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Luke Murphy followed his dream

By Micheala Philpitt

Unlike the pitch for his novel, Dead Man’s Hand: “What happens when the odds are stacked against you...and the cards don’t fall your way?”, Luke Murphy’s hand was dealt pretty good when it came to talent.

Mr. Murphy was born and raised in Shawville, Quebec. In 1992 he moved to Pembroke and played for the Pembroke Lumber Kings until 1995 when he graduated from Fellowes High School. He attended the Rochester Institute of Technology on a hockey scholarship and later was invited to play professional hockey for the Florida Panthers. One too many injuries forced him to retire from the ice and go back home to Shawville where his writing career picked up.

It actually started bck in 2000 when Murphy was playing in Oklahoma and got whacked with a stick to his eyes. On his time off he helped his wife, who was going to school in Montreal, write a short story. He assisted in helping her create the characters and plot. The creativeness of what he was doing got him interested in the art of writing and he picked it up as a hobby.

Mr. Murphy likes making new characters and imagining their lives and problems that go with them. He said, “It’s the freedom of being anyone I want, anytime.”

Throughout the years, in between playing hockey, he wrote a handful of short stories until it was suggested to him that he try a full novel. With that challenge in mind, he took a full year off to research publishing and make his notes about his characters and plot.

In 2006 he officially retired from hockey and went back to Shawville to start the actual writing process.

His first draft took two full years. Once done he started his search for an editor. Finally he found Paul McCarthy, a New York editor. After six months of the two of the sweating over every letter of every line in the novel, the first edits were done.

Hoping it was completed, Mr. Murphy went looking for an agent. He took six more months to search, but to no avail, so he went back to editing in hopes of make the book more ‘agent-worthy.’

Not long after he finally managed to sign with Jennifer Lyons. With her help, they fine-tuned the book and sent it to a few big-name publishers. Though none accepted the novel, it was always returned with good reviews. Due to the competitiveness of the writing industry, no one wanted to take a chance on a new author.

But Murphy and Lyons did not give up; for another three to four months they sent it out to the smaller publishing companies.

Finally in May 2012 Imagine Books offered a contract to Murphy for his novel. Imagine Books’ editors went through it to fine-tune it one last time. On October 12 the e-book went out, and on the 20th, the paperback novel followed.

It took six years to get the book published, from the first word all the way to the release day in stores. According to Murphy, it felt amazing and left him with a sense of accomplishment.

Dead Man’s Hand is about Detective Dale Dayton, who is trying to solve a political case that ends up being the largest homicide investigation in Las Vegas after a rising star in the NFL, Calvin Watters, is framed for murder. With the help of Dayton, who is willing to give him a chance, Calvin must prove his innocence by finding the real murderer in between avoiding the law which is after him, and protecting the woman he loves from a professional assassin hired to kill them.

Mr. Murphy said he’d love to write more, given the chance. And he tries to find the time but it’s hard in between his children, wife, working as a substitute teacher plus tutoring on the side.

“There is so much stress in everyday life. When I write, I leave life,” Murphy said when asked how he feels when he is creating the magic.

His novel Dead Man’s Hand ended with an open ending to keep the readers wanting more. The only problem with this is that there may not be more if he does not find the time to write more. But he does try. When he can, he fits an hour in here and there to pop out a few chapters.

Though his hockey career is over, he still plays for fun with friends once a week. He will always remember his time in Pembroke, playing for the Lumber Kings and attending Fellowes, he said. “It’s a great community and has always made me feel very connected and comfortable.”

Visit his website at www.authormurphy.com to find out more about Luke, Dead Man’s Hand and upcoming events and novels. Check out his novel online or in any local bookstore, or buy the e-book only for Kindle on Amazon.com. If enough people wish to see Mr. Murphy he will come to a local bookstore if requested.

From high school student playing on the Pembroke Lumber Kings to professional hockey player to author – while in between teaching and raising a family – there’s no question the cards fell Luke Murphy’s way when it came to talent.

Micheala Philpitt is a Co-op student from Fellowes High School working at The Daily Observer.

pem.editorial@sunmedia.ca


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