My Writing Life:

I've been writing most my life, sometimes with the left side of my brain, as when writing technical documentation in the 1980's, and sometimes with the right side, as when writing my new novel, Torn by God: A Family's Struggle with Polygamy. Either way, my focus has always been on the human mind. My most basic desire is to know how people come to believe what they believe and how those beliefs lead them to act in specific ways. Exploring the depths of another's mind, with all its intellectual and visceral layers of complexity, is as exciting and stimulating as exploring a foreign country.

Given my fascination with mind, I search for books which have a unique and idiosyncratic voice. It is not the writer's voice I am looking for, but the voice of the characters who live out their lives on the pages. For me, "voice" is more than just a tone or narrative style: it reflects the movement and subtle nuance of a character's mind, it maps the associative leaps between one experience and the next, it connects the character's sensory experience with a unique perception. Maybe the best way to say it is that everything in such stories is characterization, to one degree or another. Books such as Jane Hamilton's, Book of Ruth, McCourt's Angela's Ashes, and Joyce Carol Oates', Because It Is Bitter and Because It Is My Heart, all have this quality that I so admire.

In my own stories, I try to achieve a high level of psychological realism, moving into the mental space of my characters, and settling in for the duration. Maintaining this kind or realism can be difficult at times. For example, when I was writing from the mind of my 12-year-old narrator in Torn by God, there were things I wanted to say that I couldn't say and still maintain the child's perspective. Still, I felt the innocence of the child narrator was important because it was indicative of the innocence of all the characters in the story. They are all controlled by the voice of their parents, by the voice of their religious leaders, by the voice of their God. So I let the girl see what she could see and let the deeper meaning lie beneath the surface, in the subtext where it belongs. It is there for my readers to find, if they can.


       How to order Torn by God

Torn by God: A Family's Struggle with Polygamy - Paperback Version

Torn by God: A Family's Struggle with Polygamy - Kindle Version

I'm heading to Utah again: Click here to find out where I'll be reading and discussing my book.

Click here to read the first few chapters of Torn by God.


Interview in Utah Continuum Magazine
Listen to my Radio Podcast Interview
Article by Jon Montgomery - LA Examiner.com
Review at UK Kindle User's Forum
Chapter in Exponent II Literary Magazine
Review at Bookworm with a View
A Motley Vision Q&A with Zoe Murdock re Torn by God
Tales of an Ordinary Girl Review of Torn by God
Discussion on Mormon Literature at Main Street Plaza Blog
Letters from a Broad Review of Torn by God
Cicero interview at Ventura County Reporter
Kallas Interview at Ventura County Star
Harmon Interview at Ojai Valley News
Photos from the Ventura County Women's Expo
Write-up in University of Utah Alumni Newsletter
Torn by God selected as Redroom.com "Editor's Choice of the Week"
Book Reading at King's English - SLC
New York Times Blog - Will the Fictional Mormons Influence the Real Ones?


Zoe's Pages

Zoe's Blog
Twitter Zoe
Read about Torn by God
Torn by God Book Review at FictionWeek

Favorite Literary Links

Narrative Magazine


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