Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Interview with Author, Victoria Christopher Murray - Divine Divas

Today we welcome back author, Victoria Christopher Murray. This month Victoria is visiting to talk about her Young Adult series Divine Divas and the the first novel from the series, Diamond.
Welcome back, Victoria. Tell us about the Divine Divas Series.

The Divine Divas are four fifteen year old girls (Diamond, India, Veronique and Aaliyah) who have been best friends since third grade and they form a gospel singing group to compete in an American Idol type competition. They want to be the hippest-hottest new girl group in gospel music.

What about writing for young adult appealed to you? Why did you decide to branch off into this genre?

I’d been speaking at a lot of schools and noticed thirteen and fourteen year old girls reading the erotica books. Now, that’s not the authors’ fault. The authors didn’t write those books for those young ladies. But what I discovered is that our young people want exactly what we want in novels – they want drama, they want to be entertained, they don’t want to be preached too. So, after complaining for a while, I finally decided to give the ladies what they wanted – drama-filled, entertaining books with a message.

You’ve established yourself in two genres – women’s fiction and now young adult fiction. How do you juggle it all? What’s your writing schedule like? And what do you find the most difficult to write?

None of the writing is difficult to me. What’s most difficult is writing three books in one year. That doesn’t give me much time to do anything else. But my friends have a hard time understanding that. They always want me to “come out and play” and most times I can’t do that. I try to write every day, although that’s not always possible. Most days, I do get to write something. Write now (sic, I’ve got writing on my mind!), I’m past my deadline and I’m writing 12 hours a day! I’m on tour, so if I’m not on the radio or at a television station or at a book signing, I’m writing!

YA novels are generally pretty short compared to women’s fiction. Tell us a little about the difference in the markets.

I’ve only had one book released, so I don’t know a lot about this market yet. I’ve heard that teens like series, but I don’t know how that’s different than adults. Adults like series too. The books are shorter, I guess because of the attention span, although I don’t buy that. Although I am not an advocate, look at the Harry Potter series book lengths. And, I have many adult readers who would like my books to be shorter. And the twice a year release, I haven’t figured that out yet. But, I’m sure a year from now, I’ll have this all down.

I imagine it’s difficult to juggle it all. What are some tips you have for an author who wants to establish themselves in more than one genre?

You know, this is all about what you’re called to do. I think God makes room for the gift. If you’re supposed to write different kinds of books, He’ll make the time, He’ll make the way. I truly believe that because not everyone will write anything the same way, so my process won’t help anyone. I don’t even write all of my books the same way. I will say this – no matter how many books you’re writing, make sure you write every day. And if you’re truly trying to establish yourself as a writer, I think you need one book a year to compete with the thousands of titles that are released annually. I believe one book a year will help you build a market because your name will stay on the reader’s minds.

I’m thinking you have to get into the psyche of a teenager to establish voice and authenticity. Tell me how you accomplish that?

Well, you have to do that because I think teens, more than adults, are less forgiving and they want you to “bring it” and “be real ‘bout it.” So, I spend a lot of time watching teen shows. My favorite is Baldwin Hills. I get to see the teen issues, hear how they talk, see how they relate, check out what they wear. I’ve watched a couple of other shows, but Baldwin Hills has been invaluable.

Tell me about a rewarding experience you had since writing for teens?

The best email I received was from a young lady who said, “This was the best book she’d read in her entire life.” She went on to tell me that she was 11 ½, but that she was very mature for her age and that she ‘loved the imagery’ in my books. I’ve received dozens of emails like that and they reinforce to me that I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing.

Would you share some early insight into who you were as a teenager with your readers? What were you like as a teen? Does that influence your writing?

My teen years do not influence my writing at all. I don’t even remember them enough to put my experiences into a book. The times were so, so different. When I was growing up, there was one girl in my high school who got pregnant Senior year and not only was everyone whispering about her, but she wasn’t allowed to march at graduation. We were all shocked that someone had actually gotten pregnant at our school. It was unheard of. I grew up with a bunch of goody-two-shoe kids. NO ONE would want to read about us.

Who were some of your favorite authors as a teen?

Richard Wright, Maya Angelou, Claude Brown.

What do you hope young readers will take away after finishing one of your books?

That they can do anything through Christ! And that no matter what they do, God still loves them. He is a God of second and third and fourth.....chances.

What’s next for your teen fans?

The Divine Divas has been optioned for BET. I have NOTHING to do with that, so I don’t know when it will happen. But that’s what’s next on the horizon.

That’s fabulous news Victoria. We’ll be praying for you. All the best with the October release of India. We look forward to great things from you for our young ladies.

You can learn more about the Divine Divas at and view the trailer.

Diamond is available where ever books are sold and the second book India will be released in October and is available for preorder on and Barnes and

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