Tuesday, 14 July 2015

In Conversation with Sally Murphy


Today I am pleased to welcome an inspiring Australian author of over 30 books, Sally Murphy. Her latest release, Fly in Fly Out Dad is now available and zooming out of book stores! 

Tell us a little about your writing journey.

I’ve been writing all my life, and always knew I wanted to make that my life’s work. Even when I was working other jobs or busy raising children, I wrote. My first accepted books were books of blackline masters for teachers, but I knew what I really wanted to write was fiction and poetry, and that took a little longer. My first fiction titles were accepted about 12 years ago and, together with my educational titles I now have about 36 books to my credit.

What do you enjoy most about being a writer?

Writing something that other people – especially children – enjoy. When people smile or laugh or cry when they read one of my stories I feel amazing. It’s a privilege to be able to reach people in this manner.

What is the hardest aspect of being a writer?

Getting it right. My work still gets rejected more than it gets accepted, and that is hard. Sometimes it’s hard to know the reasons for this, but I think the main one is because in order for a publisher to invest significant amounts of money in getting a book to print it has to be perfect: well written, unique, marketable, etc etc. I don’t always get that right. Rejection hurts, but it makes the acceptances sweeter. Rejection also builds resilience and pushes me to get better and what I do.


Writers are sometimes influenced by things that happen in their own lives. Are you?

I tend not to write about exact events which have happened to me, but I certainly draw on emotions I’ve experienced in those events, as well as people I’ve met, places I’ve seen and so on. There is a little bit of me in every character I create.
Tell us about your publications?

I’ve written picture books, chapter books, verse novels and, most recently, historical fiction. 1915 is part of Scholastic’s ‘Australia’s Great War’ series. It is a fictional story set against the backdrop of the very real events of World War 1. My character, Stan, is a young school teacher who enlists and serves in Gallipoli.

Fly In Fly Out Dad has just been released with Five Mile Press, and illustrated by Janeen Dawson. It’s about a boy whose dad works away from home – and how he imagines Dad’s life must be.


What is the most surprising thing about writing/publishing you have learnt?

The time everything takes. Books can take a very very long time from idea to publication. Even after you have written and rewritten, and been fortunate enough to land a publishing contract, it can still be years before the final book is published. It takes at least a year from acceptance to release, but I had a book which took five years. Another took 17 years from when I started it to when it was published, but most of that time was at my end, getting it right and then finding the right publisher.
Other than writing what else do you love?

My beautiful family (of course) – I have six children, three of whom still live at home, a beautiful grandson and a wonderful husband. And a cute but rascally dog.

I also love walking and swimming. I think though my favourite past time is reading. I read constantly, books of all genres, and run a review website called Aussiereviews.


What would your dream location for writing be?
Not sure I have one. I write anywhere and everywhere and find I like to change locations. Although I have a desk, I often pick up my laptop and move to another part of the house just or a change of scene. Though I guess if I was to have a special place of my choice, it would be somewhere I could see the ocean.

Five words that sum you up.

A busy writer/mum.

How can we learn more?

You can visit my website (including blog) at

Follow me on Twitter

Or my Facebook author page:

Thanks so much for having me to visit!

Wow, you are such an inspiration to be able to accomplish so much Sally! All the very best with your future stories.

1 comment: