Monday, 4 May 2009

Interview - Sally Murphy

Sally Murphy is the Australian author behind Pearl Verses The World which was released in Australia on May the 1st. A moving tale told in free verse of a young girl coping in tough circumstances. I am very pleased to be part of Sally's blog tour which stops by Persnickety Snark today, complete with our patented Reader's Snapshot and interview.

Reader's Snapshot -
Which book is memorable from your teen years?
The books i remember best from high school are books we studied in English classes, especially Go Ask Alice, To Kill a Mockingbird and The Great Gatsby. I think what these three have in common (apart from all being American) is that none of these three is neatly resolved. I suspect this is when I realised that books could be really real - that is that stories could be resolved without necessarily being happily ever after. This is how life is.

Describe your high school English teacher in three words...
Encouraged my writing.

Your book of the moment?
Lia Hills The Beginner’s Guide to Living. While I read this one I kept thinking how beautifully poetic is was for a prose novel - only to discover later that Hills is also a poet. She has taken her poetic skills across tot he prose genre magnificently.

What do you use to mark your page when reading?
I’m a book reviewer so mostly i read review copies and use the media release as a bookmark. Otherwise, whatever paper I can lay my hands on at the time.

Favourite place to read?
In my recliner near the loungeroom window overlooking my front garden. But I’ll read anywhere.

Favourite word?

Favourite book store?
Westbooks, a children’s book specialist in Perth

Character you wish you had created?
Tishkin Silk


Pearl Verses the World Questions
Was there a Prudence Jones in your school life ....and did she do everything perfectly?
Maybe not in primary school, but the ladies college I went to for the last two years of high school seemed full of Prudences. I felt like a real misfit there, and only realised years later that a lot of other people felt that way too. Being a teenage girl is really hard. And, no, the perfect girls weren’t always perfect, but it was still easy to be intimidated by them.

One of my favourite lines is "big titles...make big promises". Which book title have you found to be your biggest disappointment?
Ooh. Tough question. I’m not even sure I have an answer for you. I tend to only remember the titles of books I have loved. But I can tell you that, for my own books I have often struggled to come up with a good title - one that draws readers in, and encapsulates some aspect of the book. No such difficulties with Pearl Verses the World. The title came easily, and seemed perfect for the story. I hope would-be readers think so, too.

How long was the writing phase of Pearl Verses the World?
Perhaps six months form initial idea to being ready to submit. I dithered a little from when the first verse came to me until when I decided I had to get the whole story written, but once I decided it was time to get it all down, the process was quick, and the first draft just flowed. Then the revisions, too, were quick. From acceptance to publication was fairly fast, too. This time last year I had submitted Pearl, but it hadn’t been accepted yet.

As a teacher I found the well meaning but slightly oblivious Ms B very true to form. What method is the best to introduce kids to poetry, do you think?
As a teacher I haven’t always taught poetry well, because text books and unit outlines have proscribed fairly structured writing or analysis of poetry. What I have come to realise is that kids need to learn to love poetry before they can be asked to analyse it. Free verse poetry is wonderful for the classroom because it has fewer constraints - however, I think rhymed poetry and very structured forms also have their place in getting kids to try different things.

How many pieces of cake can a sad girl eat?
Hopefully not too many. Comfort eating is okay for a day or so - but food can’t fix problems. What can help a child is the wisdom and love of significant adults, time, and the space to be able to look within themselves.

Thanks Sally!

Thanks to you, too, Adele.

If you would like to read my review of Pearl Verses the World or see which blog is getting stopped by next, go here.


susan said...

Great interview! I'm a huge poetry fan. I received very little poetry instruction in school so while I spared the missteps, my education in poetry was also sadly delayed.

Not having proper bookmarks isn't acceptable. Send me an address and I'll gladly send you my homemade creations. Warning, I'm not that crafty but I love books so naturally one of the few craft hobbies I would enjoy would be making bookmarks.

I'm looking forward to reading your book.

LisaMay said...

Great interview Adele and Sally :)

PS I also like this 'Link Within' thing. Very neat!

Dee White said...

Thanks for the insightful interview Adele and Sally. It's always fascinating to delve into the mind of other writers:-)


Dee White said...

Thanks for the insightful interview Adele and Sally. It's always fascinating to delve into the mind of other writers:-)


Sally Murphy said...

Thanks for having me, Adele. And thanks for reading and commenting, ladies.

Susan Whelan said...

I read Pearl verses the World last night and thought it was wonderful. Pearl is such a lovely character and I thought the verse form worked so well for this story.

Thanks Sally for such a lovely book on such a difficult issue and for the great review Adele.

Unknown said...

Hello Adele,
Thank you for having Sally and Pearl onsite today. I am having so much fun following them from blog tp blog and always finding something more - both new and refreshing.