Today my guest is Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy, member of the Romance Writers of America, Missouri Writers’ Guild and Ozark Writers’ Guild. She has over thirty books published, along with many stories. Lee Ann and I have several mutual friends who introduced us to each other on Facebook, and I am so glad to have her here with us today. It is always fun to learn more about our writer friends.
Welcome, Lee Ann!
Despite your writing and sometime teaching activities, I know that you are a devoted mother and family comes first for you. Would you like to tell about your day-to-day life?
It’s hectic. I’ve become an early riser from necessity so I have time to shower, check email, and prepare a lunch for my son, a high school freshman. I am a substitute teacher in our local district for the past seven years (and two other periods before!) so if I’m subbing, I make my lunch as well. If it’s a writing day, I’m casual in jeans and a favorite T-shirt but if I’m subbing, I wear business casual.
On a writing day, I spend most of the morning writing and doing writing related things, including interviews, a weekly column for the local newspaper, promotion, etc. Sometimes I keep writing into the afternoon but I often have to run errands. I enjoy cooking so I also take time to prepare meals.
In the evenings, if a project is really going strong, I may write for awhile until 7 or 8 pm. Otherwise, I’m winding down, reading or watching Netflix. And in the morning, it begins all over again.
How often do you add elements of your experience as a teacher into you teacher-characters?
I have several heroines who are teachers. Jessica in Tidings of Comfort and Joy, Raine in Callahan’s Fate, Carisa in Three Times The Charm, Mamie in my Patrice Wayne pen name historical A Desperate Destiny, Bette in Bette’s Soldier (another Patrice Wayne title), Aislin in Fire Rescue, Nola in Johnny Gator, Anne in The Comanche Vampire and Alice in The School Teacher’s Scandal. Plus Emmett Brown in The Widow’s End but he’s the hero. So is Darien Wolfe in Wolfe’s Lady. Now that I list them, I realize I use teachers and school settings a lot. It must be the often suggested “write what you know” idea. I do have characters, though, that are writers and singers and own florist shops and even movie stars!
You have lived in Missouri all of your life and I see that you grew up in St. Joseph. Right away my mind went to the great history of the place! The Pony Express, a gateway to the West, etc. What you may not know is that although Jesse James was born in Missouri and was killed there, his ghost is said to be in a famous tavern in Kentucky, in the town where I have lived for the last 22 years. (He and the Younger Brothers hung out here a lot; Younger Creek is a nearby where their people still live.)
Cool! No, I wasn’t aware of that but growing up in St. Joe, Jesse James still looms large. And in a bit of interesting trivia, my great-grandfather’s father was later sheriff and at the time of Jesse’s death, he was involved as a lawman. My great-great uncle told me the story when I was nine at a huge family reunion – since I was the kind of kid who loved to listen to the elders talk.
Has the rich history around you influenced your writing?
Yes, very much. I’ve always had a passion for history and it shows up, especially in my Patrice Wayne historical romances as well as the other titles set in the past. The Aviator’s Angel is set in my hometown during the 1920’s and although I did a great deal of research, I also drew on my grandparents’ tales of the past.
I try to tailor my interviews to my guests, however, the next two questions,(which may be interrelated), are ones I like to ask.
Your characters are far-flung and at times, eclectic! There are New Yorkers and West Coasters, Irish, Cajuns, plus Ancient deities now living quiet lives in America and a Comanche chief who is a vampire (!), and many others, so,
1) Where do you get your inspirations?
Any and everywhere. The Comanche Vampire came from my good friend, radio host, writer, and reviewer Bennet Pomerantz challenging me to write another vampire novel after my Love Covenant series (Love Tattoo, Love Scars, Love Knots, Love Shadows). I wanted to do something very different and I love Oklahoma, especially the Lawton area where the story is set so I came up with the idea. I can get an idea from a phrase or a name or a place. Callahan’s Fate came about after I spent a week in New York with my daughters. My current work in progress, currently titled Canaan’s Land came from the male first name Canaan and then the idea of the character being a farmer whose family has lived on the land for generations. His land is threatened by a series of events.
2) How do you do your research, which must be considerable?
I have two college degrees, one in History, one in English. I research heavily, especially for my historical. I read books about the subject and period, surf the web, read personal accounts of the period, even talk to people. I talked to Civil War re-enactors for background and weapon information for Dearest Love (Do You Remember) and visited Vicksburg, Mississippi where it’s set prior to writing the novel.
You work on more than one writing project at a time. Are there any which you have started and the middle or endings are eluding you?
Yes. I have a list of WIPS and what I call “story starts”. Sometimes I lose momentum on a story because of my work schedule at school and move on to another. I always get back to anything I’ve started eventually but if I get a little bogged down, I let it sit. I have a few stuck in the middle. When I begin a new work, I usually now how and where it begins – and how it ends.
Is there anything else you would like to say to us or to let us know?
I write the kind of stories and novels I like to read but I also want to share them with a wide audience so any time someone tells me they enjoyed something I wrote, I’m thrilled. Without readers, I would have no audience so readers are very, very important.
How can our readers find out more about you and your works?
Here’s all my links!
Author FB page:
My Facebook page:http:// https://www.facebook.com/#!/leeann.sontheimermurphy
Amazon author page:http:// http://www.amazon.com/Lee-Ann-Sontheimer-Murphy/e/B004JPBM6I
A Page In The Life: http://http://apageinthelifeleeannsontheiermurphy.blogspot.com
Amazon author page: http://http://www.amazon.com/Lee-Ann-Sontheimer-Murphy/e/B004JPBM6I
LinkedIn:http:// http://www.linkedin.com/pub/lee-ann-sontheimer-murphy/22/3a4/a75 Goodreads:
Thank you so much for your time, Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy!
Thank you – it’s been a fun interview!!