AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Mur Lafferty

Tell us about your latest novel.

Ghost Train to New Orleans, published by Orbit, continues my series The Shambling Guides which has been called “if Douglas Adams had written Buffy.” It’s the continuing story of a human woman who edits travel books for tourist monsters. She heads to New Orleans with her staff to report on the underbelly of the Big Easy. She is accompanied by her boyfriend, Arthur, who has his own agenda in the city.

You were a podcasting pioneer, and you’ve also had some experience with Kickstarter, but you recently also had a novel come out from Orbit Books. How did you decide to crowdfund one project but go traditional with the other?

I’ve always attempted the traditional publishing route first, and then podcasting, and if the podcast is well-received, then I will self-publish. I Kickstarted the Heaven series because it was the most popular of my podcast fiction, but my agent couldn’t sell it, so I did a Kickstarter to fund its editing, layout, cover design, and limited edition print run. Podcasting, KS, cover design, and ebook publishing all take more work than writing, so I would rather put that non-writing work in someone else’s hands. But in today’s DIY world, I know that’s not going to be the case every time, so I self publish when I really believe in the work my agent can’t place.

Will your first step for future books always be to try the traditional route, or might you go right to Kickstarter on certain projects?

Listeners have asked for sequels to podcast-only or ebook-only fiction, and if I ever get to them I will likely Kickstart the project. But in most cases, step 1 will be traditional publication.

You’ve done a number of different podcasts over the years, and even served as editor of Escape Pod, the leading SF short fiction podcast, and of course you do the I Should Be Writing podcast. Do you think you’ll always have one foot firmly entrenched in podcasting, or will your career take you in other directions?

Podcasting made my career. I didn’t expect it to, but by giving out free content I built an audience of loyal followers, and I never want to turn my backs on them, so I will always be producing something for them.

What’s coming up next for you?

I’m releasing the final novella in my Afterlife series, Stones, and I’ve got some secret projects going on that I can’t talk about yet.