Rejoice, young ward! Author and NYU alum Yannick Murphy has graciously agreed to a brief interview via email with W10th. She is the author of the novels The Sea of Trees, Here They Come, and most recently, Signed, Mata Hari. She has also written several children’s books and story collections. I can safely say that Here They Come is the novel that inspired me to start seriously writing on my own. Yannick’s writing style borders on prose poetry, and she evokes beautiful images and haunting emotions, even while plumbing the darker depths of the human experience. So, without further ado- the interview:
W10th: Which is harder– writing children’s books or “adult” fiction?
Yannick: It depends on what you mean by harder. Is it hard to come up with a good idea for a children’s book? Yes, it is. Is it hard to come up with a good idea for a novel, yes, for me it is. Is it hard to sit down and do the physical writing once that idea is in place? No, that’s when the fun starts. Maybe they are both hard and both fun, but since children’s books are shorter, the fun doesn’t last as long, whereas the novel lasts longer, but it also challenges you to sustain the fun in a longer piece. What’s really fun is when, in a longer piece, you have the control and at the same time you are open to where the writing is going and not where you want it to go. What’s really not fun is when you have a lot of words strung out with no meaning in sight and no way to get back to the meaning you thought the first sentence had before you even wrote it.
W10th: Has having children affected your writing?
Yannick: I like reading them my stories, and they are honest critics. When you have children you are exposed to lots of children’s books because you’re reading them to your children all the time, so you get familiar with the style and form of children’s books and it ends up inspiring you to write children’s books, or it ends up making you angry. Being angry helps you write the books too– you just can’t believe someone wrote such a bad book for kids, so you try and do it better.