INTERVIEW WITH KELLY MURPHY:
How did you get started writing?
I've been writing since age three! My first picture book one yellow construction paper featured a worm and an apple who became the best of friends. From an early age, my mom encouraged me to be very proactive about my writing (and reading), which I'm incredibly grateful for.
Who influenced you?
I do love to read a beautiful novel, but in a recent conversation with a friend, I discovered that the writers who truly influence me and make me want to create something are the ones who make me feel violently and think profusely. Every time I read a Tom Robbins book, I think, How? How does he create such a creepy and magnificent space for us all to inhabit? And then I want to do it myself. Growing up, my version of that was the Chronicles of Narnia. On the flip side, Zadie Smith makes me think, How can I make my prose feel this real? Phyllis Reynolds Naylor's Alice series was also key; I wanted to write something that would help teens understand how weird the world is the way she helped me.
Do you have a favorite book/subject/character/setting?
My favorite books are Skinny Legs and All by Tom Robbins and The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera. One of them taught me to think bigger. The other one taught me to stop doing that and get over myself.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to be an author?
There are plenty of good books for young adults out there. Don't let that intimidate you; let it inspire you. What's the angle you can master? What's the emotion you've felt that no other author has gotten quite right? Find your niche.
Where is your favorite place to write?
I remember creating a diorama in ninth grade of Madeleine L'Engle's favorite writing spot, a grassy area alongside a creek where she found tranquility and felt comfortable. Mine is probably my bed. With a side of fries.
What else would you like to tell us?
I like to leave a little bit of mystery.