Emily Murdoch


Today Emily Murdoch joins LitPick for Six Minutes with an Author! Emily is an author and poet with a passion for saving equines from slaughter. Emily is the author of If You Find Me, which has been nominated for The Green Mountain Book Award, the  2015 German Children’s Literature Award by the independent young adult jury (German title - If You Find Us), and the Carnegie Medal 2014!

How did you get started writing?

I was born a writer. I started writing as soon as I could read and hold a pencil. (I remember being in first grade and my teacher, quite surprised, showing my parents a poem I’d written and illustrated in class.)

I grew up devouring books and writing stories, poetry, diary and then journal entries. I wrote my first full-length novel at age eleven, knowing even then that writing (and books) would enrich and inform my life until my dying breath. 

For me, reading and writing were a way to re-imagine the world into a brighter, more hopeful, more inclusive place. In that way, it’s my life come full-circle, to share that bubbling vision with my readers.  

Overall, I believe we’re born with gifts, and to share those gifts is the definition of a life well-lived.

I live, therefore, I write.                      

Who influenced you?

Every author of every book I’ve ever read.

That said, I was influenced most by writers who were able to take the puzzle of life (and what it means to be human) and arrange those pieces into a picture I could better understand. Sage authors that rose up like guideposts and north stars and oracles, and who left me feeling more alive and less alone for the reading experience.  

Do you have a favorite book/subject/character/setting?

My favorite books seem to be the coming-of-age stories of orphans, misfits and underdogs, and many remain childhood classics: A Little Princess, The Secret Garden, A Wrinkle in Time, Oliver Twist, Jane Eyre, Pinnochio, Heidi, everything Winnie the Pooh, Anne of Green Gables, Little Women, Merlin’s Keep … along with offering staunch, strong, outspoken heroines (and heroes) that aren’t content with the status quo.

I love characters that stretch and evolve, taking the reader along on the journey. I love stories that make me grow mental inches, set off light bulb moments, and stretch my knowledge and understanding of life – of everything.

What advice do you have for someone who wants to be an author?

The same deceptively simple, oft-repeated, tried-and-true advice: write.

Writers write.

Write as often as you can, and keep writing. You’ll gain skills you can only gain by doing. Read lots of books to see how other authors do it. 

Write when you feel like it, and write when you don’t. Write something, anything, because you can’t revise or polish a blank page.

Most of all, write because you love it. There will be times when that love will be the only thing carrying you through the doubt and rejection all writers face if they’re hoping to become published authors.

Lastly, become an eternal sponge of life and humanity. Feel. Think. Listen. Observe. Assemble your particular puzzle of the world so the rest of us might better understand. 

Where is your favorite place to write?

At the kitchen table.

The table is bar-style, and I can spread out (laptop, notebooks, mug of tea, candle, Kindle, a book or two) whilst remaining close to my inspirational fuel (bread and tea) with a view of the desert wilding outside the window.

At night, I cozy up and write in bed (as I’m doing now) with our dogs snoring up a storm around me.

I have great trouble writing in public; instead, I seek out places of comfort and protection so I can let go of the outside world and fall into the words and images inside me.

What else would you like to tell us?

Two simple words that speak for miles: *thank you*.

Thank you to the readers, reviewers, librarians, teachers, booksellers, bloggers (everyone!) for your notes, letters, kind words, tweets, reads, reviews, blog posts, nominations, word of mouth, and for welcoming my words inside your worlds.

It’s an honor to have my work find a shelf in peoples’ hearts, minds and homes.

It’s a privilege to have you share your feelings, thoughts, and personal stories with me.

You sweeten and deepen this author’s journey, and I’m forever grateful. 

Emily, thank you for spending six minutes with LitPick! It’s been a pleasure to get to know you. Congratulations on your book’s award nominations!