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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Author, Michael Murphy, Introduces New Mystery Novel...Scorpion Bay!

You may think that this author only writes mystery/suspense novel, but he also writes screen plays!  It was a delightful journey as I learned about this author that likes to add romance and a splash of humor to his stories.

I am an avid reader, and began my first novel 12 years ago.  I live in Arizona with my wife of 38 years, two cats, four dogs, and give chickens we raise in our backyard.  Scorpion Bay is my 7th novel. In addition to the release of Scorpion Bay, I am busy finalizing my 8th novel, Goodbye Emily.
Tell us about the genre of your work. 
Scorpion Bay is a mystery/suspense novel with a splash of comedy and romance with a surprise twist at the end.  I mostly write the type of books I like to read. My favorite author is Nelson DeMille.  I love his books for the humor as well as the suspense and hope readers think the same about my books.  This is a new book that is scheduled to be released this month by Second Wind Publishing Company.
What are some of your books, stories that have been published?
My first novel was, Try and Catch the Wind, the first in my Casey Bannister series about a retired NYPD homicide detective struggling to adjust to life in a small town in upstate New York. The second in the series is Secrets of Sheridan Manor, and the third is Cuts Like a Knife. I also wrote a spinoff from the series, a romantic comedy called Ramblin’ Man, that features Casey’s young sidekick, Bart Wheeler and a runaway heiress.  That’s a fun read. My other novels are Class of ’68, which is the first novel I wrote, and second to be published; and Cold File, is my first novel that takes place in Arizona.  The second “local” novel is Scorpion Bay.
How do you come up with the names of places and characters in your books?

 In Scorpion Bay and Cold File previously,  the story takes place in Arizona, so I had to make sure the places, towns, streets, stores were accurate. It is much easier to make up fictitious locals. I have also learned that when naming principal characters, to avoid names that can be shortened or can become a nickname.  For example, Casey Bannister is called Casey by most, but also Case. Your principal characters should be distinct, and not called different names by different people such as Bob, Bobby, Robert, Rob.  It’s too confusing for the reader.  Having said that, I have sometimes taken more time naming my characters as I did with my own children.  J

How did you develop the character of your protagonist in this book?

Parker Knight is a motorcycle riding former Special Forces soldier who’s spent most of his newscaster career as an investigative reporter. I modeled the character after a Phoenix newscaster who goes around the state and never wears a tie.  I haven’t seen him on a Harley like Parker rides, though.   

What’s your favorite thing about your book?
Although Parker spends the novel seeking justice for his wife’s murder, the story is sprinkled with wacky characters and unexpected humor.  Parker’s quest is complicated by his best friend’s high maintenance girlfriend, Tina Banks, and by an obsessed fan. Author Alisha Paige who wrote a wonderful review of the book posted on Facebook around Oscar time that Tina Banks should win an award as best supporting actress.
Why and when did you begin writing?
 I have always been a writer and thought journalism would be my career, but instead I gravitated toward a business career. In 1999, I attended a seminar called Power Goaling, which asked participants to implement a goal that would take a year to achieve. I picked writing a novel and a year later, I had finished Class of ’68, which won the novel of the year award from the Arizona Authors Association.
What projects are you working on now, or plan for the future?
My current work in progress is not a mystery. The pacing and short, impactful scenes in my mystery novels has helped me construct my next novel and I’m very pleased with the results.
What kind of advice or tips to you have for someone who wants to write (especially mystery)?
A good mystery is not just a story about an unsolved crime, but to me, a good mystery involves a protagonist that readers care about.   
Are there any other comments, advice or tips that you would give to beginning writers?
The most surprising thing I have learned in my writing journey is that the most important thing in writing a novel, is rewriting. By that I mean, editing and polishing. I always advise writers writing their first novel to not dwell on the little things, move forward and finish, then go back and scene by scene edit, polish and rewrite. 
What do you do when you are not writing?
 I raise chickens in my backyard.  Seriously.  Oh, and if your spouse ever says, “Don’t you think it would be fun to raise chickens in our backyard,” run.  Seriously, the five girls are like our other pets, but they provide something the others don’t.  Eggs!
I understand you have also written screenplays.  How does that differ from novel writing? 
Writing screenplays has been a great experience. Because of the time constraints of scripts and screenplays, dialogue and scene structure needs to be crisp. I believe writing has made me a much better novelist. My novels are faster paced and the dialogue is much better, these are two important components in a novel, especially in the mystery/suspense genre.

1 comment:

Michael Murphy said...

Thanks for having me Sylvia. It's an honor.