Upon the release of her latest novel, Second Chance Boyfriend, Monica Murphy decided to let the world in on a little secret. She is really the adult romance writer Karen Erickson. Check out the interview below for all the details.
Tell us five random facts about yourself.
I’m a native Californian
I might’ve named two of my children after cheese (not intentionally)
I’m addicted to coffee
I spend too much time at my desk
I live in the middle of nowhere
Tell us about your journey to becoming a writer.
I’ve been a big reader since I was a kid. When I was a teen, I discovered a pile of romance books in the hall closet that belonged to my mom. I started reading them, devouring them really and thinking, I so want to do this. I want to write a book.
I tried. I wrote a lot of crap, but I never wrote anything from start to finish. Life soon got in the way and I put my dream job on the backburner. Once I became a stay at home mom with my two youngest children, I decided to give it a shot. I’ve been published as Karen Erickson since 2006. I started out writing erotic romance, mostly novellas, but now I write sexy contemporary romance with the occasional historical romance thrown in for good measure.
I’m going to admit that when I was first published, it was hard. I’ve only been published with digital first publishers. No one knew what an e-book was. I was told time and again I didn’t write “real” books. Only since late 2009-early 2010 did the e-reader revolution really take off. And once that took off, my career took off. I’m no superstar, but I’m lucky that I’m able to call myself a full-time writer.
Why do you feel you had to tell this story?
My character Fable Maguire has been in my head for years — since 2009 to be exact. I tried to write a YA with her as the MC but it was a disaster. Cue many years later and I saw a story on my local news about a teacher who was arrested for having sex with her 17-year-old student and the idea came to me. So much of the media makes a teenage boy who had sex with an adult look like he’s a stud. Like he scored and he’s the man. When really, they’re victims, just like a teenage girl would be. My brain started churning and the idea started forming and…I had the plot for One Week Girlfriend.
Why did you choose to use a pen name when you’ve had success as an author already?
I wrote and published it as a total experiment and figured if I failed, no one would know since I wrote it under another name. I loved and believed in the story but I wasn’t sure if it would be discovered, you know? Going the more traditional route would’ve taken too long in my eyes so I decided to self-publish it.
I used none of my Karen resources when I published as Monica Murphy. I told no one but my husband and one writer friend in the very beginning. It was truly my secret project. I started from scratch and released it with little to no buildup. The amazing support I received from an endless amount of reviewers, bloggers and readers was overwhelming and mind boggling. I truly believe One Week Girlfriend owes a lot of its success to them.
I used the Monica Murphy pen name because OWG is something completely different than what I usually write (though there is still romance – I love a good romance, I can’t help myself). When I release a Karen Erickson book, readers have built-in expectations. After being in the business for so many years, they’ve come to expect a certain kind of story from me.
OWG is not that story. It’s written in first person, I explored touchy and often uncomfortable subjects…it’s definitely not a Karen book. So it became a Monica book. I actually created the Monica Murphy pen name a few years ago when I wrote a short story for an old editor that appeared in a YA horror themed anthology. I just received the rights back to that story. I think I might offer it up on my website as a free read…
It’s really exciting how Monica and OWG took off and I’m so incredibly thankful and grateful for the overwhelming support from the self-published authors, reviewers and bloggers I’ve met since OWG came out in January. What a wonderful community — I truly feel blessed to be a part of it.
How does writing new adult differ from writing adult?
For me, new adult means dealing with those life-changing aspects that happen in our late teens/early twenties. While the romance is central, at least in my new adult books, there are other things the characters are dealing with that propel the story. Family issues, trying to figure out who you want to be and what you want to do with your life. It’s a time of confusion and change and of high drama. Your emotions just feel so heightened during that age, I think. There’s a lot to explore there, that’s for sure.
What was your favorite chapter/scene to write and why?
If you’re talking in regards to One Week Girlfriend and Second Chance Boyfriend, I really enjoyed writing the beginning of SCB. Lots and lots of woe is me on Drew’s part — is it wrong to admit I enjoyed having him wallow in his own misery? Both characters had to become stronger in the beginning of SCB after how I left them in OWG. I hope that’s conveyed properly in the beginning of SCB.
Do you have things you need in order to write (i.e. coffee, cupcakes, music)?
Diet Coke and coffee. Yes, I’m a complete caffeine addict. It’s sorta sad, how bad my habit is.
Where’s your favorite place to write?
My desk. I bought an iMac in the fall and I love that bad boy. Plus, I like being able to lock myself away in the office/guest room (though trust me my kids are always in here talking to me, bugging me, LOL).
What is easier to write: The first line or the last line?
Neither! But I think I prefer to write the last line. It’s a satisfying feeling, finishing a book. One that never gets old.
What are you working on now?
I have a three-book series coming out with Avon Impulse as Monica. I’m currently working on the first book, which will be out in August. It’s about three billionaire best friends who make a high stakes bet none of them will become tied down by a woman ever. I will, of course, ensure that every single one of them will fall head over heels in love with a woman when they least expect it.
As Karen, I’m currently working on edits for the second in my Game for It series which is part of Entangled’s Brazen line.
Second Chance Boyfriend Synopsis:
Lost. That one single word best describes my life at this very moment. I lost the last games of the season and both my team and my coach blame me. I lost the last two months because I drowned in my own despair like a complete loser. And I lost the only girl who ever mattered because I was afraid being with me would destroy her.
But now I realize how truly lost I am without her. She has become my story…and even though she acts like she’s moved on, I know she still thinks about me just as much as I think about her. She’s beautiful, sweet — and so damn vulnerable, all I want to do is help her. Be there for her. Love her…
If only I could convince Fable to give me a second chance. Then I wouldn’t feel so lost anymore, and neither would she. We could be found together.