It’s the 25th of the month and time to meet a new author. This month I have an internationally best selling thriller and mystery author, Luke Murphy. He looks so serious don’t you think? Or maybe that’s just his author A-game face… let’s get to know his style.
Hello nice to meet you! Tell us a bit about you where are you from and other than writing what else do you enjoy?
I was born and raised in Shawville, Quebec, a small, rural town in Canada. I left home at 15 to chase my dream of playing in the NHL. In 2006 I moved back to Shawville and bought my father’s house, the home I grew up in. I am now raising my children in that same house.I played six years of professional hockey before retiring in 2006. My sports column, “Overtime” (Pontiac Equity), was nominated for the 2007 Best Sports Page in Quebec, and won the award in 2009. I have also worked as a radio journalist (CHIPFM 101.7). I live Shawville, QC with my wife, three daughters and pug. I am a teacher who holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing, and a Bachelor of Education (Magna Cum Laude).Wild Card, a sequel to Dead Man’s Hand, is my third novel.
How did you start writing? What was your inspiration to create?
It was the winter of 2000, my second year of professional hockey, and I was playing in Oklahoma City. After sustaining a season ending eye injury (one of the scariest moments of my life), I found myself with time on his hands. My girlfriend at the time, who is now my wife, was attending a French college in Montreal. She received an English assignment to write a short story, and asked me for some help.I loved the experience—creating vivid characters and generating a wire-taut plot. I sat down at my roommate’s computer and began typing. I wrote a little every day, around my intense rehabilitation schedule and before I knew it I had completed my first manuscript.I didn’t write with the intention of being published. I wrote for the love of writing.Twelve years later, I still write for pleasure—and I still love it! The fact that I am being published is a bonus.Writing allows me, for a short time, the freedom to leave my everyday world and explore new avenues, to be in another place and time. It allows me to get inside the head of characters—to think, do, and say whatever I want with no rules or restrictions.I never thought much about writing when I was growing up. But I was always an avid reader, which I owe to my mother. She was a librarian, and although I lost her when I was young, I will always remember a stack on Danielle Steele books on her bedside table, and a lot of books lying around the house at my disposal. I’ve always been a self-motivated person, and my harshest critic. Whether it was in school, hockey or writing, I’ve been the one to put the most pressure on myself to succeed, to be the best in everything I try.
Kim: Now that is ah-may-zing!
Who is your favourite author, is there anyone out there that inspires you?
My first chapter books were the Hardy Boys titles, so they are the reason I love mysteries. As an adult, some of my favorite authors are Harlan Coben, Michael Connelly and Greg Iles, so naturally I write what I love to read – mystery/suspense novels. DEAD MAN`S HAND, my debut novel, has been compared to James Patterson books, which to me is an honour. Maybe in style (short chapters, a quick read), as I have read many of his books.
Kim: James Patterson huh? Now that’s impressive.
What genre do you enjoy reading?
Mystery, thriller, suspense, crime fiction, police procedural.
Kim: No romance then? I’m disappointed. 🙂
So you’ve published a series, what is the series about?
DEAD MAN’S HAND and WILD CARD are crime-thrillers set in Las Vegas. They take readers inside the head of Calvin Watters, a sadistically violent African-American Las Vegas debt-collector, who was once a rising football star, and is now a private investigator.
Kim: Where is my Author Review Copy? Why is my inbox empty? …. *raises an eyebrow in Luke’s direction*
Have you ever thought about writing in a different genre? If you could what genre would you like to dabble in?
I’d like to try romance, but my wife says I know nothing about it LOL
Kim: LMFAO!!! *no comment*
What has been your most proud moment as an author?
Every time I publish a book, the part that makes me the most proud is when I start receiving review blurbs from respected authors. There is no better feeling in the world than receiving validation from peers, writers who have found success in the writing industry for years. Here are just a few:
“Luke Murphy’s Dead Man’s Hand is a pleasure, a debut novel that doesn’t read like one, but still presents original characters and a fresh new voice.” — Thomas Perry, New York Times bestselling author of Poison Flower
“This one contains all the danger, treachery, and action a thriller reader could wish for. Luke Murphy has the touch.” – Steve Berry, New York Times bestselling author of The Lost Order
“Luke Murphy scores big with this deep psychological thriller. Just when you think you’ve got things pegged, Murphy serves up another twist. Fast paced and fun, you won’t want to put this book down.” — Tim Green, New York Times bestselling author of Unstoppable
“An intricately detailed and clever mystery featuring a tough minded but vulnerable protagonist with more than a few demons of her own. The twists and turns kept me guessing to the very end.” — Christy Reece, New York Times bestselling author of Nothing To Lose
Kim: I really want to read your work now!
Are you a “plotter” or a fly by the seat of your pants “pantster” as a writer?
Definitely a plotter. I have pages and pages of notes prepared in advance before I even sit down to start writing a novel. Of course things can change along the way, but I like to have a plan going in.
Kim: I wonder if this is something that goes with our genre? Every writer who I have interviewed, who writes in the thriller and mystery area is a plotter… Food for thought I guess.
Am I the only one who gets hung up on commas? Do they make you go blah! when you’re writing?
I rarely think about it, as I’m fortunate enough to have a proof reader for all of my novels.
What three tips would you give any aspiring writer?
Get a part-time job to pay the bills (haha). Just kidding. Honestly, for anyone who wants to be a writer, you need to have three things: patience, determination and thick skin.
Kim: No shit! You heard the man.
You can’t let anyone or anything get in the way of your ultimate goal. You will hear a lot of “no`s”, but it only takes one “yes”.
The writing industry is a slow-moving machine, and you need to wait it out. Never quit or give up on your dreams.
What are you working on now? What will you release next?
I would love to write another book. Right now, I have a full time job (teaching), a part-time tutoring job. I ref hockey, and have three small children (all girls, YIKES!!).
Kim: LOL @ yikes.
I don’t have much time to write, but when I get a chance, I do all I can. It could take some time, but eventually I would love to write a series of novels featuring Calvin Watters. But I will not limit my novels to Calvin Watters, as I would like to write a variety of novels, all in the crime-thriller genres. I’m currently working on a new crime novel, but the process has been stalled and is going quite slowly.
So… where can we get your books?
The ebook version of my books can only be found on Amazon. The paperback is available on Amazon, Createspace, Barnes & Noble, Chapters, and everywhere books are sold.
What does “success” look like to you? When would you say “damn, I’ve made it baby!”
I don’t know, I’m still waiting for that “moment” LOL.
Does a big ego help or hurt writers?
Hurts. You need to be able to accept criticism. With sites like Amazon, where anyone can post anything about your books, you need to have thick skin and understand that it is a very subjecting industry.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
Extensive. I visited Las Vegas twice for research trips. For research purposes I used many professionals including members of the: Institute of Criminology and Criminal Justice, medical professionals, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Ottawa Police Department, and Employees of Treasure Island Hotel in Las Vegas.
I usually do research during the first phase of writing a manuscript. I work with local police, as well as other city officials. The internet has a load of resources that are useful for research.
Kim: Great job, I can’t wait to read what your research produced.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
Occasionally, but I don’t think much of them. I’m proud when a reader will leave a nice review, but I understand that the business is subject, and not everyone will like every book I write. I don’t pay much attention to the bad reviews.
What was your hardest scene to write?
Sex scenes. I have a lot of older aunts and I don’t want to offend them, or cause any heart attacks LOL
Kim: LOL c’mon, get over it.
Do you Google yourself?
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
Since I’m published with a small publishing house in British Colombia, all of the authors with this company communicate frequently and help each other whenever possible. What we mostly help each other with is marketing and promotion, since that now is such an important aspect of the writing industry for all authors.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Every book has been different. Because I’m only a part time author, it takes quite a long time. I’m a full time teacher, I ref hockey and tutor students, plus I have a wife and three small kids, so my writing time is very limited. As an example, the rough draft for DEAD MAN’S HAND was started in 2005, and published in 2012.
What would you like readers to know?
My kids tell me I’m very talented at Duck, Duck, Goose and Ring-Around-the-Rosie.
What’s your favourite movie?
Too many to name.
What’s your favourite book and why?
Probably THE QUIET GAME by Greg Iles. Suspenseful and fun.
What music do you like?
80’s rock. That’s right, I’m old-school.
Kim: Keep it that way. 🙂
Where would you like to travel to and why?
I’m not much of a traveller, and don’t really have preferences. I appreciate being on a beach somewhere as much as a log cabin in the mountains.
Which one of your characters is your favourite and why?
Definitely Calvin Watters, my baby…the first character I ever created. A 6’5”, 220 pound African-American Vegas leg-breaker. Watters faces racial prejudice with calmness similar to that of Walter Mosley’s character Easy Rawlins. But Watters’ past as an athlete and enforcer will remind other readers of (Jack) Reacher of the Lee Childs series. The Stuart Woods novel Choke, about a tennis player who, like Watters, suffered greatly from a dramatic loss that was a failure of his psyche, is also an inspiration for Dead Man’s Hand. When thinking about creating the main character for my story, I wanted someone “REAL”. Someone readers could relate to. Although it is a work of fiction, my goal was to create a character who readers could make a real connection with. Physically, keeping in mind Watters’ past as an NCAA football standout and his current occupation as a Vegas debt-collector, I thought “intimidating”, and put together a mix of characteristics that make Watters appear scary (dreadlocks and patchy facial hair), but also able to blend in with those of the social elite. Although he is in astounding physical condition, handsome and well-toned, he does have a physical disability that limits his capabilities. He’s proud, confident bordering on cocky, mean and tough, but I also gave him a softer side that readers, especially women, will be more comfortable rooting for. After his humiliating downfall he is stuck at the bottom for a while, but trying hard to work his way back up. He has weaknesses and he has made poor choices. He has regrets, but Watters has the opportunity to redeem himself. Not everyone gets a second chance in life, and he realizes how fortunate he is.Calvin Watters is definitely worth rooting for. Calvin is special to me because he was the first character I ever created, and has many similarities to me life. My mother also died of cancer when I was young, and Calvin has suffered serious injuries from sports, as have I. The mental aspect of recovering from these injuries are also some of the things I suffered from.
If you could do it all again would you change anything?
I would have started writing earlier in my life.
And that’s a wrap people I am so going to read Luke’s work, this is one that will not escape my to be read pile that is ever growing. I feel like this just might be a page turner for me! Connect with Luke below.
Luke Murphy is the International bestselling author of Dead Man’s Hand (Imajin Books, 2012) and Kiss & Tell (Imajin Books, 2015).
Murphy played six years of professional hockey before retiring in 2006. His sports column, “Overtime” (Pontiac Equity), was nominated for the 2007 Best Sports Page in Quebec, and won the award in 2009. He has also worked as a radio journalist (CHIPFM 101.7).
Murphy lives in Shawville, QC with his wife, three daughters and pug. He is a teacher who holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing, and a Bachelor of Education (Magna Cum Laude).
Wild Card, a sequel to Dead Man’s Hand, is Murphy’s third novel.
“All the danger, treachery, and action a thriller reader could wish for. Luke Murphy has the touch.”
—Steve Berry, New York Times bestselling author of The Lost Order
“Hold on for a wild ride that doesn’t end until the last page.”
—Jordan Dane, bestselling author of the Sweet Justice series
“Murder, sex, hackers…an elaborate criminal chess game: Luke Murphy delivers.”
—Bryan Gruley, author of the Starvation Lake trilogy 3