Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Julie Murphy, the Ocean's Treasure

Julie Murphy's specialty is in writing non-fiction children's books. Most of her books are about wildlife and the environment. Julie's new book "Gilly's Treasures" leaves the path of reality for a wonderful tale.

I have always admired those who can write compelling non-fiction. Since Smart Dummies is for both fiction and non-fiction picture books, it's great to have the perspective of someone who has worked in both fiction and non-fiction.

Gilly's Treasures is Julie's first fiction picture book. Be sure to check it out at your favorite book store!


Cover for Gilly’s Treasure

While out fishing, Gilly the seagull finds a beautiful, shiny treasure. He loves it so much he can’t help searching for more…and more. Will he ever be satisfied with what he has?

Ocean Animal Adaptations (Capstone Press, 2012)

Thanks for inviting me to be a guest at Smart Dummies, Dani. I am not an illustrator, but I do use a very basic dummy that usually leads me to further revisions prior to submitting my manuscript to an editor. I always sort my draft texts onto 28 blank squares (i.e. pages), and then check for flow and story length.

Dani: How did your non-fiction books prepare you for writing this book?

Julie: Regardless of whether you are writing non-fiction or fiction, you need a strong story to hook the reader, written in a creative way to captures children’s interest. I love word play and fun devices such as alliteration and rhyme, and incorporating these things (and more) into some of my non-fiction books has been an important step along the road to finding my voice as a writer.

Anglerfish, Cherry Lake, 2015
Coral Reefs Matter, ABDO, 2016

Dani: What is your favorite seashell?

Julie: Funny you should ask that because I love collecting shells! Here’s a photo of my collection at home. If I had to pick just one shell though, I would love to find a “flawless nautilus shell” like the one Gilly found!

 I often return from my holidays with pretty shells and other found bits and pieces in my pockets.

Dani: Finish these thoughts:

Everyone should know...
how much we need nature. It relaxes us, keeps us healthy, and is even the source of food and many of our medicines. I think it is really important that children experience nature too; for their own wellbeing and to encourage an appreciation for the natural world that will hopefully lead to wanting to conserve it for the future.

My daughter always enjoys visits to the beach.

The ocean a wild animal – at times calm and beautiful; at others dangerous; always unpredictable.

Two of my favorite beach locations,
showing some of their “moods”.
I love...walking along the beach in winter because I love its moodiness and often have it to myself.

Dani: What's special about your work?

Julie: Hmm. I would like to think that my non-fiction work presents facts in creative and interesting ways; and that my fiction stories encourage readers to think about some aspect of our lives that we often take for granted.

Julie’s “family portrait”.

Dani: What is your ultimate goal in life?

Julie: To be true to myself.

Julie’s web site – 
Twitter -
Facebook page with book preview -

Gilly’s Treasures is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other online stores, including Cedar Fort’s sales page Books & Things (which has free postage for most parts of the USA).


  1. A fellow Aussie who loves nature! Great to see your write factual and fiction books. Good luck with Gilly's Treasures.

    1. Thank you, Lynette! It's always a pleasure to meet a fellow nature-lover. : )
      Thanks also to Dani for inviting me into her Smart Dummies home.

  2. I feel much relaxed already after seeing all these great photos! ;) Thanks to my fellow shell-collector for some good, solid advice.

    1. Love those shells! Happy collecting, Teresa. : )

  3. I also want to be "true to myself," Julie. I'm struggling. It's not so easy. Finding your true voice, ouch! Thanks for the great advice. Yes, the story must be strong.

    1. No, it's not at all easy, Sussu, but this kids' writing community is a very supportive and encouraging one so that helps in being persistent. Best wishes to you in your work, and thanks for your comment. : )

  4. Thanks Julie - love your family portrait!