BY JULIELEE STITT
There’s more to Luke Murphy than hockey, says the retired center who spent several years making a name for himself among readers of THE EQUITY as a sports columnist.
Murphy is a writer, lover of crime fiction and most recently, the author of Dead Man’s Hand, a crime-thriller set to hit shelves later this year.
On a quiet residential street in Shawville, Murphy sits by the computer in the office that he and his wife renovated together. It’s the house that Murphy grew up in and where he now raises his own family.
On the right side of the room, a large picture window overlooks the street, revealing a scene much different than the one Murphy paints in his debut novel.
Surrounded by toys belonging to his two young daughters and other items that accompany home life, Murphy crafted a story about Calvin Watters, a man whose life decisions kept him from becoming the pro football player he had dreamed of one day being. “He’s not perfect. He’s made choices in his life that have forced him to where he is.” Watters is led to the streets of Las Vegas where he works as a debt collector. Or as Murphy calls his protagonist, a “bone breaker.”
The novel’s anti-hero is quickly framed for a murder he didn’t commit. The question of how he will prove his innocence is left unanswered by the novelist. “I don’t want to give too much away,” says Murphy.
While Murphy says he has always been an avid reader and enjoyed writing, he admits that being a novelist wasn’t his first career choice. Rather, the elementary school teacher had plans of one day skating in the National Hockey League (NHL).
However, injuries led Murphy to reassess his life plans. His first injury in 2000 while playing in Oklahoma City would lead him to develop his writing hobby.
“In the pre-season I got hit in the eye with a stick and scratched my cornea and broke my nose.” Murphy was on the bench for the entire season as a result. “I had a lot of time on my hands but I had to stay in Oklahoma,” says the author, who decided to use his roommate’s computer to start writing. “I really just sat down and started … I would write whenever I could. I continued to hobby write through the years and then I got to a point where I was a couple of manuscripts in and I thought, ‘I would really like to pursue this.’”
And so he did.
Murphy contacted a literary agent who found him his publisher, Edmonton-based Imajin Books. Unlike hockey, where a player can be made or ruined very quickly, Murphy describes the literary world as slow moving. “Nobody seems to be in a rush,” he says. After a year of revising, Murphy signed a contract on May 8.
While Murphy speaks about his personal success in a mild manner, he does admit that he plans on continuing to write. “I’ve really enjoyed it.”
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