Friday, January 2, 2015

Interview With Julie Murphy

Today on my blog I have a captain of the creepy crawly; a shepherd of those that swim in the sea; an aficionado of things that both run and fly! Who is it that I have on my blog? It's Julie Murphy trained zoologist, zookeeper and nonfiction writer of all things animal.

Julie's most recent book "Environments and Responsibility" just came out in November. She has written too many books to mention! Some of Julie's other recent books include: "Anglerfish", "Whale Sharks" and "Whose Baby Is This?".

It doesn't matter what kind of animal you like, chances are Julie has written a book for you! Even if you like the slimy animals or the ones that scurry across the floor. There is something here for everyone. I hope you all enjoy this interview with Julie Murphy!

Dani: Why non-fiction?

Julie: That’s a trick question because I like writing fiction as well as non fiction. I haven’t had any fiction Picture Books published yet though, despite some very close calls. They say persistence is a key requirement for being a children’s author!

What’s so good about non fiction? Lots! From a writer’s viewpoint, it offers a challenge that’s a bit like completing a huge jigsaw puzzle. First, you need to pick a fun and interesting topic. Then you search for lots of interesting facts about that topic. Next, you sculpt the facts into a form that is even more interesting and that kids in particular will relate to, and you finally need to package it all into an overall story that flows smoothly like a river. Easy! (Not.) But it is lots of fun.

From a reader’s point of view, non fiction is great because it offers an attractive alternative to fiction, which isn't everyone’s first choice. Plus it is a fun and interesting way to learn about the world around us.

Dani: What's the ickiest bug you know?

Julie: Hmmm, that’s tricky because I like most bugs. I have worked with bugs, both when I used to work as a zoologist and as a zookeeper. I think bugs are cool. I have even written a Stick Insect Husbandry Manual for junior school kids. (See photo of me with a Stick Insect.) But the ickiest bug…hmm…well, can I cheat and say a leech, even though it is technically not a bug? I am not very keen on leeches.

Dani: Finish these thoughts:

1. My favorite animal...

Is the Common Wombat. It’s an Aussie like me, stubborn like me, and cute like…well, two out of three ain’t bad! (Here’s a link to a photo from Encyclopedia Britannica Kids -

2. I always drink...

Coffee, and plenty of water.

3. My first story...

Julie: My first story that I can remember was about a girl who was trapped overnight in a museum, and a dinosaur skeleton came to life and became her friend. (This was way before the Night at the Museum movie starring Ben Stiller.) I still have the “book” which, coincidentally, also contains a non fiction section describing different species of dinosaurs. I have included a photo of a page from that book, which demonstrates why I am not an illustrator!

I think it would be great if all parents gave their children the opportunity to make books of their own. The books don’t have to be fancy – just some paper stapled together would do the trick, although there are some impressive bookmaking apps available these days too. There is something special about writing your own story, making it into a book and seeing your name on the front cover. It provides great encouragement to a child’s imagination and literacy skills.

Dani: What's special about your work?

Julie: Well, I think all books are special. They give readers a chance to spend time in someone else’s head, and in other worlds. Books foster imagination, empathy and understanding of diversity.

Dani: What is your ultimate goal in life?

Julie: To help make the world a happier place. Some of my happiest moments as a child were spent with my head in a book.

Follow Julie:

Amazon Author Page:
Goodreads Author Page:

Next week I will be featuring Bobbie Dacus on my blog! Sorry I did not have her on this week. There was a mix up that was all my fault! She will be here next Friday and it will be spectacular!


  1. Thanks for having me around for a visit, Dani Duck! You have done a great job, and even fluffed up the virtual pillows in my honor - they're very comfy.

  2. Reading this interview was fun! Julie, your books look like just the thing for some of my grand kids who turn up their noses at fiction.