Author Luke Murphy is my guest today. He’s celebrating great reviews for his novel Dead Man’s Hand. I love the chance to share in other people’s celebrations.
July 14th is a day of high rejoicing here in France, where I live. We’ve already had a week of firework displays, live music and street parties in town squares from north to south and east to west. Tonight, French people celebrate becoming citizens of a Republic. There’ll be a procession through the streets of our village. Children will carry the flame of truth (lanterns) to the main square to remind us how in 1789 the principals of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity underpinned the movement for change. No longer were ordinary people prepared to accept the hand they had been dealt by an unfair society.
It’s probably fair to say that the French have been ornery ever since, but . . .
. . . What better day to celebrate author Luke Murphy’s debut novel Dead Man’s Hand.
I follow Luke Murphy on Twitter. I like to see how other writers are doing. Share the good news.
Luke lives in Shawville, Quebec with his wife, three 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).
Dead Man`s Hand was released by Imajin Books on October 20, 2012.
Luke has received excellent reviews. Here are just a few from Amazon.
DEAD MAN’S HAND
It’s a great title isn’t it? I’m not a card player so the phrase wasn’t familiar to me. I didn’t know the history behind it.
Historically, the phrase, Dead Man’s Hand was given to the last poker hand that Wild Bill Hickok had been dealt when he was murdered during a game of five-card-draw. Although there is controversy over what those five cards were or even if there actually were five cards when the infamous Hickok was slain, there appears to be a general consensus that he was holding a pair of 8s and a pair of Aces. However, the most controversial aspect about the poker hand in question, was the the number and suit of the fifth card.
Here’s Luke’s tantalising introduction to his novel:
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.
Wow! A real thriller writer on my website. Isn’t that something? I asked Luke to tell us a little about where he finds his inspiration.
What Inspired my Fiction?
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.
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 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.
Plot: I get my ideas from stories I hear about, whether through reading (newspapers, magazines, etc.), what I hear (radio) or what I see (TV, movies, internet, etc.). The plot is completely fictional. I wouldn`t say that one thing or person influences my writing, but a variety of my life experiences all have led to my passion in the written word. 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.
Setting: I usually set my stories in cities I`ve visited and fell in love with. Las Vegas was the perfect backdrop for this story, glitz and glamour as well as an untapped underground.
Characters: I have never been involved in a homicide investigation, LOL. 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.
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.
I made my decision in 2005. I enjoyed writing so much as a hobby, I decided I wanted to take my interest one step further – write a story with the intention of being published and making it available for friends, family, and readers around the world to enjoy.
I`m not one to take things lightly or jump in half way. I took a full year off from writing to study the craft. I constantly read, from novels in my favorite genres to books written by experts in the writing field. I continually researched on the internet, reading up on the industry and process. I made friends (published and unpublished authors), bombarding them with questions, learning what it took to become successful.
Feeling that I was finally prepared, in the winter of 2006, with an idea in mind and an outline on paper, I started to write DEAD MAN`S HAND. It took me two years (working around full time jobs) to complete the first draft of the novel.
I then worked with editors and joined a critique group, doing anything I could to learn, to improve my writing and my novel to point where I could create the best possible work.
My years of hard work finally paid off. With my dream still in mind and my manuscript ready, I hired the Jennifer Lyons Literary Agency to represent DEAD MAN`S HAND. My dream became reality in 2012 when I signed a publishing contract with Imajin Books.
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.
That’s great, Luke. Thanks for sharing that with us. I wish you all the very best for this and future novels.
And isn’t it nice that the principals of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity somehow found their way into this post?