Monday, July 02, 2012

Murray Pura

Murray Pura earned his Master of Divinity degree from Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia and his ThM degree in theology and interdisciplinary studies from Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia. For more than twenty-five years, in addition to his writing, he has pastored churches in Nova Scotia, British Columbia and Alberta. Murray pastors and writes in southern Alberta near the Rocky Mountains. He and his wife Linda have a son and a daughter. 

The Wings of Morning

Jude Whetstone and Lyyndaya Kurtz, whose families are converts to the Amish faith, are slowly falling in love. Jude has also fallen in love with flying that new-fangled invention, the aeroplane.

The Amish communities have rejected the telephone and have forbidden motorcar ownership but not yet electricity or aeroplanes. Though exempt from military service on religious grounds, Jude is manipulated by unscrupulous army officers into enlisting in order to protect several Amish men. 

No one in the community understands Jude’s sudden enlistment and so he is shunned. Lyyndaya’s despair deepens at the reports that Jude has been shot down in France. In her grief, she turns to nursing Spanish flu victims in Philadelphia. After many months of caring for stricken soldiers, Lyyndaya is stunned when an emaciated Jude turns up in her ward.

Lyyndaya’s joy at receiving Jude back from the dead is quickly diminished when the Amish leadership insist the shunning remain in force. How then can they marry without the blessing of their families? Will happiness elude them forever?

Welcome Murray. Your name is so interesting. One of Australia's most famous waterways is the Murray River. How did you get such an Aussie sounding name? Not just Murray, mate. Years ago I found an Australian company called Pura Milk in Melbourne. So both my names are Oz names. Perhaps it's my destiny to spend some time there! I was named Murray Andrew because I was born on Bobby Burns Day, Burns being a famous Scottish poet, and Murray and Andrew being very Scottish names. Pura is the family name on my father's side but it's Eastern European, not South Pacific or Down Under. That's too funny, Murray - mate. You couldn't get more Aussie than that!

What inspired you to write The Wings Of Morning? Open cockpit flying – I love it! Which is how flying was done in the early part of the 20thcentury. That and the persecution the Amish faced in World War I in America for refusing to enlist or support the war effort. Both those themes figure prominently in the story along with Jude and Lyyndaya’s love for each other and their love for God.

How do you choose your characters’ names? In The Wings of Morning, Whetstone and Kurtz are Amish names that belong to families that converted to the Amish faith – which is exactly the sort of families I got them from in real life. For first names, I like to find ones that are a little different and have some strength to them. Though if the characters are born into the Amish culture parents will automatically give them Biblical names so an author has to work with that as a given.

Have you been to Australia? No, I haven’t been, but would love to. God, are you listening? I think I’d get along great with the people judging by how well I get along with the Aussies I know in Canada. I would want to hit the Outback, The Great Barrier Reef, and Snowy River country. And I would have to attend the Pura Cup for sure! I'm sure with a name like Murray Pura you'll fit right in. 
So what’s next for Murray Pura? I’m working on another Amish piece that takes place in the South Pacific – figure that one out. Then they asked me to do a Christmas story set in an Amish community and I agreed to do that as well. I’ve also started a new series set in England that is not Amish at all though it is certainly Christian fiction. I am grateful to have a number of contracts to fulfill for US publishers - it keeps my heart and soul and imagination firing on all cylinders. Wow, you're one busy writer. Thanks for sharing your heart with us today, Murray. 

Here's a peek into chapter one of Murray's The Wings of Morning. Please leave a comment below for your chance to win a copy of this great book. I'll announce the winner in the comment thread here, on Friday.