Everyone, please give a warm and dark welcome to Ken Murray who is stopping by to day to have a bit of a chat about poetry, dark fiction, and the ebook craze. There is also a lovely giveaway – scroll to the end for info on that.
First, a little about his book, The Second Creation:
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.
1) You write in several genres. How do you go about researching each, and drawing the lines that defines this book as historical fiction, that book as science fiction, and yet this one as mystery?
May my dark force be with you. You may draw on it. I delight in it. I write in it. To a degree, it defines my authorship. Most importantly, DARK sells.
I’ve never forgotten a rejection letter quite like one I’ll describe sent to me years ago, involving my first book, from the senior editor at G. P. Putnan’s Sons.
First he tells me my strengths — i.e. strong, well-structured narrative, excellent meshing of fact and fiction, etc. then the reason for rejection. “The violence is a bit extreme for large audience appeal, but, at the same time, I think that it is this streak of viciousness that sets it apart from similarly styled narratives.” Then comes the good luck to you, but no thanks ending. My wife says it’s her favorite of my novels, “The Final Plan.”
As a manuscript develops, the story takes on a life of its own, and the book will define itself in time. Then I hang a category handle on it. It is unbelievable how genres in just one category have a whole litany of sub-genres and more division within those sub-genres.
Research has become much easier and less time consuming with the advent of Yahoo, Google, and other search engines. Example – In the late 1990’s when writing ‘The Final Plan,’ I tried to internet search for ‘diving bell.’ You know, the deep ocean dive bells like you see on NatGeo or Discovery. What I received was Swiss cow bells, and other ring-a-ding nonsense. I had to go to a library to find that information.
Example two — same book, I wrote a motorcycle chase scene out of London to the Chunnel under the English Channel that was almost completed in 1994. Nothing was available on the internet. Again, I had to search in book stores and libraries to find answers.
2) Coming from a very structured, military background, and of an age where paperbooks that you didn’t have to cut the pages was the latest in technology, what do you think of the rise of ebooks, ereaders, and self-publishing?
E-books, e-readers and self publishing is the greatest development in the book business. Readers judge me and other writers by their books. Nothing else. Just look at Hugh Howey who wrote, ‘Wool.’ He’s a young guy, late thirty-ish, was struggling to make a living with a family, and boom, his sci-fi book, first in a series, hits it big time in late 2011 as a digital 99 cent e-book novella via Kindle Direct Publishing.
What I really admire him for is when publishers, Simon and Schuster came to him, he told them they could have the print writes only, he didn’t need them for his ebook sales which were selling 30,000 to 40,000 ebooks a month, from which he was receiving $150,000 per month. He told them to take it or leave it.
The ball game has changed in favor of the writers. But as Howey said, a writer still has to be very lucky to become a top-seller.
3) Having served in a top secret cryptographic unit of the U. S. Army in the Pentagon during the Korean war, are there some favorite authors of the spy or cryptography fiction genre that ‘got it right’? Whose books would you recommend?
I didn’t get very structured in the U. S. Army. The government had a military draft back then and I was required to join the army. I served the minimum of two years, mostly in the Pentagon. What I didn’t like was taking a lie detector test administered by the FBI and NSA. They would not clear anyone for a top secret clearance who had gender problems or was gay. In those days, when the cold war with Russia was really heating up, they worried about a gay man being blackmailed into spying for a foreign agency.
At the end of the test, as I sat looking into a one way mirror, two suits with ties walked into the test evaluator’s room; one sat on the desk corner near me, the other stood. The stander said, “You passed just fine, no problems there.”
The sitter kind of leaned into my face and said, “Just one thing more. When you attended college at Washington and Lee, you started an organization called, ‘The Mongolian Minks.’ What was that?”
Up to that point, as a 21 year old kid, I was triple nervous; but I laughed out loud. “Hey guys, that was a drinking society. In Virginia, we didn’t know any Mongolians.” They glanced at each other with a smile and told the test operator to clear me.
4) You are also a poet. Did the poetry or fiction books come first? Do the two sometimes mesh into one piece of work?
The poetry came second. And it’s entirely different from prose and not connected. I write romantic poems, sometimes spiritual poetry. Always read poetry out LOUD to feel, sense, and understand the poet’s words.
Tangled among the tentacles of my brain
I reach for a dream as it drifts like flotsam
Across the vision of my unconscious mind
In a sea of interposing thoughts.
One thought struggles to be born
Like one persistent dream-sperm
That makes final entry, now an embryo
Of dream-life in my memory.
Eyes flutter at this vivid dream
On a new morning.
Sweet breathing an automatic reflex
Welcomes my heart and mind.
Recognition comes as I see the dream
Now sleeping by my side.
Waking with you, my life-dream,
I blink to know I’m still earthly bound.
I don’t move. I lay there adoring.
I hear you breathing, see the rise and
Fall of breasts against the thin sheet.
I remember how they felt against me.
Lost in your own dream-state, your lips part,
You purr, a soft murmur, a sighing cry, a moan,
And I, sole witness, crave to be in your mind.
You take a deeper, waking breath.
Your eyes open, your head turns,
And your smile warms as you see me.
You are the engine of my heart.
5) Do you often visit museums and if so, do you find inspiration for your writing from such visits? Do you have a favorite local museum?
My wife and I visit museums with some frequency, and as members of the Orlando Museum of Art, we enjoy trips they put together to other city’s museums and to other peoples homes. But seldom am I inspired to write by what we see there.
6) What can your readers expect from you next? Any upcoming projects you would like to chat about?
I’ve just started the research to work on a new novel. Much of it will take place in Egypt involving the undiscovered tomb of a famous pharaoh, Muslim terrorists, and that’s all I’m going to disclose now, except I will write the book in the first person. That will be a first for me, as I’m usually a third person novelist.
A little more about the author:
Kenneth S. Murray lives with his wife Beth in Winter Park and has sons and daughters and three grandchildren. A graduate of the University of Virginia, he served in a top secret cryptographic unit of the U. S. Army in the Pentagon during the Korean war organizing intelligence from codes deciphered by the National Intelligence Agency. He moved to Florida in 1958, retired early and for the past fifteen years has been writing novels and poetry.
Where to Stalk Kenneth S. Murray
The Giveaway!!! Enter the Rafflecopter below by clicking the link!
First Prize: Kindle Paperwhite
Second Prize: $50 Amazon Giftcard
Third Prize: $25 Amazon Giftcard