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In a Writer’s Mind

Michael Murphey
Mike Murphey Author Interview

Killing Time follows a 93 year old man who’s given the chance to fix his greatest regret in a parallel universe but must give up his life in his current one. What inspired the setup to this thrilling story?


This is the third in a series of books involving these characters. When I originally thought of the story I wanted to tell, it centered around my relationship with my wife. We met in an unconventional way. The tiniest of variations in circumstances during a few days and we would have missed each other. Later in our relationship, I almost made a decision that would have changed everything. That became 93-year-old Sean Brody’s story, but I didn’t get around to it until the third book.

Your characters, as usual, are well developed. What were some ideas that were important for you to personify in your characters?

Characters must become very real people in a writer’s mind. They must be distinct from each other. While—like real people—they must change and grow with time, they also must remain true to their fundamental nature. My books tend to have a lot of characters, which makes this a little more difficult, but after three books, I know these people very well.

I felt that there were a lot of great twists and turns throughout the novel. Did you plan this before writing the novel, or did the twists develop organically writing?

I am not an outliner. When writing fiction, I can’t see that far ahead. I count on my characters to lead me where we are going. I guess. Truthfully, I don’t know where a lot of the plot twists come from. I’m just thankful they show up when they do.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

Two more books are on the horizon. Late this summer, we will publish my first non-fiction effort, “We Never Knew Just What It Was … The Story of the Chad Mitchell Trio.” This is a book about the 60’s folk music era and the group that had such a profound influence on those of us who grew up in the 60’s. And I’ve completed an early draft of a fourth book in my “Physics, Lust and Greed Series.”

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At every crossroads he has encountered in life, Sean Brody has made the safe choice. In the year 2046, at the age of ninety-three, Sean is given one final opportunity to deal with his greatest regret. Sean is the only man Marshall Grissom and Marta Hamilton can find who might be able to save Sheila Schuler, their friend and fellow traveler lost in the distant reaches of time. If Sean accepts the task of traveling to his childhood in a parallel universe—with no guarantee that any aspect of the past can be changed—Sean must also accept his death in the only world he knows.

Killing Time: Physics, Lust and Greed

Killing Time: Physics, Lust and Greed Series, Book 3 by [Mike Murphey]

Killing Time: Physics, Lust, and Greed is a well woven tale of one man, already at the end of his life, who is given the opportunity to go back in time and right certain wrongs. I’m not going to give away major plot points, but this is a double edged sword. Readers explore the risk vs reward of going back to an early point and changing the timeline in this gripping science fiction story. Implications of repercussions hover over the main character, Sean, as he struggles with fixing his biggest regret.

Killing Time: Physics, Lust, and Greed has an eye catching cover and a story line that is as surreal and intriguing as the cover art suggests. Murphey manages to keep his characters grounded and, while the idea of time travel is mainly science fiction at this point, he breaks the subject matter down to help readers stay in the flow of the story.

One aspect that particularly interested me was how the story is heavily character driven. Murphey’s writing style is easy and flows well. Time travel is a genre in itself at this pooint, but Mike Murphey is able to inject some new ideas and perspectives, sewn together by fascinating characters, that make the time travel concept feel fresh. The book does bounce back and forth quite a bit and can be confusing to follow in the first part, but once you establish a rhythm and start to understand the motivations of the characters and how their stories overlap you are in for a thoroughly enjoyable read. This is book three in the Physics, Lust and Greed series and no steam is lost. I’m starting to think that lumping physics in with the two other seven deadly sins, lust and greed, was intentional.

I have come to be familiar with Mike Murphey’s work and expect solid writing, but with Killing Time we also get an imaginative storyline with compelling characters propelling this science fiction adventure story forward.

Pages: 287 | ASIN: B08XJZL84B

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Turning Them Loose

Michael Murphey
Mike Murphey Author Interview

Wasting Time is a thrilling science fiction story that continues your Physics, Lust and Greed Series. What were some new ideas you that you wanted to introduce in this book that were different from book one?

I wanted to better develop Marta and Marshall’s relationship and to lay a foundation for the artificial intelligence becoming a more central part of the story. Another important job for this book is creating a transition to book 3, Killing Time, which will be published in May.

This is a fun novel that delivers some very entertaining scenes. What was the funnest thing about writing this novel?

The mist fun thing about writing any novel is refining your characters, then turning them loose and then letting them go.

What were some goals you set for yourself as a writer in this book?

My principle goal in any of my novels is to entertain—to make people laugh. If you can offer a little depth along the way, so much the better.

What can readers expect in book three of your Physics, Lust and Greed Series?

Killing Time… Physics Lust and Greed Series, Book 3.

At every crossroads he’s encountered in life, Sean Brody has made the safe choice. In the year 2046, at the age of ninety-three, Sean is given one final opportunity to deal with his greatest regret. Sean is the only man Marshall Grissom and Marta Hamilton can find who might be able to save Sheila Schuler, their friend and fellow traveler lost in the distant reaches of time. If Sean accepts the task of traveling to his childhood in a parallel universe—with no guarantee that any aspect of the past can be changed—Sean must also accept his death in the only world he knows.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

When time travelers fail test after test to significantly alter the past, financial backers abandon the Global Research Consortium leaving veteran traveler Marta Hamilton to administer a vastly scaled-down project. 

She must protect the past from a greedy future, fend off political meddling, and foil a murder plot originating in a parallel universe. Marta presides over a conspiracy to hide the truth of her best friend’s death while coping with a confusing romantic entanglement involving fellow time traveler Marshall Grissom.

Marta, who has always distanced herself from emotional commitment as a professional necessity, lapses by allowing herself the luxury of friendship with Sheila Schuler and a night of wild sex with Marshall. 

Now, Sheila is likley dead, and—according to a genius physicists’ theory—Marshall soon will be. As she assumes her role as administrator of the time travel program, Marta must choose between the risk of loving someone, or the lonely safety of emotional solitude (no cats were harmed in the telling of this story).

Wasting Time

Wasting Time: Book 2 in the Physics, Lust and Greed Series by [Mike Murphey]

Wasting Time is the second in the series ‘A Tale of Physics, Lust and Greed’ written by Mike Murphy. We start by following the veteran time traveler Marta Hamilton, who faces scrutiny from a top-secret facility for failing to significantly alter the past. This leads to the whole project being vastly scaled back. From here, the novel delves into grief, loss, romance, mystery, and manipulation all inside a relatively light-weight plot.

The themes in Wasting Time were subtle at times but intricately crafted. Marta’s grief of a lost friend plays throughout, It wasn’t simply ignored nor was too overbearing for the readers, instead, Marta’s struggles with it felt real, lasting, and balanced with other elements of the story. Elements like the futuristic setting, parallel universes and time dimensions, political intrigue, mystery, and manipulation, all of which also balanced cleverly. Some of this could feel heavy for some readers but Murphy implemented an easy to read and digestible writing style, so the more complicated concepts aren’t lost on the readers.

The dialogue was amusing, with hilarious insults and witty comebacks that really added to the individuality of the characters. Each character felt like a completely different person and fully realised, never meshing with anyone else. This plus the great dialogue was one of the reasons this novel was so easy to read page after page. The gradual romance between Marta and Marshall was delightful to read and exuded authenticity. It was a slow, developing romance that felt real. The character work of Marta herself is one of the biggest praises I have, she contrasted her sometimes calculative mindset with hints of empathy and care sprinkled throughout.

I recommend reading the first book in the ‘Tale of Physics, Lust and Greed’ series though, called Taking Time, before picking up this one as it delves more into the character backstories. If you wanted to go straight to this one though, you won’t be left out of the loop. Murphy structured the plot, characters, and setting, well enough that readers won’t get confused with what’s going on if you start here, except at the times he wants you confused.

Overall, this was an entertaining read with solidly built characters, expertly crafted relationships, and a well-balanced exploration of themes. In contrast with its name, Wasting Time is completely worth your time.

Pages: 281 | ASIN: B08HSRDWX2

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A Tale of Physics, Lust and Greed

Michael Murphey
Mike Murphey Author Interview

Taking Time follows Marshall as a new invention sets off a series of events with far reaching impacts and Marshall is caught between corporate greed and science. What was the inspiration for the idea behind this exciting story?

The concept for my Physics, Lust and Greed series has been percolating for many years. Jack Williamson—who along with Robert Heinlein are recognized as the deans of American science fiction—live in the small Eastern New Mexico town where I grew up, so I was exposed to his books early on. The concept of time travel is particularly fascinating to me. So much time travel fiction exists that it’s difficult to find any kind of original take on the genre. My effort in finding an original twist involved having only the consciousness of the future being travel to the past, where they share the minds of their past counterparts. This set up some fun internal conflicts which become more developed in the next two books in this series.

I enjoyed Marshall’s character throughout the story. What were some sources that informed the characters development?

I don’t embrace the “superman” concept of male protagonists. As much as I enjoy Lee Child’s Jack Reacher, being the toughest guy in the room makes things a little too easy. Supreme confidence is something most of us lack. Marshall is an awkward, terribly self-conscious and insecure person who has spent his life trying not to call attention to himself. Most of us weren’t the best athlete, the best musician or the most popular or smartest kid in school. Most of us had to use our wits to find our place and guard our dignity as we grew up. Marshall’s weaknesses give him his strength as a character as we watch him grow over the arc of three books.

What were some time travel tropes that you were trying to avoid in this story?

I’ve already alluded to this, but I didn’t want my past and future characters to have a physical confrontation. But I did want to create a conflict between the future and past versions of the same character. Having the intellect of the future being occupy the mind of the past being creates this conflict in what I think is a unique way. The greater disparity in the age of the past and future beings, the greater the conflict of values and understanding of the world around them. This was a fun plot element to develop.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

The second book in the Physics, Lust and Greed Series—Wasting Time—was published Oct. 1. The third book—Killing Time—is schedule for release May 11. My first non-fiction book—We Never Knew Just What it Was … The Story of the Chad Mitchell Trio—will hopefully be out in August.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

The year is 2044. Housed in a secret complex beneath the eastern Arizona desert, a consortium of governments and corporations have undertaken a program on the scale of the Manhattan Project to bludgeon the laws of physics into submission and make time travel a reality.

Fraught with insecurities, Marshall Grissom has spent his whole life trying not to call attention to himself, so he can’t imagine he would be remotely suited for the role of time travel pioneer. He’s even less enthusiastic about this corporate time-travel adventure when he learns that nudity is a job requirement. The task would better match the talents of candidates like the smart and beautiful Sheila Schuler, or the bristle-tough and rattlesnake-mean Marta Hamilton.

As the project evolves into a clash between science and corporate greed, conflicts escalate. Those contributing the funding are mostly interested in manipulating time travel for profit, and will stop at nothing, including murder, to achieve their goals.

Taking Time

The last person you’d expect to take on the role of time travel pioneer is Marshall, who is not your typical hero. Rail thin, six foot three, and not the least bit athletic, he’s hardly inconspicuous. Nonetheless swayed by the perks that come with working on a top secret new project, Marshall is nervous and insecure in his new role. But he’s far more concerned about the necessity of travelling through time naked than he is with the situational ethics of doing so. Mike Murphey’s Taking Time: A Tale of Physics, Lust, and Greed is part science fiction, part thriller, and part light comedy. The work treads the line between something more scientific, with discussions surrounding the theories and laws related to time travel, and almost slapstick humor, mostly derived from the characters appearing in front of each other naked. 

The characters are well developed; all thrown together into a strange environment early on in the book; tightly integrating their relationships and inner conflicts and allowing the reader to get to know them more. Sudden flashbacks dramatize the otherwise smooth narrative, while the explanations of the concept of time, of dark matter, and physics more broadly, eventually give way to the stark reality that the project Marshall has been hired to work on is being used by both governments and large corporations for their own ends. 

Taking Time is a fun book that blends lite versions of the science fiction, thriller, and comedy genres without fully embracing one. You may find yourself chuckling in parts, and enjoying the entertaining twists and turns, if you’re able to suspend your disbelief for a few short hours. Taking Time kept me sufficiently entertained with its charm and humor. 

Pages: 358 | ASIN: B087PP8DPL

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A Talented and Funny Story

Mike Murphey
Mike Murphey Author Interview

The Conman: A Baseball Odyssey is based on the life of professional baseball player Keith Comstock. What was the inspiration that made you want to write and publish this fascinating story?

I have known Keith for many years and have spent a lot of time with him talking about baseball. Keith is a talented and funny story-teller. He could have made a career as a stand-up comic. But I also realized that behind all those funny stories was a lot of struggle and heartbreak as well. I talked with Keith for several years about the possibility of a book, and he finally agreed.

What was the writing collaboration like between you and Keith Comstock?

Over the course of six months or so we met a couple of afternoons a week at an IHOP in north Phoenix. I’d ask questions and take notes. Other times, we’d meet in his office at the Texas Rangers Spring Training complex in Surprise, and we’d combine a pitching lesson with more discussion about the book. I’m an amateur pitcher playing in old-man baseball leagues, and Keith finds my lack of ability amusing.

What were some themes that were important for you to focus on in this book?

Most baseball books are a collection of funny stories or big-game moments. Both Keith and I wanted to present the reality of professional baseball’s grind. I wanted to show the human cost of single-minded purpose—the things that family and friends sacrifice to a player’s ambition. The Conman has plenty of funny moments. But they are balanced by the poverty of struggling through the minor leagues, and by the constant specter of failure.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

The second book in my Physics, Lust and Greed Series—Taking Time—came out a couple of weeks ago. I am finishing the editing process and the third book in this humorous time-travel series. I am also working on my first non-fiction book about the Chad Mitchel Trio and the 60’s era of folk music. Both those books will be published next year.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website

Conor Nash has lived his life with a single purpose—to pitch in the Major Leagues. He’s been released from professional baseball contracts ten times over a sixteen-year career, but he’s overcome every obstacle to finally reach The Show when he’s a decade too old. As he faces the specter of injury-forced retirement, he becomes a man neither he nor his wife recognizes. During his career, Conor avoided the trap of alcohol and drugs because his drug was baseball. And what can an addict do when he realizes he will never get that high again? Conor climbs treacherous Camelback Mountain, drinks a bottle of Champagne, recalls people and events, and seeks an answer. Who is Conor Nash if he can’t pitch? The Conman is based on the Life of Keith Comstock. Keith pitched professionally for sixteen years, including Major League time with The Seattle Mariners, the San Diego Padres, the San Francisco Giants and the Minnesota Twins. Following his retirement in 1992, Keith has held minor league coaching and managing positions with several organizations. For the past decade he has served as the rehabilitation instructor for the Texas Rangers.

We Shared a Destiny

Mike Murphey
Mike Murphey Author Interview

Section Roads follows three friends who go back to their home town after forty years and are forced to confront a bloody secret. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling novel?

Section Roads has many biographical elements that guided its evolution. A few weeks after graduating from high school, I left home to attend summer session at New Mexico State University, leaving my high school girlfriend behind. Despite our separation, I felt we shared a destiny so we would eventually be together. We didn’t, we weren’t and are both probably better off for it. We remain friends, and I had her blessing to tell this story. Anyway, during that lonely summer, I read a coming-of-age book by New Mexico author Richard Bradford called Red Sky at Morning. I decided then that if I could ever write a book, I’d write one like that.

I enjoyed the development of each character and their evolution into adulthood. What were some driving ideals behind their character development?

My protagonists aren’t tough guys. They are more likely to be the guys getting beaten up by tough guys. People who must cope with the world by overcoming fear and using their wits are far more interesting than people who get by on physical superiority. That’s where Cullen comes from. Buddy, of course, is a tough guy. But he’s also has a curios intellectuality that leads him to reject the tough guy culture. I grew up among strong women and share my life with a strong woman, so my female protagonists, like Shelby and Lori, are strong women.

The mystery at the heart of this story was riveting. Did you plan it before writing or did it develop organically while writing?

I don’t know how my books are going to end when I start writing. Of course, I had a vague idea of how the mystery would play out. But the specifics emerged as I got to know the characters.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

The second book in my Physics, Lust and Greed series about time travel—Wasting Time–came out October 1. The third book—Killing Time—is waiting in the wings. My first non-fiction book, We Never Knew Just What it Was… the Story of the Chad Mitchell Trio is also awaiting publication. It focuses on the 60’s era of folk music.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website

When attorney Cullen Molloy attends his fortieth high school reunion, he doesn’t expect to be defending childhood friends against charges of murder…

In a small town on the high plains of Eastern New Mexico, life and culture are shaped by the farm roads defining the 640-acre sections of land homesteaders claimed at the turn of the Twentieth Century. Cullen and Shelby Blaine explore first love along these section roads during the 1960’s, forging a life-long emotional bond.

As junior high school band nerds, Cullen and Shelby fall under the protection of football player and loner, Buddy Boyd. During their sophomore year of high school, Buddy is charged with killing a classmate and is confined to a youth correctional facility. When he returns to town facing the prospect of imprisonment as an adult, Cullen becomes Buddy’s protector.

The unsolved case haunts the three friends into adulthood, and it isn’t until their fortieth reunion, that they’re forced to revisit that horrible night. When a new killing takes place, Cullen, Shelby and Buddy find themselves reliving the nightmare.

Murder is an easy thing to hide along old country section roads.
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