Thursday, November 16, 2023

Q&A with W.B. Murph




W.B. Murph is the author of the new children's picture book Molly's Miracle. W.B. Murph is a beagle who works with his human companion to create books.


Q: What inspired you to write Molly’s Miracle?


A: I work with a rescue in South Carolina called Rescue Coop. They adopted out a gorgeous bloodhound to a family with a child, about 3-4 years old, with golden hair and a beautiful smile.


There was so much promise in the face of that little girl. Hopes for happy days spent playing with her dog, sneaking snacks under the table, helping with food, water, walks; all that and so much more. The next day, these parents returned that dog, saying only that they “didn’t think it through.” 


My heart broke for the little golden-haired girl in that adoption picture. Not knowing what else to do, and having no other discernable talent, I decided to write a children’s book to act as an example for children without the best role models when it comes to our dog companions.


Q: How did you create your characters Molly and Mandy?


A: Molly is very loosely based on my own rescue dog, Molly Moo. She was a stray at the tender age of six months, taken in by the local humane society.


Unfortunately, when we adopted her, we discovered she had a fused carpal bone (wrist) that had caused her elbow to be moved severely out of joint. We know one day, Molly will face an amputation of the leg, and we also know that we will love her just the same no matter what. 


With Mandy, I wanted a strong, steadfast, and very self-assured lady to counterbalance Molly’s timid, unsure and self-deprecating style.


I needed Mandy to serve as a role model to teach Molly that she was perfect, just the way she is so it was important that Mandy had faced her own adversity and overcome it, so that she could “speak” to Molly from a place of “been there, done that.”


Q: What do you think Luca Mendieta’s illustrations add to the story?


A: Oh Luca, he is the BEST! I truly mean that. I had gone through two previous illustrators, one of which ghosted me and the other one just wasn’t picking up what I was laying down in terms of my vision.


This left me with a VERY tight timeline of just four weeks to complete 26 illustrations and a book cover in order to meet printing deadlines.


I had to give Luca almost no direction at all. He just “got” me and my characters. His “villains” were only mildly villainous (so as not to overly frighten) and his heroines were soft but strong.


If I recall, I think I asked him for maybe only one correction in the entire book. Luca was a life saver for me. His hard work and dedication to the craft he has chosen is so impressive.


Q: What do you hope kids take away from the book?


A: I want kids to walk away with a few lessons. Some are more overt – like making sure that we are treating our animal friends the same way we treat our human friends, but others are more nuanced.


The book aims to show children that animals, and children, with disabilities and disadvantages need not be ashamed because everyone sparkles in their own way and everyone shines their own light into the world.


What the world might label as a defect and take pity on, they can be proud of and wear it like a badge of honor because they have something very special to give to the world – just like Molly and Mandy.


Q: What are you working on now?


A: Luca Mendieta and I teamed up again to create Daisy’s Daydream, the story of a street dog taken in by a loving family who just can’t figure out the rules of living in a house.


It speaks to the 3-3-3 guideline of bringing dogs into our homes. Three days to decompress, three weeks for them to figure out the rules of the house and three months for them to become the dog they really are once out from under the veil of all that has happened to them.


All dogs should be given the chance to become who they really are before they are given away.


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: Just one thing – this is only for the parents. I would say just one thing: Watch your actions, for they become your CHILD’S character.


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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