Monday, February 11, 2013

An interview with Author Luke Murphy

(Psst--If you're looking for the Heartbreaker Blog Hop, it's beneath this post. Thanks!)

Open Mic Monday is excited to host Author Luke Murphy today.  Let's all smother him with kisses and adoration...or better yet, buy his book if you like what you see.  Drum roll, please....Welcome, Luke! 


Thank you, Luke Murphy, for taking the time to stop by Kisses, Caresses & Whispers in the Night today.  I really appreciate your time. Can you tell us a little bit about your newest release?
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.
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. 
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.

What inspired this novel in particular?
There is not a single moment in time when this idea came to be, but circumstances over the years that led to this story: my hockey injuries, frequent visits to Las Vegas, my love of football, crime books and movies.
Dead Man’s Hand became real from mixing these events, taking advantage of experts in their field, and adding my wild imagination. The internet also provides a wealth of information, available at our fingertips with a click of the mouse.

Who is your favorite character in this novel and why?
From NFL prospect to wanted fugitive, twenty-seven year old Calvin Watters, a sadistically violent African-American Las Vegas debt-collector, who was once a rising football star, is framed by a murderer who, like the Vegas Police, finds him to be the perfect fall-guy.
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.
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.

What comes first--characters or plot ideas?
For DEAD MAN`S HAND, the Calvin Watters character came to my mind first, then the plot for the novel.

What kind of research do you do for your story lines?
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.

What is your favorite aspect about being a novelist?
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.
It means liberty and freedom to express myself.

How long have you been writing--both aspiring and professionally?  
I started writing in 2000. It actually started out as a hobby, a passion, a way to pass the time. I got serious about writing with the intention of seeking publication in 2006.
What draws you to this particular genre?
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 novels.

Are there any other genres you can see yourself writing and why/why not? 
Since I`m just a new writer with only one novel under my belt, I feel that I need to set my mark in one genres, before attempting to cross over. 

What's your typical writing routine like?
These days I don`t have one. Right now, I have a full time job (teaching), a part-time tutoring job, two small children and another one on the way. 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 coffee in front of me.

To you, what's the most challenging aspect of being a published novelist and why?
Time. Between my day job, part time job, family and promoting my first novel, finding time to write has been a tough. Also, because I have been published by a smaller publishing house, just getting my name out there and my book into stores has been challenging.

Chocolate or vanilla?
Definitely chocolate.

Dogs or cats?
No comparison...dogs.

What's your favorite meal to prepare or are you more of take-out king? 
I have to admit that my wife does 90% of the cooking. But I love food and eat just about everything. Can`t beat a good steak (T-Bone) on the barbecue though.

Tell us 5 little known facts about yourself. 
1) Former professional hockey player
2) Current Elementary School Teacher
3) My wife is pregnant with our third child
4) My kids tell me I`m very talented at Duck, Duck, Goose and Ring-Around-the-Rosie
5) I coach my 4 year-old`s soccer team

Oh, I absolutely love hockey.  It's my favorite sport to watch.  Your wife sounds like a lucky lady.  Thanks, Luke!  Now let's take a look at your novel, Dead Man's Hand.  It sounds wonderful.  I love a good mystery.  

Excerpt of Dead Man's Hand
In a pool of sweat, he shot up in bed. "Jesus!"
Pain bolted through his swollen right knee, but the emotional pain from a shattered ego hurt even worse. It was the same pain and nightmare that had visited him many nights over the last four years. He was the only one to blame for USC's humiliating loss and his own humiliating personal downfall.
Removing the sweat-soaked sheets, he hobbled across the room, dodged the strewn clothes on the floor, stepped into the bathroom and quietly closed the door behind him. He flicked on the light and squinted as the sudden brightness blinded him. Then he reached for the bottle of Percocet, his loyal companion in these isolated, agonizing nights. 
He shook three of the blue painkillers into his hand, his steady diet of Percs. When he couldn't get enough from his doctor, he bought extras from a dealer. He downed the pills, chasing them with a mouthful of water. They would take some time to kick in, but relief was on its way. The drugs, along with his secret hopes and plans, were all that kept him from slipping over the edge.
He used his hands on the vanity to hold his weight and stared into the mirror. At twenty-six, he already had the hair and face of a stranger. 
"You should let your dreadlocks grow long," his boss suggested. "More intimidating."
The patchy facial hair was Calvin's decision. The overall effect was menacing—just right for his line of work. 
His sharp brown eyes, which at one time had won him glances from beautiful women in college, were usually hidden behind dark sunglasses. Unseen eyes were intimidating too and when he took them off to stare at a victim, he could use his eyes to look like a madman
He closed them now and shook his head in disgust. "You look like shit. Hell, you are shit."
The press had certainly thought that, four years ago. Always ready to tear down a hero, they had shown no restraint in attacking him for his egotistic, selfish decision and obvious desire to break his own school record. One minute he was touted as the next Walter Payton, the next he was a door mat for local media.

Book blurb:
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.

Author Bio

Luke Murphy lives in Shawville, Quebec with his wife, two daughters and pug.

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

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

For more information on Luke and his books, visit: www.authorlukemurphy.com, ‘like’ his Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Luke-Murphy/268343729930467 and follow him on Twitter www.twitter.com/#!/AuthorLMurphy



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