On April 22, the Wall Street Journal featured A CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK, illustrated by Daniel Miyares and published by Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin! I'm honored to be included with the other titles focused on Mother Earth!
I am beyond thrilled to announce that PRUDENCE THE PART-TIME
COW has been chosen by the Missouri Center for the Book to represent our state
at this year's National Book Festival in Washington DC on September 2! The
annual festival is hosted by the Library of Congress.
Thanks to the Missouri Center for the Book!! I am so honored!
Come celebrate with me on Twitter @jodywrites4kids!
Happy Spring (or Fall, depending on which hemisphere you inhabit)! I'm ready for warmer temperatures here in Missouri.
The Johnson County (KS) library system interviewed me for their Meet the Author series. I talk about books I've written, where I grew up, and other really deep things.😊You can find the interview here, if you're interested.
And here's a picture of the phlox just starting to bloom in front of my house. Enjoy!
Congratulations to Sue Lowell Gallion, winner of Julie's Gilly's Treasures!
Thanks to everyone who entered!
Today, debut fiction picture
book author Julie Murphy joins us to talk about her recently released book, Gilly's Treasures (Cedar Fort). Welcome,
Julie, and congratulations!
Thanks, Jody! It is
wonderful to be here. Thanks for having me over.
First, tell us about you.
You live in Australia,
Yes, I live in Melbourne, which is a major city in southeastern Australia. Melbourne is located near
the coast. I love the sea, and have a few favorite coastal spots that we regularly
visit for family holidays.
It looks amazing! How did you come up with
the idea for Gilly's Treasures?
It was a combination of
my love of the beach, and my feelings about advertising constantly bombarding
us with messages that we will be happier if we get more stuff. Seagulls can be
greedy for anything edible, and my character Gilly takes it a step further. He
likes finding shiny, pretty things, and can’t stop wanting more.
Sounds really cute, and relatable! Did the writing come
quickly, or did you write several drafts?
The story has been with
me for so long that it is actually quite hard to remember! I think the general
story came fairly quickly but I have no doubt that, as with all my stories, I then
revised it ad infinitum. I actually entered it early on as a short story in a
Fable (for adults) competition and it got an honorable mention, which was
encouraging. So then I developed it into a picture book. I remember it took me ages
to even settle on a name for my main character. For a while I was quite
attached to “Gulliver.” I thought “Gulliver’s Treasures” had a certain ring to
it. In the end, however, the name didn’t flow well in the text, and I thought
the joke probably wouldn’t work with most children. (GULLiver, and the classic story "Gulliver's Travels." Get it? Okay, never
Ha! Once you finished
writing, how long did it take to sell it? Cedar Fort is a US publisher, right?
Right. Cedar Fort is a
Utah-based publisher. Many of its books are LDS-oriented, but they also publish
general books that are uplifting and help people to think about what’s
important in their lives. I discovered Cedar Fort when I read a tweet from their
then Commissioning Editor, Ashley Gephart, on Twitter’s Manuscript Wishlist
(#MSWL). She said that she was looking for “uplifting/family values” stories. So
I sent off Gilly and quickly got a
favorable reply. My pitch went something like: While out fishing, Gilly the
seagull finds a beautiful, shiny treasure. He loves it so much he can’t help
searching for more…and more. Will he ever be satisfied with what he has?My
experience just goes to show how important it is to target manuscripts to appropriate
Wow! Social media to the rescue! Did you work with your
editor on further revisions?
Yes, some very minor ones
- only changing a word here and there.
What would you like kids
to take away from your book?
Great question! I would
like kids to take away a number of things. Firstly, a love of story and reading…although
hopefully they already have that! I’d also like them to spare a thought about
what matters most to them, and to be encouraged to get out and experience
nature for themselves. And lastly, I hope they enjoy the fun and playfulness in
Illustrator Jay Fontano’s striking artwork, which offsets my story really well.
Jay has introduced a great little character too – a friendly crab – who
children will have fun spotting on many pages.
What else is on your
Oh, I always have lots on
my plate, but I generally enjoy the juggling act. Right now I have several
stories at different stages of development; most are picture book manuscripts (fiction
and non-fiction), and there is an early reader also calling for my attention. My
next book to be published is a non-fiction illustrated picture book for 4-8
year olds, about fascinating feet of the animal world. It will be called I’ve Got Feet! -fromAmicus Ink (distributed
by Chronicle) in 2017. I also have
more deals in the pipeline that I can’t talk about yet. I am almost bursting
from wanting to spill the beans! Rest assured that when the time is right I
will happily reveal all on my website and Twitter - follow me via the links below to stay in touch!
Ooh, secrets! Sounds great, Julie! And now, readers, for the giveaway:
Cedar Fort has generously
provided a copy of Gilly’s Treasures
to give away to one lucky US reader. To enter, tell me your favorite beach
activity in the comments below. The winner’s name will be posted on this blog
and on my Twitter (@jodywrites4kids) on December 12.