Romance readers will recognize Southwest Florida resident Tina Murray from her published work Dead Palm Trees in Jackie Hofer’s anthology Tree Magic and from her essays in the USF literary journal Palm Prints.
A recluse at heart, Tina has ventured her way into the publishing world after years spent in a wide range of pursuits. Insight gained, especially as an actress and artist, subsequently enhanced by degrees in art education, education, art and drama from the the Florida State University and the University of Miami, has fed her imagination for her debut romance novel A Chance to Say Yes. Now she enjoys the sunny shores of paradise as she prepares the sequel in her movie-star dynasty.
Poppy Talbot, an art dealer in wealthy Naples, Florida, must cope with her repressed love for drop-dead handsome Heston Demming, her old high-school boyfriend, who returns to town as one of the world’s biggest movie stars. Should she tell him her secret—or not?
Q: Is this your first novel? If not, how has writing this novel different from writing your first?
A Chance to Say Yes, which is being released in a second edition, is my first published novel. Writing this novel was different from writing my first one and a half novels because, by the time I wrote A Chance to Say Yes, I had learned more about craft, the technique of writing fiction. I was very, very fortunate to have stumbled upon my publisher. He made me aware of ingredients missing from the recipe. Using what he and my editor taught me, I plan to go back and re-write my earlier works.
Q: How difficult was it writing your book? Did you ever experience writer’s block and, if so, what did you do?
I had no problems related to the material or the writing process. I did not experience writer’s block while writing A Chance to Say Yes.
Q: How have your fans embraced your latest novel? Do you have any funny or unusual experiences to share?
Many fans have expressed enthusiasm about A Chance to Say Yes. They have become emotionally engaged with the characters, loving some, hating others. They ask for revenge in the sequels. Ah, wait and see, I tell them. The sequel, A Wild Dream of Love, will be out soon, and there will be a third book.
Q: What is your daily writing routine?
Ideally, my routine is to arise in the morning and work for a few hours. Realistically, that doesn’t always happen. Sometimes, I write in the middle of the night. Morning and deepest night work best for me as a writer. These are the best times to mentally interact with the unseen world, if you will. In the morning, my mind is alert. In the wee hours, it’s closer to a dream state. Afternoons and early evenings, however, are iffy, even problematic. If I’ve overslept, I just do the best I can. Mostly, it’s a matter of having my mind free and clear of extraneous mental noise. My mind must be open to receive.
Q: When you put the pen or mouse down, what do you do to relax?
Lie down, put my feet up, listen to music for a few minutes. I go to Curves and do the workout. I go for a walk. See, I now type or keyboard standing up.
Q: What book changed your life?
A book that changed my attitude towards life was The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale. It may be out of fashion, at the moment, but it helped me to understand one of life’s basics: you choose your own thoughts.
Q: If someone were to write a book on your life, what would the title be?
Perhaps something akin to Oh! Now I Get It!, although I might lose the vulgarism and call it Oh! Now I Understand. Actually, I still don’t understand, so that title is not accurate. I do have episodes where I connect the dots, but I never reach a full understanding of anything. I’ll keep mulling this question.
Q: Finish this sentence: “The one thing that I wish people would understand about me is…”
Ouch. Let the list begin. Oh, you mean one thing. Okay. “…I take in a lot of information from the world around me, and I must have time to process it. If I don’t have time, I jam up mentally, emotionally, spiritually. Then I reach tilt, overload, and I spin out. Hence, I am reflective, a trait common among writers.
Recently—I don’t know, maybe I was flipping the channels or reading something—I came across a scene in which a man sitting at his desk was staring into space. A woman entered the room. Seeing him, she said, “I thought you were writing today.” He looked at her and said, “I am writing.”
Thank you for this interview. Tina. I wish you much success on your latest release, A Chance to Say Yes!
Thank you very much to As the Pages Turn for introducing me to your readers. Thanks to your readers for reading.