Happy Birthday to a Remarkable Author – Cecil Murphey

Happy Birthday to a Remarkable Author – Cecil Murphey

Bestselling author, ghostwriter, and speaker Cecil Murphey (or as his friends call him, Cec) celebrated his 90th birthday last weekend.

That I’m only acknowledging it now isn’t a belated greeting as much as not wanting to spill the beans ahead of time about the flock of well-wishes extended to him by folks around the nation.

Three months ago, I was invited to participate in a “happy birthday” video tribute. That I was able to do it despite my lack of high-tech skills is amazing. Especially since I came close to giving up and just emailing my thoughts.

Gifted Writer

Pictured Author Cecil Murphey

For those who don’t automatically recognize the name, Cecil Murphey coauthored Dr. Ben Carson’s memoir, Gifted Hands, which is still selling 33 years after publication. It also inspired the 2009 movie that aired on TNT and is available on Amazon Prime.

Cec was also the ghostwriter for Don Piper’s 90 Minutes in Heaven, which the publisher didn’t expect to be a multimillion-copy bestseller, originally only printing 5,000 copies.

With more than 135 books to his credit, there are many, many more.

He’s one of those people whom you know you’ve known over the years but can’t remember exactly when or how you met. When I used to fly to Atlanta every spring for a conference there I was prone to pick up the phone and call, just to say hello.

To give you more background, here’s what I said in my video message:

“I hope you’re having a great day. I wanted to participate in these greetings to say that even though we’ve only talked a few times and met just once in Louisville, you have been a mentor and inspiration.

“I especially remember about 15 years ago, when I was going through a blue funk. It was one of those moods that I think is common to creative people. But after ghostwriting or editing a number of books, I started to doubt my own abilities. I poured out my heart in an e-mail, and you took the time to respond and offer a word of encouragement.

“I so appreciated that. I also appreciated that when I needed to write a profile for Today’s Christian Living on a tight deadline, you agreed to a do a phone interview on short notice. And I’m sure that back then you had plenty of other things on your plate. So thanks for the memories…and happy birthday!”

Trial by Fire

Cec has been through more in his life than many people would be able to withstand and keep their sanity. Things like sexual abuse in his childhood (which he writes about in one of his books), losing his son-in-law when a fire broke out at Cec’s  home, and continuing to write despite the death of his longtime spouse in 2013.

Though Cec finally retired, he continues to send out his monthly newsletter with short devotional thoughts, tidbits of news, and even photos. In one recent issue, he talked about mentoring several writers and how that helped him feel needed.

That’s probably one of the things that impresses me most about him—that while he was churning out best-sellers, he was also speaking to numerous writers conferences. The travel alone would have worn me out, especially in more recent years.

I can confidently say my life has been richer for having known Cecil Murphey a remarkable man.

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