July 6, 2021

Christopher Murphy The Thrill Seeking Author

Christopher Murphy The Thrill Seeking Author

Ep:091 Christopher Murphy is an activist, artist and author of the breakout thriller, Where The Boys Are, and The Other Side of the Mirror. Christopher is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University and the Hurston/Wright Foundation. As a graphic designer/copywriter/marketer by day and author by night, Christopher can usually be found creating and designing behind the bright neon glow of his laptop. When he’s not writing, he enjoys traveling to new destinations. He is a shameless thrill-seeker, lover of roller coasters and all things that go fast. Christopher lives and works out of his home in Las Vegas with “the hubs” and their two dogs, and is currently writing his next novel.

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Palm Springs Noir

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Transcript
Brad Shreve:

Coming up. Christopher Murphy tells us about his protagonist struggling to prove he's not like his father. But as he? And Justene talks about Palm Springs Noir, an anthology that includes a short story by Michael Craft. I'm Brad Shreve and you're listening to Queer Writers of Crime, featuring LGBTQ authors of mystery, suspense, and thriller novels. Justene, the guest today is Christopher Murphy. But as usual before the interview, you have your book recommendation. And I always have a couple of things to talk about

Justene:

Okay. Let's ease into it, Brad. Let's see what you got on the table.

Brad Shreve:

I don't have a whole lot this week, so people aren't going to have to hear me ramble. I'm not even going to mention that certain person that turns me on.

Justene:

Thank God you didn't mention it.

Brad Shreve:

No, I wouldn't mention Paul Rudd at all. Anyway, I want to remind people podcasts are coming to Facebook. if you have a page, we'll be able to put the podcast on Facebook, which can really help increase our listenership and have had quite a few people click like on the page. We would like more, we'd like to make it a place for people to have discussions about, queer crime or queer. novels in general and can talk about Justene's recommendations or talk about the guests that I have on. And also what would help us as this page is pretty new and we're already getting trolls.

Justene:

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Trolls.

Brad Shreve:

Yeah. why does it matter if they're Queer? Isn't a good writer, a good writer. What's, you know, what's the point? That was, that was probably, I think the first comment. And, but then the second comment was a guy that says, quit pushing your sexuality on me or something like that.

Justene:

Pride months over, you know, and now we're in July and the world's back to normal, so yeah.

Brad Shreve:

And this guy that said quit pushing your sexuality on me or whatever. I, first of wrote a nasty comment back and then I checked out his profile and it's all about religion. He's a very devout religious man, but I also noticed that he's raising money for The National Suicide Prevention Hotline. And I thought, you know what? I think that nasty message was the wrong thing to do. So I went back to the page and my response to his nasty comment. I deleted it, and I said, I just, you want to let you know that I saw on your profile, that you are raising money for The National Suicide Prevention Hotline, which is important for all people gay and straight. It's a troubling issue in our country. And therefore I gave a donation on your page. I think that's a nicer way to handle it,

Justene:

I think so.

Brad Shreve:

But if we can get somewhere, you know, we're going to get these folks. So if people join the page and we get these kind of comments,

Justene:

drown them out with friendly comments.

Brad Shreve:

yeah. Make, make friendly comments. Now I, if you want to get nasty, if that's your way do it, but it's probably better if you, uh, say. something nice.

Justene:

yeah, talk about the books and the authors.

Brad Shreve:

yes, exactly. I mean, it's like, do you remember the, um, it happened just what few weeks ago? The, boat that exploded with the homophobes on it?

Justene:

Yes.

Brad Shreve:

Okay. So just in case people don't know, there was, uh, boat that had a rainbow flag on it and this other boat started circling them and screaming, all kinds of homophobic things to them and out of the blue for no reason, their boat exploded.

Justene:

was leaking fuel and a spark, just so everybody doesn't know it didn't blow up out of the water for no reason.

Brad Shreve:

And now, now, but it was like totally instant karma.

Justene:

Yes.

Brad Shreve:

And the beautiful part of the story is who do you think went and saved these people?

Justene:

Yes, yes. Yes. The, The oh two that was The boat with the, rainbow flag was right there on the scene.

Brad Shreve:

yes. I don't know if they appreciate it or not, but it was the right thing to do some, kill them, kill them with kindness.

Justene:

The kind of story that belongs in a novel someplace.

Brad Shreve:

Exactly. So there's gonna be a link in the show notes, to the Facebook page, or you can just search for Queer Writers of Crime on Facebook either way, please go there and click like, and we'd love to have you join in some kind of discussion or even just comment things I post, I don't know. And Justin will post some things too.

Justene:

Oh, yeah,

Brad Shreve:

And that's really all I have. I mean, I could sit here and make things up, but there's no reason.

Justene:

that's right. I mean, here we are. We're on the end of the holiday weekend. So, uh, You know, enjoy the fireworks guys.

Brad Shreve:

And plus here where I have my studio, I have to turn off the air conditioning because otherwise it shows up on the microphone. So I am sweating like crazy. So

Justene:

thank you for sharing Brad,

Brad Shreve:

let's segue

Justene:

I guess. I guess we can cut that talk a lot sooner. Huh?

Brad Shreve:

Exactly. So what book are you going to talk about today?

Justene:

Well, I'm talking about Palm Springs. Noir, um, and this is kind of off our usual beaten path. And, when we were talking about it, you said your show, your rules. And we wanted to go ahead and do this one. Uh,

Brad Shreve:

That's the truth.

Justene:

it's a collection of 14 short stories. They're all noir. And I, I like noir every now and then. And for people who don't really know what the genre is, it, there are these kinds of stories that really all is well, and that doesn't end well. And it just, at the end, everybody's just kind of in a very dark place. and it, along the way, they solve some problems, but they, you know, if they get out of one trouble, they end up at the end and another trouble.

Brad Shreve:

Which is very interesting that this book takes place in, Palm Springs, because it's totally the non-noirest place you can think of. So I, I think that's cool that they chose that.

Justene:

And, you know, Palm Springs is, quite, friendly, shall we say they were the first city to have an all LGBTQ city council. let me just say of these 14 stores. Only two of them are gay. even though some of the writers are more than that, the writers are gay. so, so Michael Craft is one of the stories he's been promoting it. Michael Craft who wrote the Choirmaster,

Brad Shreve:

Michael Craft was our very first guest. When we, started the podcast,

Justene:

Exactly. And so we really wanted to support this book that he's part of, and all of the stories are good. I'm going to give this book a glowing recommendation because all of them are very, very well-written. Um, they have some incredible authors. You've got one guy T Jefferson Parker he's won two Edgar awards for best novel and an Edgar for his, for best short stories and a Los Angeles times book prize. and then Eduardo Santiago has won a Edmund White debut fiction award, um, and Edmund White. was one of the, the Violet Quill members. and of course, as you know, Michael, Craft. And they're just, I mean, they're just all top notch authors and the stories are all noir and all really good. they, they involve murder. They involve twists and turns in Michael's story. the, young man early. He's not a young man anymore. He was a young man when he was married to this doctor, he is now pushing 60 divorced from his ex-husband and you know, is working for this, uh, Airbnb kind of service where they do luxury rentals around Palm Springs. And he's the guy who's got to show up in the khaki pants and the bright yellow shirt to kind of check people in and make sure everything's fine and show them around the properties.

Brad Shreve:

And as I said, khaki pants and bright yellow shirts is not what you would picture in a noir.

Justene:

No, it's not. And it is a, that is probably the only bright spot in the entire piece. Is that yellow shirt. Um, there were some others, you know, where, and then there's dead bodies and all of them, sometimes the main character, causes the dead body. Sometimes the main character, happens upon the dead body. Every single one of the stories is a star. I really like it it's gets a. glowing recommendation. Michael said he wouldn't necessarily push it to somebody who's looking only for gay fiction, but these stories are so well that lovers of crime and, people who like good writing will enjoy them no matter what. So it's Palm Springs Noir. It is out today. Today's the release day. So go and snap it up on Amazon.

Brad Shreve:

And I want to say something I hear a lot in Facebook groups I'll see them. and actually some people have told me they only read novels with queer characters. And that actually makes me just as sad as if a straight person said, I would never read him a novel with a gay character in it.

Justene:

well, you know, not all of us have a lot of time for reading. So, if you're reading 2, 3, 4 books a year, I can see wanting to, trim down your reading,

Brad Shreve:

okay. You got me there.

Justene:

yeah. I mean, you, can you pick it up and just read the, two stories that are gay and maybe occasionally, you know, maybe dip into another one because you liked them so much. I will let you know which the gay stories. They are Eric Beetner who wrote The Guest And then Michael Craft story is the VIP check-in. And it's set in little Tuscany, which is upscale neighborhood in Palm Springs. And they're all terrific.

Brad Shreve:

So again, it's Palm Springs. Noir..

Justene:

And the editor is, and and she writes one of the stories, but the editor who gets, the credit for pulling all of these together is Barbara DeMarco-Barrett.

Brad Shreve:

And I don't know if you're aware. I don't know if it's every year or every two years the noir series, like this It's been done many, many, many times. They pick a different city each time and then ask authors. I don't know if they're particularly live in that particular city.

Justene:

I think they do. They were all, some of them live there and some of them just, have connections there, but they were all familiar with the area and, each of the tales you recognize the places and they can't be told anywhere else.

Brad Shreve:

So definitely read this one. especially since Michael Craft has a story in it and Justin loved the book. Enjoyed every story. But if you live in a different city than Palm Springs, when you're done reading this one, look it up. they have covered so many cities. It'd be odd if you're in a medium to larger sized city and it's not on that list.

Justene:

or they could be doing it next year and the next volume of the volume after they haven't done all of the cities yet,

Brad Shreve:

No, you can't hit them all but I, think that's their goal probably to hit them all.

Justene:

That's right. Sounds great.

Brad Shreve:

I well, under Christopher Murphy. Thank you,

Justene:

See you next week.

Brad Shreve:

Christopher, I have a question for you.

Christopher Murphy:

Shoot

Brad Shreve:

Your most recent novel, The Other Side of the Mirror, which came out last year, the main character is Jace Lancaster.

Christopher Murphy:

Lannister.

Brad Shreve:

Uh, Lannister I'm I apologize.

Christopher Murphy:

That's okay.

Brad Shreve:

Jace has a dark secret.

Christopher Murphy:

He does.

Brad Shreve:

Yes, it's in your blurb. So do you want to share what the secret is?

Christopher Murphy:

I can't because people need to read the book, but what I will tell you is that, um, th the story does center around Jace Lannister. He is the son. Of an infamous black serial killer. the, the Brooklyn butcher who murdered 19 people during the early nineties, um, he was caught when Jace was in high school. The big, the book picks up when Jace is an adult and Jace has kind of reinvented himself. He's changed his name's He's moved. He's trying to build a life that's free of his father's dark legacy. but of course, Things go awry and mayhem ensues and all that good stuff.

Brad Shreve:

we're going to talk a little about Jace in a little bit but in your previous novel Where the Boys Are Quinn Harris is dealing with a certain situation. And what does that happen to be.

Christopher Murphy:

So Quinn Harris runs into an old, uh, teacher of his, who he adored and looked up to and kind of helped him. Realize who he was as a queer man. Um, everyone's kind of had that one teacher that you kind of had a crush on or really looked up to. And, um, he meets them randomly one night at a bar and is surprised to find out that, you know, he's also queer and he has an opportunity to, you know, kind of, um, maybe test out, you know, a fantasy that he's had, but he discovers that the teacher is in fact, a serial killer.

Brad Shreve:

Right. that's what I was getting to. So the other side of the mirror, we have a serial killer and in where the boys are, we have a serial killer and we're okay. Talk about what is it with you and serial killers. But the first I have some things to say,

Christopher Murphy:

Okay.

Brad Shreve:

Christopher Murphy is an activist artist and the author of the breakout thriller, Where the Boys Are. and The Other Side of the Mirror, Christopher is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth university and the Hurston Wright foundation as a graphic designer. Copywriter marketer by day and author by night, Christopher can usually be found, creating and designing behind the bright neon glow of his laptop. When he's not writing, he enjoys traveling to new destinations. He's a shameless thrill-seeker lover of roller coasters and all things that go fast, Christopher lives and works out of his home in Las Vegas with his hubs and their two dogs. And he is currently writing his next novel. It's great to have you on because we never used to have thrillers on as guests. There's a reason for that. The name of the podcast used to be called Gay Mystery Podcast.

Christopher Murphy:

Huh.

Brad Shreve:

My tagline has always been featuring LGBTQ authors, of mystery, suspense, and thrillers. but because gay was in the title, I had to kind of seek out other people in the alphabet to be on this show and because it was mystery, I occasionally would get somebody to say, well, I have a thriller, are you willing to let me be on your show? And I'm like, sure. So I eventually, I eventually changed it. Seven months ago, I think to Queer Writers of Crime. And I no longer have those questions. I'm not having to search people out. I, if I'm not getting in as diverse as I went to I'll search people out, but it was a good move. So it's good to have another thriller writer on the show.

Christopher Murphy:

Thanks for having me on. It's good to be here.

Brad Shreve:

There are very few people of color in the LGBT crime genre. How can we change that?

Christopher Murphy:

I think just by telling the stories that you know, our in our heads and getting it out on paper and getting it out into the world. You know, I think when I look at the thriller genre and crime thriller genre, You know, there's not a lot of diversity, there's not a lot of people of color, you know, even the covers of the books kind of all look fairly similar, you know, um, you know, there's the men on the cover who, you know, are very handsome and maybe sometimes shirtless and then they all just kind of look the same. so I think, having. These different voices. That's important to have in the genre and you know, not being afraid to use your voice and tell these stories. No matter if you think someone may identify with it or realize it or not, just get it out there.

Brad Shreve:

You bring up the covers. I'm glad you brought those up. it drives me crazy that so many mystery novels, the cover looks like the cover of a Harlequin romance novel.

Christopher Murphy:

Thank you for saying

Brad Shreve:

Yeah, neither, neither of your books have that. And actually, I like the covers. Very nice. He did well.

Christopher Murphy:

Thank you.

Brad Shreve:

So now we're going to get back to Jace Uh, you told us a little bit about him. What more can you tell us

Christopher Murphy:

Yeah. So Jace is a unique character because, you know, in the genre he's black, he's queer. He's also a bit of an unreliable protagonist in a lot of ways because of, the trauma that he's experienced, being the son of this, you know, infamous murderer. He has trouble with. Remembering things a certain way. Sometimes he sleepwalks, he's on his medication or maybe he has gone off his medication, you know, so he's a little bit unreliable, which is exciting because it makes him just as much of a suspect in the book as anyone else. the story is very much a twisty crime thriller. You know, that's going to keep you guessing until the last page, but it's also a story about generational trauma and the things that we inherit from. Our fathers, for, for good or for worse. And I think you really see that in Jace, he has troubles with, his reflection, you know, he's getting older and he seeing his father in himself, more and more as he looks in the mirror and catch the glimpse of this reflection or goes about his day and his biggest fears. What if I am just like my father, what if I am capable of doing these awful things? So, he's a really complex character, but he also has a great, I think dark sense of humor about things, that, that I enjoy writing. So I think there's a good balance there. He's trying to be as normal as he can, but there's, you know, he's in the middle of a, a murder investigation, anyone could be the suspect. Anyone could be the killer.

Brad Shreve:

I liked that he has a good circle of friends that are supportive,

Christopher Murphy:

Yes.

Brad Shreve:

Mental that he goes through and getting to that. one of the earliest people you introduce in the story is Dr. Gretchen Kessler, uh, who is a psychiatrist and, doles out his medication and prescribes his medication in the early stages. You don't give. What specifically has diagnosis is? Can you say what it is?

Christopher Murphy:

Um, it's a number of different, and again, I don't want to give so much away. it's definitely, you know, post-traumatic trauma, From his childhood. That is really what it centers around. But, you know, he's definitely gone through depression. You know, a lot of different things that you would expect from someone in it's in a situation who's grown up in the spotlight of, his father's shadow.

Brad Shreve:

You know, you mentioned he looked in the mirror and he sees a lot of his father in him. I find myself. I'll catch myself saying something that sounds just like my dad. And I'm like, oh my God. So I can imagine if your father is a serial killer,

Christopher Murphy:

Yeah.

Brad Shreve:

uh, that would be an especially big concern.

Christopher Murphy:

Yeah. And you know, he's also a black serial killer, so. You know, add that and, and, you know, with his last name, which is pretty unique, it's easy to kind of, for people to connect the dots. You know, it's very hard for him to shy away from, from his childhood and who he is.

Brad Shreve:

I can't recall any have there been any black serial killers of any prominence?

Christopher Murphy:

Um, actually, yeah. Um, there's been a handful. most recently Samuel Little comes to mind. He, was convicted of three murders in California. And once he was in prison, he actually confessed to a lot more. He claimed to have taken credit for like 93 murders, which would have made him one of the most prolific serial killers in American history. Um, the FBI tied him to 50. before he died, he just died recently. last December, he was 80 years old and died in prison.

Brad Shreve:

50 they know for sure.

Christopher Murphy:

50, they were able to tie to him for sure. Um, so probably more,

Brad Shreve:

Wow. that's scary and amazing.

Christopher Murphy:

Yeah. So it, it does happen, but you know, you don't hear about it as often. Um, which I think is something exciting about this.

Brad Shreve:

Well, I alluded to before your introduction, what is it with you and serial killers?

Christopher Murphy:

I promise I'm not like a serial killer junkie or, you know, fanatic or a super fan or anything. Um, but I think there is something interesting about what makes someone click or what makes them wired in that manner. But I'll say this as well, you know, with. You know, a lot of the villains are serial killers, but that's not really quite what the book is so much about or focused on. It's more about the people left behind in the aftermath and the things that they discover about, the killings or themselves, um, surrounding this serial killer. So it's, it's more about the victims. It's more about the people kind of left behind and in the aftermath of, of the killer.

Brad Shreve:

It's difficult to tell a story when it comes to crime fiction, but how much of it can you tell us?

Christopher Murphy:

I can tell you that Jace does find himself in a really difficult situation when a murder happens, that is textbook, you know, um, what his father has done, his father went to prison for his crimes. He confessed to what he did, and he killed himself in prison shortly into his sentence, which in a lot of ways made things worse because a lot of the families felt that they were really robbed of justice all the way around. And it was just a major slap in the face. So he's always had to deal with that and kind of the anniversary of that, and, you know, certain killings. So when this murder happens, that is textbook, the Brooklyn Butcher everyone kind of looks at him, you know, so he has to deal with that. He has to, um, cope with a lot of that aftermath and the question comes up, Who did do it, you know, it, it is a bit of a who done it. and Jace's name is not off the table as far as suspects go. So this book, I will say, um, I am working on a sequel. This book is really about Jace discovering who he is, outside of the son of the Brooklyn Butcher and, and kind of unraveling this first mystery we're in Jace finds himself, um, in the middle of a murder investigation.

Brad Shreve:

Something, I'm curious about in your bio, you talk about you've lived in Virginia. you're currently living in Vegas.

Christopher Murphy:

I am.

Brad Shreve:

The story is in Portland, Oregon, and you seem to know a lot about Portland. Was that home at one time?

Christopher Murphy:

It was, I lived there for two years.

Brad Shreve:

Okay. Jace and his friend met at a Black Lives Matter protest. Portland is known as kind of a liberal mecca.

Christopher Murphy:

Yes.

Brad Shreve:

Why is it the place conservatives like to point at and say, look at all the problems?

Christopher Murphy:

It's hard to point at almost just one thing. I mean, I can only speak from my experience living there and. Portland as a city is very much boots on the ground, you know, grassroots, speak out when you see something that's wrong. there are protests that I saw happening quite frequently, even outside of the Black Lives Matter protest. We will be at dinner and, you know, Protest parade, you you're walking down the street and build a night, you know, that's just how they get down in Portland. And I think that that's fantastic. I think it's just a lot of, liberal like-minded people who just want to make positive changes in the world. Part of that too, that kind of bleeds into the book a little bit is that there's such a really strong queer community there as well. that's super, you know, supportive and involved, with everything going on. So I wanted to really incorporate that aspect into the book as well, along with my experiences living in Portland, I would see tons of signs on people's lawns, you know, with black lives matter, you know, signs. People are just very. outspoken and not afraid to say what's on their hearts. and I, I don't know if that's not necessarily just a Portland thing. I think that's maybe more so a west coast thing. It could be. Um, I, I love being back on the west coast. I love the people, all of the vibe out here, Vegas week. I think we chatted about that a little bit. It's starting to heat up here in Vegas. So if I can just make it through the summer, I think I'll be okay.

Brad Shreve:

You will get used to it.

Christopher Murphy:

yeah, but, um, Portland is definitely near and dear to my heart as far as the places I've lived and I just really loved the vibe and, just how awoke everyone is

Brad Shreve:

I was really surprised. I always heard such wonderful things about Portland. And I took a drive from Seattle to Portland, actually from Portland to Seattle. It doesn't matter. And I was really shocked that once you got out of Portland, it reminded me a lot of rural North Carolina. it suddenly turns very bright red.

Christopher Murphy:

Yeah. Yeah. Um, I used to drive from Portland. for work, you know, a couple of places and, yeah, it, it is like kind of a stark contrast once you, you get out of, Portland, but I, I miss it in a lot of ways, you know? Um, it's beautiful, great food scene as well. which I think I also try to incorporate a little bit within the book here as well. So you'll see some, some real restaurants from Portland incorporated that were favorites of mine too.

Brad Shreve:

Yeah, there's a lot of restaurants. they go to and mentioned and actually California is very similar into the way of describing Portland and Oregon itself. people, think of it as this liberal bright blue state. And that is really not true. If you took out San Francisco and Los Angeles. it would practically be like Texas

Christopher Murphy:

Yeah.

Brad Shreve:

People aren't aware that it's a very rural state overall. But fortunately, because you have the two big cities they're liberal-minded, um,

Christopher Murphy:

something else. Um, Portland is one of those cities, I think that has the fewest amount of churches or, um, like religious, like, people are like less affiliated with like certain religions, like in Portland and you definitely see like less churches. Um, I spent a lot of time in Richmond, Virginia. And Richmond has tons and tons of churches, like almost like on every single corner. So much that the, ASL sign for sign language for Richmond is you make a seven and you do like an R because there's like, somehow it connects to like the churches and there's just seven hills and yeah, it's very complicated, but yeah, so that's something too about, Portland's not a lot of, um, religious affiliation, which is a reason why Sid moved there because his father owned like a megachurch. He wanted to get away from that as far as possible. Um, so that was the reason why he moved to Portland.

Brad Shreve:

Yeah. You mentioned in the book about the churches, and I think you said 40% of people in Portland, identify as either atheist or agnostic. Compared to the rest of the country. that's huge.

Christopher Murphy:

Yeah. Yeah. It's really, really high.

Brad Shreve:

I'm going to take some guesses here from your book.

Christopher Murphy:

Okay.

Brad Shreve:

You can tell me if I'm right or wrong, but they're gut feelings I had as I was reading the book, Jace and his friend, Derek dated for awhile. And they met through a speed dating event.

Christopher Murphy:

Yes. One of my favorite scenes in the book, by the way.

Brad Shreve:

Was that based on experience?

Christopher Murphy:

No. Um, I never speed dated. I'm married, I've been married next April will be 10 years. but during my single day, I never got a chance to like speed date. Wasn't even really a thing, that I, had an opportunity to do, but maybe that's why I wrote it in the book.

Brad Shreve:

Yeah, saw that and I clicked and I said, I bet Christopher did that. something just tells me so I'm wrong actually. So the other thing that came to mind in Jace's office, there is an autograph novel by E. Lynn Harris. And I'm going to tell you, my husband is a huge E. Lynn Harris fan. I'm. As much as he has bugged me about, I still have not read one of his novels.

Christopher Murphy:

You have to.

Brad Shreve:

Well, yeah, I was going to say, because that one particular book was there. very prominently mentioned when you described the room, I'm going to guess that Elan Harris is an inspiration of yours.

Christopher Murphy:

Absolutely. and for those who are, you know, maybe a little less familiar with E. Lynn Harris he's, I would say definitely one of the godfathers of black queer literature, he is, he kind of made his mark because he was talking about a topic. Not a lot of other people were talking about at the time. And that was, black men who were on the down low. Um, and so he kind of spins that into this beautiful coming out, coming into, your own love story, but fantastic characters and his first book, Invisible Life, which is mentioned in my book. It's that book that is always kind of passed on or given to like the next person, the next generation.

Brad Shreve:

Uh, huh.

Christopher Murphy:

I love that book and I passed my book on to, uh, you know, a good friend of mine. So I no longer have my first initial copy of it, but I do have my, um, Signed copy. I got a chance to meet E. Lynn Harrison, tell your husband this E. Lynn Harris story. If you like, I got a chance to meet him. He was speaking at a women for women, for women conference, which as the title suggests means that it was a conference for women, but, a friend of mine's mother was not able to attend. She had this extra ticket. And so I totally just crashed this conference basically. I was the only, yeah, I was the only man there, um, for his portion of the conference and I had the audacity to get up and even ask him a question, and my, I think my question to him was, you know, what advice would you give a young author, like myself who was, trying to, to write and make something of their writing career. And his advice was to just keep doing, you always be true to yourself. People may not get it, but just, they true to who you are as a writer. Um, and so that was great afterwards, he was taking pictures, signing books. And so it's finally my turn. I run up to him. I have my book to sign and he was allowing photos, but they had kind of stopped because of time. And so I had my friend with her camera at that day. This wasn't even like a phone camera. It was like an actual like camera camera. And I was telling her, you know, take as many pictures as you can. And so time's going on at people in line are starting to get like a little like cranky. And so he stands up and he's like, no, stop, you know, everything. He's like, I will. Take some time with Chris and like, take a picture and like he got up and like post, like a picture, like with me at that point. So very nice guy, super sweet, super talented, and very much missed.

Brad Shreve:

What was it like meeting? It sounds like he was an idol to you or is an idol to wha what was that feeling that you were, you were having at that particular moment?

Christopher Murphy:

A lot of nervousness, but it was also a sense of pride too, to see someone who looked like me, having this success, and, and doing what I, aspire to do. So it was really a very good memory that I have, um, good memory for sure. Meeting him and also, you know, kind of a turning point within my own writing career. I think.

Brad Shreve:

Sounds like a great expense.

Christopher Murphy:

Yeah, definitely.

Brad Shreve:

Well, my other guests is, I know you lived in Georgia and you told me, I forget the city. It's not Atlanta

Christopher Murphy:

Augusta.

Brad Shreve:

Augusta. Okay. Atlanta is known for everybody. You talk to argue, what place has the best hot wings

Christopher Murphy:

Oh gosh.

Brad Shreve:

And you mentioned hot wings in the story. Very hot, hot wings. Is that true also in Augusta?

Christopher Murphy:

Um, there are a couple of, decent spots I would say in Augusta, but I would say Augusta has one of the best places for if you like a good crab boil. Yeah. Like the juicy crab in Augusta is phenomenal. My husband and I, we love doing that every now and then. Um, and we try different places, you know, everywhere we go, but nothing has beaten that juicy crab in Augusta Georgia. So if you're ever there, um, go to The Juicy Crowd there and if he loved good, like kind of, you know, homemade desserts go to a little spot called Boll Weevil. And it's like this little, like dessert sweetery type of place. and they have like the most amazing cheesecakes and, you know, homemade desserts and stuff, Southern style that, you know, you can't really get anywhere else. So, yeah. But hot wings they're. okay. Don't go for the hot wings.

Brad Shreve:

This has been the Augusta travel bureau recommendations from Christopher Murphy.

Christopher Murphy:

There you go.

Brad Shreve:

Other than E. Lynn Harris. What other authors have inspired?

Christopher Murphy:

Um, he's been a major inspiration. I, I don't know if I'll say, this author has inspired me, but I, I don't know. Um, I used to read my mother's old V.C. Andrew's books. back in the day when I was like way too young to read V.C. Andrew's books, I'll say, so that was, you know, maybe like an influence. Um, right now I'm reading Blind Spot by Brenda Novak It's the fourth book and her Evelyn's Talbot series. So I'm enjoying that, trying to get through the series. I am writing the sequel to this book at the same time, so that's kind of tricky. I don't usually like to read and write for something myself at the same time. Um, but I'm a big fan of Brandon Novak. Yeah. but, but that's, that's, I'm kinda trying to take a break right now from a lot of, uh, other books until I can get the sequel done, trying to help her down and crank it out. I think for me, it just kind of goes back to the classic. I had like a actual like book set that my mother gave me that had, Mark Twain and all those, classic books that you were supposed to read, you know, as a kid, you know, and, and, and school. And I think tapping into my mother's a huge reader, like she'll read three books at a time. Yeah. Um, two's like maybe the most I'll do, but she'll be like three books at a time. And so I think I would just maybe borrow some of her books, including the V.C. Andrews books. And that just kind of opened up maybe a different world for me, um, as a kid. Yeah. I hope that answers the questions.

Brad Shreve:

Yeah, it did..

Christopher Murphy:

Okay.

Brad Shreve:

I cannot read two books at the same time, mainly romance readers. And I know some mystery readers will read a book a day and I wish I could read that fast, but no matter how fast of a reader I get, I can't imagine reading two books at the same time. It just.

Christopher Murphy:

Yeah, my mother does it all the time. I'm two or sometimes three. I don't know how she does it.

Brad Shreve:

A lot of people do it. I, commend them for keep for keeping them straight.

Christopher Murphy:

More power to them.

Brad Shreve:

Yeah. Especially if they're different genres.

Christopher Murphy:

Yeah. Yeah.

Brad Shreve:

So what brought you to crime novels? Thrillers particularly?

Christopher Murphy:

I think it, I'm also a big movie film buff, and I love watching thrillers, on this, on the big screen. And I love anything that will keep me guessing. I love being in the middle of something. What is this, is this a horror story? Is this a crime thriller? You know, I love that and not being able to tell what's going to happen next. And I think as writers, you know, we kind of have the ability a lot of times to kind of deconstruct things plots and see, okay, well, this is probably going to happen next. And yada, yada, yada, I love when I just can't guess what's going to happen. And so I think. Passion has bled into my writing a lot. And this book in particular, I think is the book that helped me find my lane. You know, I write thrillers centered around queer characters of color, but within all of my books, you really won't know or be able to guess what's going to happen until the absolute end. I love to keep people guessing. That's, that's my thing.

Brad Shreve:

Well, I've said it time and time again on this show. And I'm going to say it once again, Mystery readers are dying to figure out who did it,

Christopher Murphy:

Yeah.

Brad Shreve:

but if they do figure it out, they're really mad.

Christopher Murphy:

Right, right. And that's why I will, I will read certain thing or even watch certain things, you know? I hate figuring out what's going to happen five minutes in, that's a good reason why I actually don't read a lot of romance novels too, or watch a lot of like romance, film or whatnot, because I know the guys going to get the guy or the guy's going to get the girl at the end. So I'll just take that hour and a half of my life and I'll work on my book instead or something, you know?

Brad Shreve:

Yeah.

Christopher Murphy:

yeah. I, I love just that surprise element.

Brad Shreve:

Yeah, I believe the Hallmark Channel has two writers that work for the network and four sets.

Christopher Murphy:

Yeah, that sounds about right.

Brad Shreve:

Lots of people love it. I'm like, okay, they hate each other and they're going to love each other at the end. I figured it out. Let's move on. But some people are comfortable with that. They, they like it. It's what they like. And so that's what they hold onto. And that's great.

Christopher Murphy:

That's great for them.

Brad Shreve:

Whereas. We were at my in-laws and my father-in-law put in a movie and I, I can't remember what it was, but it was a movie. Not only did I not know anything about, I had never even heard about It was totally new to me. And the fact that I knew absolutely nothing about this film. And fortunately it turned out to be a good film was really cool.

Christopher Murphy:

Yeah.

Brad Shreve:

it made it a lot more fun because sometimes you watch the previews and, you know, everything.

Christopher Murphy:

right. Which is the worst. I hate that. but sometimes, and this happened recently, you'll see a preview and you're kind of like, how is this new movie on Hulu? I kind of forget, um, false, False, Positive. I think it's called. And I was halfway through the preview and I just stopped watching the preview because I was like, this looks crazy. I have no idea what's going on. This looks fresh. I don't want it. I don't want to, I don't wanna have spoils you know, I want to just watch it from start to finish and not have any more clues about what's going to happen. And it was a good movie,

Brad Shreve:

These trailers that tell everything Ryan Reynolds has a movie coming up and I love Ryan Reynolds. Not only because I find them incredibly hot, he's very charming and funny. That's actually part more what makes him sexy, but he has this movie coming out where he's, he lives in a video game and the two trailers I feel like, why should I even watch the movie?

Christopher Murphy:

Right.

Brad Shreve:

I know it's going to happen. I'm sure there's more than what they're showing, but I feel like I've watched the movie already. Just, the cliff notes version.

Christopher Murphy:

right. And so as, as a writer, you know, Having gone through that frustration. Like I never want my readers to experience that, you know, um, I've had people, message me or call me up and say, I just threw your book across the room because I can't believe like this happened. I had had no idea this twist was coming. So every book that I do is loaded with twists, it's loaded with surprises. yeah, I think that's very much within my, my lane. I want to have that thriller, that, um, talks about queer characters, characters of color diversity that has important messaging throughout, but it's also just going to be, one hell of a good book. That's kind of, you know, keep you guessing and have a satisfying ending. So

Brad Shreve:

That takes skill so good on you.

Christopher Murphy:

thank you.

Brad Shreve:

And this is about you, not about me, but I want to share something with you. because you're talking about books with queer characters, my first novel, is A Body In A Bath House

Christopher Murphy:

I saw that. What's that? Yeah.

Brad Shreve:

Okay. Well, when the audio book came out, the very first review came out and the guy said, gay authors need to learn that 80% of the characters in their novels don't have to be gay. I read the title and I should have figured that out. And I'm like, yeah, if you read the title and the murder took place in a bath house, you can pretty much guess. All the suspects are going to be gay,

Christopher Murphy:

Yeah,

Brad Shreve:

or if they're not, there's a reason why I even mentioned it. You shouldn't have read it to begin with if it bothers you. So I I tend not to read the reviews. That one, actually some I stumbled on by accident because I didn't know where reviews were on, uh, uh, audio books, but, it made me laugh. It didn't upset me. It made me laugh.

Christopher Murphy:

Yeah.

Brad Shreve:

You thought it was going to be gay people bathhouse, you sort of trusted your judgment.

Christopher Murphy:

Exactly.

Brad Shreve:

Sex. I talk. I love to talk about sex and mysteries and crime novels.

Christopher Murphy:

Let's talk about it.

Brad Shreve:

it's an obsession of mine because on one hand, I think there's too much. and on the other hand, I think it's absolutely appropriate depending on, the thing. Michael Nava said Who a person has sex with and what their sex is. like can tell you a lot about a character. So I get that and, he writes beautiful sex scenes. Other times it's just thrown in there for no reason. You're sex scenes there. I'm, there's a good amount of sex in the novel, but it's all fade to black where we, we don't get the gory details. Why is that?

Christopher Murphy:

that's very much by design, I think.

Brad Shreve:

What if I want the juicy stuff?

Christopher Murphy:

Well, you got to wait for the next book now. I think part of what makes those types of scenes sexy is using your imagination a little bit within that too. I don't think it's always as fun to have all those gory details, you know, kind of spelled out sometimes, when it calls for it. That's great. but I think, you know, the way that I use the scenes, I try to use them a ways. I really move the story forward that really, you know, connect the characters in ways that they need to be connected again, to move the story forward. I'm also personally. They're not my favorite thing to write, to tell you the truth. So I feel I always want to tread lightly on that line of going too far as well. I just don't always think for my stories that is necessary to go full out for. All of the scenes. I think it's a little bit sexier sometimes to leave some of that to the imagination, or even sexier sometimes to show the aftermath, you know, the morning after and those little hints of what happened the night before, like someone threw something out or, someone has, a bruise or, you know, a sore neck or, you know, some of that is fun to have fun with too. so yeah, I think that's more my speed when it comes to the sexy scenes.

Brad Shreve:

I think it can be sexier to let the reader fill in the blanks, what they want to fill in there. I was in a writers group in Facebook, which I tend to stay away from. because there's a lot of bad advice, but somebody was complaining about They're reading novels, where the characters have unprotected sex they were furious about it and how irresponsible that was for a writer and went on and on about it. And my response to them was in my novels. I don't say that they wear condoms. I also don't say that they don't wear condoms, whichever the reader feels most comfortable with. That's what they're doing.

Christopher Murphy:

right.

Brad Shreve:

Let them fill in the blanks.

Christopher Murphy:

Yeah. That is the thing. You know, you, leave to them to fill in the blanks in a lot of instances, but I think that's also just, writer's choice, if they really want to push that message and, you know, promote safe sex, that's fantastic. But I think that is artist's choice.

Brad Shreve:

I agree.

Christopher Murphy:

but yeah, but I think to your point, I think it is one of those things that maybe your brain, even when I'm thinking, when I read scenes, they're like that, I think your brain. Kind of just fills in that blank a lot. A lot of times, perhaps.

Brad Shreve:

Yeah.

Christopher Murphy:

Yeah. Interesting.

Brad Shreve:

So The Other Side Of The Mirror was released on December 15th.

Christopher Murphy:

Which was my birthday.

Brad Shreve:

That was your 40th birthday.

Christopher Murphy:

It was.

Brad Shreve:

So welcome to over the hill in gay years,

Christopher Murphy:

Thank you. Thanks. I guess.

Brad Shreve:

actually, actually those days I think are not as bad as they used to be. Uh, so you're safe.

Christopher Murphy:

Thank you.

Brad Shreve:

You said it was a surprise release. How did you keep it a secret and why?

Christopher Murphy:

I kept it a secret, um, because I wanted it to be like my big 40th thing, to release this book. and so, everyone that I worked with, Kind of new, you know, this is kind of going to be under wraps. I'm going to release it, you know, on my birthday. everyone kind of sign, you know, Dennis says, you know, all that. So, um, it wasn't that difficult to actually keep it under wraps. I'm good at keeping a secret. Um, but yeah, the release, I definitely want that to be my big 40th thing. And, another fun fact is that everyone involved with this project. From, my beta readers to my editor, to the photographer who took the cover, they were all either Queer or they were people of color or they were both in some cases, you know, and that was very intentional. I think it's, it's great to write about diversity and wants to include diversity, but I also want it to bring those voices to the table and really support and hire people within. our own community, when it came to this project. So that's kind of a fun fact that I don't think I've actually talked about a lot, a big, thank you to all those people who, who had a hand in the release.

Brad Shreve:

Well, one thing you mentioned is that you're a shameless thrill seeker and you love roller coasters. rollercoaster scared shit out of me.

Christopher Murphy:

So question though, does your husband like roller coasters?

Brad Shreve:

Yes.

Christopher Murphy:

See, and that's always the way mine doesn't like roller coasters, but I love it.

Brad Shreve:

Yeah. We went to not my husband and I was way before I knew him. I think it was with my family. went to Six Flags in Cincinnati. I believe it was.

Christopher Murphy:

Fun.

Brad Shreve:

I sat on a bench a lot.

Christopher Murphy:

I see. That's tough for us because we need that rollercoaster buddy. You got to have that ride or die person. that's going to ride all the crazy roller coasters with you and scream and have fun. And yeah.

Brad Shreve:

What's the rollercoaster that's inside at Disneyland, um,

Christopher Murphy:

Oh,

Brad Shreve:

space mountain.

Christopher Murphy:

Yes, yes.

Brad Shreve:

Now it's funny. As scared as I am about roller coasters. I don't mind space mountain at all.

Christopher Murphy:

Probably. Cause it's inside.

Brad Shreve:

Yeah. It's not really that wild of a roller coasters. It's just, I think that it's dark.

Christopher Murphy:

Yeah.

Brad Shreve:

so I was surprised that I was kind of okay with it. The weird thing that bothered me and I I'm just weird this way. I guess I kept worrying. Somebody might throw a wrench or. A

Christopher Murphy:

wrench?

Brad Shreve:

Cause we're in the dark who knows what somebody is going to do.

Christopher Murphy:

I don't think they would let them all the ride with like wrenches that would

Brad Shreve:

I wouldn't think so. I don't know why that is.

Christopher Murphy:

maybe a cell phone.

Brad Shreve:

Both times I road it. That was in my head So I have no idea. Uh, what was the best or the scariest one that you've been.

Christopher Murphy:

Oh, my favorites. I don't even think even there any longer. I know they changed the name when the park changed the name, it used to be Kings Dominion, and then I think it became. Paramounts King Dominion, or something, but it used to be called a rebel yell, which is very Southern. I know, I see that now. Um, but it used to be the rebel yell and it had two tracks. one went forwards, one went backwards. Um, so I would say the rebel yell backwards at nighttime. Absolutely. Yeah. Tough to beat. And it was the old wooden roller coaster, which they don't really make any yeah.

Brad Shreve:

There was a push. I was going to bring that up. The, uh, the metal rollercoasters became the big thing probably cause they last longer. And that's her thing. There was a push for awhile and I know some parks. We're putting back in wooden roller coasters. Cause I felt like people like the creaking and, and that kind of scary feel. What do you prefer? Do you prefer the wood or the metal?

Christopher Murphy:

Uh, these days, and maybe this is like a 40 thing. Um, another crossover I'm going to go with metal, but back in the day, I was definitely about the wood. There was one, it wasn't the rebel yell. And if anyone is listening to this and has been to Kings Dominion like, you know what I'm talking about, it's a, I forget the name of it, but you would be waiting in line and he would see the rollercoaster go by and the entire structure would shake. Yeah. So, and as soon as I'm sure we hang up, I'll remember what it is, but yeah, that is a little unnerving.

Brad Shreve:

Now that you're in Vegas. Have you ridden the rollercoaster at the top of The Stratosphere?

Christopher Murphy:

Not yet.

Brad Shreve:

it's on your list. I'm going to share a little secret with you. Now. It may have changed

Christopher Murphy:

okay.

Brad Shreve:

when I lived in Vegas, which was many, many moons ago. Locals would not ride that ride.

Christopher Murphy:

Why is that

Brad Shreve:

Um, it was known for not being that well put together. Well, the stratosphere is not known for being very well put together and the rollercoaster was on top of that. So I don't know whether that was true or just rumor, but it was hard to find a local that was willing to ride that ride. Let's hope that's changed.

Christopher Murphy:

But you know what, that probably won't stop me from riding it.

Brad Shreve:

it'll add to the thrill.

Christopher Murphy:

Yeah.

Brad Shreve:

we derail? That's going to be cool.

Christopher Murphy:

I mean, you know, if you, you gotta go sometime.

Brad Shreve:

And you might as go well, having fun on top of the stratosphere exactly.

Christopher Murphy:

exactly.

Brad Shreve:

In your bio, something that I found curious, you mentioned you're an activist, but you didn't elaborate. What, what are you involved with?

Christopher Murphy:

So having just moved to Las Vegas, um, I haven't really done a whole lot here, but I definitely want to get involved with the gay community center here. Back in Richmond, I was a founding member of gay pride, Virginia Richmond. Maybe I think two years without a pride festival. And I was on the board and the committee for kind of reviving that and getting pride kind of, you know, back in the works. Um, so I did that. I was a board member at the gay community center there, served on a couple of different boards and, uh, Volunteer a lot of time, did a couple of fundraisers to help with the community center there. Richmond has a really fantastic, LGBTQ scene. And I think today they're actually celebrating, um, a pride festival at the marketplace there. Um, the second year that no, the first year that we did Pride it was actually there at the market. So it's kind of nice to kind of see that kind of go full circle. I'm wishing them a happy Pride today. And, um, I really do miss my, Richmond family. And I'm eager to get into the scene here in Vegas and hopefully volunteer some time at the community center and, um, at different events and fundraisers that they have.

Brad Shreve:

It's really shocking to the city, the size of Richmond. Did not have a Pride event for two years in a row.

Christopher Murphy:

Yeah. That was way back in the day.

Brad Shreve:

Okay.

Christopher Murphy:

Yeah, yeah. Way, way back in the day. Um, and the organization since then has changed names to Virginia Pride. That's how long ago this was. but yeah, so being a part of that process and putting on an event of that size, you know, it's not an easy, easy feat, you know, raising money, from the community, um, at different bars and you know, all of that, I loved it. I loved it though. And I had just moved to Richmond. So for me, that was a great way to get involved, to give back, uh, to meet people, to make friends and you know, that I still have today. So now that, things are kind of reopening here in Vegas and, things are better. I'm hoping to get out there and, and volunteering time.

Brad Shreve:

Well, I'll share my experience with Vegas when I lived there, the gay and lesbian center was a tiny little house running on a shoestring budget. trying to have as many events as they possibly could. Uh, but, it wasn't that many, but somehow they got a grant and were able to get a. therapist on staff.

Christopher Murphy:

Oh, fantastic

Brad Shreve:

I think he was the only person on staff. I think everybody else were volunteers.

Christopher Murphy:

Okay.

Brad Shreve:

He was instrumental in helping me come out. I was in Vegas when I came out of the closet,

Christopher Murphy:

Oh, that's great.

Brad Shreve:

not to everyone, but that was the start.

Christopher Murphy:

Yeah, that's great. And happy Pride month, by the way.

Brad Shreve:

Same to you. Same to you. So I, I know the center is no longer a tiny house. I've seen the pictures of it and looks like a big, beautiful building. So I hope it's a good experience for you getting active with them.

Christopher Murphy:

Thank you. I'm excited too. And you know, um, I, I tend to work from home mostly in new ways. So I mean, volunteering is a great way for me. I'm very introverted. Um, by the way is a great way for me to kind of get out there. Um, I'm out there. I want to be doing something that's making an impact and, and giving back. So I'm excited to learn more and, start making some plans.

Brad Shreve:

Well, I haven't lived anywhere that you've lived while you were doing your activism, but I'm going to say thank you anyway.

Christopher Murphy:

Sure sure. I thank you for what you're doing. I think, you know, this show is very important as well. Sharing our stories and our voices. So thank you for everything you're doing.

Brad Shreve:

Thank you. I really appreciate that. Before we wrap up, we have to do awkward questions, authors get,

Christopher Murphy:

Oh gosh. Okay.

Brad Shreve:

And I don't know if you know, I surveyed dozens of authors and said, what are some difficult questions that you've gotten some strange questions you've gotten or really bizarre questions you've gotten. So they're on the wheel and I'm going to spin the wheel and see what you.

Christopher Murphy:

Okay, Let's do it.

Brad Shreve:

so hold on.

Christopher Murphy:

Okay.

Brad Shreve:

Okay. You ready for your question?

Christopher Murphy:

I'm ready

Brad Shreve:

Can there be at least two oral scenes in one all the way seen in your next novel.

Christopher Murphy:

there. That's a very weird question. Uh, and very specific.

Brad Shreve:

Yeah. And actually it came up just recently. but it's the one that popped up. So.

Christopher Murphy:

read that again.

Brad Shreve:

Can there be at least two oral scenes and one all the way in your next novel.

Christopher Murphy:

Oh yeah. Yeah. I want to go with yes, there could be. Yeah, there very well could be. I'm going to fade to black is, you know, that's how I roll.

Brad Shreve:

Okay. There we go. Cheater. Actually, if you go fade to black, it happens in every book.

Christopher Murphy:

There you go. I've already had a ton of them in this one.

Brad Shreve:

If that's what they want, they got it.

Christopher Murphy:

There you go. Asking you shall receive.

Brad Shreve:

Exactly. Well, Chris, it's been great to have you on. I really appreciate the time. let's remind everybody, this is Christopher Murphy and his most recent novel is the other side of the mirror. And before that, just a year before that it was Where The Boys Are

Christopher Murphy:

Yes.

Brad Shreve:

and you'll find them on Amazon and other outlets. I will put his website in the show notes as In always do..

Christopher Murphy:

Thank you so much for having me. This was a ton of fun.