What’s it like to be a writer’s daughter?

by Emerian Rich

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Murdo Morrison is a writer from New Jersey. He also records spoken word and appears in drama podcasts. He’s a staff member at Podioracket.com, a site promoting the work of independent writers. He recently played the role of Dr. Andrew MacGillivray in Dan Shaurette’s Black Magic serial and will be playing one of my most beloved characters in my new podnovel, Artistic License.

I met Murdo through Podiobooks.com, where we both have podnovels available for your listening pleasure. Murdo’s first podcast, Roses of Winter, is about Scottish women and their families surviving World War II while their men are at war. An excellent storyteller, I’ve found Murdo’s voice to be one of the best to listen to in podcasting today.

I spoke with Murdo’s daughter, Jean, about what it’s like having a dad who’s a writer. About Jean, Murdo says, “She’s the oldest of three siblings and, with regard to her love of books and literature, is probably most similar to me in interests. It is very nice to have offspring who are also grownup friends. The family remains very close. As a serious reader, Jean has long served as one of my test subjects and has been very helpful in letting me know what works as a story in the drafts I send her. Jean’s talents in design have also helped shape the physical product of my books, including cover and interior design and, in one case, the use of her photography.”

Jean says, “Dad and I have always had a lot of common interests (this apple didn’t fall too far from the tree), but when I was younger I didn’t really think about artistic expression being one of them. I’ve always been creative mainly in the visual arts, and it’s been a lot of fun for me to connect with my Dad about the process and experience of being creative.”

And now, Jean tells us the truth about her dear ole’ dad. The good… and the not so good about being a child of a writer.

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Murdo and his two daughters, Kathryn and Jean (lft).

What’s it like to be a writer’s daughter?
What is your first memory of your dad being a writer?

Dad started working on his first novel after I moved to California. I remember him sharing early drafts of his first chapters with me and reading them on the subway during my commute to work.

2940013576186_p0_v1_s260x420Do you remember his first big break and how you felt?

I remember coming home to visit at Christmas several years ago and seeing the first printed copies of Dad’s first novel, Roses of Winter. I felt so proud of him for persisting through what must have seemed like endless drafts and revisions to create a finished, tangible book.

What is the best thing about being your dad’s daughter? What perks have you been a part of?

I have been lucky to be one of a handful of Dad’s early readers on most of his books. It’s been a privilege to be able to see the stories and characters as they develop, and to watch how his writing style has evolved over several books. Of course, sometimes it also means I get stuck with a cliffhanger at the end of a chapter and then have to wait for the next one!

Is there anything you wish you could help dad with, but it’s out of your control?

I wish that I had some connections in the industry to help Dad get his foot in the door with a publisher.

What is your favorite story by dad?

So far, my favorite story is The Taste of Dust. I love the way it conveys what it was like to be a kid in Glasgow in the 50s and 60s, and that the simple pleasures of childhood can still be there in the face of a difficult family life.

What is your favorite character by dad?

I’ve got a soft spot for the character Tiernan in the novel Dad is working on now. He’s taken a character (a ship’s captain) who could easily have been a stereotype and instead created one with an interesting inner life and depth of personality.

11941511-the-taste-of-dustDo you ever fear dad will use something about your life in a story?

No, I don’t worry about this. I trust that Dad would not use details about my life in a way that would make me uncomfortable.

Did you ever read something written by dad and think… HEY! That was what we did!!

Yes, I recognized some things from my childhood in one of his books. It was fun to see this – made me feel like an insider!

Does dad tell you about bad reviews? What do you tell him to help him recover?

Dad and I talk pretty often about his writing, including when he gets less than encouraging feedback. Fortunately, this hasn’t happened too often. I try to listen and talk to him about whether or not he sees any merit in the criticism.

When dad gets a good review or finishes a novel, how do you help him celebrate?

Since I live so far away, we usually do this via a chat by phone or Skype. I also try to help spread the word by sharing posts on Facebook when there is a new book or audiobook available.

Besides the dad, who is your favorite author? What do you enjoy reading?

Oh boy, I read a lot of stuff all over the spectrum, and it’s really hard to choose favorite authors. I tend to gravitate toward historical and literary fiction when I’m feeling serious, and mysteries when I’m looking for some fun. Some favorites are Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman, Alexander McCall Smith, Jacqueline Winspear, Orson Scott Card, and Laurie R. King.

Thank you, Jean, for sharing about your father.

To find out more about Murdo Morrison, go to: murdomorrison.com

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