Interview with Margaret C. Murray

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I was eight years old when I wrote two pages on a small, spiral bound, lined paper notebook after I read The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner, a teacher turned children’s writer. In addition to wanting to be one of the boxcar children, I wanted to write just like the author. I can see those two pages now, sixty years later. And I still believe what I learned then—writing is really hard work.
What is your writing process?
I write from the ground up where my characters live, seeing what they see. With them, I look out and upward, searching for—you could call it spirit, their vision—and from that cloud-spun, high unknown pace, the story emerges. It's a discovery each time I sit down and write, beginning in the same way. It becomes a practice: earth, sky, spirit, story.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
My five favorite books are those I have yet to read which will inspire me to be the writer I love to be, books that will open me up to the magic, mystery and wonder of life. Examples of books that inspired me include: Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky and The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, both of which I adored as a teenager; Dear Life by Alice Munro which I just taught in my From Heart to Paper Writing Workshop, Mercy by Tony Morrison, Atonement by Ian McEwan and Where the Crow Flies by Ann-Marie MacDonald.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Spiral is the prequel to my first book, Sundagger.net. Spiral takes place in the ancient Southwest with Willow, a girl of fourteen, standing at a dry riverbed, searching Chaco Canyon for a famed hunter with whom she’s desperately in love. From the desert floor, Willow shares her anxious expectations with lizards and crows. I use the technique of magic realism to evoke the magic I experienced when I took a trip to the Southwest and saw the ruins of ancient Anasazi in the Four Corners area where Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona meet, When I learned their Great Houses designed to align with the heavens, the equinoxes and solstices, I felt the stirring of an epic adventure that spanned two worlds and two novels.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Why did I launch WriteWords Press? Simply put, I was ready. I have been writing for decades, since I was eight and read The Boxcar Children. .I had studied the great works of English and American literature as an undergraduate and graduate English major and revere the art of fiction writing as a way of seeing beyond ourselves, into the meaning of our lives. I'm addicted to good stories. What's more, I was sick and tired of hoping I’d write the perfect query letter to the understanding agent with a penchant for taking a chance. The truth is I HAD that agent decades ago, a famous agent from New York City who backed off after awhile. No, I was not going to wait any more.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
My greatest joy is to see the pleasure I felt writing the story reflected in the eyes of my readers who share their experience with me.
What do your fans mean to you?
I need them more than they can ever know.
What are you working on next?
I'm re-imagining a novel I began decades ago called Pillow Prayers about three women in San Francisco in the 1970s whose lives intersect at a zen pillow stitchery, owned by one of them, Elizabeth, who kills herself,leaving only her prayers behind.
Published 2015-10-02.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Spiral
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 102,180. Language: English. Published: October 12, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Inspirational, Fiction » Cultural & ethnic themes » Hispanic & Latino
Spiral, a novel of magic realism and epic adventure in the ancient American Southwest. At the end of a culture that built structures as big as the Roman Coliseum when medieval Europe was still in the Dark Ages, on a high desert landscape of brooding wind and dark storm clouds that never drop rain, the Elders threaten to sacrifice an infant boy to placate the sun dagger and thus end the drought.
Dreamers
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 113,560. Language: English. Published: May 3, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Coming of age
It’s the 1960s at the height of the Civil Rights showdown in racist America. Black street-savvy Thomas, desperate for stardom, meets White music student, Annie, desperate for love.
Sundagger.net
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 123,730. Language: English. Published: October 6, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Cultural & ethnic themes » Cultural interest, general, Fiction » Visionary & metaphysical
In Sundagger.net, an unsuspecting Sara McClelland cannot know her hi-tech life is about to collide with an ancient tragedy. Burnt out from her job, haunted by the disappearance of her son, she finds unexpected mystery when she crawls into a sweat lodge. In the hot stones of the Indian lodge, Sara is overcome by a vision of a Native American family who leads her to her own.