Author Interview: Ed Murray of the Book: In a Northern Town

Who is Ed Murray?

Like so many others, I’m just someone trying to find my place in the world while exploring my passions, and writing books is at the top of the list. A little background about me: I’m happily married, living with my beautiful wife and our mini Aussie in Southeast Michigan. As a graduate of the University of Michigan, I find it difficult to leave college sports out of my life, and thus I am a huge Wolverines fan. But books, both reading and writing them, continue to drive me. You can check out more about me on my website, www.edamurray.com.

What are the books that you have written and can you give us a little bit of a sneak peak about them?

Over the last four years I have written three books: a novel called Between Two Slopes, a pair of novellas called Somewhere More Than Free, and a collection of short stories called In a Northern Town. Each is unique in its own right, though I’ve tried to keep one thing consistent, and that’s to write with as much honesty as possible. I didn’t want them to feel like fiction — because the characters are very real to me, and I wanted them to feel the same way for my readers.

You mentioned you are into literary fiction or realistic fiction, can you expound what that genre is and are you considering into exploring other genre as well?

I believe there should be a reason for each book’s existence. If a book could be written by anyone — namely that it follows the same cookie-cutter structure or formulas of mass produced works — then I don’t write it. It’s as simple as that.

A book should reflect the author’s voice alone.

That’s why I cherish the literary fiction genre. Simply put, it’s artistic. It dives into deeper meaning and interrogates issues that many books are afraid to confront. At the end of the day, it should be relatable and it should hold a greater purpose than just telling a story.

Where can we get/buy your books?

All of my books are available on the major book retailer website, such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books-a-Million. You can also find out more info on my website, www.edamurray.com.

What were your inspirations when you were writing those

 books?

Though the inspiration for each of my books was unique, they all share a similar setting in rural northern Michigan, a place that I hold dearly in my heart.

The ideas that motivate my writing come from all over — witnessing the hardships and triumphs of everyday life, reading the work of great authors, and simply trying to make sense out of the world.

The difficult part, most authors would readily admit, is not becoming inspired — that happens each day in the most unassuming places — but rather finding the best way to turn that inspiration into prose that can be shared with others.

That’s what I’ve attempted to do with each of my books.

Who is the author that influenced you a lot? and what is your favorite book?

There have been so many authors whose work has inspired me over the years, but there are a few who have seemed to stand out among the pack:

Jim Harrison, Philipp Meyer, and the classics of Steinbeck and Hemingway.

Both Harrison and Hemingway have ties to northern Michigan, which is what first drew me to their books, and the way they examine the natural world is both soothing and enlightening.

Meyer and Steinbeck, on the other hand, are simply, in my opinion, two of the finest storytellers we’ve seen.

Their work is so brutal and raw, and what’s most impressive is their ability to capture the struggles of the blue-collar American worker. It’s truly a gift.

What’s your message to the book geek wannabe’s who wants to start the habit of reading?

Read every day. Write every day. Never give up on the craft and it will never give up on you. To a certain extent, literature seems to be a downtrodden form of art and that’s a shame. There is nothing as fulfilling as finishing a masterful book, and I feel sorry for all those souls who will never experience it.

 

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Ed A. Murray writes in a very clear style which feels much like a campground in Northern Michigan. I’ve often thought that much of art is like selling real estate. You are selling the reader a spot of land in a place they’d love to be. And reading Murray’s prose feels much like sitting at a campground and listening to the wind and the stream flow past, watching the trees leaves turn and twist, wondering where a fish might be. The first story, “On the Sunrise Side” is a very near evocation of this. 

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