to being visible in the arts.
Which of your personality traits has been most useful and why?
I’m tenacious and determined – I rarely give up when something is important to me. Many things I value in my life have materialized as a result of this trait.
What’s your favorite place to visit in your country and why?
Port Douglas, Queensland. It’s full of intensely-coloured tropical plants, it’s very warm and the people are relaxed and friendly. It has style and also a spiritual heart – you can buy designer clothing, have a reiki session, then amble along Five Mile Beach at sunset, listening to the roar of the waves.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve done or experienced to help create a scene or plot?
I taught myself to read tarot cards so that I’d be able to write the tarot reading scenes in The Orange Grove. Initially, I was sceptical, but now use them regularly to guide me.
You are about to speak publicly to a group and read from your latest book. What song do you listen to before speaking? Or, what do you do to prepare yourself?
I do a number of things because I do feel anxious about public speaking. I meditate, listen to binaural beats and read through my notes at length. I find it’s getting slightly easier and I hope the nerves continue to lessen.
Tell us about your most recent book.
The Orange Grove is about the rivalries and intrigues of mistresses in 18th century France. Henriette d’Augustin lives in the chateau of the Duc d’Amboise with four other mistresses. When the duchesse undermines a new mistress, Henriette is forced to choose between morality and position.
It was wonderful learning more about you Kate. Your ideal reading space sounds nearly identical to mine. I also love that your taught yourself to read tarot cards for The Orange Grove, and that you continue to use them! Thank you for being a part of MTA! –Camilla
Book Blurb for The Orange Grove:
Blois, 1705. The chateau of Duc Hugo d’Amboise simmers with rivalry and intrigue.
Henriette d’Augustin, one of five mistresses of the duc, lives at the chateau with her daughter. When the duc’s wife, Duchesse Charlotte, maliciously undermines a new mistress, Letitia, Henriette is forced to choose between position and morality. She fights to maintain her status whilst targeted by the duchesse who will do anything to harm her enemies.
The arrival of charismatic tarot reader, Romain de Villiers, further escalates tensions as rivals in domestic politics and love strive for supremacy.
In a society where status is a matter of life and death, Henriette must stay true to herself, her daughter, and her heart, all the while hiding a painful secret of her own.
Where to find the book:
Available online and in bookstores.
UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/2VEXbqx
US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2OL6WlO
Kate Murdoch is the author of Stone Circle. She exhibited widely as a painter both in Australia and internationally before turning her hand to writing. In between writing historical fiction, she enjoys writing short stories and flash fiction.
Her short-form fiction has been published in various literary journals in Australia, UK, US and Canada.
Stone Circle is a historical fantasy novel set in Renaissance Italy. It was released by Fireship Press December 1st 2017. Stone Circle was a First in Category winner in the Chaucer Awards 2018 for pre-1750’s historical fiction.
Kate has been awarded a KSP Fellowship at the KSP Writers’ Centre in 2019 to develop her third novel, The Glasshouse.
Her novel, The Orange Grove, about the passions and intrigues of court mistresses in 18th century France, was published by Regal House Publishing in 2019.
Connect with Kate:
Here are a few suggestions on how to further support this author:
- Comment on the interview
- Share the interview using the social media buttons
- Click through to learn more about the author and their book(s)
- If interested, buy the book and leave a review
To support this website and the author’s interviewed, visit Support MTA for suggestions. Thank you! – Camilla, Founder and Host