Friday, February 22, 2013

Murray Pura’s Writing Inspiration

Murray Pura
While traveling the road to publication, story ideas may come to us in a variety of ways. We see things take place around us, overhear conversations, and watch news reports. Personal experiences may also be used to develop story lines and characters. Today on Seriously Write, author Murray Pura shares what has inspired him during his own writing journey. ~ Dawn

Murray Pura’s Writing Inspiration

Writing Ashton Park was the convergence of many roads in my life onto one main road that became the novel. I created characters that were like the many English and Irish people I had met over the years. The landscapes of both England and Ireland I knew and into the story they went. I have many Anglican friends and I popped them into the mix too – people like J.I. Packer, persons committed to the Christian faith, full of courage but also full of grace and good will, happy to debate theology with you as well as share a cup of tea.

 I knew what had happened in Ireland in the 1920s – uprisings and revolution – and that became one of the major themes in Ashton Park. I knew what had happened in France and Belgium between 1914 and 1918 too – on the ground, in the air, at sea, and all that went into the story. One of the three sons would be a British soldier stationed in Dublin, another a pilot with the Royal Air Force twisting and turning in his biplane in the skies over Europe, the third would serve on a battleship that flew the ensign of the Royal Navy.

With the four daughters: one marries a clergyman, one nurses in France and falls in love with an American pilot, another is in the north of Ireland in Belfast married to a man who manages the family's shipbuilding interests, a fourth is a bit of a firebrand and marching for the vote for women, a suffragette. The more characters you have the more you can do with your storyline and the greater historic and emotional sweep you can give your novel.

Downton Abbey, written by Julian Fellowes, is the latest in a long line of stories about British aristocracy – there are Jane Austen’s novels, for instance, like Pride and Prejudice and Emma, Anthony Trollope’s Barchester Towers, R.F. Delderfield’s God is an Englishman. So there are similarities in my work with all those stories as well as Downton Abbey – class struggles between nobility and commoners; the children falling in love with the right person but often as not the wrong person in nobility’s eyes; the closer look at an aristocratic way of life fascinating to most people; the life of the servants downstairs compared with the life of the wealthy family upstairs. Where I differ most markedly is I have a main character who is in politics, a fiancé who is an American, two estates (one for winter, one for summer), and the family is Christian – not in a tepid way but in a very committed and healthy and vigorous way – they pray about things, discuss theology, take God and their faith seriously, act in grace, and try to live lives in keeping with what they believe.

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Murray Pura was born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba. His first story was published in Teen Power in the USA when he was 16 and earned him the princely sum of $25.00. His first novel was released in Toronto in 1988. Since that time he has published seven more novels, two collections of short stories, and a number of nonfiction titles including the Zondervan books Rooted and Streams. He has been a finalist for the Paraclete Fiction Award, the Dartmouth Book Award, the Kobzar Literary Award, and the John Spencer Hill Literary Award. In June of 2012 year he won the Word Award of Toronto for his novel The White Birds of Morning (Toronto's Word Award is the Canadian equivalent of the Christys). His novel The Wings of Morning has been nominated by ACFW for best inspirational romance. Murray pastored for 25 years and wrote on the side. He now writes full-time and currently publishes with Zondervan, Harper One San Francisco, Barbour, Harvest House, and Baker, among others. Murray has lived in Scotland, Ireland, Italy, Israel, and California, and currently makes his home in southwestern Alberta near Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. He and his wife Linda have two children, Micah and Micaela.

To learn more about Murray and his writing, please visit:

Website:, which includes the blog murmurings

Author page on Facebook called Murray Pura Writing, which includes the weekly blog The Wind At My Back and The Sun In My Face: