Author Chat with Julie Murphy

Author Chat with Julie Murphy

 

Contributed by Elizabeth Drake 

 

One of our extraordinary staff members, Elizabeth, interviewed Julie Murphy, author of Dumplin'! Now she's sharing this fantastic chat with us! But first we'd like to introduce you to this literary duo. 

 

 

Meet Julie.

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Julie Murphy is a potty-mouthed Southern belle who was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, but found her home in Fort Worth, Texas. She's never seen Star Wars, but has yet to meet a made for TV movie she didn't love. When she's not writing, Julie can be found cruising Costco for free samples, watching Sister Act 2, stalking drag queens on instagram, obsessing over the logistics of Mars One, and forever searching for the perfect slice of cheese pizza. She lives with her bearded husband, two vicious cats, and one pomeranian that can pass as a bear cub. DUMPLIN' is her second young adult novel.

 

 

Now meet Julie's book, Dumplin'.

 

Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed "Dumplin'" by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American-beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked...until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.  

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.
 

 

With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine—Dumplin' is guaranteed to steal your heart.

 

 

With introductions in order, it's time to CHAT!

 

Elizabeth Drake: Willowdean and her mother have such a relatable mother-daughter relationship.  Did you have a similar experience that allowed you to write such believable scenes?
 
 
Julie MurphyMy mom has always been so supportive, but like most women, she's had her share of body image issues. Growing up as a fat kid, it was easy to let her body image issues become mine. What's amazing though is how much both of us have grown and how the conversation has moved from weight loss and crash diets to maintaining a happy and healthy lifestyle--both mentally and physically. Things with my mother were never as turbulent as they get to be between Willowdean and her mother, but other adults in my life (relatives, teachers,overstepping parents of friends) have definitely been guilty of making me feel less than other people because my body takes up more space. It's something that still aggravates me, but it did make writing this book an authentic experience.
 

 
ED: Even though she has passed away, Aunt Lucy holds such a fantastic prescence throughout the book, was there a particular inspiration behind her character?
 
 
JM: There was in a way! Growing up my Great Aunt Flo (Yes, I legit had an aunt named Flo!) was the first real plus sized woman I knew. She was often hard on herself, but at the same time she allowed herself happiness in really normal, yet amazing ways. Her husband, my Uncle Joe, was this skinny little stick of a man. The two of them standing side by side looked like a meatball and a strand of spaghetti. And they were happy. Of course that's different from Aunt Lucy's story in DUMPLIN', but I really wanted an adult female who Willowdean looked to as a second parent and it was easy to be inspired by my own aunt. 


ED: Dolly Parton's character and confidence plays a huge role in Dumplin': What do you think she would have said to Willowdean if she had met her?
 
 
JM: I'd like to think that Dolly would tell Willowdean that the only person she should worry about satisfying is herself. Based on what I know about Dolly, I think that's a pretty fair assumption.
 

   ED: Did you listen to a lot of Dolly while writing? Do you have a playlist to share with readers?
 
 
JM: I did! So much! I actually shared it over here on The Perpetual Page Turner. (http://www.perpetualpageturner.com/2015/08/dumplin-playlist-a-giveaway-for-an-amazing-prize-pack.html)
 

ED:  What do you think it is about the south that made it the perfect setting for Dumplin'?
 
 
JM: The south--Texas to be specific--felt like the inevitable setting for DUMPLIN'. Pageants are huge here, but it was more than that. Texas is all about living a big life and making your own rules. It seemed like the perfect place for Willowdean to exist. 


ED:  What was your biggest challenge in writing Dumplin'?
 
 
JM: In a lot of way, writing DUMPLIN' was this self reckoning that I did not see coming. I chose to love and accept my body a long time ago, but as Willowdean began to doubt herself so did I. On the one hand, it was that classic case of writers working out their own problems through their writing. But there also came a time when I had to seperate myself from Willowdean and let myself just write a book. It took quite a bit to get to that headspace, and thankfully my editor was there to light the path.

 
ED: What is your favorite scene in the book?  (Mine is when Willowdean and her friends get a pagent lesson from some totally fierce drag queens)
 
 
JM: That is also one of my favorite scenes! I also loved writing this scene in the first half of the book where Willowdean gets a glimpse of the crowns that will be used for this year's pageant. She and the jeweler (who is quite the character!) share a pretty neat moment. I won't divulge more as to not spoil anything for readers!

ED:  I read that the film rights for Dumplin' have already been optioned.  

      If you could dream cast the movie, who would play the main parts?
 
 
JM: I've got to be totally honest and say that these characters came to life so much in my head that I can't really attach them to any famous faces. That being said, I think Connie Britton (Any FNL fans out there?) would be AMAZING as Willowdean's mom. I would love to see an unknown cast as Willowdean, but above all it's important to me that actual fat people are cast in the roles of characters who are fat. I think anything less would be a letdown to myself and readers. At the same time, I can only control so much in regard to a movie, so it's a big exciting question mark for now. However, I'd love to hear reader picks for a dream cast!
 
  ED:  If you could do a cameo in the movie, which part would you like to play?
 
 
JM: Going back to your previous question about my favorite scene, I would LOVE to play Donna Lufkin, the town jeweler. She's sort of got this Melissa McCarthy from Bridesmaids vibe if that makes any sense. Or maybe a pageant judge--that would be fun, too!


ED:  Dumplin' shows that everyone struggles with insecurities, what would you like to say to readers who are dealing with low self esteem and/or poor body image?
 
 
JM: Above all, you must be kind to your mind and body. Making the decision to love yourself is never easy, and like every major life change, it's a daily struggle. It doesn't hurt to surround yourself with positive people. I think it's easy for people (even the ones who love us the most!) to forget how much power words carry. What's been key for me is waking up every morning and deciding that for the next twenty-four hours I'm going to treat myself the same way I would treat my most cherished friend. Some days are easy. Others aren't. And that's okay. Personal growth isn't this continuous incline. It's hills and valleys. The good news is that lows make the highs so much higher.

 

 
 

A big thanks to both Julie Murphy and Elizabeth Drake for this enlightening interview! Now read on for the latest giveaway below!

 

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Dumplin'

  1. By: Julie Murphy

  2. Release Date: September 15, 2015 

  3.  

 

*GIVEAWAY DETAILS*

 

Three winners will receive a copy of Dumplin', US only.

 

Entering is simple, just fill out the entry form below. During this giveaway, we a question for entrants pulled from this author chat. Here is the question they'll be answering in the comments below for extra entries: Why is Texas the perfect setting for Dumplin'?

 

*Click the Rafflecopter link to enter the giveaway*

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_elizabeth-drake.jpg

 Elizabeth Drake is a staff reviewer here at YABC. She has been reviewing for a few years now on her blog Reading Between Classes. Elizabeth loves YA books because they are such a wide and varied genre where authors are not afraid to take risks and readers are constantly met with surprises.  In her non-reading life, she teaches junior high Science and English (This always seems to be met with looks of pity, she knows, scary teenagers - but she loves them!)  Elizabeth is also the mom to two beautiful and (usually) wonderful little boys.  Living on the East Coast of Canada means long, cold winters with lots of time indoors for reading and her other favorite pastime - cooking!  Feel free to shoot her a message about your favorite reads (or your favorite recipes!)

 

Carry On--Press Release
The Librarian's Corner--September 21, 2015

Related Posts

 

Comments 14

Already Registered? Login Here
Kara S (website) on Monday, 21 September 2015 20:35

1) Pageants are huge, and;
2) (more importantly) people live "big" lives and make their own rules.

Don't mess with Texas!

Cheers,
Kara S

0
1) Pageants are huge, and; 2) (more importantly) people live "big" lives and make their own rules. Don't mess with Texas! Cheers, Kara S
brittany m. on Tuesday, 22 September 2015 12:51

Like the person above said, Pageants are huge here and every Texan will tell you that not only is everything bigger here in Texas, it's better! Which of course is why Texas makes the best setting. Plus, I'm from Texas soooooo even better hahahaha!

0
Like the person above said, Pageants are huge here and every Texan will tell you that not only is everything bigger here in Texas, it's better! Which of course is why Texas makes the best setting. Plus, I'm from Texas soooooo even better hahahaha!
Guest - Maria Muellerleile on Wednesday, 23 September 2015 13:00

Everything is bigger in Texas, and that includes beauty pageants! (Though I must admit that my pageant expertise is limited to binge watching Toddlers and Tiaras).

0
Everything is bigger in Texas, and that includes beauty pageants! (Though I must admit that my pageant expertise is limited to binge watching Toddlers and Tiaras).
Guest - anonymous on Tuesday, 29 September 2015 18:31

texas flair

0
texas flair :p
Guest - anonymous on Tuesday, 29 September 2015 18:32

texas flair!

0
texas flair!
Agustina Gonzalez (website) on Thursday, 01 October 2015 11:41

Texas!!!!!

0
Texas!!!!!
Guest - Kalani on Friday, 02 October 2015 14:54

Beauty pagents!

0
Beauty pagents! :D
Cameron (website) on Friday, 02 October 2015 16:47

Not only are baeuty pageants HUGE in Texas, Willow's spirt and personally from the description totally correlate the heart of Texas!

0
Not only are baeuty pageants HUGE in Texas, Willow's spirt and personally from the description totally correlate the heart of Texas!
Guest - Alice Wu on Tuesday, 06 October 2015 19:55

the beauty pageants are huge!

0
the beauty pageants are huge!
Guest - Christina on Sunday, 11 October 2015 11:08

Everything is bigger in texas; style, attitude, personality included.

0
Everything is bigger in texas; style, attitude, personality included.

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