Weather Forecast


Local musician turns new novelist

Mike Murtha wrote the book "Stranger in a Small Town" longhand on notebook paper, before typing it up on his computer. Murtha's book is now available on and it will also be available in several local stores soon.

Hammond musician Mike Murtha of Trigger Happy has become a published author.

Murtha's book, "Stranger in a Small Town," is the story of a high school boy named Chris whose family moves to a fictional small town in Iowa from New York.

Chris, Murtha said, is a very creative boy.

"He's into the arts, guitar, vocal, taken voice lessons, theater," Murtha said. "He gets to Iowa and it's just all about their football team."

The book tells the story of Chris's struggle to adapt to small town life, deal with a bully and bring his big city talents to a small town.

"Stranger in a Small Town" is Murtha's first book.

Murtha said attending a young writers' program with his children several years ago, helped plant the idea of writing a book in his head. He said the idea for the book's plot had been on his mind for a long time before that.

"This story just kind of surfaced in my mind," Murtha said.

Murtha said he has always been intrigued by the way the place an individual grows up can affect what kind of person that individual grows up to be. He explored that idea in his book.

Murtha said he has been asked many times if the book is based on his own life. Murtha said it's not, nor did he base any one character on himself.

Although he had never written a book before, Murtha said the writing process was somewhat familiar to him, thanks to his experience writing music.

"Once you get going, it almost starts to write itself. The story starts moving, you can't write fast enough," Murtha said. "I've written a few songs and it's kind of that same way... you get this melody and you get some lyrics and all of a sudden it starts writing itself."

The hardest part of writing the book, Murtha said, was stopping.

"Trying to come up with an appropriate ending to the story; trying to figure out what the climax of the story really is," Murtha said.

A friend and fellow author put Murtha in contact with Romeii, LLC, a local publishing company, through which he published his book.

Murtha said the story will appeal to young adult readers and their parents.

"It's a feel-good story," Murtha said. "It is a book about family, music, sports, small town and about a young man who is a little insecure."

The book is available on now and it will soon be available at several local businesses as well, Murtha said.

Gretta Stark

Gretta Stark has been a reporter for the River Falls Journal since July of 2013. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Richmond News from June 2012 to July 2013. She holds a BA in Print and Electronic Media from Wartburg College.

(651) 301-7849