Saturday, February 23, 2013

ASHTON PARK - Murray Pura - One Free Book

Welcome, Murray. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
I don’t suppose it’s always conscious but I’m sure a lot of me gets in there, especially into the hero and what I think is the right thing to do or say. I think I always put into my leading characters, male or female, the qualities I most admire and which I want to exhibit more of myself.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
Dressing up as a Puritan – hat, shirt, pants, shoes – and daring to present a major paper on the Puritans at a college seminar in that outfit. I used an English accent as well. Both of the profs were Oxford men with a good sense of humor and I got away with an A, thanks be to God.

When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I was writing stories on 3x5 index cards when I was eight or nine and the passion never left me.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
One bookshelf has US, British, and Canadian history as well as the history of many other nations or eras or events. Another has literature from around the world – Ireland, England, France, Spain, Israel, Vietnam, America, Canada, etc. Another has the literature of ancient Greece and Rome. Another has historical fiction and sea fiction and westerns. Another has books on Christian life and prayer and theology. Another has books that aid in the study of the Bible, books on Greek and Hebrew and Aramaic, as well as commentaries. And so on. Pretty eclectic.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
Each day has to have its balance of fresh air, slow walks, prayer, meditation, making-your-heart-beat-fast exercise, work (in my case writing), interaction with others, enjoyment of books, movies, TV, computer, and decent food and sleep. You have to be disciplined to try and get as much of that balance as you can but it pays off.

How do you choose your characters’ names?
Many times I use the names of friends or acquaintances, though never giving them their actual surnames. In the case of the Amish I look up different Biblical names. When it comes to other cultures or eras I search out names authentic to the culture and time period.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
An Alaskan Malamute has the beauty of the North and the wolf but the friendliness of a good dog. I’d like that mix of the wild and the free and the devotedness to humans.

What is your favorite food?
I like 1% cottage cheese a lot – tastes good, fills you up, lots of protein, low calories. I also like sweet potatoes a lot, also very tasty and nutritious.

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Getting noticed by larger publishers who reached a larger market of readers. An agent made the difference with that but, of course, getting an agent didn’t do it all. Once he opened opportunities for me I still had to produce good books and stories that editors and readers would think highly of.

Tell us about the featured book.
Ashton Park takes place between 1916 and 1923. It centers around a wealthy Church of England family on their estate in Lancashire. All their sons are in uniform when the book opens while one daughter is nursing wounded soldiers in France and another is marching in the streets for an end to the war and to win voting rights for women. The Danforths, a Christian family, do their best to deal with the ups and downs of life on their estate and the calamity of world war and revolution in Ireland by means of prayer, faith, courage, and their devotedness to one another.

Please give us the first page of the book.
April 1916
“Go girl, go!”

Victoria Danforth leaned into her horse’s neck as it broke out of the forest and drove toward the sea cliff at full gallop.

“Come on, Robin! The man is gaining!”

A green ribbon flew from Victoria’s head and her long auburn hair burst loose. She struck the sorrel’s flanks with the heels of her black leather boots.

Give me more, my girl, just a bit more!”

The shining sea drew closer and closer. A wind that carried the bite of salt water stung Victoria’s nostrils. Face flushed by the wild ride, eyes glittering like a cat’s, she cried out a final time.

“All you’ve got, my beauty!”

And then she hauled back on the reins, turned the mare’s head to the left, sprang from the saddle, and hit the ground boots-first with a shout. The horse dug in all its hooves and tossed up mud and stone and grass. The cliff edge was only a few yards away when she stopped.

“Good, girl, that was lovely, that was grand!” Victoria stroked the animal’s neck and mane. Both horse and rider were panting. “What a gorgeous view! I’ll never tire of it.”

The brisk ocean breeze pushed back the auburn hair from Victoria’s

How can readers find you on the Internet?
 My website is  where readers will also find my blog Murmurings.

Thank you, Murray, for the interesting interview.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Ashton Park (The Danforths of Lancashire) - paperback
Ashton Park (The Danforths of Lancashire) - Kindle

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Google +, Feedblitz, Facebook, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link.


pol said...

Hi Murray its nice to see you on Lena's site today, enjoyed reading your interview. I have been following you on FB and starting to read some of your stories. thanks for sharing today...
Paula O(
a reader in Ga

Anonymous said...

I would love to win one of your books
Shirley Blanchard

Anonymous said...

Very nice interview, Murray, and highly interesting to learn about your eclectic taste in books and your preference for cottage cheese and sweet potatoes! Well done!
Joy Ross Davis

Anonymous said...

sure would love to win this book thank you for the chance then I could put it on the slelf with another book of yours that i have
Karen at

Anonymous said...

I would love to win your book. I am from Massena, New York. I'll bet it is another winner! Your books are so interesting from beginning to end.

Anonymous said...

Hi Murray, I so enjoyed your interview and getting to know how you go about writting a book.
I find your books very interesting and enjoy them. Love to win this one to read. Thank you

Anonymous said...

I would love to win this book. I am not giving up. I love reading the interweaving between the real history and fictional characters. I enjoyed watching the Downton Abbey. Fascinating !!!
I am from Independence, Missouri.
Thank you

sharon m said...

I sure would like to read this book and this is a new author to me. Interested that he writes Amish fiction as well, which is one of my favorites. Like that author uses Bible names for Amish characters. I enjoy historical fiction, so this one about England looks great. sharon, san diego

Lane Hill House said...

I would like to open this book and begin reading!!! Be blessed by this story ~ please add me too. Kathleen ~ Missouri

Unknown said...

HI everyone - it's good to hear from all of you this morning - it's still morning where I am because I'm in the Mountain Time Zone - thanks for all your warm comments - i wish there were books to give away to all of you!

Anonymous said...

Faye Simer.. Oh, Im just waiting on this book to come into my home to keep me busy a day or two. Thanks

Hannah said...

I would love to win!
Hannah P

Unknown said...

Sharon M, yes, I do write Amish too & for the most part my Amish fiction is also historical fiction, the stories taking place in 1729, 1863, 1917 & 1941 so far - the exception is the eBook series A Road Called Love which is set in modern day America - all the best :)

Unknown said...

cheers Faye, cheers, Hannah! g'day to you Paula, Shirley, Joy!!!, Karen, ma'am Gauthier, Diane, Kim, Sharon - my niece's husband is in Diego right now with the air force - and best wishes to Kathleen!

Anonymous said...

Nice interview today. I'm looking forward to reading all of your books, Murray. Blessings, Susan Fryman Alamogordo, New Mexico

Lane Hill House said...

Thanks, Murray! I hope I win. Kathleen ~ Missouri
Wanting to open that cover and begin reading!!

Unknown said...

g'morning, NewMexico - i think we're in the same time zone, right? all the best Kathleen!

Unknown said...

hi Carolyn - all the best with the contest - thankfully someone else has to pull the name out of the hat since i'd like to pull them all

Unknown said...

Hi Murry
Loved reading your interview and learning more about you. I do follow you on facebook and would truly love to win this book.

Unknown said...

Oops I forgot to say I'm from Nebraska

Cindi A said...

Nice interview. I had to laugh at seeing your favorite food as being cottage cheese. It's one of mine too Ü
I'm in Pennsylvania, USA


Unknown said...

Cindi, cottage cheese is great esp. when you want to get fit for spring - I know some don't like it but I love the flavor & the texture - Juanita! HI! great to have a good cornhusker here today!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like my kind of book. Sylvia Stewart

Unknown said...

I would love to win this book of yours Murray...Think you put this book up before for a couple other give-aways..and I didnt win then either...So here I am again, trying for it again (Y) Central, Pa

FoundProdigalDaughter said...

Great interview Murray! Would love to win a copy.

Nicolle Barteaux

Melody said...

I have been wanting to read a book of yours, from a male author's perspective. I confess - female authors don my shelves!

Donna, TX

Nancee said...

I'd love to win a copy of "Ashton Park!" Murray is a very gifted author and very likeable guy. I wish him all the best. Thank you for the feature and giveaway!

Nancee said...

..and I forgot to leave my email address! LOL
Nancee in Michigan

Unknown said...

all the best gals on this one - Kathy from Penn, Nicolle from NS, Melody from Texas South (since we call Alberta Texas North), and Nancee!!! thanks for swinging by lassies

Carol said...

Love the intro, and the book cover is fantastic!

Carol Howell

Unknown said...

thanks Carol! good to see you here!

Sandy Rutkowski said...

I love the time period of this book and would love to win a copy.

joanie e said...

I am sure this is as wonderful as all the others you've written !
joanie e

Carolyn said...

I would like to be a winner.
I'm from Indiana
Carolyn Jefferson

Faithful Acres Books ~ Linda Marie Finn said...

As usual I love learning more about my brother in Christ. I think his heart is wound into each of this books, least those I have read thus far.
I would love to win and read this book, it is one that I don't have...
Linda Finn

Kandra said...

Nice opening page!
Kandra in Tennessee

Lyndie Blevins said...

Thanks for the opportunity to get this book.
Lyndie Blevins
Duncanville, Tx

Unknown said...

best of luck all of you! cheers, Sandy! Thank you, Joanie! all the best with this Carolyn! Such kind words Linda Marie Finn! Glad you liked numero uno Kandra! blessings, all!

Unknown said...

720best of luck all of you! cheers, Sandy! Thank you, Joanie! all the best with this Carolyn! Such kind words Linda Marie Finn! Glad you liked numero uno Kandra! blessings, all!

Unknown said...

good luck and God bless Lyndie Blevins!

Norma S said...

Thank you for giving me a chance to win your book, sounds like a great book can't wait to read it. So you like cottage cheese, i never could eat it myself, but my husband loved it. I really like your cover. God bless you and take care.
Norma Stanforth from Ohio

Unknown said...

Hi Norma - well it is a great food for getting fit on! All the best in the contest!

Cathy said...

Would love to win this book. Thanks for the giveaway!

Cathy from BC Canada

Unknown said...

cheers Cathy from BC - I have a lot of fam in Van and White Rock - all the best in the contest

Judy said...

I just had to stop by and Murray you are really popular with all the entries so far.

I'm not entering. I gave up entering contests for Lent. :)

Good luck everyone!

Unknown said...

all the best Judy!

Unknown said...

Nice to get to know you a little more, Murray. Looking forward to seeing you in Sept. I'd love to win a copy of this book since I'm supposed to write a review of it soon. :) Marcia

Unknown said...

hi Marcia - nice to see you pop up here! blessings my dear!

Vera Godley said...

Popping in to read this delightful interview. Would love to read your book, Mr. Murray Pura. :) Perhaps this will be the time.

godleyv [at](yahoo)dot{com}

Unknown said...

cheers Vera - thanks so much for coming by

Pam K. said...

Ashton Park sounds like a book I'd really enjoy reading. I like the cover; the manor house looks intriguing. It would be fun to win a copy. I haven't yet read any of Murray's books.


Unknown said...

cheers Pam - glad you got in here before the bell - all the best with the contest

Mary Preston said...

ASHTON PARK is set during a troubled & fascinating time.

I love the idea of the Puritan outfit.

Mary P


Sarah Rebekah Richmond said...

I would love to win,Enter me!!!
Thanks for the giveaway and God Bless!!!

Rhonda's Doings said...

I would love to read one of Murray's books. THanks, I live in VA in USA.

karenk said...

thanks for the chance to read this beautiful novel

karenk...from PA
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Merry said...

I love the setting for Ashton Park, it sounds like a terrific read. Please add me!

Sharon Richmond said...

Enter me this book looks great!!
Sharon Richmond

Patty said...

I'm not familiar with Murray's writing. I look forward to an opportunity to read this book.

Patty in SC

Bobbe' said...

Thank you so much for sharing your interview and offering this nice chance to recieve one of your books.

Unknown said...

Carol Crawford
Live in Springfield Illinois
Please enter me into your book drawing. Thank you.

rubynreba said...

Great interview. Love to read this.
Beth from Iowa

Library Lady said...

I loved reading the interview with Mr. Pura.
I love, love, love, the cover of the book, "Ashton Park".
Thanks for entering me in your giveaway.
Janet E.

Lourdes said...

A very enjoyable interview, thank you.

Lourdes from Dix Hills, New York

Abigail Mitchell said...

Looks Great!!! Please enter me!

Blanch, N.C.

Jorie said...

I have noticed Mr. Pura's work being mentioned quite a lot lately, but I have not yet come across his books! What I liked about this particular one, is that it sort of reminded me of why I love Downton Abbey or even the House of Elliott; strong families who band together through adversity! The setting and time period are two that I fancy as well! And, I love his reasoning behind which breed of dog he'd prefer being, as that happens to be a dog I thought would be quite lovely to adopt! And, for one of the main reasons that the breed reminds me of the wolf!! :)

Thank you for this bookaway!


Michele said...

Hi Murray. I have realy enjoyed your books. I am disabled and i have a special needs son. Your books bring me encouragement because they are always uplifting. I read everyone I can get a hold of. Love your worl