If You Find Me
by Emily Murdoch
To be published by St. Martin's Griffin
on March 26, 2013
Yesterday, I reviewed a fantastic new contemporary YA, If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch. Today, I'm so excited that, as part of the book's blog tour, hosted by The Midnight Garden, Emily is able to stop by and answer a few of the questions I had after reading her book. St. Martin's Griffin is also offering up a copy of the book -- you can enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of the post.
Emily Murdoch is a writer, a poet, and a lover of books. There's never a time she's without a book. When she's not reading or writing, you'll find her caring for her horses, dogs and family on a ranch in rural Arizona, where the desert's tranquil beauty and rich wildlife often enter into her poetry and writing.
Jen: Welcome to my blog, Emily! I loved If You Find Me and am so excited that you could stop by and tell us more about your book.
Emily: I’m so glad you loved the novel. That’s always the hope, and when many people love your book, it’s the most amazing feeling. I’m honored to be here! Thank you for the warm welcome.
Jen: If You Find Me opens as Carey and her younger sister are found after years of hiding in the woods with their mother. The Hundred Acre Wood is a huge part of your story. How did you go about conceptualizing this place as both a setting and as a source of memory and emotion for Carey?
Emily: I wanted this novel to be a study in opposites. A kind of this versus that. In the case of Winnie the Pooh, such a “normal” part of many peoples’ childhoods, versus the abnormality of Carey and Jenessa’s upbringing. Innocence versus experience. Pooh’s wisdom versus the thought processes of a mentally ill, drug-addicted mother.
Regarding the woods, I was surprised to find out after the fact that trees symbolize the good mother. So, add in Carey’s trees versus Carey’s mother. Also, I thought of Carey’s woods as being Carey’s church. So, God and nature, versus man’s (sometimes darker) nature.
Emily: I’d love to – because it was a deliberate, pre-pondered decision. Carey’s beauty is again a case of this versus that, another study in opposites. It posits the question, would you choose to be thin and beautiful like Carey, if it meant having to inhabit her life? Her horrors? Her lacks?
What makes a person beautiful? If you feel ugly on the inside, can you even feel or see your own beauty, whether physical or otherwise? Can the inside cancel out the outside? Can the outside cancel out the inside? And is beauty all it’s cracked up to be? Is it really the key to the city?
Perhaps it’s time “beauty” became synonymous with love, kindness, charity. The warm glow we kindle inside ourselves and others after extending our hands and hearts and pledging our tolerance. In the countenance of those moments lives an almost unbearable beauty unmarred by time or age. An inclusive beauty, where everyone is welcome.
Emily: Unfortunately, I don’t have a Melissa figure in my own life, but I wanted to see what would happen if Carey did. How such a maternal figure would impact her or heal her or change her.
As for me, whenever I need some mothering, I flip on the radio to 94.9 and listen to the Delilah show. (You can find out all about her at Delilah.com.) She’s on each night from seven pm to midnight, and she’s very much like the world’s mother. She fills a person up in the best ways, which is why I modeled Melissa after her.
Emily: What smart questions!
If You Find Me’s length remained consistent throughout the process. I like my writing tight; at least, as tight as I can make it, once I accept that perfection is impossible.
I do think my poetry background renders me more succinct. With poetry, words are a precious resource and specific combinations are used to evoke the most potent emotions or paint the most vivid pictures within the space allowed. It’s one of the things I love about poetry; the puzzle of specific words and beats.
I also think a more self-conscious use of space is intrinsic to literary novels. So much of what is said resides between the lines, in the subtext. Off the page.
Emily: Oh, this haunting, universal, emotionally-evocative poem. It’s lovely to find another who loves it like I do.
To me, this poem symbolizes every truth in life we rail against, whatever those may be, because we just can’t bear for x to be true.
That things end. Seasons. Relationships. Love. Life.
It’s human nature to rail. To dig in our heels and say no! And if there’s any balm to be found in the truths we’d rather not embrace, it’s that we get better at acceptance with time and experience. With wisdom comes the bigger picture, which can bring comfort. With endings come new beginnings; the hardest part is letting go. Only an empty hand can be filled.
Emily: I’m not superstitious in that way, but I’d like to keep this idea close, because original ideas are hard to come by.
However, I think it’s going to be the novel I wrote directly before If You Find Me that I’ll be publishing next. But there will be a next novel, and I’m so excited to be able to continue to do what I love, and as an extension, continue to find beauty in the unlikeliest of places and share it with everyone.
Emily: Thanks for having me, truly. You really put my brain cells to work, and I had a wonderful time chatting with you!
Be sure to check out all the other stops on the tour, which include Emily's very moving kick-off post, plus other guest posts, interviews and more!
If You Find Me Tour Stops:
3/18 The Midnight Garden
3/19 Alluring Reads
3/20 Live to Read
3/21 YA Romantics
3/22 Winterhaven Books
3/23 Once Upon a Prologue
3/25 ExLibris Kate
3/26 Xpresso Reads
3/28 Great Imaginations
3/29 Good Books and Good Wine
Now, enter to win a copy of this amazing book. I'll draw the winner on Monday, April 1.
a Rafflecopter giveaway