Author Spotlight: Kate McMurray

Since yesterday was a holiday, I took the day off. Well, not really. I was finishing a manuscript, and blogging was the last thing on my mind. But today, I’m back, and I interviewed Madame President! Kate is the President of my RWA chapter, and she’s pretty badass. Just sayin’ #bestchaptereveryoushouldjoin #RWANYC #nopressure #butjoin #forreal #doit #wwwdotrwanycdotcom #ipromoforfree #butyoucanpaymeifyouwant

Take it away Kate!

I always find author interviews kind of boring. We only get to see one side of an author, the polite side. If you had an evil doppelganger, what detail about you would they enjoy revealing to the public that people would find surprising and possibly questionable?

I don’t have a driver’s license and I’ve never owned a car. Not for any real reason. I failed the road test when I was 19 and just never got around to taking it again, so here we are almost 20 years later and I still don’t drive. My parents make fun of me about this fact. There’s actually a pool going on who will get a license first, me or my 1-year-old nephew. I’ll get to it eventually, but I live in Brooklyn. Nobody in NYC drives.

You’ve been working in the publishing world for quite some time. You have insight that many of us could only dream of. What’s one thing about the publishing industry you wish more people knew, but really haven’t the slightest idea about?

A big thing is that everything takes much longer than you expect. That is, in part, because the process takes time, but it’s also because everyone who works in publishing is working on several projects simultaneously. So the author is probably thinking, “Why does it take 8 months to make my book?” but the editors are thinking, “We only have 8 months?!”  

I could talk for quite a while about what people misunderstand about the editorial process, but I’ll say this: I think a lot of authors take an adversarial relationship with editorial, but editors genuinely want to make your book as good as it can be. They’re not trying to tear you down. Editors are also trained professionals—I took classes on copyediting and proofreading at NYU in addition to my on-the-job training—and they don’t get paid very well generally. I see self-pub authors who balk at freelance editor rates, but it takes me 15–30 hours to edit a novel (depending on how long it is/how much work it needs) and I should make more than fast food wages to edit it. (Um, not to rant.) 

You’re the heroine in a bodice ripper. Who’s your hero?

My favorite historical trope is bluestocking/rake, and since I am something of a bookish bluestocking anyway, I think you can see where this is going. My favorite historical heroes are generally smart and confident and used to getting what they want (so it’s all the more delicious when the heroine takes him down a peg). Basically: Rochester, but less of a dick, with fewer wives hidden in the attic. 

Favorite movie?

I’m not a movie person (I rarely go to see them) so my answers are not classy. But, like, I can quote all of Wayne’s World from beginning to end. And I love Top Gun to an irrational degree. And I’ve seen the original Star Wars trilogy about 387 times. 

Every time I see you, you’re wearing a super cute dress, but for this question I’m going to attack your inner fashionista. If a camera crew and a fashion team were to raid your closet, what embarrassing piece of clothing would they find?

Well, I moved last year and got rid of a lot of stuff I never wear. I like to think Clinton and Stacy from What Not to Wear would let me keep most of my clothes. I do own some random Halloween costume bits (which may or may not include a Hogwarts uniform) and a handful of things that don’t fit but that I can’t bring myself to part with. (Example: When I was in college, I bought this really cute plaid skirt at the Gap in the World Trade Center and then wore it on my first date with a guy I ended up dating for almost ten years, so it’s got some sentimental value, and even though it’s, like, two sizes too small now, there’s a burn mark from an iron near the waist, and the guy in question is married to somebody else, I just can’t throw it away.) Also, true story, I work from home and don’t dress up on days when just my cats are seeing me, so I own A LOT of leggings and sweatpants. 

Tell me about your first celebrity crush.

Tom Cruise. But, look, he was hot in the 80s, when I was starting to have crushes. There’s a reason Top Gun remains among my favorite movies. (Also A Few Good Men, which I think was kind of his acting peak? That’s another movie I’ve seen a zillion times but still will sit and watch if I catch it on TV, even though I own it on Blu Ray.) (Also Dirty Dancing-era Patrick Swayze. That was the first R-rated movie my parents let me watch. It, um, made an impression.)

What personality trait do you wish more people possessed?

Patience. I feel like if we all took a step back and took a deep breath before we acted sometimes, we’d defuse a lot of conflicts. 

Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what’s the last song you listened to while working on a story?

I almost always have some kind of noise going in the background, and it really varies by my mood and how much difficulty I have focusing. (Sometimes playing music with lyrics leads to spontaneous living room karaoke parties, which are not conducive to writing.) According to Spotify, the last thing I listened to when I was writing the other day was the first Led Zeppelin album (last song: “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You”) which is a pretty aggressive choice for me. (For writing, I generally like what a friend of mine calls “sad bastard music”; a lot of whiney singer-songwriters with guitars. But I have a background in music—classically trained violinist—and I like almost everything.)  

Finish this sentence: I believe romance should _______.

Make people feel good. 

**Bonus Question**

Ever tried BDSM? If not, would you?

No. I’m probably the most vanilla person who has ever written erotic romance. I’ve read some really hot BDSM romance novels—I’m not knocking it—it’s just not my thing. 


Kate McMurray writes smart romantic fiction. She likes creating stories that are brainy, funny, and of course sexy, with regular guy characters and urban sensibilities. She advocates for romance stories by and for everyone. When she’s not writing, she edits textbooks, watches baseball, plays violin, crafts things out of yarn, and wears a lot of cute dresses. She’s active in Romance Writers of America, serving for two years on the board of Rainbow Romance Writers, the LGBT romance chapter, and three—including two as president—on the board of the New York City chapter. She lives in Brooklyn, NY, with two cats and too many books.





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