Friday, December 30, 2011

Christine Murray Storms Through!

Erm... Christine is a friend of mine through both ABNA and blogging. She is from Ireland, younger than me and participates in a great many things I admire but don't do, yet somehow I identify quite strongly with this brilliant young woman. Perhaps it is that her blog is so personal that I feel like I really know her, from writing struggles, to foster care respite, to living with pain. I think we largely have the same interests, and we just have approached them from entirely different directions so it is a little like looking at one of my other possible selves or something. Anyway, Christine delights me. And I'm thrilled to be hosting her for her release tour for her 'Chick-Lit' novel Storms In Teacups.

So without further ado... Welcome Christine!

I’d like to start by thanking Hart for letting me blather on her blog for a day. I’ve been a compulsive reader of her blog since discovering her on the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award forum. It feels quite strange to be here.

They say that your first book is autobiographical. And this one is, in a sense. True, I’ve never taught disadvantaged teens, acted in a crime series, or gone on a journalistic crusade to take down one of the best known figures in Ireland. But some of the jobs that my characters do, the less glamorous ones? They come from experience.

My character, Shannon, works in a dingy call centre doing telephone market research while she waits for her big break. I did this for a year during college and a few months after graduation. For anyone who’s either conscientious or thin-skinned, it’s an awful job to do. People hate market researchers, so you end up getting shouted at. A lot.

Waking people up at 10am on Saturday morning to ask them questions about waste disposal companies? Yep. Asking people to give up twenty minutes of their lives to talk about how they’d rate the range of food at a particular service station? A hard sell. Unfortunately, I also made some the calls that Shannon makes in the book. I did, by dint of ringing on behalf of a certain bank, inform someone who’d been bereaved in the past two weeks that their partner had a secret bank account. Probably one of the worst thing you can ever do is make someone’s grief worse, even if it is inadvertent. I also called a woman who decided that I was her husband’s mistress rather than a market researcher. That was an interesting one.

Moral of the story? Whenever you have to do something you really hate doing, take comfort from the fact you can strip it for material.

Most of my book is, however, fiction. Some of it is ambiguous. Like, did I ever go drinking with a crowd of Dublin criminals who had a reputation for breaking fingers and wanted to harness the power of social media? Now that would be telling.


ALEX is a journalist who has always dreamed of working for a glossy women’s magazine. Instead, she finds herself working for Dublin’s most notorious tabloid newspaper, rewriting press releases and covering for her colleague Jodie, a well-connected neurotic who still hasn’t figured out how to use an apostrophe
ROSE thinks that she has life sorted. She loves her job as a teacher in a disadvantaged school, and has just moved in with her gorgeous actor boyfriend, Daniel. The only clouds on her horizon are a headmaster with a passion for new-age team-building and a stack of envelopes that she refuses to open but can’t quite bring herself to throw out.

SHANNON feels like she’s stagnating. When she graduated at the top of her class from drama college everyone thought it would be just a matter of time until she got her big break. Instead, she pays the bills with parts in small plays and some low rent television shows. Now she’s in her thirties, is it time she gives up on her dreams and get a proper job?

When a scandal shakes up the lives of all three women, will they manage to stay true to their dreams? Or will the betrayal of one man change their plans for good?


Christine Murray is a journalist and writer from Dublin, Ireland. She has a passion for both coffee and cocktails and thinks the espresso martini might be the most underrated invention of all time. She lives with her husband and chocolate Labrador in semi-organised chaos.


Christine Murray said...

Thank you so much for letting me guest post Hart!

Old Kitty said...

Hi Christine, hello Tart! Yay for a most Naked blog guest post from this beautiful woman. I hope that when I take calls from call centres that I'm as polite as I can be. I do remember persistent calls from this same company but after trying to fob them off a couple of times, I gave in and answered all their questions (they were doing a consumer survey thing) and it took 15 minutes and afterwards the calls stopped. And the woman doing the survey was very nice but bless her she was reading from a script which I thought was quite sweet really!

Take care

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'm sure the 'mistress' call was awkward!
And your character's names rock. Just saying.

Mason Canyon said...

Christine, sounds like you have a very interesting read her. Love the book cover too.

Hart, thanks for the introduction to this intriguing 'new-to-me' author.

Wishing you both a Happy New Year.

Thoughts in Progress

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

ooh yeah, i've done plenty of stints in call centers. Luckily they were all incoming call centers, but still. People can be assholes on the phone.

Misha Gericke said...

Ooh Christine, that sounds like a terrible job for a writer. We're all surprisingly thin-skinned, even if we like to pretend otherwise.

Hart, just wanted to wish you a 2012 full of writerly joy and naked world domination. ;-)

Johanna Garth said...

Christine, you've suddenly made me feel like I need to be nicer to those people who call...much, much nicer!

Congrats on the book. Am absolutely delighted for you.

Hart Johnson said...

It can definitely be painful. I've never done sales, but I have called to try to recruit for studies, and people can be really rotten!

Thanks so much for stopping by everyone!

Siv Maria said...

Love the name of your book, best of luck with it and a happy new year to the both of you!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

And I just read that it's her birthday today!

Hart Johnson said...

DOH! Totally missed that detail! Thanks, Diane!

And Happy birthday, Christine!

Teresa Cypher aka T K CypherBuss said...

Christine, congrats on the book--it sounds like a wonderful read. Way to glean your experience for character depth! I have never worked in a call center, but it sounds as though you faced it with a good sense of humor when things got a bit wacky.

Hart, thanks for this post--not sure that I am correctly grasping the naked world, lol, but will be back to visit again. Perhaps familiarity with your blog will reveal the whole naked world domination thing ;-)

Happy New Year all--much happiness and success in 2012--to you!