Interview with Barbara Murray

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
In 1965 my girlfriend and I loved The Man From U.N.C.L.E. television show with Robert Vaughn and David McCallum (now on NCIS) the way only twelve-year-old girls who have a crush can love. We wrote an episode we called the Gazebo in The Maze Affair and sent it in. We got an encouraging letter explaining they could not pay or credit us for our story but thanked us for our idea and used the title. We were ecstatic.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I love movies. There is a three-dollar theatre I frequent often. Lately, I have taken to dragging my TV/VCR into the bathroom so I can watch a movie while I soak. Farming is hard work.
This summer I have become an apprentice on an organic farm. I am known as the transplanting queen. This week we dug potatoes and carrots, picked peppers, tomatoes, lemon cucumbers, tomatillos, basil, and melons, plucked onions and beets, and cut kale, rainbow chard and collards.
On the weekends I am working on a sculpture series called, Eat Me. I want to make life size vegetable people based on signature food (food that looks like the body part it benefits, example –walnuts are good for your brain). I also love dancing, reading, listening to music and cooking.
What is your writing process?
I always have a journal that is a sketchbook. I started the practice in art school. It contains writings, pictures, movie receipts, jokes, jots and sketches. When I start a story I write on yellow legal pads with a pen. I used to use a pencil but then I found myself erasing. It works better to commit with the pen and use a simple crossing out so I can still read what I eliminate. I then transfer the story to the computer editing as I go. If I get stuck I’ll refer back to the legal pad or consult my journal for inspiration. The next step is to print out my writing and read it out loud. It helps to edit the rhythm of the work.
Describe your desk
My desk is a piece of glass on a metal frame with a sliding keyboard rest. It is dominate by a large screen Mac. Behind the screen is my wooden back scratcher and index box of needed notes and passwords. To the right is a vase I made on the potter's wheel and then finished with a Copper Raku glaze that sparkles in the light of my black desk lamp like the one in the Pixar logo. It is filled with pens and pencils, a metal ruler, fabric scissors, blue tinted sunglasses, markers, charcoal pencils, technical pens, China markers, tiny scissors, yellow highlighter pens, a knife, a paint brush and a utility knife. In front of the lamp are magnify glasses, a rock from my last walk on the Columbia River, and a Texas Instrument calculator. To the left of my desk my iPhone is charging on top of a stack of four DVD’s: Secretariat, Holes, Boondock Saints and The Count of Monte Cristo.
What's the story behind your latest book?
The Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski, killed my brother Gilbert. Two years ago when they auctioned Teddy-K’s possessions, I went nuts. Then I found a great therapy called EMDR, the number one cure for post-traumatic stress. I am a nurse and I did not know about this wonderful, natural cure. I also started memoir therapy. As a Hospice nurse I understand the healing aspects of telling one’s story. The book evolved from my sessions as my focus changed from anger to family. Then, to my surprise, I found the daughter I gave up for adoption forty years ago. It’s a great story and I tell it from the beginning when I ran away from home six months pregnant, ending up in Otto Preminger’s old 28 bedroom house he donated to The Big Sister League. My daughter wanted to go to Disneyland for our first birthday together since her birth. We were standing in line and she asks, “When was the last time you were at Disneyland?” I had moved to North Carolina; it was Disney World territory. I thought and replied, “Forty one years ago when I was pregnant at prom with you.” Talk about coming around full circle. I completed the book this year so I could send it to her on her birthday, September 11th. It was the perfect end to the surprise party her husband gave her, complete with Hawaiian martinis. The act of writing the book was healing. I have gone from wanting to renew my nursing license to give the lethal injection had Kaczynski gotten the death penalty to just wanting the man to be known by the cute name, Teddy-K. Is that successful therapy or what?! Others deserve happiness and I hope my book can give them hope that it is out there.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Mark Coker is the reason I am an indie author. I saw him give a presentation at a writer’s conference in San Diego, California. He was humble, honest, refreshing, inspiring and informative. His casual manner fostered his passion for self-publishing. And we feel the same way about soap operas.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy of writing for me is the connection that happens. I love words and word play but putting my written words out there creates a vulnerable zone of uncomfortable feelings. I can not control how people will take what I say or if they will get my meaning. But when they do and we connect, it’s a wow on the joy scale.
What are you working on next?
I have two books started. One is called Gives Me Goose Bumps. It is a collection of short stories from my twenty-five years of Hospice experience, helping people at the Spiritual Gate. I tell a story about angels and when someone tells me one in return, if it gives me goose bumps, it makes the book. The other book is called, Potlucky: The ABC’s of Sweet Sister Marijuana Cookbook. It is also based on my medical experience.
Published 2013-09-22.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Crock-It
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 14,270. Language: English. Published: October 14, 2013. Categories: Nonfiction » Cooking, Food, Wine, Spirits » Methods / slow cooking
Crock-It is a sweet book of homey recipes for the slower cooker. A family-style, budget-minded collection of crockery cooking using everyday foods. Buldging with quick and easy recipes for one-pot meals, it is a practical reference for busy moms. If you want to save time cooking... Crock-It.
Transition: A Guide Booklet for the End of Life
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 3,310. Language: English. Published: August 5, 2013. Categories: Nonfiction » Health, wellbeing, & medicine » Reference, Nonfiction » Health, wellbeing, & medicine » Pain management
This ebooklet changes a frightening event into a poignant experience. It is a simple, easy to understand explanation of the shut down process associated with death. The emotional aspects, physical considerations as well as suggestions for children are all included. Used by so many Hospice organizations for years, I promised I would keep it in circulation.
A Sister's Memoir: Surviving The Unabomber's Last Blast
Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 92,770. Language: English. Published: September 11, 2013. Categories: Nonfiction » Biography » Autobiographies & Memoirs
Kaczynski or Teddy-K as Barb likes to call him, murdered her brother. As a hospice nurse, she thought her grief was handled. The auction of Unabomber’s possessions in 2011 spiked her anger, again. But Barb got help. She shares her journey with a profound sense of humor and an honest look at life. Along with recipes in her memoir, she added a dash of hope, a scoop of anger and a pinch of revenge.