Writer Wednesday: Meet Novelist Murray Pura

I’m excited to have Murray Pura as my guest today. Murray, who writes in a number of genres, is the author of the January release in Barbour’s new Destination Romances line, A Bride’s Flight from Virginia City, Montana.

Murray was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, and has traveled extensively throughout Canada, the United States, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Ordained as a Baptist minister in 1986, he’s served five churches in Canada and headlined numerous speaking engagements in Canada and the U.S. He recently left the pulpit to write full-time.

Murray has four novels published, as well as two sets of short stories, three non-fiction works, inclusion in two anthologies, and commentary work with Richard J. Foster. He has five more contracted books at various stages of the publishing process, including his Amish romance, Wings of Morning, that will be released by Harvest House in February. He was a contributor to the Life With God Bible, has been a finalist for The Paraclete Fiction Award, The Dartmouth Book Award, and The John Spencer Hill Literary Award, and has been shortlisted for the prestigious 2010 Kobzar Literary Award of Canada.

Now that we’ve had a brief introduction, let’s learn a little more about Murray and his writing.

The stereotypical romance writer is female, so I’m impressed when I find a man who has embraced the genre. What do you see as the challenges and benefits of being a male romance writer?

I have a mother, a sister, a wife, and a daughter, and I have worked alongside female colleagues since I was young. So as a male romance writer my challenge is to reflect what I have seen and learned of the wonderful women in my life in the female characters I portray, especially the heroine. The advantage is, as someone looking in on the female heart and spirit from the outside, I see and value and highlight things that women writers might overlook or take for granted and so not portray. Women, in their strength and depth and mind and soul, are fascinating and I want to express as much of that as I can in my writing.

A number of your stories deal with the Amish faith. What is your experience with the Amish, and what aspects of the religion do you find most appealing?

In southern Manitoba, just north of Minnesota and the Dakotas, I grew up and went to college with a lot of Mennonite youth and, for a time, was a member of a Mennonite church. Since the Amish and Mennonites share a common heritage I learned a lot about the Amish from my Mennonite friends. What is most appealing to me in the Mennonite and Amish traditions are the emphases on community, on truly taking care of one another, and their stance against solving matters with retribution or conflict. They really do turn the other cheek.

You’ve explored many parts of the world. Of all the places you’ve visited, which was your favorite, and why?

Oh, boy. Let’s divide that up into regions. If I’m in America, I love the beaches and jungles of Florida, the rugged grandeur of the southwest that includes New Mexico, Arizona, and California, and the green lushness and friendliness of the Deep South. Overseas, I love the landscape and people of the UK (the English, Irish, Scots, and Welsh), the desert and palm beauty of Israel and the spirit of the Israelis, and I am staggered by the power of the Himalayan Mountains in Nepal. I’m one of those persons that is fascinated by many cultures and climates and landforms, though I must say I rest most easily where there is an abundance of light.

You describe yourself as a mountain man, which leads me to believe you like the outdoors as well as adventure. What are your favorite outdoor activities?

We have two wonderful Alaskan Malamutes and I love to run them in all kinds of weather – we see so much wildlife on our daily excursions. Hiking and camping are big deals and so is wilderness photography. Going far into the backcountry is one of the most peaceful and restoring things I know and I do it whenever I can. We live right by the Rocky Mountains so you don’t have to go far to get into true wilderness. A man can pray anywhere, but there is something about meeting Christ among the deep forests and tall peaks and fast rivers that is special.

If we were to take a peek in your garage, what would we learn about you?

Lol. If at night, you’d have to pet the Malamutes who have their bed in one corner right by the wood box – and the wood box is there because we have a stove in the living room that takes the edge off cold winter days. All the sleeping bags and camping gear would tell you we like to tent in out-of-the-way places. The gun safe would make it clear we like target shooting, black powder and western re-enactment, and the occasional hunt to feed the family. You’d see our recycling bin, the oil painting sets for out-of-doors, my workbench and tools, the flags of Canada and the USA hanging together, and our Christmas decorations and the children’s keepsakes stored in Roughneck boxes. I guess you’d learn a lot about what makes me and mine tick.

Murray’s Question for You

Outside of things like a strong Christian faith, courage, and, I suppose, good looks, what are the three qualities you most admire and want to see in your male heroes?

Learn About A Bride’s Flight from Virginia City, Montana

Join the chase as an unlikely foursome, threatened by a ruthless gang of ne’er-do-wells, strives to reach safety. Montana ranchers Zephaniah Parker and Charlotte Spence are determined to get two Amish children, who witnessed their family’s massacre, back home to relatives in Pennsylvania. Will they succumb to the plans of blood-thirsty outlaws or reach Bird-in-Hand alive?

Along the treacherous trek, Charlotte and Zephaniah’s friendship blossoms into love. Will wedding bells soon chime, or will Charlotte’s startling admission forever silence potential peals? How will God redeem outlaws and law-abiding citizens in this epic Old West adventure?

• • •

To learn more about Murray, visit his website, personal blog, and Facebook group page.

He’s also a contributing member of Amish Reader.com, sponsored by Harvest House.

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About Keli Gwyn

I'm an award-winning author of inspirational historical romance smitten with the Victorian Era. I'm currently writing for Harlequin's Love Inspired Historical line of wholesome, faith-filled romances. My debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, was released July 1, 2012. I'm represented by Rachelle Gardner of Book & Such Literary. I live in a Gold Rush-era town at the foot of the majestic Sierras. My favorite places to visit are my fictional worlds, other Gold Country towns and historical museums. When I'm not writing I enjoy taking walks, working out at Curves™ and reading.
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26 Responses to Writer Wednesday: Meet Novelist Murray Pura

  1. Wendy says:

    Oh man, I wish I had better photography skills. Great interview. Especially like the garage question and what a unique perspective on writing romance.

    Hmm…male characters. I’ll take mine with confidence, direction, and a side of thoughtfulness. 😉
    ~ Wendy

  2. Love the interview! I love a male hero with humor, sensitivity, and a quiet confidence in who he is.

  3. bethkvogt says:

    I liked the garage question too. And I kinda perked up when the words “gun safe” showed up, since my husband is shopping for one right now. Any recommendations? 😉
    Male characters? I like them strong … but tender — like my husband. He’s a great resource for keeping my male characters true to life. Gives me some of my best lines!
    Great interview, Keli!

    • Murray Pura says:

      Bethkvogt, you don’t need overkill, but make sure the safe is one he can move around, when it’s empty, without calling in the Marines. I also prefer a key to a combination (so long as they give you two keys). However I wish I had gotten one a bit bigger rather than a bit smaller. It’s cramped now. Cheers.

  4. Katie Ganshert says:

    Great question! Hmmmm….

    I admire, like Wendy, confidence. I admire compassion. And a sense of humor!

  5. Lynn says:

    Ah…a fellow Canadian! And a male romance writer! I’m intrigued! Thank you for the interview. I love being in the wilderness of the Rockies with camera in hand. So, any male character that has hiking boots, dress shoes, and cowboy boots in his closet is a favourite of mine.

  6. Keli, what a great interview! Loved learning more about Murray and his work.

    Fave characteristics in male heroes? Spiritual maturity, confident (but not overbearing), and a funnybone. Oh, and definitely love chivalry. Someone who opens doors for ladies and practices the art of being a gentleman scores major brownie points. Like my husband. 🙂

  7. I really enjoyed this interview especially because one of my books I wrote had a male romance writer in it and I wanted to see if why he did it lined up with what I’d put:)) Thanks for interviewing him!

  8. Great interview! I want a male character to have a witty sense of humor and a loyal heart.

  9. Thanks for introducing us to Murray, Keli. I like the comment about living near the Rocky Mountains. I can see Pikes Peak from my house, and this environment does make you feel closer to God. It is majestic and serene.

    Congratulations on the awards and new releases, Murray!

    • Murray Pura says:

      Thanks, Brandi. I have been to Denver a number of times, most notably in 99, and it is a quick flight from Calgary (the two cities have a lot in common). I remember Pike’s Peak very well. I have done speaking engagements & readings there. Blessings!

  10. Great interview! I’m in FL and can attest to its value. Heeheee, especially in January. Malamutes are beautiful dogs. Congrats on your sales!
    Something I love in heroes is persistence. 🙂
    I’ve seen your name on Les Stobbe’s website. Very cool that you have so much going on and I’m looking forward to checking out your books.

    • Murray Pura says:

      Hey, thanks, Jessica! My wife’s parents used to have a place in Bradenton, just south of Tampa and St. Pete’s, and that’s where we hung out. Who knew there were so many different kinds of palm trees? Or that sand could look like vanilla fudge? Or that a certain gleam in the creek water was not a piece of glass or a marble but an eyeball belonging to a very big alligator? Florida’s great. Want to see the Florida Keys next, but don’t want to be arrested by Horatio. ;o)

  11. Anonymous says:

    Sense of humour: #1! My hubby’s ability to laugh at himself attracted me to him (we met on a very long hike, back in 1990 when we were young and fit), and during some dark days these 21 years that very humour has sustained us. I also appreciate loyalty–what girl doesn’t?–and basic kindness. When a man displays life’s common courtesies it always impresses me. Is that becoming more rare this generation? Two more: wordplay and reading together, aloud or side by side from separate books. Thanks, Murray: blessings as you write. Readers, enjoy!

  12. Elaine Phillips says:

    Sorry–didn’t mean to be anonymous above, Murray. EMP here. I’ll try that again. 😉

  13. i’m with the other ladies…humor and ability to laugh at himself is important. i also admire a man who respects women. not necessarily just being chivalrous, thought that’s part of it. i also admire integrity. a man who is honest and forthright, who the heroine could be proud to stand by.

    growing up, my dog slept by the “wood box” too. it helped that the fireplace was on the other side of the wall and gave out a lot of heat to keep her warm during the winter on the back porch. brought back memories……

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