Interview with Crime/Horror writer Murphy Edwards


Interview with Murphy Edwards by James Ward Kirk via

Hello, Murphy. You’re well known for writing both hard-edged crime and intense horror. Do you prefer one over the other?  I actually quite like them both. Each has its own dark elements and I’m not above combining the two genres liberally when it’s called for. After all, some of the biggest horrors involve a crime and true crime is often shocking and horrific at its core. I also love a good western like Deadwood. So, eventually, I plan on trying to write a few dark, old west stories as well.

How do you come up with your characters?  Obviously, there’s a little bit of me in some of my characters. The balance are based on people I’ve met, worked with, grew up with or observed at some point in life. Some characters hit the page fully developed and ready to play. Others grow as the story takes shape.

Any current favorites? Currently, I’m kind of partial to Ace from my story “Ace of Spades” in the anthology Grave Robbers. Ace is a vicious and sneaky criminal, but when I started writing “Ace of Spades” he was one of those characters that ran around in my head, kicking holes in the wallboard, breaking bottles and smashing furniture, demanding to be written about. He’s a wicked little bastard, Ace is.

You recently signed a contract with Severed Press Publishing for a new novel titled, “Dead Lake.” How did that come about? My relationship with Gary Lucas and Severed Press Publishing began when a few years ago I answered a submission call for their anthology “Dead Bait.” Gary liked my story “Noodlers” and featured it alongside Tim Curran, David Dunwoody, Bosely Gravel and some other excellent authors. I was thrilled to get that opportunity. Gary then invited me to submit a piece for the sequel anthology, “Dead Bait 2”, which resulted in my cross-genre crime / horror story “Heavy Weather.”  DB2 included features by Ramsey Campbell and Tim Curran, so again, I was delighted to be in such good company. Shortly after “Dead Bait 2” was released, I learned Severed Press was planning another anthology. I contacted Gary Lucas with an offer to write a crime / horror piece exclusively for “Dead Bait 3.” I penned “Sinkers” and it made the cut.

Fast forward to late 2012 and a busy Holiday season and Gary Lucas sends me a very nice e-mail with an offer I can’t refuse. Cue The Godfather Theme here. Gary was planning to develop a new series of novels for Severed Press Publishing centered around the Dead Bait theme. He asked if I would be interested in writing and submitting a novel for the series. I sent Gary a proposal with a full novel synopsis for his consideration. “Dead Lake” is the result of that proposal.  

What’s “Dead Lake” about? The novel is centered around a recreational lake built by the government as a flood control project. It takes place in the fictional town of Vivid Valley. There is a curse on the lake, brought about by man’s greed and ignorance and their lack of respect for both ancient and modern burial sites. As the waters of Vivid Valley Lake turn sour, a monstrous aquatic mutant takes shape that dole out a vengeance that will change Vivid Valley forever.

What writers influenced you the most? Oh my, there are so many. I’ll try and scratch the surface, but I know I’ll forget a bunch. Let’s go with Ken Bruen, Jason Starr, Urban Waite, Joe R. Lansdale, Brian Keene, Victor Gischler, Alan Guthrie, Tim Curran, Dean Koontz, F. Pail Wilson, Jack Ketchum, Elmore and Peter Leonard. On the more local / regional front I’d include Jeffrey Ashby, David Scott Pointer, Brian Rosenberger, David Bain, Paula D. Ashe, Rebecca Besser, Mike Jansen and Chantal Noordeloos. And I can’t forget Charles Bukowski, Robert B. Parker, Edgar Alan Poe and J. Lee Butts.

You and I have worked together on Indiana Crime for two years now with Indiana Crime 2012 & 2013. What do you enjoy most about this project? I get really charged up when I open up one of our submissions, read the first couple paragraphs and immediately get pulled into a tale that just will not let me put it down. Those are the times when I lean back in my worn and ratty office chair, get good and comfortable with an author’s work and say, “Ah, that’s the stuff.”

The truly exciting part is just how many gifted writers there are in this crazy old world. Most are putting down some excellent fiction, but sadly going largely unrecognized. Hopefully we are helping to correct that. Since we began working together on the Indiana Crime Series, I have had the opportunity to read and meet some amazingly talented authors and poets. Strangely, though I’ve always liked poetry and have written song lyrics, I never got into poetry heavily until this project. The exposure to well crafted poems has helped me grow as an author and a reader too. I have to say, the writers we have worked with are all professionals with a deep dedication to the craft and they all bring something unique to the table. And I’d be remiss if I failed to mention the artists. We’ve seen some beautiful art, paintings, photography and graphics and performance artists. I enjoy it immensely. 

What are your future plans? I have a sequel to “Dead Lake” planned and partially written, which I hope Gary Lucas and Severed Press Publishing will consider. I’m also releasing three of my short story collections as independent print and eBooks in 2013, followed by two dark crime novels I currently have hiding out under my desk. And the Indiana Crime Anthology project  looks to be a long-term endeavor as well.

What puts your transmission in overdrive? A fresh pot of coffee, a good book, some tasty prog or metal music, a trip to the book store, a head full of fresh stories and characters screaming to spill their blood out on the page.

Thank you for your time Murphy! Any time. Thank you for being such a good friend and a positive supporter of the writing community.

Visit Murphy Edwards on the web: 

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