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Q&A TAG: The Debut Novel

Hi! I’m Niamh Murphy, and I am an author of four adventure novels with lesbian main characters, as well as nearly a dozen published short stories.

But it all begins somewhere, so today I wanted to talk about my very first time!

Check out this blog on how Niamh Murphy created her debut novel – if you're an author you can join in with your own story! Click To Tweet

I also wanted to make this a ‘Tag Post’ so that if you are another author you can join in! Just check the bottom of the post to see how you can get involved. Otherwise, let’s get straight into the Q&A:

What is the title and genre of your debut Novel?

Mask of the Highwaywoman, it is a Lesbian Historical Romance but it also sits quite nicely under the Adventure banner.

It’s about a young Aristocrat, Evelyn Thackery, who is on her way to get married but is having second thoughts when she meets the intriguing and exciting highwaywoman, Bess. From that moment on their lives are inexorably intertwined.

What gave you the idea to start writing it?

I had always wanted to write a novel and even started a few, but Mask of the Highwaywoman started out as a short story inspired partly by the poem The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes. I have to admit that a little of the inspiration also came from the [terrible] 1980’s Hugh Grant movie, The Lady and The Highwayman!

I placed the story online and received such warm encouragement from readers that I decided to extend the story into a novel. [You can still read the original short in my Anthology]

How long did it take you to finish?

From concept to finished book it probably took about four years. But I had never set out to write a novel and so the story spent a lot of time languishing in a drawer during that time!

What was the biggest challenge you had when writing it?

Not knowing enough about writing. I did my best to read up on structure and character but I was really feeling my way through the story and often didn’t know what would happen next. The ending was re-written more than once, but they say writing is re-writing and that was certainly the case with this book!

How did you get it published, Indie or Trad?

I first published it with an independent publisher. I couldn’t have done it otherwise, I had no knowledge of formatting an ebook or setting things up on Amazon. I also didn’t have any money to invest as I was straight out of University at that point. So it was wonderful to have such support early on.

What was the most important thing you learnt from the process?

I learned so much! I learned about structure and character, I learned about pacing, but I also learned the process of creating a novel. This gave me such confidence when I eventually decided to go it alone a few years a later and publish my second novel, Escape to Pirate Island, I wouldn’t have been able to without that apprenticeship.

What are you working on right now?

I have a few projects which have been on the back burner for a number of years and now is the time to bring them to the boil, so to speak.

I’m working on a rough first draft of a Fantasy novel, Dark Age, think Lord of the Rings with lesbians!

I’m also working on the finer plot details of a Young Adult Urban Fantasy novel, Hollow Water, which covers parallel universes, Fairie Folk, magic, and even has some steampunk thrown in for good measure.

There are a couple of other stories which are marinating, including another historical romance and a fantasy about a rogue mage. I’ve been working on these ideas for a few years so I am hoping that I will be able to get some of them ready to publish over the next six months.


I really hope you enjoyed this quick Q&A, if you have any other questions about my writing, just ask me in the comments and I’ll try and answer!

If you’re an author, why not play ‘Tag’?

Cut and paste these questions into your own blog with a link back to me, and provide your own answers to the questions! Then drop me a comment below with the link to your blog and I’ll check it out!

Why not check out the other authors who have joined in, so far:

E. A Kafkalas | Anne Hagan | Adan Raimie | Melissa Walker | Miranda Macleod | Kathleen Jowitt | Rebecca Tucker

Or take a look at my ‘For Authors‘ page to see if there is anything else I can help out with:


About Niamh Murphy

Hi there! I’m Niamh Murphy and I’m a bestselling author of adventure books with lesbian main characters!

Niamh Murphy Author

I tell romantic and exciting stories of gripping adventure and epic fantasy. My favourite places to explore are historical settings, science fiction landscapes, and fantasy worlds. My stories involve exciting characters such as knights, pirates, vampires, and mermaids. But I also tell more down-to-earth stories involving teenage angst, coming out, and exploring lesbian relationships for the first time.

I most enjoy rewriting fairy tales for the modern reader or re-telling mythical stories of old with a sapphic twist. But whatever the genre I choose to write in, my stories always include romance, love, and a lesbian main character.

Find out more about me…


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