So, who is Sally Murphy? Good question – and one I sometimes ask myself!
I’m a mum, wife, daughter, teacher, speaker, web site manager, reviewer, story teller, PhD Candidate and, of course, author. While that sounds like a lot of things to be at once, I still find time to play with my kids, read books, watch tv, cook, clean and a million other things. I seem to thrive on being busy and, when I see a gap, I quickly plug it with another project.
I was born in Perth, Western Australia. I had four older sisters and an older brother but it is a lie that the youngest child gets spoilt – even if my siblings don’t believe that. As one of six kids I guess I always had someone to play with, but when they were all at school I also had lots of time by myself, when I would invent little fantasy worlds. Should have known then I’d grow up to be a writer!
Some of my earliest memories are to do with books and writing. I remember sitting in my Mum’s office writing on a rainbow notepad. The fact that I couldn’t write didn’t stop me. I filled page after page with little squiggles and then made Mum post these letters off to my various relatives.
I also remember sitting on the mat at kindergarten reading Are You My Mother? to my classmates. I felt very smug that I was the only one who could read, even though I had probably just memorised the book.
When I was three we moved to a country town called Collie, where my parents had a hotel. Growing up in a country pub was interesting. My memories are mostly good but there were some traumatic times in 1978 when a bomb was planted in the pub. Luckily no one was injured when it exploded, but the building was damaged and there were some tense days before the man was arrested.
I went to school in Collie until year ten, and then headed to boarding boarding school before going to university. I met my husband Julian in my first week at uni. We now have six children – five boys and a girl, and a gorgeous grandson.
Having lived in lots of places since we got married – mostly around Western Australia – we currently divide our time between two towns – one in the Great Southern, where my husband works, and the other in the South West, where our younger kids go to highschool, and where I’m studying.
I find life in the country wonderful and very conducive to a writing career. In 2001, when we were living in a really tiny town (about 60 residents) I decided to put everything I could into fulfilling my dream of being a children’s author.
It worked. In six amazing weeks later that year I had first a chapter book, then another, then two reading books and, finally, my first junior novel accepted. I was flying!
Since then I haven’t looked back and I now have fourty books in print and more coming.
I still have lots of things I want to achieve with my writing and loads more stories I want to see published, but for now I am happy to be able to say I AM a children’s author.
As well as writing for children, my other passion is spreading the word about great books. I run a review website called Aussiereviews where I review as many Australian books as I can find time to read.
I also appear at literary festivals and do school visits. I have appeared at events including the Perth Writers’ Festival and The All Saints Festival and love visiting schools and libraries to share my books with kids. I love doing this, so if you’d like to see me at your school, library or festival, drop me a line.