Get ready to learn more about the book Say You Love Me in this discussion with sapphic author Rachel Murphy.
Join us for an exclusive peek behind the scenes as we quiz Rachel Murphy about Say You Love Me, writing, reading, and more.
This book is part of the Divorced Character category in the 2024 IHS Reading Challenge.
Why did you write Say You Love Me?
I felt compelled to write a story about two women who were absolutely head-over-heels for each other, but both too afraid to say it for different reasons. I wanted to write characters that could feel relatable because they had their own insecurities to deal with and how difficult it can be to navigate that at times. So many stories are a lot of fluff (which I do love!) but I thought I’d challenge myself to bring more of a realistic side of love to the table as well.
Who is your favorite character in the book?
I truly adore them both but Taylor is my favorite because of her patience. Despite her own heartache, she gives Brooke the time and space she needs to heal in hopes that it will benefit her in the long run. She genuinely cares for and loves Brooke, and despite being the younger one in the relationship, she’s mature enough to know what Brooke is dealing with is difficult. She truly embodies the saying “love is patient” and that’s what makes Brooke love her even more.
What was the biggest challenge writing Say You Love Me?
I wanted to make this book spicier than my last so that was a challenge because I wanted to make sure sex scenes didn’t dominate the story but had enough to please everyone. It was also critical to their relationship dynamic so I wanted to get it right. I didn’t think it would be as hard as it was though!
How did you come up with the title for your book?
There’s a Jessie Ware song that I really love called “Say You Love Me” so when it came on my Spotify playlist as I was writing, it felt like the perfect title for this story about two women who wish the other would say the words for them.
What is your writing process like?
I’m a bit of a plotter and pantser when I write. Usually, I’ll get an idea and start outlining all of the thoughts in my head to progress the story from point A to Z. Other times, I’ll just have random ideas and go with it and see how it can work. I don’t have a “set method” and I’m okay with that because I don’t want writing to ever feel like a routine I must do in a specific way. The only part of my writing process I wish I could change was having more time to do it. If only my day job wasn’t in the way!
Where do you usually write, and what do you need in your writing space to help you stay focused?
I usually write at home, either in the living room or in the office, but sometimes I find a lot of inspiration while commuting. I’ll write out full scenes and ideas on my phone while on the subway on my way to work and then move it to the doc on my laptop once I get home. All I truly need in my space is something to capture the words.
What is the most valuable piece of advice you’ve been given about writing, and by whom?
I had a Creative Writing teacher in high school that instilled one phrase into my mind: writing is rewriting. Nothing is ever perfect the first time around and that’s okay. The more you rewrite and finesse what you started, the better it’s going to become. I always keep that in mind when I write and it encourages me to keep at it, even though it can be hard to actually consider something “finished”.
Do you feel bad putting your characters through the wringer?
I definitely felt bad for everything I made Brooke deal with. From her ex, to her mother, to the worry over Taylor, I felt like Brooke was someone who really could use a break… and I delayed it. I knew Taylor was that break for her, but Brooke just needed more time to be willing to accept that. And now I’m pretty sure she’s quite content to hopefully make up for some of the past.
What type of books do you enjoy reading the most?
Lately, I’m really invested in reading more Sapphic books. More and more I’m finding myself wanting to consume content that feels more relatable. Growing up, I would read anything and everything and I’ll still read plenty of other genres, but I’m enjoying reading books by women for women who like women. I wish I had more of these to read when I was younger!
What book do you wish you had written?
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. I’m a sucker for a celebrity romance but the added complexity of the relationships over the years just truly sucked me in. I hope that my books can even have a sliver of that desire to keep reading to find out what happens, but I hope no one cries as much as I did when I read that book.