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May 21, 2020

How To Be A Writer: Tips From The Pros With Luke Murphy

How To Be A Writer: Tips From The Pros With Luke Murphy

In this episode, I interview the International Best Selling Author Luke Murphy. I ask him questions about how he became a writer, his latest book, and more. It's educational and inspiring all in one episode. ❤️Show Us Your Love And Support Our Podcast:.

How do you become a writer? What are some tips from the pros? How can you improve your writing skills? These are some of the questions that will be answered in this interview.


Key Take-Aways From The Episode

  1. Can you make a living as a writer?
  2. Who is Luke Murphy?
  3. How many books has Luke Murphy wrriten?

About The Guest

Luke Murphy was born on November 15, 1975 in Shawville, a small rural community in Western Quebec. 

From a family of avid readers, even as a child, Murphy had a passion for books. Whether it was reading novels on road trips or writing assignments in school, literature was always part of his life.

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Jimmy Clare


Jimmy Clare: Okay guys, I got a really great episode for you today. I'm talking to an awesome author who is an International best-selling author. I just read his latest book, I have to say he's one of the funniest people I've seen on Twitter by far. and I looked up to him as a writer, in my opinion, and I think you will see his personality, in this episode. Welcome, Luke Murphy to CrazyFitnessGuy Healthy Living Podcast


Luke Murphy: Well, thanks for having me, Jimmy. And thanks for that introduction. Unfortunately, my wife doesn't think, I'm that funny. maybe because I'm using her as the blunt of most of my jokes on Twitter. But, thanks for that introduction. I'm really happy to be here with you.


Jimmy Clare: I have to say, I was not expecting that ending to your latest book. I'm not going to say any spoilers, but oh, my goodness.


Luke Murphy: Yeah, I've gotten quite a bit of feedback. I believe you're talking about Rockaby Baby, which is the book I published last year. And it's book two in the Charlene Taylor series. that book, I just kind of wrote. I didn't really plan it out. it just kind of went with the flow.


And, the ending was interesting. I had a couple of different endings, but, my editors and I agreed on that ending and I've gotten a lot of positive feedback, which is nice.


Jimmy Clare: Yeah, at least. Are you going to make another book?


Luke Murphy: yes, I'm definitely going to write more Charlene Taylor novels. the book that's coming out this summer actually has a combination of my two, protagonists from my two series, Calvin Waters and Charlene Taylor. They're actually going to be in the same book, working together. So it's going to be interesting. It should be out in July. And I'm, actually looking forward to hearing the feedback from that.


Jimmy Clare: I actually, read a book that basically did the same thing. actually, James Patterson did the same thing, he created a new kind of novel for another book with, a younger, detective working with Alex Cross. but I really liked the ending. I was not expecting that kind of ending.


Luke Murphy: Well, thank you very much. I think as an author, you kind of want to be able to throw readers off a bit and hope to give them a little bit of surprise, a little bit of shock. And that comes with the whole, emotions, with reading a book and getting inside the characters and following them and cheering for them. So you hope to invoke some emotions like that from readers? For sure. And James Patterson. I love his books, too. they're quick and they're fun and they're always entertaining.


Jimmy Clare: I think I read your book in literally three days, maybe four.


Luke Murphy: That's always a good sign for an author.


Jimmy Clare: Except for this one book that I like. This one.


Jimmy Clare: One booked on writing and call. Have you ever met, his, name is Anthony Horowitz. he writes, Alex Rider books.


Luke Murphy: I've heard of them, but I've never read any of them.


Jimmy Clare: I'm reading his current book right now, and I like it so far, but I was meant to read a lot this weekend, but I've been, busy working my butt off, unfortunately.


Luke Murphy: Yeah, sometimes, unfortunately, life gets in the way when we want to be reading a book. But there are other, priorities to take care of first and definitely work.


Jimmy Clare: I'm just curious, how did you become a writer anyway?


Luke Murphy: well, I've always been a reader, and I think that's kind of where it started out. My mother was a librarian, and I spent a lot of days in the library after school. And I always liked reading mystery novels. The Hardy Boys were my first books, so I always was an avid reader.


never really thought much about writing when I was a kid, and then when I got hurt in hockey and I had all this free time, my, wife, she was my girlfriend at the time, and she was in college and she asked if I would help her with an assignment, which was to write a short story. And, so we kind of got together and created these characters in a setting and a plot and everything. And I just enjoyed it so much that I took one of the characters we created together and, I started to write a new story with it. And the next thing I knew, I had a complete manuscript, which I didn't do anything with.


I wrote two manuscripts before I even decided to get serious and write with the intention of being published. Because when I first started out, I knew I wasn't ready. It was, a diamond in the rough, I guess you'd call it. Was pretty rough, my work. So you had years of practicing and researching and, before you even think about writing with the idea of, being published.


Jimmy Clare: That sounds interesting because I know that feeling. When I started Crazy Fitness Guy, i, didn't think I was going to get any readers. But I think I'm in my third year now, and I've picked up like 700 visitors, and readers in a month.


Luke Murphy: Yeah, it's pretty amazing. especially with social media now, you can get readers from all over the world and you can interact with them. And it's so much fun meeting new people and like yourself, you just start writing and you never know where it's going to go.


It's fun to kind of sit back and think about all remember when I started a few years ago and how far I've come. And it's pretty amazing if you watch the progression, I'm sure if you think of your own writing from day one to now, and, it's been a pretty incredible hill you've climbed.


Jimmy Clare: I bet you don't even know how steep that hill is. I think it's probably, I have to say, a very, very, very big mountain. A very steep mountain.


Luke Murphy: Well, I bet, yeah, and that's the thing. Everyone's mountain is different, right? Some are steeper than others, some are longer than others, and some are bumpier than others. we do what we can with what we have. And, you know what, you have obviously succeeded, so a lot of credit to you. And, keep climbing that, hill until there's no hill left and you just keep reaching for the stars.


Jimmy Clare: I was just wondering what inspired, the Charlene, Taylor's, series anyway?


Luke Murphy: probably the inspiration for Charlene Taylor was when I first started thinking about Charlene. I was reading a lot of, James Patterson's Woman, Detective series. the Women's Murder Club books had just come out and they were really growing and it seemed that female, detective protagonists were really popular at that time.


And for me, my whole life, I've just been surrounded by women. I mean, I've had two sisters growing up and I have three daughters, and going to all the sports, you're hanging out with all the moms at these sports. And so I've been surrounded by women my whole life. So, it kind of made it a little easier to write from a woman's point of view. And, again, I was able to lean on my wife and close friends and stuff and ask them about the situation.


Luke Murphy: But definitely the idea to have a female detective as my main protagonist probably stemmed from, James Patterson's Women's Murder Club because I remember I read the very first one that came out, with Detective Lindsay Boxer, and I, read a few after that. But his books definitely inspired me to write from a woman's perspective. And, yeah, it's just taken off from there.


Jimmy Clare: I can't really decide it should. I feel sorry for you that you've been surrounded


Luke Murphy: I feel sorry for myself sometimes. It's, a lot of estrogen in my house, I'll tell you. the teenage years aren't going to be fun, Jimmy. I might have to escape and rent a bachelor pad somewhere. But, it's been a lot of fun.


I mean, the girls keep me on my toes. They're still young and, there's always something going on. But thinking there might be a lot of drama in the teen years for me to look forward to, that's for sure.


Jimmy Clare: you'd probably be happy to know that, years ago, when I was going through, those teenage years, I'm glad you probably didn't want to m have met me because, holy crap, I was a big, issue for my parents.


Luke Murphy: Well, I'm sure that teenage boys and girls are completely opposite ends of the spectrum. And, I was a teenage boy once, so I know what I went through. But, it's going to be a whole different animal to be raising teenage girls, that's for sure. I'm going to have to buy a shotgun for the boyfriends when they come around, I guess.


Jimmy Clare: Well, just take some karate lessons. Why not?


Luke Murphy: There you go. Maybe you can teach me something.


Jimmy Clare: I would say I'm pretty good. maybe pretty good. I wouldn't want to toot my own horn. Out of the older series that you have written so far, what do you think is your favorite one and why?


Luke Murphy: Oh, gosh, Jimmy, that's a tough question. Like asking me who my favorite kid is. I could probably answer you, but my wife wouldn't be very happy if I did. It depends on my mood, I guess, and how well-behaved the kids are. But it's funny, a lot of people question me because I'm a white male and my two series are written by an African American male and the other one is a, ah, female.


So as a white male, I don't have any white male protagonists. But, you know what? It's a very tough question because, Charlene Taylor was the first character I ever created, so she's close to my heart. But Calvin Waters was so much fun to create that I took a lot of me, with him, even though I'm not a six-foot-five 240-pound black man.


a lot of my athletic background, my sports background is in him. the way he thinks, going through, career-ending injuries like I did. so I can't really answer that for you. Jimmy, I don't really have a favorite, but it's just really fun to write for both of them.


I don't think I have a preference. And it's pretty neat because my male readers seem to really respond to Calvin, and then my female readers really respond to Charlene. So it's kind of like I have the best of both worlds while I'm writing.


Jimmy Clare: I have to say, in my opinion, I would have to say I really like Charlene because she reminds me kind of like me. Just she doesn't take no for an answer.


Luke Murphy: Oh, she's definitely hard-headed. And there's been a lot of women like that in my life, so I was used to that. But, yeah, it's fun because my characters are so real. I don't write them where they're perfect, where they're invincible. They know everything. They can do everything. I try to write real characters that people can relate to.


They have their problems, they have their setbacks. they have emotional problems. They go through some of the same things that we go through every day. And that's what's fun to follow these characters because you really get a feel for them because you can relate to them because they're not perfect. Right. They're human. They're real human beings that make mistakes and learn from them. So that's kind of what's fun for a reader, too.


Jimmy Clare: as a writer, do you think, is it hard for you to ever sit down and write these books?


Luke Murphy: The hardest thing for me, Jimmy, is finding the time. I only write part-time. I'm a full-time high school teacher. I tutor on the side part-time. I coach hockey, and I have three kids who are involved in everything. So I coach sports.


I'm traveling all the time, driving them from different events. so really the hardest part is finding the time. so whenever I'm not in front of the computer typing, that's when I'm kind of doing my thinking and my plotting out. So that when I do have the one or 2 hours late at night when everyone's gone to bed, I can sit down and look at my notes and just write.


I don't have to sit there with writer's block and think, oh, my God, what am I going to write? so as a part-time writer, there are good things about it and bad things about it. the bad thing is, obviously, I don't get much time to write because of other jobs and priorities. But the good thing is I don't worry about writer's block. I don't set deadlines for myself or go writing goals for myself. If I get a chance to write, great. If I don't, I don't stress out over it.


as I said, I don't have any deadlines from agents or publishers or you have to have so many words a day or so many words an hour. That's one of the good things about it. But the bad thing is I'd love to be able to write more I'd love for this to be my full-time job, for me to make enough money where that's my sole income. I don't need another job. But right now, I only have four books published, so it's tough to really get some momentum and money coming in until you have a bunch of more books.


Jimmy Clare: I definitely know how that feels. I would like to have podcasting and, my website making money for me and everything as my full-time job. Heck, I can't even work for Uber this summer because of the coronavirus.


Luke Murphy: Yeah. this coronavirus is really throwing everything for a loop, and it's all over the world. Nobody knows what to expect. Nobody knows what to do. All we can do is follow guidelines given by our government and, everyone talks about our new normal and who knows how long it's going to be here with no vaccine yet. So it's certainly strange times for everybody.


yeah. And like you were saying about your podcast, you know, how long it takes and how much work there is to put into it to kind of grow these things. Right. You're starting from scratch. I started from scratch. It takes a long time. It's a grind. And all we can do is hope a lot of it comes to luck, being in the right place at the right time. And, we just do what we can and hope that things work out.


Jimmy Clare: And I have to say, I thought I was a busy person, but after you told me that you're a full-time teacher and you do all these other stuff now you make me look bad.


Luke Murphy: Don't feel bad at all. yeah, it's certainly a busy life. And some days it's just got to kind of slow down and breathe a bit. But usually, once the kids are in bed and, at 09:00 at night, I might get a few hours to sit down and write. Or the problem is, when you're working two or three jobs, you're kind of exhausted by that time.


So some days it's just I want to go to bed early or just chill on the couch with my wife and watch TV or something. But, if you really want something, you'll find the time for it. And I truly believe that a lot of nights I want to write so badly, and I want this to be something that goes on for a long time. I want to impress my readers.


I want to keep entertaining them and keep throwing books for them. So you're going to fight through the tiredness and the exhaustion and all the other stuff going on and find the time to do what you truly are passionate about.


Jimmy Clare: I agree with you on that, because, I found myself there are some weeks where I absolutely know what I really want to write about my next blog post.


But then there are some days when I don't even know what I want to do. But then somehow, after I read a different article written by somebody else, I might want to say, wow, now I really want to write something along these kinds of lines of what somebody else wrote and written, but then put my own spin on it and twist.


Luke Murphy: You're fighting through it, and you're finding ways to get through and finding ways to do what you really like to do. And that's great. That's what everyone should find time for, their passion. I know life is so busy right now and there's always so much going on, but people really need to follow their passion sometimes, even if it's just part-time like us.


Jimmy Clare: I also have to say, every time I look at all your tweets on Twitter.


Jimmy Clare: They make me laugh even when I'm having the most frustrating day. And whatever I'm doing, it could just be like, from some email from a company, but then whatever, like, I see when you ever post. I just love how all those treats are just kind of fun. And I like the joke that you did. was it Friday that you did the joke or Saturday?


Luke Murphy: Which one?



Luke Murphy: And then, my six-year-old.


Jimmy Clare: I don't know if it's a six-year-old. yeah, maybe it was a six-year-old one. I don't remember.


Luke Murphy: I was wondering if my six-year-old was traded at birth and I brought home the wrong child, picked up the guy.


Luke Murphy: Well, you know what? And people are always saying to me, thank you for the laugh, or you made me smile. And you know what? I'm a goof on social media. I don't take social media seriously. social media should be about having fun. Yeah, I'm on there to sell books. But you know what? I'm just on there to tell jokes and have fun and meet people and make people laugh.


And social media there's too much seriousness going on in social media. There's too much crap that drama and things that go on. And I don't take social media seriously. I'm here to have fun, and I'm there to make people laugh and smile. And some days I hope I do, maybe some days I don't.


But social media should be fun. And oftentimes there are a lot of negative things that surround social media. But I love Twitter. I've met so many great people on Twitter from all over the world. And I just love interacting with readers and fans and stuff. And like I said, people should just have fun with social media and not take it seriously.


Jimmy Clare: Sometimes, people just go back and forth pointing fingers at each other.


Luke Murphy: Well, that's it. People air dirty laundry on there. And they kind of hide behind social media because they know they do not face to face with people. So they'll say whatever they want or even postings anonymously. And it's just too bad that there's so much negative attention to it because social media can be really fun and really positive at times.


Jimmy Clare: here's another question for you. what would your advice be if somebody, was starting out writing? What would your advice be for them and, for them to continue? 


Luke Murphy: Yeah, get a part-time job to pay the bills. No, I'm just kidding. It's like anything, it's a tough business, it's a competitive business. There are a lot of writers out there. A lot of people trying to make money from writing books.


But you have to stick with it. You're going to get a lot of people saying no along the way. And no matter what path you decide is right for you, I mean, you could go self-publishing. You can go the traditional route. You can go the print on demand. There are so many different ways to go. Whatever is the right way for you.


There are going to be people trying to drag you down, giving you negative comments. Whether it's Amazon reviews or agents or publishers or editors. You just got to fight through those. You got to have thick skin. You got to be patient.


Luke Murphy: Because it's a very slow-moving process, from going from writing to editing, to publishing, to marketing. growth, and thick skin. Okay, don't let people drag you down. Don't take no for an answer. you know what, and just try to write a little bit every day if you can, even if it's 100, or 200 words, try to write a little bit every day.


Work on your craft. Writing is so important, and a big thing I try to tell most writers is you really should work with an editor. I know it can be expensive, but I really advise writers, to save up money because you'll want to work with an editor. Those people are professionals. They know what they're doing. They've been through it before, and it really will grow you as a writer. I know. I worked with a very strong editor in New York City when I started.


When I wrote dead man's Hand. And I saved up for a year. I saved thousands of dollars because I knew I wanted to work. And I was lucky enough to work with this guy. And he has taught me so much, that I've taken that onto other books. I've only worked the one book with them. But all those lessons he taught me, it's almost like taking a course in a school, working with an editor.


So the thousands of dollars you would pay on a course, think about, I'm going to put that into an editor, and you're going to learn the whole time and all along the way. And you can take those lessons you learn from that editor and work on your next books with them. And that's exactly what I did.


Jimmy Clare: Out of curiosity, how much does an editor cost?


Luke Murphy: they're all different. And it depends on what kind of editing you want to be done. there's line editing. you could edit for content. You could just do, a spell check type thing, like a proofreader. There are all sorts of differences it depends on how in-depth you want to go. Obviously, content editing would be the most costly because they're looking at your content and talking about, does this character work.


Or would this character do this here? Or does this plot make sense? Those types of things. But, you can get any. I mean, all editors go for different prices. So, I can send writers to websites to look and hunt for deals that work for them. but yeah, you definitely need to get a quote, maybe. get send them one chapter and see what kind of job they do to know if that's what you're looking for.


there are just so many editors and there are so many different prices. I can't tell you exactly how much you would spend. And then again, it depends on how much editing your manuscript needs, right? Some need a lot, some need very little. So, Jimmy, I can't give you an exact price. It's all different.


Jimmy Clare: Maybe we both agree on they're cheaper than lawyers.


Luke Murphy: Well, knock on wood. I've, unfortunately, never had to use a lawyer yet. I would imagine they're definitely cheaper than a lawyer.


Jimmy Clare: I used a lawyer before and, that's not cheap at all.


Luke Murphy: Well, yeah, I've known people who've gone through divorces, and it's hundreds of dollars just to send an email. They told me. So no editor would definitely be less.


Jimmy Clare: Man, I should have become a lawyer.


Luke Murphy: Yeah, exactly.


Jimmy Clare: I'll be the one making the big bucks.


Luke Murphy: Yeah, that'd be nice, for sure.


Jimmy Clare: before we wrap up, I was just curious, where can people find you?


Luke Murphy: well, my website is www. Dot. Author Luke all one word, and all of my social media. You look up author Luke Murphy on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and you'll find me there. my books are available on Amazon in ebook, form, paperback, and audiobook. yeah, so definitely I encourage people to look me up and, I'm always available to someone who wants to touch base with me.


Or you can contact me through my website on my contact, form, or just send me a tweet or a message on social media, I'm always happy to, hear from people with questions or comments.


Jimmy Clare: he also likes to have, people to joke around with, too.


Luke Murphy: Oh, absolutely. I love the joke, by the way, Luke.


Jimmy Clare: like three years ago, when I first joined Twitter, it was kind of funny. when you first followed me, I didn't know if that was legit or, whatnot. Do you know how all those people like to post, fake accounts out there?


Luke Murphy: Yes, absolutely. That's another thing with social media. There are so many scam artists and hackers and all sorts of spammers and you really have to be careful with, who you follow and who follows you. I know my oldest daughter now is getting into the whole Instagram.


She just turned twelve and she wants her own Instagram page and stuff. And I made sure she kept it just personal to private, private, and she only accepts people she knows and stuff. And there are so many bad people out there that you really have to be careful and keep yourself safe and protected.


Jimmy Clare: Yeah, obviously I didn't mean any offense by any of that.


Luke Murphy: No, not at all.


Jimmy Clare: But man, I've been happy to have you as a follower and I really do enjoy your books a lot.


Luke Murphy: Well, thank you. And I'm sure you're not the first person to feel that because I really try to seek out people who have common interests with me, whether it's through reading or sports or school.


I'm always trying to find people or music, I'm always trying to find people with interests and I follow them and, sometimes they'll follow me back, sometimes they'll ignore me. But, yeah, I definitely try to seek out, people with a common interest to myself that I could start a conversation with or share ideas with and stuff.


Jimmy Clare: Well, I really enjoyed this podcast episode and I hope I can have you back on in the future if you'd be interested.


Luke Murphy: Absolutely, I'd be honored and I thank you very much for asking me. Jimmy, it's been a lot of fun talking with you.


Jimmy Clare: I hope you enjoy the rest of your day.


Luke Murphy: Thank you. You too. Stay safe and stay healthy.


Jimmy Clare: See you.

Luke MurphyProfile Photo

Luke Murphy

Luke Murphy is the International bestselling author of two series. The Calvin Watters Mysteries: Dead Man's Hand (2012) and Wild Card (2017). The Charlene Taylor Mysteries: Kiss & Tell (2015) and Rock-A-Bye Baby (2019). He also played six years of professional hockey before retiring in 2006.