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Author D. V. Mulligan: “Write what you love, put forth the most professional product you can, and have fun.

What She Inherits received a 4+ star review, making it an IndieReader Approved title.

Following find an interview with author D. V. Mulligan.

What is the name of the book and when was it published?

My most recent novel is What She Inherits, which was published in January 2017.

What’s the book’s first line?

In her bag, Angela’s phone buzzed and buzzed but she didn’t hear it.

What’s the book about? Give us the “pitch”.

This book is about two women, Angela and Casey, who are struggling to come to terms with their mothers’ deaths and to make sense of all they’ve inherited from their mothers, from genetics to attitudes to money trouble. Angela and Casey have never met, but their lives are linked, and as each struggles to make sense of her family past, the connections between them begin to emerge.

What inspired you to write the book? A particular person? An event?

My initial inspiration was a scene that just sort of popped into my head. I had this vision of a woman with red hair and elaborate tattoos standing at the counter of a coffee shop reading a letter. Outside it was foggy and the coffee shop was empty, and she stood there, pouring over this letter. From that one scene in my mind and the questions it raised—What’s in the letter? Who wrote it? Why does she seems so upset by it?—pieces of the story began to fall into place.

What’s the main reason someone should really read this book?

Anyone who wants to take a mental vacation to the coast of Maine or who loves ghost stories should read this book!

What’s the most distinctive thing about the main character?  Who-real or fictional-would you say the character reminds you of?

Casey’s a rebel by nature, with brightly dyed hair, big tattoos, and a no-nonsense attitude. She puts up the front of a good-time girl, but she’s holding back a lot of inner demons that she hasn’t wrestled yet. If the book were made into a movie, I’d definitely want Jennifer Lawrence to play her. If I were to compare Casey to one of Lawrence’s characters, I’d say she reminds me of Tiffany from Silver Linings Playbook (although Casey is not quite so crazy as Tiffany).

Is this the first book you’ve written?

This is my third novel. I feel like each of my books has helped me grow as a writer. My first, Watch Me Disappear (as Diane V. Mulligan; 2012), was a sort of case study in narrative voice. My second, The Latecomers Fan Club (as Diane V. Mulligan; 2013), which won an Indie Reader Discovery Award in 2014, was an exercise in suspense, irony, and pacing. With What She Inherits, my goal was to have a plot full of unexpected twists. I also wanted to make sure to include an element of romance with lovable leading men.

What do you do for work when you’re not writing?

I’m a high school English teacher, a profession that has prepared me well to be a writer. Each year, as I reread the classics with my students, I learn more and more about the craft of writing.

What’s the best and the hardest part of being an indie?   

The best part is that I have full control over my story so I can stay true to my vision, and I really love designing the cover art, which lets me tap into my inner artist. That said, it’s hard to find new readers outside my circle of friends. Unlike a traditionally published author who has people at a publisher to help her spread the word, all the promotion falls on me, and I’m a somewhat reluctant user of social media so it’s pretty tough.

What’s a great piece of advice that you can share with fellow indie authors?

Most of us can’t make a living as authors (but that’s true for most traditionally published authors, too), so if you’re going to write for publication, you have to be in it for the love it. Write what you love, put forth the most professional product you can, and have fun.

Would you go traditional if a publisher came calling?  If so, why?  

I think I would. As educational as self-publishing has been and as helpful as it is that I now understand all parts of the publishing process from layout to cover design to promotion, I’d like to have the support of a team of professionals behind my work. That would free me up to focus more on my writing.

Which writer, living or dead, do you most admire?

I admire so many authors! I could never name a single favorite. Kurt Vonnegut is one of my all time favorites, although my own writing couldn’t be further from his. I also love Mark Twain and F. Scott Fitzgerald. For contemporary authors, I’m a huge fan of Liane Moriarty, Jojo Moyes, Ann Patchett, and Ruth Ozeki, to name a few. And of course JK Rowling. I love all the Harry Potter books, all the Cormoran Strike books (written under her pen name Robert Galbraith), and her stand-alone novel The Casual Vacancy.

Which book do you wish you could have written?

Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being. That book blew me away. Ozeki combines philosophy, history, and family drama into one story that was spellbinding and smart. I wish I could write a narrative that complex that still manages to be a page-turner.


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