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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Authors To Watch: Ken McGorry, author of 'Ghost Hampton'



Ken McGorry has been writing since third grade. (He learned in first grade, but waited two years.) He started a school newspaper with friends in seventh grade, but he’s better known for his 23 years as an editor of Post Magazine, a monthly covering television and film production. This century, he took up novel-writing and Ghost Hampton and Smashed are examples. More are in the works, like the promised Ghost Hampton sequel, but he’s kinda slow.

Ken lives on Long Island with his wife and they have two strapping sons. There are dogs. Ken is also a chef (grilled cheese, and only for his sons) and he enjoys boating (if it’s someone else’s boat). He has a band, The Achievements, that plays his songs (try https://soundcloud.com/ken-mcgorry). Back at Manhattan College (English major!), he was a founding member of the venerable Meade Bros. Band. Ken really was an employee of Dan’s Papers in the Hamptons one college summer, and really did mow Dan’s lawn.

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About the Book:

Title: GHOST HAMPTON
Author: Ken McGorry
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 450
Genre: Paranormal Thriller

Lyle Hall is a new man since his car accident and spinal injury. The notoriously insensitive Bridgehampton lawyer is now afflicted with an odd sensitivity to other people's pain. Especially that of a mysterious young girl he encounters outside a long-abandoned Victorian house late one October night. “Jewel” looks about 12. But Lyle knows she’s been dead a hundred years. Jewel wants his help, but it’s unclear how. As if in return, she shows him an appalling vision—his own daughter's tombstone. If it’s to be believed, Georgie’s last day is four days away. Despite Lyle’s strained relations with his police detective daughter, he’s shocked out of complacent convalescence and back into action in the real world.

But the world now seems surreal to the formerly Scrooge-like real estate lawyer. Lyle’s motion in court enjoining the Town of Southampton from demolishing the old house goes viral because he leaked that it might be haunted. This unleashes a horde of ghost-loving demonstrators and triggers a national media frenzy. Through it all strides Lyle’s new nemesis in high heels: a beautiful, scheming TV reporter known as Silk.

Georgie Hall’s own troubles mount as a campaign of stationhouse pranks takes a disturbing sexual turn. Her very first case is underway and her main suspect is a wannabe drug lord. Meanwhile, Lyle must choose: Repair his relationship with Georgie or succumb to the devious Silk and her exclusive media contract. He tells himself seeing Georgie’s epitaph was just a hallucination. But a few miles away the would-be drug lord is loading his assault rifle. Berto needs to prove himself.

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Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m an insomniac. But God made coffee. I have a craving for starch, even in my shirts, but fight back at a local gym. I love movies, but grew up a spindly, asthmatic boy watching a lot of reruns on television because I was home with bronchitis a lot. I’ve always loved to write, but am concerned about my inability to stop. I’ve written 110 songs and recorded most of them with my band, The Achievements (we may be heard on www.SoundCloud.com). I’m an old trade magazine editor (film and television production) who’s married to a lovely gal. We have two strapping sons. And a strapping dog. 

When did you begin writing?

Third grade – a rip off of “Big Red,” Jim Kjelgaard’s Irish Setter adventure, boyishly reimagined by me with a black Lab and poachers in the Great Northwest (available for feature film option!).

Describe your writing process. Do you plot or write by the seat of your pants? When and where do you write?

I have a loose plot outline, and know where I think things need to go (after careful consideration on a Sunday afternoon out in the backyard with a cigar and maybe a beer and my annoying dog). I also outline my characters and their relationships and needs. On weekdays (and Saturdays, which are weekdays for writers), when I’m percolating, I can go from 8:30AM till 1:30PM. During that time the characters take over and start bossing me around. Meanwhile, my ultra-convenient home office is prey to anyone who comes to the front door. A surprising number of people come to the front door. Also, since I’m “home,” I’m responsible for everything. 

Can you tell us about your most recent release?

Oh, that? “Ghost Hampton” follows the discovery of a haunted house by, oddly enough, the most reviled lawyer in the little hamlet of Bridgehampton, Long Island. Controversy surrounding the old abandoned Victorian quickly blossoms into a national phenomenon. Our lawyer, Lyle Hall, now in a wheelchair after a terrible accident, struggles to correct a misspent career and repair relations with his daughter. But the ghost girl in the old house has shown Lyle his daughter’s premature tombstone, dated just four days away. Then a Big Media Circus comes to town, as does a femme fatale TV reporter intent on exploiting Lyle to boost her own career. Lyle, obsessed with the reporter’s attention, is distracted from his true mission.

On another note, “Ghost Hampton” has been optioned recently for a feature film.

How did you get the idea for the book?

My wife and I were driving down a residential street in Westhampton Beach a few years ago and, gesturing at a nice old house, she said, “I know the man who bought that house. He says it’s haunted. And it was once a brothel.” To put it bluntly, no wife, no “Ghost Hampton.”

Of all your characters, which one is your favorite? Why?

Lyle Hall. It’s a love/hate relationship. I wrestled with him in every chapter he’s in – and that’s most of the 90 (!) chapters. (Luckily, he benefits from a self-deprecating sense of humor.) Despite his wild paranormal ride, Lyle must come across as realistic. Following his car crash and near death experience, he works to extricate himself from his bad old ways. The “ghost” phenomenon he discovers presents a fork in the road. One way represents the high road, the other is a U-turn.

What was the most challenging aspect of writing your book?

Time! Quality time during which I could concentrate on this story and its whorl of characters and (relying a bit on my old magazine editor skills) make order out of chaos.

Which authors have inspired your writing?

Hemmingway. Kafka. Nelson DeMille. Shakespeare. Pliny the Elder. 

What projects are you currently working on?

Spiffing up my first novel, “Smashed” (9/11 survivor faces a madhouse of characters in a substance abuse rehab), for release in 2017 while getting up a head of steam for “Ghost Hampton Harrier” (yes, a sequel)!

What advice would you offer to new or aspiring authors?

You need friends, a support system. They will look at early chapters. They will bust your chops and challenge you. You know the guy who wrote “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”? Really good, right? Write like him, but don’t be like him.

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