BARRY’S BAY – A woman who divides her time between Barry’s Bay and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, has published her first mystery novel.
It took two years and three unpublished manuscripts for Margaret Murray to come up with Forging Justice, a novel that explores restorative justice practices in a criminal situation.
She had been writing for around 10 years and faced numerous rejections from publishers and editors over the years, but she never quit chasing her dreams.
“The feedback that I was getting back from agents and editors is that the writing was fine, but I needed a new idea and a new concept for a mystery,” she said. “They wanted me to be able to distinguish myself from everyone else.”
Her big break happened around eight years ago, when she began working as an academic librarian for the International Institute for Restorative Practices in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
The institute specializes in teaching restorative justice practices.
“Which I knew nothing about,” Murray said.
She began learning, bit by bit, about restorative justice.
“One day it occurred to me; could this be the new idea that I am looking for?” Murray explained.
She never planned to become an academic librarian, nor did she think she would be living across the border, for that matter.
Growing up in Barry’s Bay, she spent time in familiar landmarks that have completely transformed over the years.
She is the granddaughter of Charlie Murray, who owned the Murray’s General Store.
As a young girl, she would watch the trains roll into town with her uncle, who was the manager at the station.
“I spent time there when I was a kid,” she said. “The upstairs of that place was just a magical place when the trains were coming in.”
Murray also spent a lot of time in the telephone exchange, now the public library, where her mother worked as a switchboard operator.
“Every time I walk in the library, I think of my mom,” Murray said.
Get your July 16, 2014 edition of The Valley Gazette to read more of this story.