Saturday, March 31, 2012

Interview with Murray Pura and giveaway

To be entered for a giveaway for this contest, answer Murray's questions below, and leave a contact email. Void where prohibited by law.

Why do you write the kind of books you do?
*So far as fiction goes, ordinary people caught up in extraordinary circumstances & times has always been my favorite theme. Perhaps it’s a way of wondering, in print, what I would do in the same situations. And also a way of challenging my readers to to think about how they themselves might react.

Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
*And you probably need to count out falling in love with the woman who became my wife or the birth of my children as well. Other than that? Probably the day an editor phoned from Toronto to tell me they wanted to publish my first novel and were offering me a contract. I was ten feet off the ground all week!

How has being published changed your life?
*Eventually it led me into full-time writing which has utterly changed my schedule and my focus and how I spend my months and years. Formerly I was a pastor working with local congregations. Now I write books that people read in the US, Canada, the UK, Australia, even Israel. I chat back and forth with my readers, sometimes about quite serious matters. Publishing completely opened up my world & my ability to interact with others internationally.

What is your current work in progress?
*A story for Harvest House that takes place overseas in the United Kingdom.

What would be your dream vacation?
*Southern France, italy, Greece with acres of sunlight and old stone houses. Other than that? I’d kind of like to hang out at a monastery in the American desert and write something. I wouldn’t say no to Australia or New Zealand or the US Virgin Islands either. But I need a pen and paper wherever I go.

How do you choose your settings for each book?
*I think the idea for the story comes first. That usually sorts out the locations pretty quickly. You know, if I have a story about the American Civil War, a romance, that narrows down my choice of settings. Or of I want to write something with a snowy winter in it because the story needs a snowy winter, well, it’s not going to happen in Hawaii or Florida or Spain. The story idea comes first.

If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
*I’d actually like to talk with Toni Morrison about life and faith and writing. If she’s not available, then I’d like to spend the evening with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, author of Infidel and Nomad.

What three things about you would surprise readers?
*I’ve never owned a laptop. I’ve never tasted Amish food – yet! (But I’ve enjoyed lots of Mennonite food, which is close.) And although I use a desktop most of the time I still write some chapters in longhand, using pen and paper.

What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
*Hiking, wilderness camping, guitar, weight training, star gazing. I want to learn to fly fish this summer as Alberta and Montana are prime fly fishing country.

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it
*When I’m exhausted & physically incapable of writing more that day but still have ideas flowing – what do I do with the hot lava of story that’s still erupting within my mind? That’s when I use pen and paper (because I’m weary of the computer screen by that point) and scribble all the ideas down, even snatches of dialogue and portions of scenes. Then it’s there to consult & get the flow going again the next day.

What are you reading?
*An anthology of poetry from Britain, America and Canada. Poetic images enrich my writing as much as anything else. I’m also reading a book by the English pastor John Stott called The Cross of Christ.

What advice would you give to a beginning author?
*Make sure you write what gives you pleasure. You can switch genres for a publisher or change titles or alter locations but you still have to take pleasure in what you create. Once you start writing only for others, and begin to detest going to the keyboard every day due to that, your days are numbered. Don’t let it happen. If you write well enough they will let you be you. So do that.

Tell us about the book.
*It’s 1917 and it’s a turning point for the Amish. The things that will define them in the 20th and 21st centuries are being decided upon – telephones, electricity, mtorcars, airplanes, modern technology. A young Amish man loves flying and, because his bishop has not yet said no to planes, is given freedom to pursue his dream. His girlfriend loves to fly with him but her parents are against it and work to end the relationship between the two. At the same time, America enters World War One and the Amish are persecuted for not enlisting. The young Amish flier has an opportunity to spare his community further persecution and follows through – he joins the American pilots going to France to fight the air war against Germany. Immediately the Amish, who are pacifists, cut him off, further separating the two lovers. The story is about how they fight to keep their love alive in the midst of war and shunning.

What do you want readers to take away from the book?
*Those who fight for their country’s freedoms by refusing to go to war or rely on violence but choose prayer and worship and love instead are as much patriots as those who bear arms. Such a stance takes real courage just like being a soldier does, especially if society turns against you. In the story, a military unit salutes the Amish community because the soldiers have come to realize this truth.

What one question would you like us to ask your readers?
*What one thing would you really enjoy about being Amish? And what is the biggest thing keeping you back from joining the Amish faith? (so two questions joined at the hip)

Tell us about the giveaway you’re offering.
*Three autographed copies of The Wings of Morning with personal dedications to each of the winners.


Vera said...

Good review and nice giveaway.
godleyv at yahoo [dot] com

Faith Hope Cherrytea said...

What one thing would you really enjoy about being Amish?
the food! ;)

And what is the biggest thing keeping you back from joining the Amish faith?
differences in faith beliefs ~
I'm very much a free spirit

TY for this generosity ! would so luv to rcv your personal dedication in the book ~ lovely! TY ~

Forrest D said...

What one thing would you really enjoy about being Amish?
I would say that what I would really enjoy is the quiet, the lack of all of the modern distractions. I would love the time of reflection that would come naturally from living on a farm with my people. I think it would grant me a greater perspective of what the problems of this world are.

And what is the biggest thing keeping you back from joining the Amish faith?
As much as I think their way of life is incredible, I couldn't stand behind some of their more Pharisaical beliefs. They take the words of law and add so much to them that it is impossible to grow farther than where they have stopped. I think that God wants us to grow and change as culture changes, and we can't do that if we are held back by so many legalistic issues.

I am excited to read this book and get a different perspective on the Amish.

Margaret said...

I think there is a real sense of unity within the Amish community which appeals to me however I like the idea of knowledge and faith being the basis of religion not just faith alone. Thank you for the giveaway! Looks like a wonderful book!


Anne Payne said...

I enjoyed the review and learning more about Murray. I've seen his books around but haven't read one.

The simplicity of the Amish life style would be the biggest draw for me. I love the community of people and how they care for their own, not depending on the gov't etc to provide for their needs.

As an evangelical Christian, the biggest drawback for me would be some of their teachings.

Jackie Tessnair said...

The one thing I love about the their simple life.And the one thing that would hold me back would be the shunning.I could never do that to my family.Great interview.Thanks...Jackie Tessnair at

pwnmom said...

What one thing would you enjoy about the Amish life?: I think the "simplicity" of life and the unity of the people. (I also think those go hand in hand).

What's keeping me from joining?: My very personal relationship with Christ... and not being able to speak German (lol).


Ladette [at]live[dot]com

Johnda S. said...

Nice review. Would love to win one of the books!!

jlscott49 at roadrunner dot com

Lynette Sowell said...

I would definitely appreciate the simplicity...I already love doing "homey" things and with the pace of life now, I have to make plans to do them.

I would have a hard time giving up technology such as Internet, cell phones, and comfy T-shirts and makeup. And not coloring my hair. Okay, giving up "vanity." ~~ :)

CamilleElise said...

Would love to win!


MsRubyKat said...

What one thing would you really enjoy about being Amish?
Learning to quilt.

And what is the biggest thing keeping you back from joining the Amish faith?
Long church services.

Karen Gervais

Wendy Newcomb said...

I like the way they are always there for each other and the faith they show in their lives.

I don't think I could do without the modern conveniences that we have, especially the air conditioning. I know I'm spoiled.

Thank you for this interview and the contest.


by Pegg Thomas said...

I live in an Amish community and have many Amish friends. I admire their dedication to faith, family and church. Not all of them meet the definition of "Christian" as some don't believe in salvation by grace alone, through Christ alone. Like any church anywhere, there are some who play religion and others who live a relationship.

While I could easily be tempted to join the right Amish church, my husband would never give up his TV!

Thanks for entering me in the drawing!
twinwillowsfarm at gmail dot com

lollipops said...

entering for Maxie Anderson

thanks! I love the way the Amish are always helping each other, and their uncomplicated life, tho they do seem to be very busy. I do not like the shunning, so could not be a part of the group. God teaches forgiveness, and this is not it! ( )

Marilynn Walton said...

Perhaps it is the books I have read up to now, but I think I would like the simpleness of the Amish life. So much of this "english" life gets too complicated. But with that said, I think they are a bit too separated from the world, so I would not want that kind of life either.

Barbara Ann said...

Thank you so much for offering this giveaway! I'm happy for the winners but I am happier when it's me!

The one thing I love about the Amish is family. I'm an only child who grew up with three generations under one roof and miss it. My parents & grandparents have all passed and we now live out of state from my aunts, uncles, and cousins.

The things that keep me from joining the Amish faith... air conditioning, my computer, and my kindle.

barbarabeers (at) verizon (dot) net

Patsy said...

The one thing I would enjoy about being Amish is the simple and quiet lifestyle. Now days it seems all we do is hurry, hurry, hurry. I also like the fact that the Amish take care of each other in time of need.

The thing that would hold me back from being Amish is their rules.


Faith Hope Cherrytea said...

as i noticed i hadn't added it to my comment although it is avlbl on blog

Thx Murray for the generosity!
looking fwd to this read - it ties quite closely with mennonite beliefs and backgrnd as you know and are discussions we've had amongst family

Jettie said...

I love reading books about the Amish, and like someone said, if it weren't for Air Conditioning, computer I'd consider the simpler life they lead.

Morganne Jones said...

// to be able to focus on work and play and community -- alone -- would be at times, bliss.
// the inability to change with the culture and move onwards with fresh eyes (= creating art) -- would prevent me from joining the Amish faith.

Unknown said...

I forgot to leave my email. This is Forrest D.