Today we are speaking with A.C. Merkel, a former band guy and mechanic who released his first book Her Name is Murder on Valentine’s Day 2020. This book is an urban fantasy about an immortal character that deals with her problems in 2020, using flashbacks to fill in the gaps in her 483 year history. The book is also jam packed with music, trains, hot cars and even a fashion show! The diverse cast is also a huge plus to the story. Perhaps best of all though, today the book is free on Amazon!
Tell me about your most recent release, Her Name is Murder, and what you love most about this tale.
Murder LaVoe is an immortal. She’s had a lot of time to master her crafts. She’s a musician, a forger, and a mistress of disguise. She’s about to finish her first concert as her new alter ego, “Lady Dreamscapes”, when a very public attempt is made on her life. Enter Det. Grant Noble III. He’s by the book. Well, he was… She’s a princess, he’s a noble. It’s the start of a crazy new fairy tale.
I either love the music, history, or inclusiveness most. Can’t decide. It’s all very important to the DNA of this tale. There’s nothing fully new. Just great Remixes. I set out to mix everything I love into something unique. The reviews seem to say I have been successful at this endeavor.
Tell me about the people depicted in your fantasy novel, Her Name is Murder, and who you connect the most with.
I’m basically Murder from my own story. I’m married and definitely mostly straight. But I know if I lived 500 years I would wind up finding love in unexpected places. Like her, I’m not keen on being labeled. Murder is open minded. Levi is gay, made of clay and has a love interest. Tress is a Victorian “ice goth” (wears white) and is trans. She protects trans girls in her community with her exceptional talent at glamours and wards. She’s also kind of co-star of the upcoming sequel, London Calling.
A new book – London Calling!? What can you tell us about this book?
That’s hard without giving away the first book. But because of who she is, Murder’s past has a way of catching up with her. This time though, it didn’t wait. It skipped over almost half a millennium.
Just as importantly, Tress who was (a very important) side character, is now a lead character with her own connected adventure that starts in her ten page short story “Her Name Is Tress: The Case Of The Dream Girl.”
Both of these are part of your Lady Dreamscapes series – what is the overarching theme that ties all these books together?
Lady Dreamscapes is Murder’s musical alter ego. She’s also growing into someone who can control dreams. So it’s literal, and it’s also a metaphor for having to hide your true nature to simply exist and survive. Imagine being this amazing being. Magical, beautiful, talented. Yet difference breeds fear. “When you don’t age people take it personally.”
How many half-finished and unpublished books do you have that we can possibly look forward to in the future?
There’s a different ending for Murder that was cut, and sequel started that goes with that. It may be used one day but…I don’t know. It is definitely an ending. I’m not ready to let go.
Tell me about the characters in your latest book – what makes them special? Who is your favorite?
This is like picking a favorite child. NYC is where Murder takes place. So. The cast had to be diverse. I introduced Tress midway through. And she’s something very special. She’s trans. She’s goth, she’s magically talented. I can’t pick between Murder, Grant, Levi, or Tress. They’re all very important. Together, with their extended found family, they represent a community that’s colorblind, with all genders and sexualities accepted. And if you don’t accept them look out!
You belong to the Queer Indie, can you tell me more about this coalition and what its purpose is?
I think it started as a way to go to bookcon, with some queer focused books. It’s becoming a directory of books with Queer characters and books of allies. People who support books of all kinds. “Every book has a home.”
Was it important to you to showcase LGBTQ+ characters? Why?
Absolutely! I was a sensitive child with a big vocabulary so my classmates called me gay. I didn’t even know what it meant. I was shoved and elbowed and worse.
I’m open minded now, all that taught me compassion. Empathy.
It’s a lot like the metaphor above for being special and having to hide for it. Nowhere is that a more real feeling than in the LGBTQ community. I can relate. Everything should have queer characters. Normalization is important.
What was the most difficult part of your writing process?
Commas. Good god I hate commas. (Feel free to fix them for me in this interview, lol)
What is the most surprising thing you discovered while writing your book(s)?
How much I love historical research! I know way too much now about trains and their routes and schedules in Europe in 1936. Sophia, Bulgaria is known for roses… the list goes on and on.
What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?
Get me lost in your world and make me cry. Either for happy reasons or sad and you’ll have me forever. Lol, I’m not picky about “craft,” I want to feel something!
Who is the author you admire most? Why?
Overall, Michael Crichton. His works still inspire new media posthumously. (see Westworld, Jurassic World.) I want to leave something like that behind. Maybe it’s Lady Dreamscapes. Maybe it’s the next thing. Immortality can be real.
Where can readers find out more about you and your books?
The best place is probably twitter and its ridiculously amazing writing community. @Blink_Drive #HerNameIsMurder #LadyDreamscapeSeries
Thank you so much for joining us today! Remember, when you pick up your copy of Her Name is Murder, be sure to pick up Murder’s recommended whiskey the Michel Couvreur Special Vatting Peaty Malt. Instead of maturing in whiskey barrels, this French blended malt is matured in sherry casks to give it a sweeter flair. Murder, of course, prefers hers neat.