I was born in Tokyo, Japan, the child of a Japanese mother and an Irish-American father in the military. I lived in seventeen homes and two foreign countries before I finished high school, graduated from the University of Pittsburgh (with a major in Fiction Writing – talk about foolishly confident!), studied at the Sorbonne in Paris, lived among bad elements in Rome, communed in Hollywood’s Gower Gulch during my hippie days, worked in advertising (a natural occupation for someone with a Fiction Writing major), eked out a living in New York by writing lurid back-cover blurbs for a paperback publisher, frequented roller discos, danced in an African-American dance company, played the flute and the cello (both badly), went to baking school, authored four how-to books on a variety of trivial subjects and under several pen names, ghost-wrote 12 volumes in a longstanding series of men’s action/adventure novels, married fellow novelist Warren Murphy, became a mom (our son Devin is living pretty much the kind of life I was pursuing at his age), got unmarried (all good things eventually either end or turn rotten), freaked out, wasted time, moved to Tennessee, and finally – well, it’s probably not really finally – I came back to Pennsylvania, where I am working on establishing myself as a writer of Young Adult fiction as well as mainstream novels (in the business it’s called Adult Trade, although that always sounded sketchy to me). I’m in the process of moving again (how many places have I lived? 30? 40? I think I’m one of those people who can’t grow roots) with my cute little dog Lucy.
Among the (28?) (30?) books I’ve written are two bestsellers, DRESSING THIN (one of the aforementioned trivial how-to books) and GRANDMASTER, co-authored with my former partner and husband, Warren Murphy, whose name is familiar to readers as author of the DESTROYER and TRACE series as well as several suspense novels and the hit movies THE EIGER SANCTION and LETHAL WEAPON 2.
GRANDMASTER, which marked my debut as a mainstream novelist, won the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award for Best Paperback Original of the year, and sold more than a million copies worldwide. It was followed by a sequel, HIGH PRIEST, as well as two other suspense novels, THE HAND OF LAZARUS – a novel about a terrorist priest in Ireland – and THE TEMPLE DOGS, which tells the story of a clan of underworld Japanese yakuza who wreak revenge on the American Mafia using the methods of ancient samurai warriors and the code of bushido.
THE FOREVER KING and its two sequels, THE BROKEN SWORD and THE THIRD MAGIC go in a slightly different direction, infusing strong fantasy elements into otherwise straightforward suspense stories. The premise of these three novels is the reincarnation of King Arthur as an American boy. THE FOREVER KING didn’t make the New York Times Bestseller List when it first came out, but over the years has sold well beyond bestseller numbers.
Another book with a pronounced fantasy element is WORLD WITHOUT END, which explores the Atlantis legend.
Warren and I also began a new line of “pure” suspense novels under the pseudonym Dev Stryker. He wrote one of these, titled ENDGAME, and I wrote two, DEATHRIGHT and A WILDERNESS OF MIRRORS, both featuring my first-ever female hero, Amelia Pierce, who discovers at the moment of her father’s death that he had been a high-ranking CIA agent who left behind a hot mess that leads Amelia into the most dangerous recesses of the secret world. Personally, I love these books. Amelia is my alter ego.
My most recent works are THE PAGAN TRAILER PARK, about a middle-aged writer on the brink of a nervous breakdown whose imaginary characters lead her back to sanity against a surreal background of snake churches, cross-burnings, and other terrors of the deep south, and my first Young Adult novel, LEGACY.
I’ve never been very good at answering the question, “What is your book about?” It’s really hard to condense several hundred pages into a single sentence, at least until the book has had time to cool down in my mind. LEGACY is about witches, I suppose. Good witches. A town of people with extraordinary abilities, into which walks an innocent – and seemingly ordinary – 16-year-old girl who finds out that her mother, who killed herself in this very town, not only was a witch herself, but was regarded as a monster. And it’s a funny book. Go figure. I’m going to try to include a chapter or two on this website so that you can have a taste of this new thing I’ve written that I love so much.
The next book on my agenda is a sequel to LEGACY. Well, two sequels, respectively titled POISON and SEDUCTION, although I don’t yet know if anyone will publish them. I’m just not ready to let this character and this town go.
Somewhere down the road, I’m going to write a novel about my grandfather. He was a Japanese aristocrat, a descendant of samurai, whose life was shaped absolutely by the women in it, from his domineering mother to his arranged marriage to his affair with an Australian free-thinker. There were others – a cast-off daughter who became a geisha, a housekeeper who saw him and his family through the privations of World War II, another daughter whom he had to rescue from the hell of Nanking after the Japanese invasion…Lots of material. I hope I get a chance to write it soon.
Until then, have fun browsing this site.
Visit Molly Author Page on Amazon.