An Interview with Jacqui Murray

Presenting an interview with Jacqui Murray, long-time e-friend, prolific author, teacher and much more, as she gets ready to launch “Against All Odds,” Book 3 in the Crossroads series of the Man vs. Nature series, as Xhosa’s extraordinary prehistoric saga concludes, filled with hardship, courage, survival, and family.

Against All Odds

This comes close on the heels of “The Quest for Home,” the second book in the trilogy, which was launched in September last year.

About 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 adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for  NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Laws of Nature, Book 2 in the Dawn of Humanity trilogy, Winter 2021.

The Interview

Thank you Jacqui for finding the time during a period of intense activity as you get ready to launch your new book. I am curious to know more about it.

It’s great to be with you today, Ankur, on your amazing blog. I always enjoy your dry sense of humor on topics everyone around the world can relate to. I’ll do my best to answer your questions.

Does your chosen genre, prehistoric thrillers, make it easier or more difficult to create the atmosphere in the story? After all, people don’t really know what it was like then. But equally, neither do you. Not even Google perhaps.

As you say, little is known about time before man kept records. To build a world that readers believe in, want to travel in, I must rely on ‘paleo’ subjects like paleoclimatology, paleogeology, paleoanthropology that look at what nature has preserved for us. We know some about the climate back then from ocean coring that reveals the world thousands and millions of years in the past. We know something about life by analyzing remnants of teeth and bones, their placement and what surrounded them. But it is complicated. I researched as much as I could (each book includes a bibliography of my sources so readers can find out more on varied subjects) and then logically extrapolated what that ancient world would have been like. My job was to create a picture that prehistoric fiction readers could lose themselves in and that armchair paleoanthropologists wouldn’t snicker over. This is one of the reasons the first few books took so long to write!

Relentless pace. Book 2 in September last year. Book 3 in September this year. The Rowe-Delamagente thrillers just before that, Building a Midshipman somewhere in between, Dawn of Humanity trilogy in the works. That is an awesome level of creativity and output. How do you motivate yourself to write and write and write?

The simple answer is, it’s what I do, for about 12 hours a day. It used to be a hobby and now it’s my favorite pastime. I love the research, the outlining, the editing, the mixing it up with other Indie authors, the countless online conversations with fellow writers. My characters romp through my head and give me ideas. They even wake me at night to tell me what they’re going to do next. It might sound annoying but I love it.

When you started this series, have elements of the story changed from the original plan till the time you published the third book. Based on later discoveries? Based on feedback from the first book? If yes, how and why.

That’s a resounding yes. I’ll give you two examples. The trilogy I just completed—Crossroads—was originally a long book I broke into two. I planned to end the second book in a place where early research told me they could exist. But when I scratched just a little bit below the surface of that location (to wrap up the final chapters), I found it was nothing like what I expected. That made Book 3, Against All Odds, easy (and gave me its title).

Another epiphany: I originally was simply writing prehistoric fiction, about man’s evolution. Just recently, I realized that my subconscious was selecting seminal times in man’s evolution where we would either prevail or disappear. The first trilogy—Dawn of Humanity—is set in the time when man first differentiated himself from his cousins, the apes. The second trilogy, Crossroads, digs into how and why man developed so many of the skills that allowed him to prevail in his dangerous world—like sophisticated tools, clothing, fire, a bias for action, balancing ‘instinct’ with ‘thoughtful decision’.  The next trilogy will be that time 70,000 years ago when man almost became extinct. I am really excited to figure that one out! I mean, why didn’t we disappear?

What next Jacqui? This series is wrapped up. What can your readers expect from you next?

I need to finish the Dawn of Humanity trilogy. There are amazing evolutionary events going on in South Africa 1.8 million years ago that Book 1, Born in a Treacherous Time, didn’t have a chance to touch on. I’m outlining it this month and loving what I see. Then I’ll either do the second trilogy of Crossroads (spoiler: I left Book 3 on a cliffhanger) or go to that time 70,000 years ago when modern man almost went extinct. That’s pretty intriguing, isn’t it? I’d love if your readers would tell me what they’d like to read next, in the comments.

In conclusion, what would be your suggestions to budding, aspiring and struggling writers?

Keep writing. Don’t quit after one book—write at least three. Talk with other Indie authors—build your network. And finally, write what you love.

Thank you, Jacqui. I wish you success with this book, equalling and exceeding that of your previous books. I look forward to reading it soon.

About the Book

A million years of evolution made Xhosa tough but was it enough? She and her People finally reach their destination—a glorious land of tall grasses, few predators, and an abundance that seems limitless, but an enemy greater than any they have met so far threatens to end their dreams. If Xhosa can’t stop this one, she and her People must again flee.

The Crossroads trilogy is set 850,000 years ago, a time in prehistory when man populated most of Eurasia. He was a violent species, fully capable of addressing the many hardships that threatened his survival except for one: future man, a smarter version of himself, one destined to obliterate all those who came before.

From prehistoric fiction author Jacqui Murray comes the unforgettable saga of a courageous woman who questions assumptions, searches for truth, and does what she must despite daunting opposition. Read the final chapter of her search for freedom, safety, and a new home.

Against All Odds video

(click on image above to play the book trailer video)

Where is the Book available

Available digitally (print soon) at: Kindle US   Kindle UK   Kindle CA   Kindle AU

Social Media Links

Amazon Author Page:        https://www.amazon.com/Jacqui-Murray/e/B002E78CQQ/

Blog:                                      https://worddreams.wordpress.com

Instagram:                            https://www.instagram.com/jacquimurraywriter/

LinkedIn:                              http://linkedin.com/in/jacquimurray

Pinterest:                              http://pinterest.com/askatechteacher

Twitter:                                 http://twitter.com/worddreams

Website:                                https://jacquimurray.net

 

 

Our Books, My Stories

My stories made it to two books that have been published recently. Both are collections of stories contributed by different people, and related to their own life and experiences.

What is common between the contributors in the two books and in each book? They are all alumni of the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), the coveted institution of higher learning dedicated to business education.

In “A Chapter Out of My Life,” the contributors are drawn from different IIMs, from different cohorts in different years.

In “Reflections,” they are all a part of the same cohort, the batch of 1987, who spent the same two years at the IIM in Ahmedabad.

What is common between the two books? I believe I am the only author contributing to both.

Over to the books then. If you do read them, please try to leave a ‘Review’ on either Goodreads or Amazon or any place online you are comfortable with.

1. A Chapter Out Of My Life: Gems from the lives of ordinary people

A Chapter

This has been published by Salil Agrawal, a senior by a few years from IIM Ahmedabad and the founder president of IIMAGES which is a society of the alumni of IIMs. He has been instrumental in creating the ‘network’ impact of the IIM alumni and hence, in many ways, the most suitable person for putting together a book of this nature. The contributors have been drawn from different IIMs, from different cohorts in different years.

In Salil’s words:

“There are extraordinary people and then there are ordinary people. People like you and me. People who are accomplished in their own way and who have had interesting lives. But they are not extraordinary, they are not celebrities. Their stories do not get published even though they are very inspirational.

This book brings to you stories from the lives of nineteen such wonderful people. All of them are alumni of Indian Institutes of Management. They write about an experience from their life that made a difference to them.

These stories will be very useful for younger readers – management grads in the first few years of their career, students of management, those aspiring to do an MBA and also those planning to join the corporate world in the near future.”

Kindle edition on Amazon India (Rs. 49- with proceeds to charity): https://bit.ly/sllbk1

Kindle edition on Amazon US ($0.65): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B087XBMWBL

Paperback anywhere: still to be released

2. Reflections: Life Reloaded. Class of ‘87

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This has been published by Sanjeev Kotnala, a classmate at IIM Ahmedabad, from the 1985-87 batch that graduated in 1987. The contributors are all classmates of ours. People who spent the same two years of their life in the hallowed precincts of IIM Ahmedabad, pursuing an MBA programme, amid the iconic exposed brick architecture of Louis Kahn.

Sanjeev is the founder of INTRADIA World and a Marketing and Branding professional devoted to enhancing potential and capabilities of clients’ team. He runs 2-day workshops on Ideation and Innovation and is a certified NLP practitioner and an ICF accredited life, Mid-life transition and Master Spirit Coach.

In Sanjeev’s words:

“Eighteen Authors, from CLASS OF 1987, IIM Ahmedabad, share more than 28 real impact stories from professional and personal life. These are small, compelling incidents that challenged their thinking, making an impact in their lives.

Read their ‘aapbeethi’ (self-experiences) as they transparently open up to allow you a behavioristic peek into their lives.

Yes, you can question their Approach and Learning, or maybe you could end up questioning your approach to life. Who knows, which incident here mirror’s your life and touches a chord? Why wait for Self Experience when others’ experience can help guide your approach.

What you gain from these stories presented in five sections; ‘Business’, ‘People’, ‘Encounter’, ‘Life’, and ‘Institute’, is all up to you. Happy reading.”

Kindle edition on Amazon India (Rs. 199-): https://amzn.to/2RsA3Ln

Paperback on Amazon India (currently out of print): https://amzn.to/36qDYg3

 

The Quest for Home – Virtual Book Launch

I am thrilled to announce the launch of her new book by my long time blogging friend and popular author Jacqui Murray.

The Quest for HomeQuest for Home

Chased by a ruthless and powerful enemy, Xhosa flees with her People, leaving behind her African homeland, leading her People on a gruelling journey through unknown and perilous lands. As they struggle to overcome treachery, lies, danger, tragedy, hidden secrets, and Nature herself, Xhosa must face the reality that her most dangerous enemy isn’t the one she expected. It may be one she trusts with her life. 

The story is set 850,000 years ago, a time in prehistory when man populated Eurasia. He was a violent species, fully capable of addressing the many hardships that threatened his survival except for one: future man, the one destined to obliterate any who came before.

Based on a true story, this is the unforgettable saga of hardship and determination, conflict and passion as early man makes his way across Eurasia, fleeing those who would kill him. He must be bigger-than-life, prepared time and again to do the impossible because nothing less than the future of mankind is at stake.

This is Book 2 in the Crossroads series, part of the Man vs. Nature saga (Genre: Prehistoric fiction), and is available at:

Kindle US   Kindle UK   Kindle CA   Kindle AU

About Jacqui and how to reach her:

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  NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, In the Footsteps of Giants, Winter 2020, the final chapter in the Crossroads Trilogy.  

Amazon Author Page:        https://www.amazon.com/Jacqui-Murray/e/B002E78CQQ/

Blog:                                       https://worddreams.wordpress.com

Instagram:                             https://www.instagram.com/jacquimurraywriter/

LinkedIn:                                http://linkedin.com/in/jacquimurray

Pinterest:                                http://pinterest.com/askatechteacher

Twitter:                                   http://twitter.com/worddreams

Website:                                 https://jacquimurray.net

Jacqui will be visiting blogs September 16th – 30th to chat about The Quest for Home. She answers some questions about the book here.

  1. What’s the relationship between Xhosa (and Homo erectus) and animals?

Early man had no idea animals weren’t simply another intelligent creature who spoke a different language. Why would they think differently? Man wasn’t the alpha in this environment. Mammoth or Sabretooth were. Man thought he could learn from these animals and become stronger. He respected them.

  1. What one characteristic would you say allowed Xhosa to survive in a world populated with Sabretooth Cats, violent volcanoes, and predatory species who liked to eat man?

 Really, with our thin skin, dull teeth, and tiny claws (aka fingernails), Xhosa had no right to survive against the thick-skinned mammoth or tearing claws of the great cats of that time. But she did. The biggest reason: Even then, Xhosa and her kind were problem solvers. They faced crises and came up with solutions. Where most animals spent their time eating and sleeping, Xhosa had time left over. This, she used to solve problems.

To me, that thoughtful approach to living, one no other animal exhibits, is why we came to rule the planet.

Here’s wishing success to Jacqui Murray and The Quest for Home.

 

Book Review: Twenty-four Days

Another thriller from my long-time blogging friend Jacqui Murray hits the stands.

With Twenty-four days, Jacqui builds on and enhances the genre of “technical thriller” that she introduced in “To Hunt A Sub”.

With a daughter in the Navy and son in the Army, Jacqui is already uniquely qualified to deliver the military thriller. Add to that her work of writing tech-in-ed columns and a personal interest in thrillers, and the combination becomes even more potent. Now top it off with the detailed research that has perhaps gone into the book which allows the reader to sail through the book without questioning the events and technology and science in it.

The tale leaves the reader panting as it sweeps across the world from America through Europe and Mid-East to the Far-East and back. And as it switches between human and artificial intelligence. And ideologies and faiths.

Jacqui’s is a fresh voice in the world of thrillers that needs to be heard by everyone who has interest in the genre.

 Available at: Kindle USKindle UKKindle Canada, Structured Learning.