I love reading posts by writers who share their journeys. As an author and blogger, Jacqui Murray fits that description perfectly.
Get to know Jacqui Murray
Through the wonders of cyberspace, I met fellow blogger Jacqui Murray. We’re kindred spirits for research and education.
Her latest book, Natural Selection, is the third book in her Dawn of Humanity series. She’s published over 100 fiction and non-fiction books.
She’s candid and loves to help by sharing what she’s learned on her writer’s journey.
On Becoming a Writer
Grant: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Jacqui: For me, it was less about wanting to write than wanting to understand a particular topic. In this case, how early man survived in a savage world that should have destroyed him. I first wrote the book in a factual way, but found without living characters, I hadn’t convinced myself of their survival. Once I added elements of fiction—dramatic plot, engaging setting, interesting characters—all became clear.
Grant: What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
Jacqui: The biggest surprise about writing fiction was that I could trust my imagination. I’m not terribly creative, but when I listened to my inner voice, it told me where the story should go, where it slowed down, and how to keep it from becoming boring. It’s as though the characters are talking to me. I’ve read about that happening with other authors, never understood it and certainly didn’t expect it to happen to me. Yet, it did.
Grant: How do you develop your plot and characters?
Jacqui: I use research to guide both plot and characters. As I dig into the history of the times, the background of the characters, try to unravel motivations and consequences, the story takes shape. I am often surprised by a twist that develops, but I let it. It’s like traveling with a trusted friend. I just follow along.
Grant: What is your kryptonite as a writer?
Jacqui: Fatigue. I can’t think well when I’m tired. It becomes like digging through dark molasses. I have a few chronic illnesses that make me tired, as do the meds I have to take for them. I hate that and struggle against it. I am a huge consumer of Red Bull!
Grant: Other little known facts about you?
Jacqui: Well, I speak/spoke Russian. I used to program in DOS. And I (used to) play Blue Grass on a mandolin.
Grant: Well, I don’t speak Russian, but I dabbled with DOS. Playing a mandolin — wow! I still pound on the strings of my hammered dulcimer, but don’t expect to see me on the stage soon.
Jacqui Murray’s Latest Book
Grant: So what can readers expect in your latest book, Natural Selection?
Jacqui: In this conclusion to Lucy’s journey, she and her tribe leave their good home to rescue former-tribe members captured by the enemy. Lucy’s tribe includes a mix of species — a Canis, a Homotherium, and different iterations of early man.
In this book, more join and some die, but that is the nature of prehistoric life, where survival depends on a combination of our developing intellect and our inexhaustible will to live. Each species brings unique skills to this task. Based on true events.
Set 1.8 million years ago in Africa, Lucy and her tribe struggle against the harsh reality of a world ruled by nature, where predators stalk them and a violent new species of man threatens to destroy their world. Only by changing can they prevail.
If you ever wondered how earliest man survived but couldn’t get through the academic discussions, this book is for you. Prepare to see this violent and beautiful world in a way you never imagined.
Grant: Who do you think would enjoy your books, and where can we get copies?
Jacqui: It’s a perfect book for fans of Jean Auel and the Gears! It’s available in print or digital, and here’s the link to the latest in the series, http://a-fwd.com/asin=B0B9KPM5BW, and the earlier books are shown on that page, too.
Oh, and here’s the book trailer on YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o5GOm4jbgZw.
Grant: Thanks, Jacqui!
Author Bio and Links
Jacqui Murray (https://jacquimurray.net/) is the author of the popular prehistoric fiction saga, Man vs. Nature (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07NKM58GB/) which explores seminal events in man’s evolution one trilogy at a time. She is also author of the Rowe-Delamagente (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072NZF8N8/) thrillers and Building a Midshipman (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0978780086/), the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy.
Her non-fiction includes over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, reviews as an Amazon Vine Voice (https://www.amazon.com/Jacqui-Murray/e/B002E78CQQ/), a columnist for NEA Today (https://www.nea.org/advocating-for-change/new-from-nea?nea_today=1&), and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics.
Jacqui’s passion for a subject comes through in her writing, showing fellow writers how she turned keen research into a fascinating three-book series — inspiration for those who want to write a book readers will love.
Leave a Reply
What’s your current writing passion? Your plans for turning that hot topic into a book?
It’s lovely to see Jacqui here. Wishing her every success with her latest in this great series. Thanks for sharing, Grant 💕🙂
Thanks for stopping by, Harmony. Jacqui is a true resource and inspiration. Your blog is informative and encouraging, too. https://harmonykent.co.uk/
Your series on prologues posted on the Story Empire site found a home in my writer’s database! https://storyempire.com/
Thanks so much, Grant! 💖🤗💖
Thank you, Harmony! There are so many of us with new books out. I’m looking forward to feting you in early December.
Thank you, Grant, for opening up your blog to me. I’m looking forward to chatting with your community!
My pleasure, Jacqui!
I have read all of Jacqui’s books based on early man and loved every one of them. Highly recommended to all. Can’t wait for the next book to come out.
Thank you so much, Anneli. My next will be a few years in the future. I have so much to research!
Do you mean a few years in Lucy’s future, or in my future?
Your future. I figure the research will take a good six months, the writing 18-24 months. If all goes well!
Jacqui, your accomplishments never cease to amaze me.
Grant, Thanks so much for hosting this talented and kind author.
Thank you for dropping in, Sandra! This was great fun.
Thanks, Sandra. Jacqui is a true encouragement to writers. I’ve learned so much from her posts.
A fun interview, Grant and Jacqui. I chuckled a bit when you said you don’t have much of an imagination, Jacqui. Honestly? Lol. I think your imagination is quite robust. And isn’t it funny when our characters start leading us? I remember that with my first book and thinking it was true magic at work in the world. Wonderful to see you here. Thanks, Grant, for hosting. 🙂
If I have imagination, it’s simply my characters leading me. I am thankful for that!
I love how we see our characters are “outside” entities. It’s amazing really.
It’s wonderful to see Jacqui here. I would argue that Jacqui IS a very creative author, but it sounds like her creativity comes in a round about way through her characters.
If I am creative, that’s exactly how it happens–I stand on the shoulders of giants!
It’s obvious you’re standing on some pretty tall shoulders! Thanks, Jacqui.
Thanks for reminding everyone how creative Jacqui can be. For example, look at the creative ways she tried to convince us she’s not creative. 😉
Great interview! Particularly enjoyed how Jacqui writes and the quality of her research she puts into her stories.
Thanks for dropping by, Luciana. You and Jacqui share the love of research — me, too!
We certainly do, which is why we connected 🙂 Good to meet another fellow lover of research.
Love this! I’ve seen Jacqui’s name around here on WordPress since forever, so it’s nice to read more about her. Pretty interesting how there’s this core group of names that I always see, especially within the writing tags. Anyway, thanks to you both!
I am blessed to be part of this wonderful group. It’s like a circle of friends all into writing! Thanks for stopping by.