JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Michael Murphy, author of Spare Time
I believe all good stories, whether humorous or serious, have an element of truth. Using fictional characters involved in fictional events, while operating in a real world with real history, helps make the story come alive – in some cases leaving the reader to wonder where reality ends and fantasy begins. People have contacted me and asked if certain events were true. They were not, but this gave me a good sense that I had accomplished my goal.
We all have a tendency to complain when things are not as we might like, but it is easier to complain than it is to become involved. “Spare Time” is about a man and his wife who are busy with their lives, yet concerned about their nation, its debt, and the future. They decide it is worth the effort and time to try and make some changes. They get friends involved, and they also catch the attention of people who are not so happy with their project. As the plot twists and turns, national and world events complicate everyone’s plans. The end result is not where we might like to find ourselves, but if we are prepared we can weather the storm. Would you survive?
Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the inspiration to write “Spare Time”?
Michael Murphy: I’ve been told over the years I have a way with words, but my writing was restricted to letters, blogs and occasional magazine articles. At the urging of friends, I decided to give it a shot. Once I decided to do it, I then had to decide what it would be about.
I am very interested in history, especially American history, however I did not want to write a history book. When I was a child, I used to tell my grandmother stories, based somewhat on fact, but mostly the story was fiction. I felt this was my strength, my imagination.
Writing “Spare Time” in third person allowed me to envision the scenes in the book, and then write what I saw. The concern I have for our nation as it spends its way into the poor house, and what will or will not be left for future generations, was the determining factor. “Spare Time” looks at where the nation “left the path” that made her great, and attempts to find her way back.
My hope is that the reader will read an interesting action novel that captivates them. When they are finished, they will have been educated and learned more about the the United States and themselves and how they fit into the future themselves. A sort of “edutainment”, if you will.
JP: What sets Spare Time apart from other books in the same genre?
MM: Would you just pick up a book to read if you thought it was full of politics? Often we read to escape reality! “Spare Time” is number one, an action novel. However while entertaining you, I strive to show Libertarian and Conservative values as I see them and how they can fill our needs without the oppressive hand of government on our necks.
Will the loss of power by some make them take steps to stop it all? What if someone tried to kill you for helping others, would you continue? I am passionate about our nation and its current state. My desire in writing a novel in this way was to make the reader think about the things that helped make this a great nation in the first place. We the people have given up liberty in exchange for security, do we deserve either?
“Spare Time” is a novel that is fact based fiction. The musings of the main character help the reader learn without feeling they are reading a history book. Many of the quotes of the current events in the book are straight out of the news. Many of the events actually happened, but then many did not. Where does reality end and my fantasy begin?
A reader who pays very much attention to the world we live in will see the possible scenarios that unwind in the story line are entirely believable and possible. A number of readers have told me it changed their outlook on the world and made them think about how they would prepare for the future.
JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that led to Spare Time getting out to the public?
MM: I have a history of entrepreneurship. Being an entrepreneur requires selling a service or product, and selling a service or product requires marketing. Writing requires ability for sure, but getting a manuscript to a publisher is the easy part. You might have the greatest book ever, but until someone knows it is there, it will sit on the shelf. Hard work, persistence, and yes, you have to spend some money!
Large publishers selling a well known author will spend tens of thousands in advertising, likely more – something you and I can not do. We have to be smart. Social media is relatively new, but it is a great way to spread the word without breaking the bank. Be prepared to spend a lot of time helping to get the word out. Be smart about it. Ask for advice, and be patient. No one is an overnight success!
JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take you to start and finish Spare Time?
MM: Since “Spare Time” was my first novel, I had no idea how it should be done. It took me about a year from start to finish. I have to say I was building a house at the time so I had just a little time in the evenings.
Actually, I developed the characters first and wrote a few scenes before I even know what the book would be about. As the story line developed in my mind, I was able to tie what was written together and then move forward. I have started the next book. Now that I have done it once, I believe the process will be easier and more streamlined.
JP: What’s next for Michael Murphy?
MM: As I said above, the second book has been started. Is it a sequel? In a way. The idea for the title of “Spare Time” is something that is very close to our family. Always very busy with business, family, jobs; spare time is something we do not have! However it really fit this particular book, and it lends itself to a future of “time” books. However, the next one will be more of an action-type novel. I’d say that by this time next year we will be discussing the next book, I suppose time will tell.