L. S. Murphy is an author to watch. Her young adult novel, Reaper, is the story of sixteen-year-old Quincy Amarante, who is a high school student with regular old teenage priorities until Destiny deems her the fifth grim reaper.
L.S. lives in the Greater St. Louis area and is a member of the St. Louis Writers’ Guild and Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, where she serves as a co-rep for the Southern Illinois region. She is repped by Julia A. Weber of J. A. Weber Literaturagentur.
Q. What made you decide to write a young adult novel?
A. Honestly, I was a bit of a literary snob when I took a course at UMSL called Adolescent Literature. I didn’t want to take it, but it fit into my schedule and filled a requirement. I’d always wanted to be a writer, but I never could figure out what to write. In that class, I discovered some amazing books. One in particular made me realize that this was exactly the kind of books I wanted to write. Rats Saw God by Rob Thomas just burrowed into my heart in a way no other book had in years. I knew then that I had to write for young adults.
Q. Where did you get the idea for Reaper?
A. I wanted to read a book about a teenager who wasn’t orphaned or whose parents weren’t divorced and who didn’t just suddenly have powers, so I came up with the idea to write about a girl who had everything she could ever want, or thought she did anyway, and the worst thing I could possibly do to her was make her become death. I wrote the type of book I wanted to read.
Q. Are you working on any other YA novels now? Planning a sequel for Reaper?
A. Oh, I am working on sooooo many things at once. I signed with a literary agent, the fabulous Julia A. Weber, last year with a book titled Extra Innings. It’s about a 17-year-old girl who joins a boys’ summer baseball team. Naturally, it’s set in St. Louis since this is Baseball Heaven. I’ve also written another YA about a 17-year-old girl who moves from St. Louis to small town Iowa called Pixelated. My latest project is a New Adult novel set in Branson, MO. Also, I’m working on a companion novella to my recently released adult romance titled Neighbors. There are no plans for a sequel to Reaper at this time, but never say never.
Q. Besides young adult, you are also writing adult romance. Tell us about these books.
A. I have published two adult romance novellas. A Reason to Stay came out last year through Calliope, an imprint of Musa Publishing. It’s about a woman who returns home after a long absence and runs into the boy she left behind. My latest, Neighbors, just came out in November through Flirt – an imprint of Entangled Publishing. Neighbors is about a single business woman who is hell-bent on making her business grow. Then, a hot U.S. Marine moves into the apartment across the hall and does everything he can to get on her nerves. It’s actually set in Soulard. When I first moved to St. Louis, that’s where I lived, and I loved it. Also, I based Riker’s unit on a real USMC Unit that was based out of Lambert.
Q. Tell us why you decided to get an agent and a bit about the process.
A. A friend of mine on Twitter retweeted a post from an agent looking for sports-themed YA. I did a little research and sent a query along with sample pages. A day later, Julia requested the full. Less than a week later, she offered me representation. I was elated. She totally gets my voice. I wanted an agent to partner with on building my career. It’s tough out there. And I love every minute of it.
Q. What is one bit of advice you could give to an aspiring young adult author?
A. Don’t give up. Like I said, it’s tough out there. If this is what you want to do, then do it. Don’t let anyone bring you down. It may happen overnight. It may take years. Patience is key.
When L.S. Murphy is not reading or writing, she hangs out with her daughter—The Bean, her husband, and her pets. Follow her on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/LSMurphy, and check out her website at http://www.lmurphy.com.