Name: I commonly use two names-one being d. v. murray and the other is Dwight V. Murray, but both are in varying parts. For example, d. v. murray may be on the inside pages and Dwight V. Murray is always on the cover. Perhaps the use of two names is a built in oddity on my part, but I like doing it that way.
Age: 70 and firmly holding onto it.
Where are you from?
Dwight: I was born and raised in the “Tar Heel State” otherwise known as North Carolina
Tell us a little about yourself `ie your education Family life, etc:
Dwight: I’m married to the love of my life. Judy and I have two sons and two daughters. I attended the school of hard knocks, but seems I haven’t graduated as of yet. I graduated High School and from there attended three separate trade schools-two of which were mechanically related and one dealt with the construction industry. I ended my working career as one of the first licensed mold-remediators in Houston, Texas.
Dwight: Currently I’m putting the finishing touches on the last of a trilogy, part three—titled “The gristmill.” This book is the conclusion of my “Carolina gamble” series.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Dwight: In high school, 1959-62, I was inspired by my English teacher’s words of encouragement. In 1978, over worked and tired of being on call [Insurance Companies can be very demanding, but they do pay well] I attempted my first novel, but lay my dream aside in order to keep feeding and seeing to the needs of my family. After retiring in 2005, I picked up where I left off. I hooked up the jumper cables and restarted my long dead earlier attempt which resulted in my Antebellum era novel “Carolina gamble” Now I have published three books with a fourth soon to be released.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Dwight: Not until Barnes and Noble took a chance on me and the signing turned out to be a sell-out.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Dwight: As a child, playing in the woods beyond our “sharecropper’s” shack, I found what was left of a civil war era sword. After being told, on a show-and-tell day at school, that indeed it was a sword of that era, I, from then on, was hooked on that war and those hard years leading up to it. I have done considerable research into my Great-grandfather, his brother, and my Great granduncle. As a result, I found amazing things about their involvement in the Civil War. All of which have been proven true by the Rangers at the Gettysburg Battlefield Historical Records Department.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Dwight: Being born in the deep South of the United states, I enjoy writing in the lyrical southern dialect common to that era and still quite predominate even today. I’m overly cautious not to overuse that dialect, since some, if not most is hard to understand. Likewise, and especially since slavery was such an awful thing, I am very cautious when writing about the relationship between the Negro and the white man. To date, I have never received any negative feedback. In my novel “Harlan McFadden, a daughter’s murder, a father’s revenge,” I used the same caution with the Hispanic versus Texan dialect.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Dwight: As for “Carolina gamble” I based it loosely on handed down rumors and so-called facts of plantation owners in my own family. I wondered what it would be like to gamble everything one owned on building an empire with hardly any money to invest.
“As the Cannon Roar” is also based upon rumors, be they fact or fiction, that I’d heard of a badly wounded Confederate officer who struggled to stay in control of his father’s, but now his, plantation holdings, as his world is crumbling piece by piece.
“Harlan McFadden” is based upon an actual murder of a six year old girl at the hands of a drug runner in west Texas. This was a hard book to write since here in the United States there exists an “unspoken” governmental mandate to “leave the illegals alone…we will see to the problem.” The main character, Harlan, has no one to turn to for help to solve the murder of his only child, thus bringing the murderer to justice. An unlikely and totally unexpected individual comes to his aid. A harsh resolution for the murder of Harlan’s six year old daughter suggests it would have been best for that particular piece of trash to stay clear of Harlan McFadden.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Dwight: Yes…in all. While most people will help if they are asked for assistance,
some will not, but those are greatly outnumbered by others who are very pleased to help.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
Dwight: All three of my released books are based upon realistic things, and real events, be they actual or found during story telling. For instance, in “Harlan McFadden” the murder of the six year old did happen at the hands of a drug runner. And too, I walked the grounds which once existed as a Carolina Plantation. I also visited each and every battlefield mentioned in my books, in search of realism.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Dwight: The Carolina gamble trilogy is loosely based upon rumors said to be true and upon the occasionally found recorded facts, for instance newspaper articles, books, and detective work by relatives in my family. To use as an example, the cover of the soon to be released “The gristmill” features the historical mill which today still stands as it did over two centuries ago. A historical road side marker has been erected for all to see. This mill still belongs to my family, the Murrays. The same is true of the nearby, albeit small, cluster of houses named Murraytown, in the Piedmont of North Carolina and not far from “The gristmill.”
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
Dwight: I read the work of many notable authors-to name a few, John Grisham, Elmore Leonard, Dennis Lahane. I can’t really say I have a particular author which I prefer. If the first page or two does not set the hook, I hardly ever buy the book.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Dwight: “Vagos, Mongels and …” by Charles Falco. I just finished the couldn’t-put-it-down novel-“American Sniper.”
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Dwight: I have over two hundred books in my kindle. Many are first novelists, but there are a few I enjoyed immensely. One that comes to mind is “Shattered Fate” by Linda Fagala and Karen Pugh.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
Dwight: I’m in process of editing “The gristmill.” It, as are all my novels, is a stand-alone work. I am also in the early stages of laying the ground work for an expose’ of a particular cult I was raised in and finally managed to break free of. I am still haunted by the lie I was forced to live. I so desperately want to get it done before my time on this little round ball is used up.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members
Dwight: Other than my wife, Judy I can’t name a single entity, but if day-dreaming is an entity, then it would be “day-dreaming” and writing those dreams down before they evaporate and disappear.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Dwight: I do consider it a career.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Dwight: In “Harlan McFadden,” I would not change a single word, for it came from my heart and my view of a government gone mad. That being said, I would have been wise to not be as harsh as I was about the current governmental stand when it came to the illegal invasion. I say this because as thought provoking as I am told by those who have read it, once a “Brick and Mortar” store reads the back cover, they refuse to let me do book-signings with this particular book. And this after doing many, many, many book signings in all the lower states with my first two releases. Seems they think the story too harsh of a review of out outlandish invasion. But yet they stock it in their stores and selling it through E-book. Go figure.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Dwight: The English teacher I mentioned praised a piece of my work in class.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Dwight: The forthcoming “The gristmill” is about two brothers, one nine years older than the other, who joined the Confederate Army. Each believing they would only be needed for a few short months, but the few promised short months turned into four dreadfully long years. The younger brother, my Great-grandfather Gus Murray was badly crippled, but survived. His older brother returned unscathed to find home no longer existed. Everything had been devoured by the war. Their Father, John Murray devises a plan to help his sons survive the long years needed to restore the simple lives they had lost. “The gristmill ” becomes the focal point of all things Murray. And neighbors become jealous of the father’s success, as the lives of the two brothers becomes complicated and painful.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Dwight: Oh yes. Writing too many words and being so jealous of each word I can’t delete it as might be needed.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Dwight: I think John Grisham . I like the way your mind wonders off and leaves you with the feeling you and he are talking of days and events long gone from across the table, as steam from cups of hot coffee blurs the face of the other.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Dwight: Oh my, yes. I traveled from Houston, Texas to Gettysburg to verify facts twice by car. I do not like flying. I have also driven thousands upon thousands of miles for book-signings.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Dwight: My wife and I compete with one another to see which of us can take a better picture. Usually she wins and gets the credit for it. Then my son, himself already recognized for his graphic styling of other’s work, might suggest things, but generally I already know what I want even before the book is finished. Sometimes I concede to others opinions, but not often.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Dwight: The interruptions from telephones and emails. And the fact I collect antique civil war anything, restore classic automobiles and then there’s … etcetera…etcetera …etcetera.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Dwight: I learned to release of a book that hasn’t been thoroughly edited is a huge and expensive mistake. I also learned the need to ask someone for opinions and if offered, one should not be upset when their opinion is contrary to your liking. Instead, thank them profusely, for someday you may need to use their suggestion.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Dwight: If they believe from the bottom of their heart theirs is a world-class-best-ever story, they better quit and just go mow the lawn ‘cause that just plain ain’t gonna happen. But then it might. Who knows? [See what I mean by dialect?]
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Dwight: Keep on reading and expect more down the road.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Dwight: Nah. I can hardly remember what I had for breakfast. Oh, but wait! I don’t think I ate breakfast. I’ll be right back. Gotta go see if there are any dishes in the sink.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Dwight: Watching my kittens play. Sad movies… “American Sniper” made my eyes mist over.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
Dwight: I would love to meet presidential Candidate Ben Carson. I think he truly loves America and does not give a damn about race.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
Dwight: “Hey! Get off of my grave… I do not intend to stay down here long.” Why? I think people would see the humor in it.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
Dwight: As I mentioned before, collecting anything from the American Civil War, Gun collecting [old ones] Restoring old classic cars, and eating Carolina style, vinegar based, pork barbeque.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Dwight: True crime. The Cops series, Justified and The NHRA races. [National Hot Rod Association]
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Dwight: Fried cat fish and sea foods, as for colors- harsh and loud reds. For music, anything of the late Joe Cocker …am I dating myself?
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Dwight: I would’ve liked to build log cabins in Colorado.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
My books can be purchased at all bookstores and as E-books from:
LINKS TO BOOK PURCHASE:
Barnes and Noble: Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/dwight-v-murray?keyword=dwight+v+murray&store=book
Fiona. I’d like to thank you for this opportunity and I hope your readers enjoy my strange sense of humor.