Complementing my interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the three hundred and thirty-second, is of multi-genre novelist and interviewee Kenneth S Murray. Kenneth is also offering a giveaway as part of his blog tour (details below).
If you would like to take part in an author spotlight, take a look at author-spotlights.
Kenneth Somerset Murray was born in Villa Nova, a little stop on the Paoli Local, an electric train (he said – don’t step on the third rail or you’ll get crispy) that runs west from Philadelphia. No, he is not related to W. Somerset Maugham, the prolific British playwright, novelist, and short story teller – perhaps most famous for ‘Of Human Bondage, The Razor’s Edge, and The Moon and Sixpence.’
Ken, Kenny, or known as ‘Twitch’ (big into old New Orleans jazz) in his fraternity while he attended Washington & Lee in Lexington, Virginia. He twitched too much and the Dean of Students told him they were giving him a social degree during his sophomore year, and told Ken he could be ‘social’ somewhere else.
Ken decided that the dean had no sense of humor and he would take his act on down the road. He enrolled into Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland on the eastern shore. Yes – old George helped to fund the college in 1782, hence its name. But Ken found it a boring place and after one year, transferred to the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Ken did graduate from that college, and he is proud of that fact since now, as a novelist and romantic poet, he points out the Edgar Allen Poe attended UVA, but did not graduate. Poe had to leave as he was carousing and drinking too much. Ken says, “See what a flop he turned out to be?”
Then the United States Army drafted Ken and he found out that in basic training at Fort Jackson in Columbia, South Carolina, they used real bullets, every fifth one was a tracer. He could see them whizzing overhead. He said the men had to crawl holding a rifle, up a hill through mud, with deep holes along the way, where the army set off explosions to mimic actual combat, but did have barbed wire overhead to keep guys from getting too scared, stand up, and get shot dead. So Ken volunteered to be a truck driver. He say’s his mother didn’t raise no dummy. He had to stay and guard the truck, and basically, slept.
Then Ken went to Fort Gordon in Augusta, Georgia, where he was taught to type and was given a top secret clearance and sent to the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia where he was involved with cryptography. But first Ken had to take a lie detector test. The FBI wanted to be sure he didn’t have anything in his background that could be used by an enemy to blackmail him into giving away top secret information. Any message that NSA, National Security Agency, captured from any foreign country and decoded that pertained to any army in the world, was sent to his unit for review by military experts.
Ken did not major in English, or writing at college. He moved to Florida and went into the car rental business. He and a partner owned some Budget Rent-a-Car franchises and eventually sold them. Ken knew that he didn’t want to go back into a business; so he tried to retire, play golf a lot, traveled some, and was bored stiff. He loved to read and he thought maybe he’d try his hand at writing.
Ken has been writing prose and poetry for over fifteen years, and he told me, “I think of ‘The Road Not Taken,’ by Robert Frost. It ends with:
‘Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.'”
Kenneth’s latest book, The Second Creation, weaves together two stories; a life ending comet strike on earth, and inter-galactic war within the Realm of the Galaxies. Research by Sandia National Laboratories Comet Impact Simulations brings incredible reality, and biosphere life begins a new human story. Dunge Katorsay, an Apostle of the Anti-Christ, leads his forces from the Draco Constellation to defeat the realm and become its chairman. Brian Hudson and Charlotte Tennyson are introduced as earth embryos. Both are born years later on another planet. Charlotte is captured by Draco forces; her memory copied into her physical clone, who returns to Brian to spy on the realm. Charlotte’s bisexual tendencies were revealed, and she is kept by Dr. Sorsin, the lesbian bio-engineering genius. The ending above the earth, as their forces collide, is a horrific battle between the Anti-Christ and the second coming of a God child.
And now from the author himself:
My best stories are those incidents that happen along the way. And your readers will enjoy a description of the journey or, ‘Way,’ meaning the writing life, which according to former writing guru, John Gardner, considered the expert on writing in his day, said it’s a yoga, an almost spiritual path that induces a changed quality of mind and heart, satisfactions no non-novelist can understand – and its rigors generally bring no profit except to the spirit. For those who are authentically called to the profession, spiritual profits are enough.
Gardner has described me; that’s my best biography, and many others who are addicted to writing fiction. Its the journey, as with life, grab the beginning of each day with joy and hope. That applies to the fascination; the addiction that writers experience.
The former vice-president of Universal Studios used to live in my home area, Orlando, Florida, and then went to Los Angeles as president of that company. When I wrote, ‘The Final Plan,’ a World War II Nazi thriller, his local plastic surgeon, and my friend, sent him the novel – told him it would make a good movie.
The president phoned the surgeon and said, “Tell Ken my staff reviewed the book and said it is a great read, but it would cost 200 million dollars to make the movie since the action and the story moves back and forth from England, Germany, Israel, Russia, to the Falkland Islands and Brazil and Argentina. Tell Ken, even if his name was Tom Clancy, we’d still have to think twice about making the movie.”
No movies are made without a screen play or script written first. It can be a screen play written based upon a book, or the screen play written by itself.
Speaking of which, a screen play was written about another novel I wrote, now entitled, “Fort Knox Heist.” Albert Friedrich, a partner with ‘Lucky Nickels Partners, LLC,’ wrote the script and had Hollywood agents talk it up with producers, but that’s an even tougher sell than getting published.
I learned that only one percent of all books or screen plays get a second look in the movie industry, and less than half of 1% make it into production. I got that second look, but didn’t make it into the all important, lucky, one half of one percent.
If a publisher prints a book for a new writer, they typically only print 5,000 copies, pay the writer a minimum amount, and wait to see if it sells. If so, they print some more.
But when a Hollywood studio makes a movie, it’s like Poker Stars when the player says,
“I’m all in.” It costs millions, so they are much more careful than a publisher.
It’s really all about the money. I’ll tell you a true story – I write fiction, but this is fact.
My nephew, Kent Murray, has been in advertising, marketing, and creating television advertisements in Philadelphia. He has written screen plays for quite a while. Recently, Kent had three scripts in play at the same time. Unheard of in the business. There were three producers, two from England, one from New York, and each had a different script from my nephew and each of them wanted to make a movie. I told him one’s going to hit. That was last year. The English producers came over here and on to Hollywood to find the money to develop the screen plays. No money. So no deal — for any one of the three scripts.
OK – So here’s a look at four novels I’ve written. Each one is basically different in topic and substance, but all are action fiction with a lot of research to make them believable.
What’s unbelievable is the fact that each book is only 99 cents at your favorite e-book website. Hey – Just the beautiful covers are worth that price!
- Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/The-Second-Creation-ebook/dp/B00DTW5TL6
- Barnes & Noble BN.com: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-second-creation-ken-murray/1115952150?cm_mmc=AFFILIATES-_-Linkshare-_-TnL5HPStwNw-_-10:1&r=1
And as part of Kenneth’s blog tour, there is the opportunity to win…
- First Prize: Kindle Paperwhite
- Second Prize: $50 Amazon Giftcard
- Third Prize: $25 Amazon Giftcard
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As I post a spotlight or interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t unfortunately review books but I have a list of those who do. If there’s anything you’d like to take part in, take a look at Opportunities on this blog.
I welcome items for critique directly (see Editing & Critique) or for posting on the online writing groups listed below:
Morgen’s Online Non-Fiction Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Novel Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Poetry Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Script Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Short Story Writing Group
We look forward to reading your comments.