Hitting the Reset Button on My First Novel.

Reset ButtonFirst published by Idylls Press in 2004, The Mystery of Things was my first novel. It sold maybe a thousand copies, still finds its readers, and has its fervent fans.

Some copies are still available, but it’s out-of-print and I’m not actively promoting it anymore.


Only towards the end of the process of writing the book did I realize I wanted to make it the first in a series of Grail-themed novels. At the time I assumed they’d all be, like TMoT—contemporary mystery thrillers.

Thing was, over the years my vision for the series radically changed. The themes changed and many of the (Arthurian-inspired) characters. The sea-change came when Clan Murphy moved to Oregon and I fell madly in love with this gorgeous and fascinating part of the world. I soon realized that a story as epic as I was envisioning had to be located in an epic locale. And the Pacific Northwest is certainly that. In time, I even began to dream of attempting to do for the PNW what Tolkien did for England: create a whole mythology.

That meant, painful as it was, that I needed to start over. Hit the reset button. Rethink the whole thing.

The Mystery of Things by Debra Murphy

Click here to order this book from Amazon

I played with a number of possible scenarios. In the end, I took the main (mystery/thriller) plot of The Mystery of Things and re-imagined it. I shifted the setting from the contemporary Midwest to a near future Pacific Northwest racked by natural, political, and economic disaster. A new Wasteland in need of a new Arthur and a new Grail Quest.

The genre shifted, too. No longer a mystery thriller, the book (and series, what I now call The Waiika Grail Cycle) morphed into an Arthurian-themed Sci-Fi thriller with elements of Urban Fantasy.

I’ll share the whole exciting (and sometimes daunting) process in my new blog, The Grail Writer. Join me in this epic journey by clicking here.


Categories: SFF & Writing and Uncategorized.

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