Durham author Mur Lafferty releases second book 'Ghost Train to New Orleans'
Many tourists use travel guides to help check experiences off their bucket lists when visiting a new place. In the case of Mur Lafferty’s latest novel though, these tourists have already kicked the bucket.
Lafferty, a Durham author, will be promoting the release of her novel, “Ghost Train to New Orleans” tonight at Flyleaf Books.
The novel is the sequel to her 2013 work, “The Shambling Guide to New York,” and continues to follow main character Zoe, a living woman who writes travel guides for the undead. The urban fantasy takes place in a realm where humans and monsters live alongside each other, a situation that creates chaos and as well as humor.
“I’ve always liked more humorous takes on horror — I was a bigger fan of ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ than the ‘Night of the Living Dead,’” Lafferty said. “I like the idea of monsters having somewhat human personalities, and with that comes somewhat human problems.”
Linnie Greene, marketing manager for Flyleaf Books, said “The Shambling Guide to New York” gained popularity due to its unusual premise, masterful writing and creativity in breaking genre-defining boundaries.
“They’re really humorous and inventive and fantastical books, and we think that it’s going to make a particularly spectacular live reading as well,” Greene said.
Lafferty’s inspiration for the series, and for the setting of the second novel, was inspired by her time in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina devastated the area in 2005.
“I was writing for a role-playing game at the time, and me and some other authors wanted to get together and do something for relief efforts, so we wrote a source book on New Orleans for anyone who wanted to play a role-playing game in that area,” she said.
“I got the idea that there was a travel guide person who loved her job so much that she kept doing it after she died and became a zombie.”
With her success from the first novel and the likely gains made from her second, Lafferty hopes to be given the chance by her editors at Orbit Books to continue the series.But in the mean time, she has been working with her agent Jennifer Udden on future story proposals.
“No matter what she writes, she has such an amazing voice, and the voice in the ‘Shambling Guide’ is so relatable even though (the characters) are in this extraordinary position,” Udden said.
While Lafferty certainly enjoys the positive feedback, she said she does not write for recognition.
“We hear from people who say, ‘I was having a horrible day,’ or, ‘I was with my mother in the hospital and your book is what kept me going or cheered me up,’” she said.
Lafferty said her book series has helped remind her how even lighthearted entertainment and media have merit.
“It has a very important place,” she said.
“To entertain, and perhaps take the focus off the bad stuff.”
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