Julie Murphy always knew she would pursue the arts one way or another, but writing didn’t come to her immediately or naturally.
It all worked out because Murphy made it all the way to the New York Times bestseller list in 2015 with her young adult-focused book “Dumplin’.”
Murphy will be live on Sno-Isle Libraries’ Open Book online author series at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 30. Register online for this Zoom webinar.
“I’ve always loved storytelling in all of its forms, but writing books felt a lot like homework,” Murphy writes on her website. “And honestly, I never felt smart enough to write a whole book.”
Turns out she was smart enough and clever enough to write a whole book. She started with “Side Effects May Vary” in 2014 and “Dumplin’” the next year. When Netflix bought the rights to “Dumplin’” and made it a movie, it allowed Murphy to leap from shelving library books to writing books.
“I sold the film rights to ‘Dumplin’ ’ and it gave me the confidence boost and financial assurance that I needed to step away from a full-time day job,” Murphy said. “I loved being a librarian and would still go back to it even now if I ever needed to.”
That seems unlikely now that she’s proven herself as a popular author who can access the complicated psyches of teens and young adults. After “Dumplin’” came “Puddin’” (2018) and “Pumpkin” (due out on May 25). Also in the Murphy title mix are “Ramona Blue” (2017), “Dear Sweet Pea” (2019), “Faith: Taking Flight” (2020), several anthologies, and the upcoming “If the Shoe Fits” (Aug. 3), “Faith: Greater Heights” (Nov. 2).
“Turns out you don’t need to be a genius to be an author,” Murphy said. “You just have to study people and obsessively experience as many things as you can – big and small.”
Murphy sees life around her in north Texas and uses it as the basis for her characters and their stories.
“I really like to consider what makes each of my characters unique, whether it’s music, a certain candle scent, or some sort of hobby or obsession, and surround myself with those things,” she said.
“As far as turning it into a compelling story, the truth is it just takes hard work and refining. I start out with a very clear vision for what I want to create and every round of edits helps bring me closer to the version of my story that first lived in my head.”
With fewer opportunities to venture outside in the past 12 months, the coronavirus pandemic has changed Murphy’s writing routine.
“I’m writing more than I was before. Turns out that being consumed by my work and art helps me escape our current realities – at least for a little while,” she said.
When Murphy needs a break to laugh, giggle or chortle, she has two go-to's.
“Tik-Tok! I’m not much of a contributor, but I’ve turned into a big consumer,” she said. “Also, anything with Melissa McCarthy.”
The Open Book author series is supported by the Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation.