Monday, February 25, 2013

Key to the Cursed with Jean Murray

Jean Murray brings a vibrant and creative energy through her writing. Thanks for joining us to tell us about your new book, and thanks for the cool giveaway of the Egyptian charm!

Where did the inspiration for your book come from?

The museum, actually. I’ve always had a fascination with the Ancient Egyptian Culture. It started with the idea of a curse and the undead.  After doing a little research and visiting the museum, I knew I had found my niche. The afterlife and Underworld gods fit perfectly.  I wanted my breakout series to be unique.  I think I’ve accomplished that in the Key to the Cursed series.  I also wanted a loyal connection between the characters in the series.  The Carrigan sisters model my relationship with my own sisters.  There is nothing stronger than family.

What is a one-line synopsis for your book?

Boy, you just had to make this hard, didn’t you? J  I’ll have to go with my tagline.  Only the strongest love and unlock the souls of the Underworld.

Is this a stand-alone or part of a series?

Each book can stand alone, but the reader will get so much more out of the books if they read the series in order.  All the books are linked by a common plot thread and build off of each other.  The characters grow and mature as the series goes along.

Soul Reborn – Soul Awakened – Soul Unbound – Soul Unleashed

Once the series is complete, I have a prequel planned that will finally tell the story of Jonathan Carrigan (the father) and the Mother Goddess—how it all began. 

Which character other than your MC is one of your favorites to write and why? 

My most recent favorite is Sin from Soul Awakened.  He is a fledgling warrior. Bakari finds himself “downgraded” so to speak. A god among warriors sent to the warrior camp to find his honor.  Sin is Bakari’s bunkmate.  He has one of those chatty personalities.  If he’s not cracking jokes, seducing women, or complaining, he’s guarding Bakari’s back.  For as much as he annoys Bakari they are brothers, each willing to die for the other.  Readers will get to see him again in later books.     

If you had to pick a color to describe your MC what would that be and why?

Kendra, my heroine, would be turquoise (greenish-blue).  It is the color Ancient Egyptians used for healing and protection from evil spirits.  Kendra is Bakari’s road to salvation.

For my hero, Bakari, I’m going to have to say a smoky black.  Not a pure black or a gray, but something in between.  Bakari hasn’t quite figured out who he is and what he will become.  He has a second chance to choose his path, that’s if he doesn’t mess it up.      

Who are your favorite authors to read?

I’m a Black Dagger Brotherhood and Midnight Breed series junkie.  Actually, I love any series that has strong loyal bonds among its members/characters. Some other authors I enjoy are Kresley Cole, Larissa Ione.  I have so many more authors on my TBR, but need to find the time to read among the chaos J   

Can you share a bit about your current project?

I’m working on the third book in the series, Soul Unbound.  This is Bomani’s story.  He ends up in a really dark place at the end of Soul Awakened and escapes to the human realm from the Underworld.  He has lost his faith in honor and more importantly, love. He needs to be redeemed and I have the perfect match, the Goddess of War.  Siya has been exiled to the human realm with a stay of execution hanging over her head.  Making up for the sins of her past, she takes in orphaned gods and trains them to fight.  She knows war is coming. The dark warrior lurking in the shadows can only spell trouble.  I’m really excited about this book because it brings back an evil antagonist from Soul Reborn.  It promises to be exciting. 

What do you do when you’re not writing?

I work full time, which takes up most of my day.  So when I get home I spend my time with my family.  I have three young boys, so it keeps me busy.

What influenced you to write in your genre? Do you write in others?

I love things beyond the normal, so naturally I gravitated to paranormal.  Dreams of having powers and immortality are just too irresistible. It fulfills my own fantasies.  Not to mention add romance on top of that, I’m in heaven. Jacquelyn Frank’s Nightwalker series was my first introduction to paranormal romance.  I’ve loved the genre ever since.

So far, I write paranormal romance and urban fantasy, but I have a space romance in the works.  In the end, it will probably have paranormal elements mixed into the story.       

What music, if any, do you like to listen to while writing?

Okay, you might find this a bit of a contradiction for a paranormal writer, but for the Key to the Cursed series I’ve been listening to Contemporary Christian rock. The series touches upon the darker sides of the soul.  I’ve found that groups like Skillet and Red have the hard edge I’m looking for, but also speak to the struggles my characters share.  I also listen to Evanescence, Breaking Benjamin, Paramore, Riot.  Right now, my all-time favorite Pandora station is Plumb (love her songs). I can write for hours with that station playing in the background.   

Do you have anything you’d like to add?

Soul Awakened was such an emotional book for me to write.  It touches upon some very dark emotions, especially for Bakari. He must find his focal point (hope) and hold onto it.  Not unlike real life. 

I want to thank Louisa for having me over today and the readers that have followed me along this journey.

Giveaway:  Egyptian charm to one lucky commenter, plus 5-Signed cover flats (U.S.).  Plus, don’t forget to join the book tour giveaway, Kindle Fire HD plus e-copies of Soul Reborn and Soul Awakened.

The Author:

Bio: In her pursuit of a nursing degree, Jean Murray aspired to see the world and joined the Navy. At the end of 2011 she said a heart-breaking goodbye to her Navy family and retired after twenty years of military service. Although her dreams of writing full time have yet to come true, she continues her writing journey and draws inspiration from her travels abroad. She enjoys spending time with her family and of course, writing about the “Carrigan sisters and their mates, Gods of the Underworld,” to bring you the next installment of the Key to the Cursed series.

Author Jean Murray brings a wonderful new spin to the paranormal world with her Egyptian Underworld gods.  She broke ground in the paranormal romance genre with Soul Reborn (ARe Best Seller/NOR Reviewer’s Top Pick) and now continues the Key to the Cursed journey with Soul Awakened (NOR Reviewer’s Top Pick).  See what readers and reviewers are saying about her new book ~

BOOK I:  Soul Reborn

Asar, the Egyptian God of the Underworld, has been tortured and left soulless by a malevolent goddess, relegating him to consume the very thing he was commissioned to protect. Human souls. Now an empty shell of hatred, Asar vows to kill the goddess and anyone involved in her release, but fate crosses his path with a beautiful blonde huntress who has a soul too sweet to ignore.

Lilly, fearless commander of the Nehebkau huntresses, is the only thing standing in the way of the goddess' undead army unleashing hell on earth.  But Lilly has a secret—one she is willing to sell her soul to keep. If the Underworld god discovers her role in the dig that released the goddess, she will lose everything, including his heart.

Amazon Purchase Links:
Barnes & Noble Purchase Links:
Purchase Print&Nook:
Romantic Times (RT) Book Reviews (Sept2011) -  4/4.5 stars/Scorcher,
Night Owl Reviews:  Reviewer’s Top PICK/ 5 Stars (Abigail, Feb2013)  “The first book in the “Key to the Cursed” series was absolutely phenomenal. Anything that deals with old world deities and is written well always hooks me from the get go. This was definitely an excellent book to begin a new series.”

BOOK II:  Soul Awakened
Book Blurb:

Kendra, an Egyptologist and demi-god in waiting, is the key to unlocking Bakari, the Egyptian God of Death, from his cursed slumber. Desperate to free him, she inadvertently binds herself to the god with a spell that only death will undo. To save Bakari from himself, she may have to sacrifice her innocence, and possibly her soul, before he becomes his family’s worst enemy.

Bakari awakens to a world at war and a beautiful woman who has tethered his soul to hers. In the wake of his self-destruction Kendra is his only hope of salvation, but another has vowed to keep Bakari from the one thing he craves most-- his Parvana. His butterfly.
Purchase Links: 


  1. I thought this book had to have been inspired by a museum. Every time I read an interview or synopsis or excerpt, I get this feeling of being in one, or an urge to visit one, haha.

    Your music choices actually make perfect sense. From what I can tell, there's some deep soul searching going on, and Christian music has that in spades, haha.

    1. Hi Dorothy.

      Thanks for sticking with me on the tour. Honestly, I didn't even know that Skillet was a Christian rock band until my husband told me. There are three songs on their Awake CD that fit the underworld gods perfectly. Hero, Awake & Alive, and Monster. Care to guess what song fits what god? :-)

      Do you listen to music while you write?


    2. I'm terrible with music. I know songs based on how they sound, but very rarely can I name a song I like by title or artist. I've probably heard of Skillet, but I couldn't tell you one way or the other.

      Do I listen while I write? It really depends. While I can't associate names to music, I am totally a singer. A song come on I know... heck, a song comes on I don't know, I sing along (not always well, lol). If I listen, it either has to be so soft it doesn't really penetrate me, so loud it drowns out everything but my thoughts, or on repeat. Have you ever heard Taylor Swift's Hunger Games song? SO sad. I listened to it maybe a hundred times in a row while writing a story in which both of the main characters die. So, sometimes I do use it to get into the mood ^_^

  2. This series sounds soo good! I have it on my wishlist! I love the Egyptian theme. Ive always been fascinated by their history and culture. Thanks for the great interview!

    1. Hi Amber.

      Thank you for stopping by today. Love your call sign by the way :-) I came across this great resource that digitized the translations from the book of the dead. Kendra uses one of the spells in Soul Awakened. Everytime I read a new passage, I think of the Mummy movie where she reads the hieroglyphics on the front of the book. My luck, I'll curse myself. LOL.


  3. Louisa,

    Thank you so much for having me over today on your beautiful blog. Hope we can exchange posts again soon :-)


  4. Which museums did you visit for research?


    1. Hi bn100.

      The most notable for me were The Louvre, Chicago's Field Museum, and the Smithsonian Natural History Museum in DC. They all have fairly nice collections. Loved Chicago!


  5. Great post! I was wondering who your favorite author is?
    Ashley A

    1. Hi Ashley.

      Boy, that's a hard one. The more books I read my preferences tend to morph. I will say one thing, that I do come back to JR Ward and have followed her beyond the Black Dagger Brotherhood. I like her overall voice and tone to her books. But, we shall see what tomorrow brings :-) *staring at TBR list on my kindle*

      Do you have a favorite author?


  6. Great interview! I totally get the museum and Ancient Egypt thing. Had the opportunity to visit the third largest collection of ancient Egyptian artifacts in the world last fall in Vienna. Amazing!! Your series is at the top of my TBR list, Jean!

    1. Hi Pat.

      Wow, Vienna. I would love to go there. Now that I know that little tidbit I might have to get there sooner. I was reading the other day that the British Museaum has the largest Egyptian collection in the world, Louvre comes in second.

      So glad you stopped by. I appreciate the support :-)


  7. I love Skillet. Maybe because I love rock as well :D
    Hillsong United and Kutless have some good songs too.

    anne.j2 (at)

    1. Hi Anne.

      Can't agree with you more.

      For those who don't know Skillet, follow this link to youtube. -- Bakari's theme song :-)


  8. I have followed along on the tour since the start and all I have to say to all the readers out there is Read these Books. I am not quite finished with Soul Reborn but I am loving it! If real life wouldn't get in the way I would already be through both books and dying for the third. I absolutely love Ms Murray's writing. sbereza22(at)gmail(dot)com

  9. What a fascinating series! Love mythology. Will definitely be adding this series to my TBR list. Thanks for the giveaway.