Author Guest Post With Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Lynda Mullaly Hunt has kindly agreed to guest post here about her work, and share her inspiration for becoming a writer in honor of her debut release, One For The Murphys.
 About The Author:

Lynda Mullaly Hunt is the author of middle-grade novel, ONE FOR THE MURPHYS (Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin), winner of The Tassy Walden Award: New Voices in Children’s Literature. She is also a former teacher and Scenario Writing coach. Lynda has been Director of the SCBWI-NE Whispering Pines Retreat for six years. Lynda lives with her husband, two kids, impetuous beagle and beagle-loathing cat.
Find Lynda Mullaly Hunt on the Web:
Website
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 Guest Post:
Lynda, the Giant Slow Cooker

Well, when it comes to my inspiration for One for the Murphys, it was never just one thing nor was it a conscious decision. Several different things simmered, I think, like when you throw a bunch of stuff into the slow cooker and come out with a meal. Just call me one, giant slow cooker!

First of all, I lived with another family for a few months when I was young. Staying with them gave me a close look at a kind of life I was not familiar with. On the very first night, I leaned forward, gazing down the center of the dinner table with a mom, a dad, and six bustling, happy kids and whispered, “So this is what it looks like.” I knew immediately that this was what I wanted, too, someday.

Years later, as a young teacher, I met a woman 22 years older than me who became a friend, mentor and adopted mom-figure. Some sad things happened when I was young and she spent a lot of time helping me understand those things and move past them. Her initials are JM and so when I first began to “hear the Murphys” in my head I wanted to pay tribute to her, so I named the foster mother Julie Murphy so that they would have the same initials. I also dedicated the book to her with a descriptor, “Maker of Miracles”—its acronym being “mom.” (Carley would approve!)

Also, I’d seen the Broadway show, WICKED, at about that time and was so struck by several elements in the story. The writing and music are incredible! I thought a lot about the idea of “Defying Gravity.” I played the Wicked soundtrack while writing a good chunk of the book which is surprising, as I usually cannot write while listening to music with lyrics. However, it seemed to propel the story forward.

The final catalyst was a conversation that I had with my nine-year-old son about Luke Skywalker and how he wanted to have Darth Vader be his father in one way, but really didn’t want it in another. I began to think about what that would be like. To long for something and wish it away at the same time.

So, one day, while rinsing a plate at the kitchen sink, the first line came into my head. I “tore myself away” from the dishes to write the first chapter of what would become Murphys. Once that was done, I just had to finish it—like having a sliver in my hand. Painful, at times, but I just had to get it out. The book was finished in ten months.

I am so, so happy that I am able to share Carley’s story with kids out there. The very first time I spoke with my publisher, Nancy Paulsen, she called to welcome me to Penguin as their newest author (OMG!). She said that they were happy that I had written a book that can show kids that they can create a happy life for themselves no matter what circumstances they may have grown up in.

I can’t think of anything I would rather have heard.
 One For The Murphys:

Title: One For The Murphys
Author: Lynda Mullaly Hunt
Publication Date: May 10, 2012
Publisher:
Nancy Paulsen Books – Penguin Group for Young Readers
In the wake of heart-breaking betrayal, Carley Connors is thrust into foster care and left on the steps of the Murphys, a happy, bustling family.

Carley has thick walls and isn’t rattled easily, but this is a world she just doesn’t understand. A world that frightens her. So, she resists this side of life she’d believed did not exist with dinners around a table and a “zip your jacket, here’s your lunch” kind of mom.


However, with the help of her Broadway-obsessed and unpredictable friend, Toni, the Murphys do the impossible in showing Carley what it feels like to belong somewhere. But, when her mother wants her back, will she lose the only family that she has ever known?

Find One For The Murphys Online:  

 Praise For One For The Murphys:


“An astonishing debut! Lynda Mullaly Hunt’s direct style of writing has readers rooting for Carley Connors and all of the Murphys from start to satisfying finish.”
~~Leslie Connor, ALA Schneider Family Award-winning author of Waiting for Normal and Crunch.

“This is a beautiful book, filled with hope. You’ll cry and laugh along with Carley as she learns to lower her defenses enough to love—and, more surprisingly, be loved. It’s a story you’ll long remember.”
~~Patricia Reilly Giff, Newbery Honor-winning author of Pictures of Hollis Woods and Lily’s Crossing

Publisher’s Weekly – “…scenes at home with the Murphy family, as well as those in which Carley builds a tentative friendship at school, are undeniably affecting.…Hunt’s writing is strong and her characters well-developed and believable…readers will still be drawn into this story of a girl’s struggle against the ingrained belief that she is undeserving of kindness and generosity.” 

One for the Murphys by Lynda Mullaly Hunt is a beautiful poignant story of eighty days in the life of a child placed in foster care with a loving family. It accomplishes the amazing feat of being both realistic and optimistic. The story encourages an empathetic appreciation for each character’s struggles, and transformation, as they strengthen in love, understanding, and honesty. With humor and wit, the story is a “must” for foster children and the families that love them.
~~Nicolette M. Banbury, Nationally Certified Psychologist and Licensed Professional    
    Counselor/Specializing in Play Therapy and Trauma



 Giveaway (CLOSED):


Thanks to the wonderful
Lynda Mullaly Hunt
, I have 3 swag packs to giveaway here on my blog!

***Open To Everyone!***
Giveaway policies:
  • To Enter: Please leave a comment about the guest post and leave your e-mail address.
  • This giveaway ends on June 5th, 2012
  • This giveaway is open to those 13 years of age or older. 
  • All giveaway winners will be announced on the blog.
  • I can disqualify any entry as I see fit. 
  • I will use Random.org to select the winners.
  • Once the winners have been notified, they will have 24 hours to confirm their interest otherwise new winners will be selected.

 

Winners: Elodie, Tore, April


 Blog Tour Schedule:

Happy reading until next time!