Cecil Murphey is one of the contributing authors to 21 Days of Grace: Stories that Celebrate God’s Unconditional Love, the first in the new Fiction Lover’s Devotional series. His chapter is “We Called Him Happy Face.” Cec graciously took time out of his busy schedule to do a Q&A interview for my followers. Thanks, Cec!
First, tell something about yourself as a person and as a writer.
I’ve been a full-time writer for 32 years, primarily as a ghostwriter/collaborator. I’ve published some fiction, but my field is primarily nonfiction.
What inspired you to write this particular story?
I lived in Kenya for six years, just before the days of mass communication hit the continent. My purpose was to show how missionaries function from an African point of view.
Are any parts of this story taken from something that happened in your own life or the lives of people you know?
Aside from the setting, and customs such as naming missionaries by their actions, it’s totally fiction.
What else do have you written?
I’ve written nearly a thousand articles and 137 books, most of them for celebrities, such as 90 Minutes in Heaven, Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story, and Rebel with a Cause, the autobiography of Franklin Graham. My favorite of my own books is Knowing God, Knowing Myself.
What genre(s) do you like to read?
I’m an eclectic reader of fiction and nonfiction. Last night I started The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Backpacking and Hiking. Mercy’s Rain by Cindy Sproles stands out as the best Christian novel I’ve read in a long time. Each year I try to read or reread at least one classic. This year I’ve read three Dickens novels, but couldn’t quite slog through Bleak House. Maybe next year.
Do you write part time or full time? Do you have a job, kids, hobbies?
I’m a full-time writer. My children are grown. I’m an avid runner, read a minimum of one book a week, and enjoy playing in my garden. I’m actively in involved in my church and teach Sunday school. I try to connect in person with friends at least twice a week.
Where and when do you write?
I have an office in my home and I’m on my computer no later than 9:00 in the morning. Except for breaks for lunch with a friend, I stay at it until around 4:00.
What do you love most about writing?
Everything. I love the creative process, the research, and the rewriting. When I write, I’m lost in my own world. I’ve been a pastor and a missionary, taught in public schools and on the college level, but nothing has been so satisfying.
What do find most challenging about writing?
My struggle to stop revising a manuscript. I finally say to myself, “This is the best I can do at this stage of my development.” Then I hit send.
Share one of your most rewarding moments connected to your writing.
I’m able to provide scholarships to writers’ conferences, and some of the letters and e-mails from recipients bring tears to my eyes, especially when, a couple of years later, they tell me about a book contract they received through an editor they met at that conference.
I also mentored a man for several years, who is now writing full time. For the past four years, he has sent me a Father’s Day card. Each time, he states that I have been a true father to him.
What one piece of advice would you share with aspiring writers?
Try writing and see how you feel and the response you receive. But if you truly feel God has called you to write, don’t quit. Keep at it. God may call you to write, but to become a good writer demands hard work and years of solid commitment.
Thanks so much for sharing your heart with my followers, Cec. I am truly honored to have you as a contributing author to 21 Days of Grace and also as a friend.
Veteran author Cecil (Cec) Murphey has written or cowritten more than 135 books, including the New York Times bestseller 90 Minutes in Heaven (with Don Piper) and Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story (with Dr. Ben Carson). His books have sold in the millions and have brought hope and encouragement to countless people around the world.
Cec stays busy as a professional writer and travels extensively to speak on topics such as writing, male sexual abuse, recovery, spiritual growth, caregiving, and significant living. Prior to launching his career as a full-time writer and speaker, Cec served as a pastor in Metro Atlanta, as a volunteer hospital chaplain for ten years, and was a missionary in Kenya for six.
For more information, visit www.cecilmurphey.com. For writing tips and advice, visit www.cecwritertowriter.com. Help for male survivors of childhood sexual abuse is available at www.menshatteringthesilence.blogspot.com.