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 :
Find Jacqui :
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 🙂