About Cecil Murphey – The Man Behind the Words
Veteran author Cecil (Cec) Murphey has written or co-written more than 135 books, including the New York Times bestseller 90 Minutes in Heaven (with Don Piper) and Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story (with Dr. Ben Carson). His books have sold in the millions and have brought hope and encouragement to countless people around the world.
Cec stays busy as a professional writer and travels extensively to speak on topics such as writing, spiritual growth, caregiving, significant living, sexual abuse, and recovery.
Prior to launching his career as a full-time writer and speaker, Cec served as pastor in Metro Atlanta, as a volunteer hospital chaplain for ten years, and was a missionary in Kenya for six.
For more information, visit Cec’s Wikipedia page.
- Cec received an honorary Doctor of Literature from The Richmond Virginia Seminary for his contributions to the writing field.
- National Award for the Encouragement of Writing – Cec was the inaugural recipient of this award. He received it at the Southern Christian Writers Conference in June 2016.
- Lifetime Literary Award – The Orange County Christian Writers Conference presented this award to Cec in April 2014.
- Foreword Book of the Year Bronze Award – Cec received this award in June of 2011 for When a Man You Love Was Abused. The award was especially significant for him because it took six years to find a publisher willing to take a risk on the book.
- Retailers Choice Award – 90 Minutes in Heaven (with Don Piper) won the 2009 Retailers Choice Award for backlist books.
- Extraordinary Service Award – The American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) honored Cec with the 2009 Extraordinary Service Award, one of their most prestigious awards.
- The Lifetime Achievement Award – In July 2007, Cec was the inaugural recipient of the AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) Lifetime Achievement Award. He was recognized for his writing and mentoring in the Christian writing community.
- Retailers Choice Award – Touchdown Alexander (with Seattle Seahawks MVP Shaun Alexander) won the Retailers Choice Award at ICRS in July 2007.
- Author of the Year Award – Cec is a three-time winner of this award from the Dixie Council of Authors and Journalists, which recognizes outstanding books by writers in the southeastern United States.
- Blackboard Book of the Year Award – I Choose to Stay (with Salome Thomas-EL) was selected to receive the 2005 Blackboard Book of the Year Award for nonfiction.
- Silver Angel Award (2005) – This award was received from Excellence in Media for his book Committed but Flawed.
- Silver Angel Award (2004) – This award was received from Excellence in Media for I Choose to Stay.
- Gold Medallion Award (1995) – Cec was a three-time finalist and the 1995 winner of the Evangelical Press Association’s Gold Medallion Award, which recognizes the highest quality in Christian books. He won the award for his book with Franklin Graham, Rebel with a Cause.
Seven Things You Might Not Know About Cec (in his words)
1. I wrote my first story at age nine.
I had seen an Alfred Hitchcock movie called Saboteur. A crucial scene takes place when the heroine, locked inside an office in a New York City skyscraper, writes a note in lipstick. She throws the paper out the window and holds her compact mirror so that it reflects the sun. The note lands in front of a taxi stand, a driver picks up the note, sees her flashing sign, and rescues her.I decided to try something like that. I wrote, “Help! My husband is trying to kill me.” I wrote an address about a block away and laid the note on the street. After what seemed like a long wait and no one picked it up, I forgot about it.
Two days later, my mother and I were in a neighborhood grocery store and the owner, Mrs. DeRuse, said, “Did you hear about all the excitement over on Second Street?” After my mother said no, Mrs. DeRuse told us that the police received a note saying the woman’s husband was trying to kill her. When they came to the house, the woman yelled and cursed the policemen.
“I did it,” I told them what happened and felt bad that I had caused so much trouble.
Both women told me to forget it and not talk about it. After that, however, whenever I came into the store, Mrs. DeRuse would call out to me, “Have you written any good mysteries lately?”
2. I met my wife after I stopped looking.
I had left a disastrous love affair and as a result, I turned to Jesus Christ. I felt God call me into full-time ministry. I told God I couldn’t go through another heartbreak, and I wasn’t going to look for a wife. If I was to marry, God had to provide me with a wife. (I had a weakness for redheads, but I didn’t ask.)
A few weeks later, I went to church for a midweek service, met titian-haired Shirley, and we talked for hours afterward. I knew she was God’s provision for me.
3. I served as a missionary to Kenya, East Africa, for six years.
Those were the most painful years of my life and also the best. Painful because I had to learn so much and faced many things about myself that I didn’t like. I went to teach Africans about God, but they taught me the meaning of community by the way they lived. They accepted me when I couldn’t always accept myself.
Part of my heart was stolen during those years and I’ve never gotten it back. I plan to return in late November to see if I can find it.
4. I went to Antarctica.
In 1990 I wrote a book for Norman Vaughan called With Byrd at the Bottom of the World (still in print). Norm was then the last-surviving member of Admiral Byrd’s historic trip to the South Pole in 1928-1930. Norm cared for the sled dogs and Byrd named a mountain after him. As I wrote for Norm and read everything I could on the white continent, I yearned to go there and I did in 2006.
Because it was a small ship (48 passengers) we were able to make 11 wet landings. A wet landing meant we left the ship in a Zodiac, a motorized rubber boat, and waded in the last few feet. It was my greatest adventure.
5. I’m a confirmed runner.
I’m on the street between 4:30 and 5:00 every morning and run 30-35 miles a week. I love running in the dark. There are few distractions, and I have a strong sense of God’s presence.
6. God gave me three gifts as a writer.
Aside from the ability to write, which I consider a gift, three things have made me highly prolific. First, I’m fast at everything I do. (The Africans called me “Haraka,” which means quick.) Second, I have an enormous account of energy. At age 81, I still write eight hours a day (and it’s still a fun job). Third, I’m focused. I can shut out noise and disruptions around me.
7. Other people opened doors for me.
As I’ve looked over my career and my life, I’m aware of the people whom God used to provide opportunities for me. Here are three examples.
I received my first book contract because a writer whom Shirley and I had befriended told a publisher about me. He called me, heard what I was writing, liked it, read a sample chapter, and offered me a book.
Another writer connected me with an editor at Fleming H. Revell Publishers (now Revell and owned by Baker Books). He liked me, and I wrote 35 books for Revell before the editor moved to another publishing house.
Third, I needed a new literary agent, and was sitting at a conference praying for guidance. Another writer, whom I knew, sat beside me. His first sentence was, “Do you have an agent?” He made the connection, I signed with the Knight Agency, and I’ve been with them since 1997.