Luke is one of my fellow Imajineer authors. Here he tells us about research and its importance for authentic plot and setting.
Many people think that because a story is fiction, that very little research goes into writing the book. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Research is an integral part of novel writing.
Plot: I get my ideas from stories I hear about, whether through reading (newspapers, magazines, etc.), what I hear (radio) or what I see (TV, movies, internet, etc.). The plot is completely fictional. I wouldn`t say that one thing or person influences my writing, but a variety of my life experiences all have led to my passion in the written word. There is not a single moment in time when this idea came to be, but circumstances over the years that led to this story: my hockey injuries, frequent visits to Las Vegas, my love of football, crime books and movies. Dead Man’s Hand became real from mixing these events, taking advantage of experts in their field, and adding my wild imagination. The internet also provides a wealth of information, available at our fingertips with a click of the mouse.
Setting: I usually set my stories in cities I've visited and fell in love with. Las Vegas was the perfect backdrop for this story, glitz and glamour as well as an untapped underground. Everyone is interested in this fast-paced, party-all-night lifestyle and city that is party-central.
I also have to admit that that my wife was pretty happy that I had chosen Las Vegas as my setting, since she joined me in my research trip (wink, wink). Nothing like being able to write-off a trip to Las Vegas (lol).
What I learned most from my trip to LV is what is found outside of the “Strip”. Not all of Las Vegas glitters, and there are parts of the city just like everywhere else in North America. This is the part of the city that I wrote about—things you haven’t heard about in other books.
So I was fortunate enough to visit Las Vegas and do some real, on-site research for street names, hotels, casinos, venues, etc. All of my personal contact with people such as members of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department was done via the Internet/email/phone.
Characters: I have never been involved in a homicide investigation, LOL. Although I am not a 6’5”, 220 pound African-American, I’ve used much of my athletic background when creating my protagonist Calvin Watters. Watters past as an athlete, and his emotional rollercoaster brought on by injuries were drawn from my experiences. His mother died of cancer when he was young, as mine was. There are certainly elements of myself in Calvin, but overall, this is a work of fiction. I did not base the characters or plot on any real people or events. Any familiarities are strictly coincidence.
Is research necessary in fiction…YOU BET IT IS!
Luke played six years of professional hockey before retiring in 2006. Afterward, he held a number of jobs, from sports columnist to radio journalist.
All of which also constitute some mighty amazing research!
He constantly read, from novels in his favorite genres to books written by experts in the writing field. He made friends (published and unpublished authors), learning what it took to become successful.
Luke's debut novel, Dead Man's Hand, was released by Imajin Books on October 20, 2012. Dead Man's Hand is on sale during Imajin's Summer Sizzle event and is doing exceptionally well!
What happens when the deck is stacked against you…
From NFL rising-star prospect to wanted fugitive, Calvin Watters is a sadistic African-American Las Vegas debt-collector framed by a murderer who, like the Vegas Police, finds him to be the perfect fall-guy.
…and the cards don't fall your way?
When the brutal slaying of a prominent casino owner is followed by the murder of a well-known bookie, Detective Dale Dayton is thrown into the middle of a highly political case and leads the largest homicide investigation in Vegas in the last twelve years.
What if you're dealt a Dead Man's Hand?
Against his superiors and better judgment, Dayton is willing to give Calvin one last chance. To redeem himself, Calvin must prove his innocence by finding the real killer, while avoiding the LVMPD, as well as protect the woman he loves from a professional assassin hired to silence them.
For more information on Luke and his books, visit: www.authorlukemurphy.com, ‘like’ his Facebook page www.facebook.com/#!/AuthorLukeMurphy and follow him on Twitter www.twitter.com/#!/AuthorLMurphy
"You may want to give it the whole night, just to see how it turns out."
—William Martin, New York Times bestselling author of The Lincoln Letter
"Dead Man's Hand is a pleasure, a debut novel that doesn't read like one,
but still presents original characters and a fresh new voice."
—Thomas Perry, New York Times bestselling author of Poison Flower
"Part police procedural, part crime fiction, Dead Man's Hand is a fast, gritty ride."
—Anne Frasier, USA Today bestselling author of Hush