Saturday, August 11, 2012

Interview with Michael Murphy, Author of Goodbye Emily

I had the pleasure recently of interviewing Michael Murphy, author of Scorpion Bay and the upcoming Goodbye Emily. If you don't know Michael's work, this should entice you to read him. If you already know his material, this lets you know about his next novel, which will be published in January.

Some of the readers of this blog may not know your works. Would you like to introduce yourself?
I’m a full time writer and part time urban chicken rancher in Arizona. I write mostly mystery/suspense novels and have had seven published to date. I’m really excited because Goodbye Emily, my return to Woodstock novel, will be released by Koehler Books January 20, 2012. I’d love for readers to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Goodreads.

Before we learn about your book, can you tell us the last exciting place you visited? Why did you pick these destination?
My wife and I spent several days in Puerto Vallarta after I won two free tickets. I’m sure we enjoyed the sun and the beach. I remember a short pleasure cruise to an island nearby for a sunset cookout and a trip into the mountains that took us back a century, but our main memories focus on there being a major airport mix-up regarding the free tickets, which almost kept us from returning to the US. 

Can you tell us a little about how you became a writer?
I’ve always been a writer, since elementary and high school when I wrote for the school newspapers and I majored in journalism at Arizona State University, but I didn’t get serious about writing until 1999 when I attended a seminar on establishing long term goals. At the end of the seminar each attendee was required to pick a goal that would take a year or more to complete. I picked writing a novel.

Goodbye Emily is your latest book. Why did you select the theme?
Goodbye Emily is more than a return to Woodstock novel. It’s about a man whose not only suffering through the loss of his wife, but he’s been laid off from the career he loves. Four days after my sixtieth birthday, I was laid off from a job I loved, so I took that experience and novelized it.  The novel is a lot more fun and upbeat than my personal recovery from losing my job.

Readers who might want a bit of Woodstock history and trivia can follow my Goodbye Emily blog.

I like the way you balance sorrow with humor. Do you find it difficult to write both?
Drama and comedy are based on conflict, so I find it easy to incorporate humor into my novels. I usually have at least one character who looks at life through a humorous lens, often complimenting the main character. Goodbye Emily includes some serious and tragic situations, but there’s also plenty of scenes that will make readers laugh. 

 I see the book is will be available through Amazon in print and paper. Can you tell us more about the publication schedule?
Goodbye Emily is now available for pre-order through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powell Books, Books A Million and through independent bookstores. The official release date is January 20, 2013.

You can help your fellow writers with this question. What are you doing yourself to promote Goodbye Emily?
I’ve been more aggressive promoting Emily than my other novels. It’s been my honor to have two Woodstock icons, Country Joe McDonald and Wavy Gravy provide back cover blurbs, but the novel is more than a return to Woodstock. The three main characters are baby boomers who, like those of us in this category, face the challenges of aging. They do so with optimism toward the future and humor, so my primary focus is to reach out to this age group and present a novel that will appeal to not just nostalgia, but to a sense that Goodbye Emily is about everyone who is about to or has reached the age of sixty.

You wrote Scorpion Bay a couple of years ago. Can you tell us about it?
Scorpion Bay is an action/suspense novel and a mystery with a twist at the end. It takes place in Arizona, where I live. Writing about real locations rather than a fictitious setting can create challenges, but it’s a fun read. There’s a series about these characters in me, but I haven’t started book two yet.

What do you have planned next? Any other books in the works?
I’m really excited about my first post Goodbye Emily novel.  It’s called The Yankee Club and I’m returning to my mystery/suspense roots. Inspired by The Thin Man film series, it takes place in 1933 New York City and follows a writer, Jake Donovan, and actress, Laura Wilson, who can’t seem to avoid getting involved in a mystery. There’s romance and humor and I get to use the word dame a lot. Famous people from that era drop by from time to time, Cole Porter, Babe Ruth and Dashiell Hammett are just a few.

Like The Thin Man movies, this will be a series. I’m busy writing the second in the series, All That Glitters, with Jake and Laura in Hollywood.

Thank you, Michael, for sharing your life and new novel with us. I was pleased to find we have several things in common. Both post-60. Both got laid off and used that event to begin the transformation into careers as writers. And we are both Pacific Athletic Conference grads. You from Arizona State, so you're a Pac-10er. Me from UCLA and USC, when it was PAC 8.


  1. Nice interview, Michael. I'm looking forward to the books release. Good interview questions, Betty!

  2. Michael, I think there must be a story idea in the "part time urban chicker rancher" line! Congratulations on your up-coming release date. Informative interview, Betty.

  3. New follower from BookBlogs!


  4. Welcome, Candace. I often do author interviews and book reviews of those I've read and enjoyed. A bit of a hodgepodge here, but fun.