Chat With the Author of Building a Midshipman

July 14, 2010

Brandi Drury is the propprietor of a lovely blog, BK Walker’s Muse. She wanted to interview me about my career in writing and two of my books that are aimed at kids. We have a wonderful chat, which you can read at Tech Talk with Author Jacqui Murray. While you’re there, spend some time wandering through her other posts. You won’t regret it.

I want to thank Brandi for taking the time to chat with me and post my work on her blog. Here’s an excerpt:

Tech Talk with Author Jacqui Murray

Today my guest is Jacqui Murray.  Thank you for stopping in Jacqui.  Please tell us a little about yourself……

I was born in Berkley California to Irish-German parents. After receiving a BA in Economics, another in Russian and an MBA, I spent twenty years in a variety of industries while raising two children and teaching evening classes at community colleges. Now, I live with my husband, adult son and two beautiful Labradors and I write. I write how-books, five blogs on everything from the USNA to tech to science, and a column for the Examiner on tech tips.

Oh. I also write books.

What inspired you to pen your first title?

My non-fictions books are all inspired by similar circumstances. When my daughter wanted a book on how to get into the Naval Academy, all she could find were books that told her how hard it was, how selective they were, how very few could achieve it. My daughter brushed them off, but I wondered how many kids would be discouraged by that approach and decided to write a book explaining how to achieve the goal, not why kids couldn’t. I stressed how teens can solve the problems that stood in their way rather than why they couldn’t, how they could get where they wanted to go rather than why they couldn’t get there. That worked for my daughter and I had no doubt it would work for others. From what I hear from readers, it’s true.
My tech workbooks are the same. When I went back to teaching, I could find no workbooks for teaching technology to K-5. There were how-tos, but not geared for students of that age group. So I decided to write them. I geared the books for parents with nominal computer skills, homeschoolers and lab specialists. It outlines the method I use in my classes that gets kids from the most basics of computer skills in kindergarten to Photoshop by fifth grade. I’m not surprised that the method works, and is now being used in school districts all over the country.

How long have you been writing?

About twelve years.

What was the hardest part about writing this particular novel?

Marketing it. I love everything about writing, even when I hate it. But selling my stuff—that’s difficult. Publishers don’t do that much any more, so it’s up to me to get the word out. The internet’s great for that, as well as social networks, blogs, websites, and Virtual Tours, of course.

Have any dreams been realized as a result of your writing?

A big part of writing my tech workbooks was to organize my thoughts so I could teach the material better. That has worked so very well. I find that having a plan, like a map, never fails to get my students to the finish line. I hear this over and over from parents, that they can’t believe how much their kids have accomplished in my classes. Well, that’s because we know where we’re going and we know how to get there. It sounds simple, but how often does it not happen in tech classes.

Where do you hope to take your writing in the future?

I am working on a fiction series. I love science and want to pass that passion on to students, so my fiction endeavors have that goal in mind. My first fiction novel, To Hunt a Sub, is a techno-thriller about nefarious characters using brainy science to steal America’s Trident submarines and how an equally-brainy female grad student stops them. It won the Southern California Writers Conference Outstanding Fiction Award last year and is in the final stages of rewrite. I have an excerpt available on Scribd.com.

What advice do you have for writer’s just starting out?

My advice is to write to your passion. That’s a little different from write what you know, but in my experience, research fills in the knowledge gaps and gives the author so much more in the writing experience. So, I love finding topics that fascinates me, researching them and weaving them into an inspiring story. If you can do that, you’ll never worry about getting rejected by agents or not getting published because you’ll already have gotten so much more than you gave out of your writing.

Anything else you would like to share with us today?……

Please feel free to send me any questions, ideas, your own tips, at my tech blog (AskATechTeacher) or my Naval Academy blog(USNAorBust). My books are available at: Amazon.com and the publisher’s websitewww.structuredlearning.net). The ebooks are available on www.Scribd.com


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