Angel Sefer's Free Readers Group

Angel Sefer's Free Readers Group

Friday, September 13, 2013

Author Interview with Bestselling Author Luke Murphy

Please welcome back International Bestselling Author Luke Murphy


I’m delighted to welcome back International Bestselling Author Luke Murphy on my blog for an interesting interview.

Luke’s debut novel is “DEAD MAN’S HAND”, a crime-thriller set in Las Vegas.
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Question No 1:
Luke, please give us in a short paragraph a summary of your book.

DEAD MAN’S HAND is a crime-thriller set in Las Vegas. It takes readers inside the head of Calvin Watters, a sadistically violent African-American Las Vegas debt-collector, who was once a rising football star, now a murder suspect on the run.

Question No 2: 
Are any of the characters or situations used in your book based on real life experiences?

Many people have asked if I can make any real connections to the main character in my novel. The answer, as for my connection…no, I have never been involved in a homicide investigation, LOL. The plot is completely fictional. Although I am not a 6’5”, 220 pound African-American, I’ve used much of my athletic background when creating my protagonist Calvin Watters. Watters past as an athlete, and his emotional rollercoaster brought on by injuries were drawn from my experiences. His mother died of cancer when he was young, as mine was. There are certainly elements of myself in Calvin, but overall, this is a work of fiction. I did not base the characters or plot on any real people or events. Any familiarities are strictly coincidence.

Calvin 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.

Question No 3:
What do you want readers to take away from your book? (What would you like your readers to grasp)?

I hope they are entertained. I would like them to walk away thinking, “wow, what a great book!” Entertaining and engaging. I want to entertain readers and allow them, like when I read, to escape reality and for a moment be in another place and time. Live with no rules or repercussions. I want them to become part of the characters, to live through them.

Question No 4:
Could you share a little about you?

I live in Shawville, Quebec with my wife, three daughters and pug.

I played six years of professional hockey before retiring in 2006. Since then, I’ve held a number of jobs, from sports columnist to radio journalist, before earning my Bachelor of Education degree (Magna Cum Laude).

My debut novel, Dead Man`s Hand, was released by Imajin Books on October 20, 2012.

Question No 5:
Please, describe your writing style. Do you create an outline first and write the book based on that, or do you start writing the first sentence that comes to mind and go on from there?

I started writing when I was young and playing professional hockey. A couple of hours a day on the ice and in the gym and then the day was mine. I also suffered a serious eye injury and couldn`t play, so I had a lot more time on my hands. Now that I`m older, with a family and full time job, makes it a lot harder to find the time to write.

These days I don`t have a schedule or routine. Right now, I`m too busy playing ring-around-the-rosie and duck-duck-goose to write.

But when I do write, I find that I am most productive in the morning, and I always have to have a mug of steaming tea in front of me.

Before I even sit down at a computer, I have hand-written notes of ideas for my book. This could be anything from plot, scenes, setting, characters, etc. I always write in the mornings, this is my most productive time.

Once I sit down, I just write. No editing, no looking back, I just let it flow. Unless I`m certain, no title until after I`m done. As I write, I keep notes by hand on the timeline.

When my first draft is complete, I go through it twice, once for the creative editing process and the next for flow, repetition, etc. Then I have my former English professor read it over and she gives me her thoughts. I edit it myself again. Then I send it to my agent for her thoughts, then I edit it again myself. Only once my agent and I feel ready do we send it to publishers.

For me, the most difficult thing about writing has nothing to do with actual writing (ideas, flow, writer`s block, etc.), but it`s finding the time.

Question No 6:
Please, describe your writing environment.

My wife and I created a tiny office in our house, upstairs at the end of the hallway. I have a desk, chair, computer and printer. Everything a writer needs to be successful.

Question No 7:
Do you use a pen name and if so, why?

My real name.

Question No 8: 
What kind or books/genres are your favorites?

I was always an avid reader. My first 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/thriller novels. “Kiss the Girls” by James Patterson was the first adult crime-book I ever read, and I fell in love with the genres. DEAD MAN`S HAND has been compared to Patterson books, which to me is an honour. Maybe in style (short chapters, a quick read), as I have read many of his books.

Question No 9:
When did you start to write?

Writing just kind of happened by accident.

Growing up I never thought much about writing, but I was an avid reader. The only time I ever wrote was when my teachers at school made me. I wanted to be an NHL superstar…period.

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.

Thirteen years later, I still write for pleasure—and I still love it! The fact that I am being published is a bonus.

Question No 10:
What current projects are you working on?

I’m currently working on my second novel, another crime-thriller, following the career of rookie, female LAPD detective Charlene Taylor.

I would love to write another book. Right now, I have a full time job (teaching), a part-time tutoring job, and three small children (all girls, 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.

Question No 11:
Who is your favorite author?

Harlan Coben, Greg Iles, Michael Connelly, among others.

Question No 12:
How many books have you written?

DEAD MAN’S HAND is my only published work to date, and I have been getting exceptional reviews. It took me over six years from writing the first word to seeing it in print, so I spent a lot of time with it.

But my first manuscript is my baby. It was what drew me to writing, what ignited the passionate fire in me to write. It also brought my wife and I closer together (we were just dating at the time and she helped me a little).

I never intended to publish my first manuscript, it was part of practicing to hone my craft. But since my first novel has been getting such good reviews, for book #2, I’ve pulled my first manuscript out of the drawer and am currently revising it for possible publication.

Do you have a website where we can keep up with your work?



How can we follow you on Twitter and/or Facebook?

  
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What happens when the deck is stacked against you…

From NFL rising-star prospect to wanted fugitive, Calvin Watters is a sadistic African-American Las Vegas debt-collector framed by a murderer who, like the Vegas Police, finds him to be the perfect fall-guy.

…and the cards don't fall your way?

When the brutal slaying of a prominent casino owner is followed by the murder of a well-known bookie, Detective Dale Dayton is thrown into the middle of a highly political case and leads the largest homicide investigation in Vegas in the last twelve years.

What if you're dealt a Dead Man's Hand?

Against his superiors and better judgment, Dayton is willing to give Calvin one last chance. To redeem himself, Calvin must prove his innocence by finding the real killer, while avoiding the LVMPD, as well as protect the woman he loves from a professional assassin hired to silence them.

Review Blurbs:

"You may want to give it the whole night, just to see how it turns out."
William Martin, New York Times bestselling author of The Lincoln Letter

"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

"Part police procedural, part crime fiction, Dead Man's Hand is a fast, gritty ride."

Anne Frasier, USA Today bestselling author of Hush