I would like to begin by thanking the Authors’ Lounge for this great opportunity to write about myself and my work.
My name is Ken but I self-publish under the highly-original pen name of K.H. McMurray. I am Canadian, originally from British Columbia but have been residing in Montreal since the late 1980s.
I presently teach English as a Second Language but also translate (French to English), edit, and copy-write on occasion. I am also working towards professional status as a genealogist, and I come from a musical background, so music and genealogy pop up in my works from time to time.
My two novels thus far published have received comments likening them to the writings of Douglas Coupland, Maeve Binchy, and JD Salinger. I don’t know what to make of that, considering that I read Salinger for the first time only six months ago, but I guess Coupland and Binchy (as well as others) have influenced my writing.
I started writing while in high-school in Langley, British Columbia
but didn’t take it at all seriously until I moved to Montreal, and even so after two years of living/studying here. The genesis of the novel I’ll talk about here, “Then Let’s Keep Dancing”, was in notes, anecdotes, character sketches, and vague story outlines around what were then supposed to be “Novel #4” and “Novel #5”, all written between 2001 and 2004. Each proposed novel was a projection into the future, of young adults becoming middle-agers, and of childhood friends coming back together in early adulthood. Much of my source material came from adults and children whom I knew in the early 2000s.
I stopped writing near the end of 2004.
I suppose my creative well needed replenishing. I went back to writing in early 2016 when I decided to sort out my old scribblings via the editor’s red pen. The flurry of activity that followed eventually culminated in my first novel, “Boomerangs and Square Pegs”, published online and in print in February 2021.
While this was happening, I hadn’t quite doffed my habit of starting new projects while trying to finish existing ones. This presented a challenge for me, as I continually got new ideas for “Then Let’s Keep Dancing”, as well as my next novel, and couldn’t very well put them aside. Plus, work/travel put strains on my concentration, making it difficult to focus on one project at a time.
Along came the pandemic and telecommuting (to use a 1990s term), which increased my workload somewhat but freed up time otherwise consumed by commuting. Decision time: Should I finish these things and publish them, or scrap them altogether? I opted for the former.
“Then Let’s Keep Dancing”, set mainly in Montreal and in late summer/early fall 2008, was published online in April 2022, print version to follow… eventually.
My target audience for this book is basically anyone over the age of majority, from any generation, in university or not. But like with any of my writings, it’s also for that person out there who’s going through something in life and gets a bit of relief knowing that they’re not alone. Genre: Literary Fiction.
This book concerns two different demographic groups:
one, childhood friends re-united in their late teens/early 20s and finding that each has changed in a disconcerting way; and the other, a group of friends in their early-to-mid-30s who spend too much time waxing nostalgic, perhaps avoiding the cold fact that their best days are behind them. It also involves two people trying to get over past relationships and ultimately finding each other, one person trying to find out who her bio-dad is and learning what is the definition of a real family, and one other trying to find herself after falling in love too quickly and after from a great height and then being “erased” on social media. To the last part, there is the idea of being spurned and then exacting vengeance.
There’s also the idea that, in a place like Montreal, people can and do meet, and sometimes in the most peculiar circumstances. There are often only three or four degrees of separation between people, and even less if you run in the same circles (e.g., artistic, political, academic, etc.). Another idea within this work is the Montreal, and by extension Quebec, of the modern era. All too often, literary works about Montreal are focussed through the lens of the past, some as late as the mid-1980s, choosing to avoid the realities and politics of the post-1995 era, probably because it isn’t sexy or stereotypical enough. While history is always interesting, I prefer to write about the here-and-now and how we got to this point.
For the future of “Then Let’s Keep Dancing”, it appears that has now become book 2 of a trilogy – I hadn’t intended this when I started writing it. So, perhaps I will try to market it as part of a trilogy, rather than as a stand-alone work. Since publishing “Boomerangs and Square Pegs” in 2021, I haven’t really given much thought to how I wanted to market any of my publications, nor have I really had the energy to do so, hence my low sales as of this writing. After I publish Novel #3 this summer (2023), I will most likely turn my attention to promotion and publicity.
“Then Let’s Keep Dancing”, as well as “Boomerangs and Square Pegs”, can be found via links through my website, khmcmurray.ca, or via my author’s profile on Facebook, “K.H. McMurray, Author”.
So, who’d like a copy? 😉