The Reflections Series by Dean Murray
Broken is a free download and readers who like Broken can join Dean Murray's mailing list and get Torn, the second book in the series, for free
ILoveVampireNovels.com (ILVN): For Dean Murray's Reflections Series we wanted to do something a little different, so we are going to just dive right into an interview. I'm excited to get to my questions, but before I do that, we should probably tell our readers a little bit about Broken, the first book in the series.
Dean: Thanks for having me here today. As you know, Broken is currently a free download. Here's the description: Adri wanted nothing more than to blend into the background and survive the next two years at her new school until she could go to college. She knew it was going to be a challenge in such a small school, but she didn’t anticipate the fact that her new home has a terrifying secret.
Adri is about to enter a world where all of things that normal people don’t believe in actually exist. Werewol
ves, vampires, shape shifters, they are all real and terrifyingly dangerous. Alec Graves and Brandon Worthingfield both seem to want to help her, but they are deadly enemies and if she gets involved with the wrong boy, she’ll never survive to see graduation.
ILVN: It sounds like a Young Adult Paranormal Romance.
Dean: That's right. As a general rule I try to keep all of my books appropriate for younger readers. I also write some urban fantasy novels under the pen name Eldon Murphy that are a little darker and edgier, but even those stay inside a PG13 rating.
ILVN: So clean or ‘sweet' romances. Is that a conscious decision?
Dean: Yes, it is, although I don't necessarily think of them as sweet romances.
There are a few different reasons for keeping the heat level in my books down, but one of the major reasons is that I love getting emails from teenagers who are discovering a love of reading because of one of my books. I can trace most of the good things in my life, academically or professionally speaking, back to the fact that I grew up loving to read, so I try very hard to make sure that my books remain suitable for a young adult audience.
Dean: I think I don't like that term because it feels like it downplays some of what my characters go through. There is more to being an adult than intimacy. I think it's important to have some romantic magic in every romance novel, but I'm also not one to shy away from the fact that relationships take work. I guess you could say that I make my characters fight for their happily ever after.ILVN: You say you don't like the term sweet romances; I sense a story there.
ILVN: I can see where you are coming from.
Shifting gears slightly, what drew you to preternatural creatures in general and vampires specifically?
Dean: I like the fact that writing about vampires and the like lets me peel back some of the surface layers of civilization. I'm dealing with characters who aren't always in complete control of themselves.
They aren't just worried about who is taking them to prom, they are worried about whether or not they'll be forced into a fight to the death on the next full moon.
As far as vampires go, I'm fascinated by the concept of immortality. The concept of someone running around for hundreds or even thousands of years (vampire or otherwise) is something that is a lot of fun to explore both as an author and as a reader. When I first saw the movie Underworld I was simultaneously struck by how much they had managed to accomplish and how much more potential there was for that kind of story that they hadn't been able to realize given that they were
constrained to just two hours. There have been a number of different influences on me over the years, but I'd definitely have to say that vampires in general and Underworld specifically did a lot to make me want to write something really expansive in the paranormal genre, something that would require several million words to house it.
ILVN: I think there are a couple of good questions that I want to ask you based off of that response. You said that the movie Underworld was one of your influences, what are some of the others?
Dean: Wow, that is a big question. There are a lot of them. I think that Robert Jordan was the first writer to introduce me to a truly epic storyline, and I love Pride and Prejudice because of the way that Jane Austin changes the reader's feelings about certain characters over the course of the book.
ILVN: Those are some good ones, anyone else?
Dean: The X-Files was the first show that really
helped me understand that sometimes the best way to tell a really large story isn't in the traditional three-book series, but rather in an episodic format where the big story arc is told by way of a large number of smaller, slightly more self-contained stories. Beyond that, I've been reading a lot of Brandon Sanderson recently and I've been really impressed with the way that he has layer upon layer of history in his books. He seems to be a master at getting you to the end of a book and then revealing that events prior to the start of the book actually played out much differently than the characters thought they did. I try to weave parts of all those elements into my writing.
ILVN: That's quite the list. One of the recurring themes I'm sensing from your responses is that you're setting out to write some really long, epic for lack of a better word, plots.
Dean: Yes, although I'm not sure that I set out to write something quite as huge as what I've actually ended up writing.
Dean: The Reflections series is currently up to eight novels and two short stories. I've taken a bit of an episodic approach to things. The first several books are very tightly focused on two main characters and a few secondary characters. As the series goes on, many of the secondary characters go on to become much more important and they eventually get books of their own.ILVN: Let's talk about that, just how big is the current series you are writing?
ILVN: I've been out on your blog already doing my homework, so I know that there is more to it than that, tell everyone about your Dark Reflections books.
Dean: Yeah, this is the part where my wife starts worrying that I've lost my mind. There are a lot of layers to the Reflections books when it comes to some of the things that are going on behind the scenes and why certain characters are doing the things that they are doing. I think that is really good for a story, but at the same time it can be a
challenge sometimes to get some of that depth out where the readers can appreciate it. It's especially hard to do that in a way that doesn't end up telling the reader too much. After struggling with that for several months I decided that I needed to write an alternate timeline to the Reflections books.
ILVN: So you are using the same characters but putting them in different circumstances.
Dean: Exactly! That allows me to show different sides of certain characters and add back in some of that depth that I've been so anxious for the readers to see. I can take mortal enemies from Reflections and make them the best of friends in Dark Reflections, but that is only the start of the fun. Each storyline should be entertaining in and of itself, but when read together they will tell another story, one that examines how very small choices can lead to drastic differences in someone's life.
ILVN: Wow, that sounds very interesting—incredibly ambitious but interesting. All of us here at ILoveVampireNovels.com wish you the best of luck as you continue writing this series.
Dean: Thank you. Even at my current pace of six novels per year I still have quite a bit of work ahead of me, so I appreciate the good wishes—I have a feeling that I'll need all of the help I can get.
We've included the covers to some of Dean's book's above and made them clickable so that they direct you to pages on Dean's blog that have links to all of the major retailers. Don't forget to sign up for Dean's Mailing List so that you can get a free copy of Torn.