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May 6, 2011

Best-selling young adult author provides glimpse into world of writing at ULM

Ask best-selling author Peter J. Murray how to become a writer and he will give you a simple answer: "Start writing."

Murray is a master storyteller of young adult fiction writing, and he provided a window into the world of a professional writer at the University of Louisiana at Monroe on May 2.

His visit was courtesy of the Carmel Hill Fund Education Program, a non-profit whose mission is to foster the love of reading in children by providing educators the means to improve their students' reading ability.

The ULM College of Education and Human Development's Literacy Lab also hosted the event.

Murray is author of the popular series Mokee Joe, which began as the imaginative outgrowth of a children's game he created to play with his nieces and nephews back in England as they were growing up.

"My niece reminded me once that I called myself Mokee Joe," Murray said. "She told me 'we were so scared, but we loved it.' It took only three months to write the first book, but I was so driven to write it I was getting up at 4 a.m."

The rest, as they say, is history.

Murray is among the most sought after children's authors today, and he will visit around 100 schools and meet with over 30,000 children during a typical academic year, providing animated storytelling from his chilling Bonebreaker trilogy of horror fiction titles to the delight of his young audience.

"I love going into schools and talking directly with the kids, " said Murray. "I am looking for that one student, in the corner, who doesn't think reading is for him or her. I always tell them, 'there's a book written for you, you've just got to find it.'"

In addition to his ULM visit, Murray also presented at J. S Clark Elementary, as well as other area middle and high schools earlier in the week.

On Wednesday, Murray visited schools in Baton Rouge and New Orleans, where he says visits to the famous "cities of the dead" above-ground cemeteries will no doubt provide further inspiration for his next thriller.

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