To kick-off launch week for ONE FOR THE MURPHYS by Lynda Mullaly Hunt I decided that actually talking with Lynda would be just no fun at all.

No, really.

Instead, I figured it would be more entertaining to talk with the people who first discovered ONE FOR THE MURPHYS and helped with the birth, as it were.

Lynda is represented by Erin Murphy of the Erin Murphy Literary Agency and it is there that we turn first just as Erin was first to hold the baby (ok, that’s the absolute end of that metaphor).

PAS: In an industry where we hear that literary books are a difficult sell, what was it about ONE FOR THE MURPHYS that resonated with you enough to take it on?

EM: It made me cry every single time I read it. When a manuscript is still touching me so deeply on the sixth and seventh reads, that’s powerful. There is something about Carley’s resistance to feeling anything, and the slow breakdown of that resistance, and the strength of the feelings as they start to fill her up, that just resonates deep down in my bones. Okay, a vague “something” isn’t what resonates–it resonates with me very personally, as this is something I’ve experienced, and that I think a lot of people experience. We’re better human beings when we’re not numbing ourselves and avoiding feeling our emotions. I think that’s an important thing to impart to children through storytelling.

This book’s strength is so rooted in character and emotion, rather than anything highly commercial and hook-y, that I had a bad/weak moment of self-doubt about selling it before Lynda and I signed together, which I will leave her to tell about if and when she wishes–but once I got past that bad moment, we were off and running (and boy, did it find the right, amazing publishing home with Nancy Paulsen and Penguin). The thing about terrific “quiet” or “literary” fiction is that it has staying power because when it connects, it connects deep down. I think the doors that open inside of Carley as the book’s pages turn will also open inside of readers. Books that expand readers’ ways of thinking and experiencing the world become the books that they recall for the rest of their lives.

One other factor: Lynda herself is a mightily persuasive force of nature, and so very lovely good-hearted. She is growth-seeking both in her craft as a writer, and as a human being. I really enjoyed working with her through revisions before we signed together. I wanted to work with her for real, not just for pretend. As we say in the biz. (Or as I say, anyway. Or did just there.)

PAS: Do you have a favorite character and/or scene in ONE FOR THE MURPHYS?

EM: I don’t even have to give this a moment’s thought: Absolutely, the scene when the police officer visits the Murphy home is my favorite. In the scene, the officer tries to use his authority to push Carley for answers about the incident that put her in foster care despite Carley’s confusion about that highly charged night, and Mrs. Murphy stands up for her. Carley’s not yet ready to face what happened, and you can see it will totally undo her to face it now. It’s the first time in the story–and, you sense, the first time in her life–that Carley sees that part of being loved is that you’re never totally on your own–the people you love will stand up for you, stand by you–even stand between you and a threat when you can’t face down the threat yourself. It’s the moment when the first wall starts to come down inside her.

PAS: Okay. So this interview is begging the question…How weird was it to shop around a book that had so much focus on the name, “Murphy”?

EM: It was hilarious! It was impossible to pitch it without pausing to say, “I verified with the author that this was NOT called ONE FOR THE STIMOLAS before I saw it…”

From Erin Murphy, the book sold to Nancy Paulsen, President/Publisher of

Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin Young Readers Group. Like Erin, Nancy was nice enough to answer some questions about ONE FOR THE MURPHYS.

PAS: In an industry where we hear that literary books are a difficult sell, what was it about ONE FOR THE MURPHYS that resonated with you enough to take it on?

NP: One of the wonderful things about working at a company like Penguin is that they support all kinds of books. We have a broad and varied list and a book for everyone. Literary books are just as important to our publishing plan as are the commercial ones – and often they are even one and the same, for example books like BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY by Ruta Sepetys (not to be confused with that other book!) and THE FAULT IN OUR STARS by John Green, which are so beautifully written, and have become bestsellers.

I run a small imprint in our big company and I am looking for stories that will resonate with children. I particularly like books that show kids that even in a tough world, there is hope and laughter. That’s what resonated to me in ONE FOR THE MURPHYS.

Lynda Mullaly Hunt gave us the story of a young girl who has had the rug pulled out from under her. Carley doesn’t trust anyone. And yet in time she learns that not everyone is out to get her. I love books that remind us that there are great people out there like Mrs. Murphy. People who want to help build you up, not drag you down.

PAS: Do you have a favorite character and/or scene in ONE FOR THE MURPHYS?

NP: I have so many! Carley of course – and then the whole Murphy family. Mrs. Murphy doesn’t give up on Carley even though Carley pushes every button to annoy her. And the little Murphy boys are so sweet and acceptant. Carley gets such love from them! It’s also wonderful to watch how Mr. Murphy adjusts to having a girl in the house – it is hard for him, being the strong, silent type. He’s used to the company of men from his work as a firefighter and his home with 3 sons. He and Carley begin to bond over sports and it is lovely to see how he softens. The oldest Murphy boy, Daniel, is also a strong character. He is so angry Carley is in his home – and we don’t blame him as Carley is a real pain. I think the scenes with Carley teaching Daniel how to stand up for himself are just great! We get to see the hero in Carley then; the good parts of her she isn’t even aware of. Carley cares after all.

PAS: Congratulations on the launch of your own imprint with Penguin! What does the future hold for Nancy Paulsen Books?

NP: My list will be a mix of picture books and fiction. While I am very luck to be working with fabulous, established authors like Jacqueline Woodson, Tomie dePaola, David Ezra Stein, and Maira Kalman, I am also excited to be introducing strong new voices like Lynda Mullaly Hunt. I am particularly impressed with writers like Lynda who have worked hard at their craft and understand the market. I think SCBWI is a fabulous organization and I have signed on two other brand new SCBWI talents, You Byun and Eliza Wheeler, who both have gorgeous debut picture books coming. I look for picture books that are eye-opening and I also love funny picture books, like the ones from Dave Horowitz who has a great new book out this month called CHICO THE BRAVE. So in a nutshell, funny, original and hopeful are what moves me.

Very special thanks to Erin and Nancy for taking the time to help with the launch week for Lynda Mullaly Hunt’s debut novel ONE FOR THE MURPHYS!

To celebrate, Lynda has offered to send an autographed copy of ONE FOR THE MURPHYS to one lucky commenter on this post. Simply leave a comment to enter the giveaway!


And, finally, please scroll back up to look at that beautiful cover. Got me to thinking…I wonder what that girl is doing, there in the grass…

Well, wonder no more. I have it on good authority that she’s reading…



Filed under Book Promotion

44 responses to “ONE FOR THE MURPHYS Launch Week is HERE!!!

  1. Great interviews! I agree with Erin that it’s the “quiet” books that last because they are meaningful, not just what’s trending at the moment – those are the books we remember all our lives. Sounds like “Murphys” is going to be one of those. Can’t wait to read it! 🙂


  2. Hooray for ONE FOR THE MURPHYS! Sounds like an instant classic. I’m still waiting for my copy to arrive, but when it does, I’ll be reading!


    • Thank you, Jeannie! Instant classic? Is that like “Antiques while you wait?” 🙂 Seriously–Thanks. That is such a nice compliment. You’re totally awesome here on Emus–always and every day. Thanks for that.


  3. I love getting a glimpse at the behind-the-scenes goings-on for ONE FOR THE MURPHYS. Excellent interviews, Peter! And that picture at the end is just perfect. =)


  4. Your behind-the-scenes interviews are great! Thanks.


  5. These are such great interviews! I bought ONE FOR THE MURPHY’s on Kindle Saturday night and finished it by Sunday afternoon. I was so absorbed in the story that I probably would have finished it that first night had my Kindle not run out of power. I loved the growth that takes place in Carley’s mother at the end, too–growth where I did not expect it and did not think it possible. Well done, Lynda!


  6. I can’t wait to read MURPHYS!

    Love the final photo, too!


  7. Mike Jung

    HOORAY FOR LYNDA! This is a beautiful, heartbreaking, uplifting book, and this interview is a great inside look at how it got into readers’ hands. Thanks Peter, Erin, and Nancy!


  8. Thanks Erin and Nancy for bringing this marvelous book to the rest of us! (And I’m glad to see that the story made Erin cry too.)

    Peter – you’re a master at getting the behind-the-scenes scoop. Very fun to read!


    • Thanks so much, Jeanne. I appreciate your support on this journey–the same journey that I will soon share with you and your book! 🙂

      YES! Thanks so much, Peter! This was fun for me to read. 🙂


  9. Outstanding, Peter!! Thank you.
    Congratulations to the awe-inspiring Lynda. So glad Erin and Nancy took time for this interview — it’s insightful.


  10. jcestes

    I’m so excited for MURPHYS! I loved hearing about its road to publication. Thanks, everyone, and bravo, Lynda!


  11. I must admit, I didn’t know the premise of the story before this interview. But now I MUST read it soon. I was once a foster mom and I KNOW I’ll get this story. I can’t wait. Just moved it to the top of my list. Thanks for two wonderful interviews wrapped up into one amazing post. I look forward to hearing from Lynda too.


  12. Character driven and full of heart– one for my summer reading list! Many thanks for sharing!


  13. This is such a lovely story. Thanks for sharing.


  14. What a nice, multi-angled look at a new book I cannot wait to read! Thanks for pulling this all together, Peter. And big-time congratulations, Lynda on your awesome debut.


  15. Natalie Dias Lorenzi

    This book has been one of this year’s all-time favorites for me so far, and I’ve already recommended it to students and teachers. Thanks so much to Peter, Erin and Nancy for giving us a behind-the-scenes look at how OFTM came into being!


  16. If I read it during DEAR time at school, my students will understand my crying. I love a good weepy book. Congrats a million times, Lynda.


  17. Alyssa Susanna

    WOOT! I am really excited to read this book! I came across Ms. Hunt’s work during the YAmazing Race, and have been really looking forward to it ever since!
    Thanks and congrats, Ms. Hunt!

    Alyssa Susanna


  18. Yay! I got my copy today as a late Mother’s Day present and I can’t wait to dig in!
    Congratulations, Lynda!


  19. Elizabeth Stevens Omlor

    What a wonderful interview! Thanks so much for sharing. I would love a copy of this book!


  20. Cynthia Levinson

    Wonderful interview. I especially like Erin’s pointing out that Lynda is a very persuasive person! And, Nancy sounds so completely lovely. I can see why you both enjoy working with her.


  21. Pingback: One for the Murphys Blog Tour Schedule « Lynda Mullaly Hunt

  22. And the WINNER is….RUTH McNALLY BARSHAW!!! Please e-mail me with your address and I will send out your signed copy of One for the Murphys! 🙂


  23. Pingback: Happy Halloween…and farewell | EMU's Debuts

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.