[ Author Spotlight ] Jacqui Murray

Today I’m bringing you something a little different. I love books & I want to raise awareness of all things chronic/invisible illness, so this ticks both boxes. I wanted to help out a fellow blogger in spreading the word about her latest novel so I’m sharing a fantastic interview exclusively for InvisiblyMe readers, where I’ve asked her about how she stays motivated, how she manages her workload, and what conditions she contends with herself. I hope you enjoy!

Caz : Welcome, Jacqui! It’s a pleasure to be able to feature you and share a little more about you. You’re a teacher. Successful author. Wife. Mother to two children. Blogger. And you contend with your own chronic illnesses. You’re one busy lady!

Jacqui : “Thank you so much for hosting me on your wonderful blog, Caz. I always enjoy your interviews so am honored to be included.”

  • You’ve been a teacher for a number of years and have been writing alongside this for quite some time, with a variety of books & ebooks, both fiction and non-fiction. What made you first take up writing? 

I started with nonfiction—a technology curriculum for my classes. Since there was nothing available, I wrote it, shared it with others, and it took off. About the same time, I was inspired to write Building a Midshipman, about my daughter’s journey to gain acceptance to the US Naval Academy. That too took off.  Now, a decade later, she is rewriting it with me!

  • Not only do you teach and write, but you also run two blogs. What have been the most challenging parts of balancing your workload? 

It’s actually not too challenging. They are such different sorts of writing. In my blogging, for both WordDreams (about my writing) and Ask a Tech Teacher (about education), I am fairly conversation, addressing current topics of interest to readers. In my fiction series, both the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers and the Man vs. Nature saga, they are long-range projects that tap into a completely different side of my brain. In the end, they are so different that I use each as a break from the other. 

I love all of them. I write about twelve hours a day (with breaks, of course), jumping between the different writing projects, and never get tired of it.

  • What do you do in your spare time to relax? 

I read and walk my dog, Casey. I’m a pretty quiet person. Some could call me boring!

  • Do you have any health issues to yourself? How do you manage these? 

I have had daily migraines/headaches since my early 30’s and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) since my 40’s. I am so used to the pain, annoyance, and disruption of both, it has become part of my life, something to be juggled and worked around when necessary. 

They have changed my life, though, considerably. I used to be pretty outgoing, dare I say fun? Now, I don’t go out much because I never know when I will be too sick to go and that happens often. I’m not dependable when it comes to commitments for the same reason. I tried whining and it did no good. I tried blaming people and that was a disaster. I am left with a binary choice: overcome or succumb. Sigh. 

  • You’ve recently published Survival of the Fittest, an exciting pre-historic fiction novel and the first in a trilogy. Where did you get the inspiration for the premise and characters? 

Decades ago, I became obsessed with how early man survived. We were clawless, had stubby teeth, thin skin, and couldn’t roar for nothin’. I started researching how the heck we made it to be the alpha in the animal kingdom. All that reading and ten-syllable words in a dozen paleo fields—I found the easiest way to understand the miracle of our survival was to put it in story format. That’s where my saga, Man vs. Nature, started. It chronicles two million years of man’s evolution. It will be four trilogies from four different eras. Born in a Treacherous Time is Book 1 of the trilogy dealing with Homo habilis, the first species of man 1.8 million years ago.  Survival of the Fittest is Book 1 of the trilogy dealing with Homo erectus’ life 850,000 years ago. The other two will deal with Cro-Magnon man and another.

  • Do you set a specific structure for your days, and how do you keep yourself motivated and focused?

Since I work out of my house, I do structure my days as a way to mix things up and maintain some semblance of productivity. Mornings are usually for fiction writing. Afternoons are for my freelancing—articles I write for companies on their products. Evenings are devoted to the bits and pieces of an author’s non-writing life such as marketing, social media, and reaching out to others. Weekends I spend on my three blogs—putting together all the articles, organizing their events (such as my blog hop), and that sort of activity. I’ve said this before but it’s true: I grab a six-pack of Red Bull, my keyboard, and never stop!

  • How long did it take you to complete your first draft of your new novel before editing? 

I’m embarrassed to say it took me about 25 years to publish the first fiction book. My non-fiction—that rolled off my brain and the presses without too much trouble (if you write non-fiction, you know what I mean), but the fiction, not so much. I had to rework, research, and tear my hair out until it felt right. By that time, I had three of the novels pretty well done in the Man vs. Nature saga—Born in a Treacherous Time (the first), Survival of the Fittest, and The Quest for Home (due out Fall 2019).  

I’ll be starting Book 3 of my current trilogy, In the Footsteps of Giants, in the fall and that will be from scratch. I’m thinking of pulling that together by following the NanoWriMo template. We’ll see!

Latest book: Survival of the Fittest

Five tribes. One leader. A treacherous journey across three continents in search of a new home.

Chased by a ruthless and powerful enemy, Xhosa flees with her People, leaving behind a certain life in her African homeland to search for an unknown future. She leads her People on a grueling journey through unknown and dangerous lands but an escape path laid out years before by her father as a final desperate means to survival. She is joined by other homeless tribes–from Indonesia, China, South Africa, East Africa, and the Levant—all similarly forced by timeless events to find new lives. As they struggle to overcome treachery, lies, danger, tragedy, hidden secrets, and Nature herself, Xhosa must face the reality that this enemy doesn’t want her People’s land. He wants to destroy her. 

Available on Kindle & as a paperback at :

Amazon UK / Amazon US

Find Jacqui :

Twitter / LinkedIn / Blog / Online resume / Email – askatechteacher@gmail.com

Author bio: 

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the Man vs. Nature saga. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for TeachHUB and NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Quest for Home, Fall 2019. You can find her tech ed books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.

A big thanks to Jacqui for sharing her answers to my prying questions, and I hope you enjoyed a little behind the scenes look at a fellow blogger & successful author 🙂

Caz  ♥



  1. April 11, 2019 / 4:55 pm

    Thank you for introducing me to a new author. I will look out for her books. Prehistoric history sounds fun to write you don’t have to reference your sources.

    • April 11, 2019 / 5:14 pm

      Nice to meet you, Anne. I love writing about this topic. My ancestors strength of will and problem-solving skills shine in everything they accomplish.

  2. April 11, 2019 / 5:13 pm

    Thanks so much for hosting me, Caz. I’m excited to chat with your efriends!

  3. April 11, 2019 / 5:20 pm

    Thanks for this Caz!.x

  4. April 11, 2019 / 6:17 pm

    What a wonderful thing to do, Caz. I really enjoyed this interview.

    • April 11, 2019 / 7:11 pm

      Thanks, Bo. I loved her questions-very pithy.

  5. April 11, 2019 / 6:45 pm

    Thanks for sharing a great interview and introducing me to a new author Caz. When I read that she writes for about 12 hours a day, all I could say was YIKES!!! I can’t imagine writing for that long, even with breaks. Now I have a renewed appreciation for how much work goes into all those books I love to read. 😊

    • April 12, 2019 / 3:49 pm

      My thoughts exactly, yikes! Very commendable, and you’re right about it renewing the appreciation for all the efforts writers put into good books! Thanks for reading & the great comment, Terri 🙂

  6. April 11, 2019 / 7:12 pm

    I do write a lot but it’s varied. I work on freelance articles, nonfic, and my prehistoric fiction. To me, it’s like completely different activities.

  7. April 11, 2019 / 7:29 pm

    This is a terrific article and congrats to Jacqui on her success – especially love the book about her daughter’s journey!

    • April 11, 2019 / 8:16 pm

      Thanks, John. My daughter never thought she had a chance at such an Ivy League-level college but by taking one step at a time, she did it. It changed her life.

  8. April 11, 2019 / 9:24 pm

    This was a very interesting interview.

    • April 11, 2019 / 9:42 pm

      Thanks! Caz did a good job with the questions, didn’t she?

  9. April 12, 2019 / 2:30 am

    I enjoyed reading this. Always good to read more about how people work and play.

    • April 12, 2019 / 2:31 pm

      Isn’t that the truth. I love reading how other authors write. Thanks for visiting, Jo.

    • April 12, 2019 / 3:50 pm

      Me too, I love that inside angle to see behind the scenes a little. Thanks, Jo, glad you enjoyed it! =]

  10. April 12, 2019 / 9:37 am

    Thank you Caz and Jacqui. I love Jacqui’s writing and can highly recommend her books. She is such an inspiring lady.

    • April 12, 2019 / 2:28 pm

      Thanks, Brigid. I do love my topic.

  11. April 12, 2019 / 2:43 pm

    Great interview! I’ve never heard of her, but I’ll be checking out her books for sure!

    • April 12, 2019 / 3:03 pm

      Thanks, Michelle. I’m Indie so all of my marketing is word-of-mouth. Appreciate you visiting!

  12. April 12, 2019 / 6:15 pm

    Excellent Q&A, Cas.

    Have a fabulous day and weekend. ♥

    • April 14, 2019 / 5:12 pm

      Thanks, Sandee, glad you liked it! I hope you’re having a good weekend too 🙂

    • April 14, 2019 / 5:53 pm

      Thanks, Sandee. They were good questions. I had to think through most of them.

  13. April 12, 2019 / 11:03 pm

    Really nice and engaging interview .Glad to meet the author , the book sounds very interesting ! I also loved the tips on how to be structured while working from home .Thanks for sharing.

    • April 13, 2019 / 12:21 am

      Thanks for visiting, Nisha. I love working from home. It is much better than any offsite place I’ve worked!

  14. April 13, 2019 / 12:36 pm

    What a wonderful interview! I loved learning more about Jacqui! She is a fascinating person.

    • April 13, 2019 / 1:48 pm

      She really is, it’s great to get an inside view on her life, motivations, her writing. Thanks Kymber, glad you liked the interview! =]

    • April 13, 2019 / 2:48 pm

      Thanks Kymber–and may I say, I’m really enjoying your Sims story.

      • April 13, 2019 / 3:04 pm

        She’s incredibly talented, isn’t she? And such effort to do all the images, develop the characters and devise the storylines week after week…

  15. April 15, 2019 / 7:50 am

    Thanks for the great interview, Caz. I always love to learn more about one of my favorite bloggers, Jacqui. She’s a busy lady.

    • April 15, 2019 / 3:20 pm

      Thanks for visiting, Jill. This is like having a book reading at a bookstore, afraid no one will show up, and your besties fill the room for you. Hugs.

  16. April 15, 2019 / 8:40 am

    Thank you both so much! This was a lovely way to start my day – and week. I’ve known Jacqui through the blogosphere for a while already and am constantly amazed at her generosity of her time she expends on a wide range of topics. I did not know about your migraines and RA Jacqui and I’m sorry to hear that –

    • April 15, 2019 / 3:30 pm

      Thanks for visiting, Susan. I don’t talk about my infirmities because they’re chronic so it does no good to dwell on them. I’ve worked my life around them. Thanks, though. I do occasionally give up and feel sorry for myself!

      • April 15, 2019 / 4:41 pm

        Thank you for sharing so openly about your conditions, Jacqui. I think that seeing how much you’ve achieved and continue to achieve is inspiring, perhaps even more so for those who have their own desires for writing. That giving up & feeling sorry for yourself part is something we’re all entitled to do every now and then, I think it’s probably a very healthy & important part of our journeys! x

    • April 15, 2019 / 4:39 pm

      It’s great you already know Jacqui, and this interview does give a little bit of a ‘deeper’ look into her life, for which I’m very grateful to her for sharing. Thanks for reading & your wonderful comment, Susan! x

  17. April 15, 2019 / 10:43 am

    Great interview.

    Jacqui, it was a pleasure learning more about you. (And discovering more things we have in common!)

    • April 15, 2019 / 3:37 pm

      I don’t do a lot of interviews, mostly because I find myself fairly boring, but Caz’s approach intrigued me–and I love her blog!

      • April 15, 2019 / 4:37 pm

        Aw thank you – I’m so glad you did the interview for InvisiblyMe! 🙂

  18. April 15, 2019 / 11:06 am

    You can’t find a better writer to interview! Jacqui is great whatever she’s doing – wife, mother, writer, teacher, friend…………

    • April 15, 2019 / 2:24 pm

      Thanks, GP. I have had a full life. Now seems to be the time for writing.

    • April 15, 2019 / 4:36 pm

      Very true, and a glowing comment of praise! Thanks for reading & the comment 🙂

    • April 15, 2019 / 2:27 pm

      My pleasure, Rachel. Enjoy the book!

  19. April 15, 2019 / 12:36 pm

    Great to know you a little bit better, Jacqui. And thanks Caz for hosting this Jacqui interview and your searching questions.

    • April 15, 2019 / 3:38 pm

      I need an interview with you, Ankur. Where did all that clever understated wit come from? Hmm??

    • April 15, 2019 / 3:59 pm

      And thank you very much for reading & taking the time to comment – I’m glad you enjoyed the interview! 🙂

  20. April 15, 2019 / 3:19 pm

    That was a very informative and enjoyable interview.

    • April 15, 2019 / 5:22 pm

      I’m glad you thought so, thanks Darnell! 🙂

    • April 15, 2019 / 5:29 pm

      Thanks so much, Darnell. And thanks for dropping in.

  21. April 15, 2019 / 4:35 pm

    Jacqui, I learned a ton about you as a writer and a person – how have I known you for so long and you were still a stranger? An interesting interview.

    Thank you, Caz, for hosting Jacqui.

    • April 15, 2019 / 5:22 pm

      My pleasure. Glad you got to learn a few new things about Jacqui, too! x

    • April 15, 2019 / 5:29 pm

      I have the same reaction when I read interviews of people I know. How’d I miss that! I give credit to Caz’s interview skills.

  22. April 15, 2019 / 5:51 pm

    Excellent Q & A with Jacqui, Caz! A great and concise summary blurb for Survival of the Fittest, Jacque… Sharing it all!

    • April 17, 2019 / 4:15 pm

      Thank you, Bette – I’m thrilled that you enjoyed it, Jacqui gave some fantastic information on her new book & brilliant answers to my questions! 🙂

    • April 17, 2019 / 5:15 pm

      Thanks for visiting, Bette. Caz was an excellent hostess.

  23. April 15, 2019 / 10:29 pm

    I’m really impressed with how much you get done with your health challenges, Jacqui. My late husband had chronic lung problems and went out less too as his condition got work. His job drained all his energy. Thanks for sharing. It’s very inspiring.

    • April 17, 2019 / 4:16 pm

      I’m sorry about your husband’s lung problems, that must have been incredibly difficult alongside work. Thank you for stopping by and for your kind comment, Natalie. xx

    • April 17, 2019 / 5:17 pm

      I go through that, too. The fatigue is as destructive (to me) as the pain. But what’s a gal (or guy) to do? I bet your husband felt the same way. He and I are both lucky to have understanding and patient spouses!

  24. April 16, 2019 / 12:52 pm

    It was nice learning about Jacqui here – I’m still impressed. I have something that resembles RA and i know it’s not easy. whining didn’t help me either, and i too, was left with overcome or succumb.
    Great post!

    • April 16, 2019 / 3:25 pm

      There are a lot of horrid arthritises that resemble RA. I can probably relate to what you’re going through. I did try whining but not for long. It just isn’t me!

  25. April 16, 2019 / 4:49 pm

    Jacqui is an amazing writer and I think she would be a great teacher as well. I have learned a lot following her blog. Thanks for featuring her here.

    • April 16, 2019 / 9:33 pm

      How nice of you, Darlene! I do love teaching.

  26. April 17, 2019 / 1:07 am

    Great interview Jacqui! I love learning more about the bloggers I follow. 12 hours a day! You go girl!

    • April 17, 2019 / 2:49 pm

      Thanks for visiting, Janet. I can’t believe April is half over–yikes!

  27. April 19, 2019 / 1:35 am

    Great interview! And I didn’t realize your prehistoric novels deal with each of man’s main evolutionary steps. So cool! Now to carve out some time to read…. 😀

    • April 19, 2019 / 2:56 pm

      It took me a while to realize that too, Julie! At first, I was simply writing. Then I realized there was order to my chaos.

  28. April 29, 2019 / 4:38 am

    Very cool interview. thanks for sharing. Wow, 12 hours of writing. I am very impressed and that she can write so many different types of things from blogs, to fiction to a curriculum.

    • April 29, 2019 / 9:39 am

      Very impressive indeed! Glad you liked the interview, Mary – thanks for the comment! =]

    • April 29, 2019 / 2:17 pm

      I do enjoy writing. Almost as much as reading. I can’t say that about any other hobbies.

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