An Interview with Author Andrea Murray

I’m taking part in the blog tour for Omni by Andrea Murray.  It’s a brilliant book, one of the best I’ve read for a while.  My review for it will be up shortly but the short version is it’s well worth reading.  Andrea was also kind enough to answer some questions for me and send me some writing tips which I thought I would post separately.

Where did the idea for Omni come from?

Omni  is a retelling of the ancient story of Paris and Helen.  Nearly all of the characters were created from one of the original characters.  I attempted to give the characters names that begin with the same letter as their namesakes as well as making those names words which denote character traits. For example, Pierce, an orphan like Paris, is a Drudge.  As a Drudge, he’s the lowest member of the Omni society, yet he doesn’t let that limit him.  Instead, he manages to “pierce” through those restrictions and gain the attention of important members of society.


I’ve been a teacher for seventeen years, and many years ago, I taught seventh grade language arts.  As part of that curriculum, we completed a large unit on Greek and Roman mythology.  I was fortunate enough to have my nephew in one of those classes.  He developed an appreciation for all those great old stories, and every time a new mythology movie comes out , he calls me for confirmation that the story is accurate or to tell me whether it’s worth watching.   He inspired the use of the story.
The society, Omni, came from my classroom.  Each week, we study Greek and Latin root words.  One of those a couple of years ago was “omni,” which means “all.”  While discussing the word , the idea of a society completely controlled by the government came to me.   I created the society, in part, from our own society, where entertainers  like sports heroes and film stars make unfathomable amounts of money while many families can’t even pay their utilities .


I had trouble picking one favourite part of Omni, If it isn’t going to be too much of a spoiler what’s your favourite part of it?

I’m going to cheat a little on this question because I have multiple favorites.  The scenes I like the best are those in which the sovereigns meet with Pierce individually.  There are three of those, and I just can’t decide which I like best.  I tried to incorporate the qualities and symbols that the original goddesses who inspired the scene would have.  For example, Acumen’s bike is an “owl” model; the owl is Athena’s symbol.  Honor wears a peacock feather in the pocket of her jacket.  The peacock represents Hera.  I tried to throw in little allusions to draw on the original story.  I had a lot of fun with those scenes.


I’m always looking for recommendations for books or authors.  Who is your favourite author or what’s your favourite book?

Oh my! That’s a hard question.  I love Kresley Cole and the Immortals After Dark series.  I’ve read all of those and will read them until she decides to stop I suppose.  I also like JR Ward’s The Black Dagger Brotherhood.


I’ve been revisiting childhood favourite reads over the last few years. What were your favourite books growing up?

I read all of the Little House on the Prairie  novels, and I read a lot of the Nancy Drew novels (though I probably couldn’t tell you anything about them now :).  I wasn’t a big reader growing up.  I didn’t really start to read until I was a junior in high school.  To be honest, I think young adult fiction is in its prime now.  We didn’t have close to the selection my students have now.


What are the best and worst things about being a writer?

I love hearing from my fans.  It gives me chills when someone, especially someone from outside of the United States, messages me or gives me a review.  It’s touching knowing they allowed me into their lives for a tiny fraction of time.


Did you have another dream job in mind as a child or have you always wanted to write?

I wanted to be a rock star! I sang in church, and I naively thought this made me special.  I memorized all the songs on my Barbie and Rockers  cassette tape and spent hours blasting them out in my bedroom.  Then I wanted to be a nurse until I realized the sight of  blood makes me nauseous.


I see you like cheesy sci fi.  So do I but it’s been lacking in my viewing lately, do you have any suggestions?

I just watched one this weekend called The Devil’s Pass.  It was on Netflix.  My niece and I always look for “B” sci-fi movies when we have a chance to watch one together.  I was actually very surprised by this one.  It was the best B movie I think I’ve ever watched.  It was scary! Like sweaty-hand-cover-your-face scary!


What’s the best part about being a teacher? Would you give it up and write full time if given the chance or would your miss it?

Believe it or not, interacting with my students is both the best and worst part of the job.  We all have days when we aren’t really fit for public, when we just want to be left alone and not talk to anyone.  Those are tough, but overall, the students make me love my job.  They are so full of life and energy! The morning greetings as I walk down the hall never fail to make me feel special.  When a student I haven’t had in a year or so shows up at my door with a huge smile just to say hi,  it makes it all seem worth it.  I would miss it although writing full time would be AMAZING!  I think not teaching would actually age me even faster!


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