What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
I primarily teach grad school online so much of my non-writing time is spent preparing for the classes, grading, or interacting with my students. Other than that, I do a lot of freelance work revolving around technology in education, writing for corporations, ezines, and other online websites
You’re invited to a dinner party are you:
Off in a corner talking to one or two people—I’m probably chatting with a few people but doing more listening than talking. I consider myself rather boring so enjoy digging into the interesting stuff others do!
What common traps do aspiring writers fall into?
Thinking they don’t need some sort of guidance with their writing is a biggy. I’ll give you an example. There are tons of genres in writing and each has a set of rules that make the genre what readers expect. One might be thrillers where you must have a bigger-than-life flawed hero who regularly does the impossible with humility. Readers will be bored with a bumbling hero who stumbles into his victories—or doesn’t even succeed.
Do you view fellow authors as competitors, allies or are there some combination of the two? Why?
I can’t imagine considering them anything but allies. It’s not like there’s a finite number of readers that must be divided among the available books. Not at all! There are so many readers out there, good books will always find an audience.
Are there any authors whose work you admired at first that you then grew to dislike?
Yes! Patricia Cornwell. I loved her early Kay Scarpetta books. They were almost procedurals in forensic medicine. But she seemed to lose her way, spending way too much time in later books on feelings and emotions rather than action. Sad…
What marketing technique have you found to be the most effective? Ineffective?
The most effective marketing for me is through my blogs—developing a community, getting to know other bloggers who help me spread the word about my books (as I do for them). The most ineffective has been every single technique I ever paid for. That includes Amazon ads, paid marketing, ad placement on websites—nothing like that has ever worked.
What comes first in your writing, the plot or the characters?
Since my books are plot-driven, it’s definitely the plot. The characters are important and they drive plot development but the story revolves around the action that is taking place rather than the thoughts of the characters or their personal growth (though I do include both of those).
Describe your writing space.
I love where I write. I have a big wrap-around desk with two monitors and room for my iPad, Surface Pro, and smartphone (for research and virtual chats). Behind me are all of my writing and research books—shelves of them. All I have to do is swivel and I can put my fingers on my Urban Thesaurus or a book of character traits to inspire me.
What tools do you use to write? (Computer, notebook, software, etc.)
I write directly to a computer, mostly in Word. I have rheumatoid arthritis so my hands don’t work too well. Handwriting is a disaster. I draft, write, edit, and finish on my desktop computer.
What book(s) are you currently reading?
I’m currently binging on Westerns. I like the black-and-white characters, bias for action, and outdoors survivalist settings. They inspire me for the prehistoric fiction trilogies I currently write. I’m a whale reader so I consume these Westerns—up to six a week. There are a few Western authors getting rich off of me!
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 Born in a Treacherous Time, first in the Man vs. Nature saga. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, an adjunct professor, an Amazon Vine Voice, columnist for TeachHUB and NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Survival of the Fittest, March 2019. You can find her tech ed books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning
Find Jacqui’s Books:
To Hunt a Sub
From Kindle https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01K7VSPBW
From Kindle https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072NZF8N8/
Born in a Treacherous Time
From Kindle https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CTCR944
Survival of the Fittest
Coming in March to Kindle
Building a Midshipman
From Amazon (print only) https://www.amazon.com/Building-Midshipman-Jacqui-Murray/dp/0978780086/
Connect with Jacqui:
Personal blog: Jacqui Murray’s WordDreams
Online resume: Jacqui Murray