Monday, June 28, 2010
Featured Author: Cecil Murphey
Cecil Murphey calls himself a serious Christian. His faith is the core of his life. Although he writes on numerous topics, many of Cec’s own books focus on prayer and the Bible. He enjoys serving and supporting other Christians as they grow in their faith.
How did you start your writing career?
I started in 1971, a year after I graduated from seminary. The late Charlie Shed offered a 10-week course on how to write for publication. I took the course and he felt I had talent.
I wrote only articles for at least three years. It was excellent preparation before I tried to write a book.
What did you learn while writing this book?
I learned that the only way to overcome the pain of our past is to face it and not be shamed or terrified. I learned (again) that although it hurts, we need to feel those experiences repeatedly until they no longer have the power to hurt us.
In writing When a Man You Love Was Abused, I was surprised because I assumed I had moved beyond my pain, but some of those unhealed places erupted and I had to face them.
What do you hope to accomplish with this book?
I want to help women who know or suspect that an important man in their lives was abused. They also need to realize that his victimization affects them.
I hope women will share portions of the book with those men who might not otherwise seek help.
What is the toughest test you've faced as a writer?
My toughest test is to keep going, even now, because I want to hit the delete key. I constantly think, this is garbage and everybody knows it.
My wife, Shirley, has said to me, "You think because you think about it all the time, everyone knows it. But they haven't read it the way you write it."
If you had the opportunity to talk with three writers, who would you choose and why?
Two of them are dead, but because this is only an ideal, here they are.
My first choice would be William Saroyan, whom few people know. He didn't write many books, but when I read The Human Comedy at age 15 I knew two things: (1) I wanted to be a writer and (2) I wanted to be as good a writer as Saroyan. I've accomplished the first.
My second is Dean Koontz. I began to read him in the 1980s and learned so much about technique, characterization, description, and action. He's also a writer who keeps trying new things. I don't like some of his new books, but I still applaud him for taking chances.
Third, the late Paul Gallico. He was a storyteller, but he wrote with such warmth that he touched me. I used to be afraid to put my emotions into my writing. I was afraid of being called sentimental or maudlin. His books, especially The Snow Goose, freed me to expose my feelings.
What are three things you wish you’d known before you reached where you are now?
1. I wish I had been able to accept rejections objectively. Like any serious author, I throw myself into everything I write. It hurt deeply when I received my early rejections. (One day I received seven in the same mail delivery.)
2. There is no place to stop improving. I assumed that once I became a good, well-published writer I could relax. I work harder at the craft now than I did in my early days.
3. I wish I had not compared myself with other writers. When I did, they always seemed better or more successful than I was.
Can you give us one do and one don’t for someone aspiring to be a writer?
First, do learn the craft. I can't say that strongly enough.
Second, don't try to be like other writers. Don't imitate them. I see so much fiction that reads as if they all had the same ghostwriter.
To combine those, learn the craft, don't imitate other writers, and strive to sound like you. When people read me, they may not like my style or topic, but I don't want them to think I write like someone else.
I borrowed this question from Author Carleene Brice, What is your author fantasy?
I would like to see one of my nonfiction books at the top of the best-seller lists (and I've had that) along with a novel at the top of the fiction list.
What one thing about writing do you wish non-writers would understand?
We're like everyone else, except that we have different talents.
What was the best advice you’d ever gotten about the publishing industry? The worst?
The best advice came from a professional after I had published a few articles. I struggled with being transparent and she said, "If you're going to be a professional writer, you must be willing to walk down the street naked."
The worst advice came from an editor: "Don't write biographies. They don't sell." (I've made my living for 25 years by writing books for others, especially autobiographies.) I urge writers to write what's on their hearts.
It took me six years to get a publisher to accept When a Man You Love Was Abused. I persisted and God honored that persistence.
If you could visit any place in the world where would you travel to?
I've traveled a great deal, including Antarctica, so I pick Australia. That way I could say I've been to every continent.
What is something readers would be surprised you do?
I'm a confirmed runner. I'm on the street between 4:30 and 5:00 every morning and run 30-35 miles a week. I love running in the dark. There are few distractions and I have a strong sense of God's presence.
Our theme for this month is Reaching Your Goals. How did it feel to reach your publishing goal?
I haven't reached my ultimate goal. That is to make my writing so good that the copyeditor will cry because she can't find a single thing to change.
I'm delighted that I make a good living as a writer and it is satisfying to know that I've worked hard and God has honored my faithfulness.
Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?
I know that the more I write, the deeper I'm able to go into myself and I learn more about God and about myself.
Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?
I write more than one book a year. These are early 2011 releases.
1. Getting to Heaven: Departing Instructions for Your Life Now by Don Piper and Cecil Murphey. Don and I look at Jesus' last words to his disciples (John 13-17) and they become words to prepare us for our divine liftoff to heaven.
2. Knowing God, Knowing Myself. I write aphorisms (short, pithy sayings) such as this one: I'd rather be disliked for who I am than to be admired for who I'm not. Regal books asked me to write a book of aphorisms with a brief explanation for each one.
3. When Someone You Love No Longer Remembers. I've written several gift books for Harvest House Publishers and this one is for caregivers and friends of those who suffer from Alzheimer's or any form of dementia.
How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website).
The best way is to go to my Website: www.cecilmurphey.com.
I also have two blogs that I update twice weekly:
www.menshatteringthesilence.blogspot.com—a blog about male sexual abuse.
www.cecmurpheyswritertowriter.blogspot.com— a blog to help writers learn the craft.
When a Man You Love Was Abused: A Woman’s Guide to Helping Him Overcome Sexual Molestation.
The number of males abused in childhood are sometimes listed as low as 5 percent or as high as 33 percent. Though statistics are controversial, no one disputes the fact that childhood abuse is a continuing problem – or that such abuse can have devastating effects on future relationships.
For all women who know and love a survivor of sexual assault, best-selling author Cecil Murphey has penned an honest and forthright book about surviving – and thriving – despite past abuses. Both informative and highly practical, Murphey helps women understand the continuing problems that abuse survivors may encounter, including hurtful memories, issues of self worth, and the need to feel in control. With sensitivity and encouragement, Murphey then explains what women can do to help bring about healing and forgiveness.
Written with the empathy that only a true survivor can convey, When a Man You Love Was Abused is a timely piece of advice and encouragement.
Leave a question, comment or your name and email for a chance to win a copy of When a Man You Love Was Abused.
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