Sunday, 26 January 2014

We sat down for a chat...with Emily Murdoch

Today's guest post is a multifarious delight! Emily Murdoch, author of the poetic If You Find Me, spills the beans  on rescuing equine friends, Winnie the Pooh, and being lefthanded. Plus, there's a chance to win a paperback copy of her novel. And there are cute photos galore -especially at the end!


Emily Murdoch: It's a genuine pleasure to be here with both of you. Thank you for inviting me to your lovely blog!

WSD: You're welcome! We’d love to hear more about the sanctuary that you offer to horses on your Arizona ranch.

Emily Murdoch: I've always loved horses. I didn't grow up with horses, but I always hoped I'd own a few of my own one day. When I was writing one of my earlier manuscripts, I decided to make my protagonist a horse rescuer, having no idea what that entailed. As I did my research, I uncovered a history of such inhumanity, brutality, and injustice toward these animals, I couldn’t NOT help.

Once you know, you know. And once you know, you can do something.

That's when I first learned how America’s wild mustangs and burros (burros being the western word for donkeys) were being rounded up by our government from their federally protected lands and, all too often, sold to “kill buyers” who truck them to slaughterhouses.

Every day, amazing people fight to keep these equines wild and free in their herd management areas (hma’s) on the land preserved for them under United States law – of which 22.2 million acres have already been “lost” in favor of cattlemen grazing their beef cattle at “welfare” prices. Right now, cattle outnumber wild horses 50:1.

Seeing how many horses were being slaughtered, I decided to put our land to good use and adopt, instead of buy. And in my own small way, I provide sanctuary for a lucky few -- we have three slaughter-saved horses (one a once-wild Nevada estray mustang) and a donkey – and I do what I can to raise awareness.
As they say in the animal world, saving an animal may not change the world, but it'll change that animal's world ... and maybe your own.

The following link contains up-to-date information for anyone interested in the plight of America’s wild horses and burros and how you can help, regardless of country of origin. I remain constantly surprised at the power of petitions and signatures. These equines are not only national treasures, but treasured by the thousands of tourists worldwide who visit the U.S. each year with hopes of catching their own glimpse of these magnificent beings.

(ps. see end of post for more equine pics....)

WSD: From horses to bears.....
Winnie the Pooh features prominently in your novel, If You Find Me. What were some of your favourite childhood reads - or favourite literary characters?

Emily Murdoch: Oooooo, I love this question.My husband teases that I must've been British in a past life because many of my favorite authors are British.

Like Frances Hodgson Burnett. Both A Little Princess and The Secret Garden remain all-time favorites I read to tatters. Anne of Green Gables. Anne Shirley is one of my favorite heroines, alongside Jo March from Little WomenA.A. Milne, of course, and Winnie the Pooh. Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist. Madeleine L'Engle andA Wrinkle In Time's Meg.

I love strong heroes/heroines, especially those who've fought the good fight. Who doesn’t want to feel braver, stronger, and wiser by the turn of the last page?

WSD: And to the physical act of writing....
You're left handed and say that you smear ink. Does that mean you write by hand a lot? Or draw? And are there other things that you think would be easier (or more challenging!) if you were right-handed?

Emily Murdoch: In my idea notebook, I do write out in longhand items such as notes, story ideas, ideas for titles, even dialogue that comes to me out of the blue. It was a Christmas gift from a dear girlfriend, and rather like Pooh and his honey, I’m quite attached to it.

As for smearing ink ... Ah, the bane of a lefty's existence. Many of us old-school lefties write in such a way that the heel of our hand pushes across the page, smudging the lines beneath.
*in the photo of me signing my book contract for If You Find Me, my leftyness is evident!

Back when I was learning to write, no one knew what to do with lefties; today, more lefty children are taught to position their hand in such a way that it doesn’t drag across the page; in essence, mirroring how a right-handed person writes.

I've always felt a sort of despair writing out thank-you cards, Christmas cards and letters, since I've very nearly smudged every one in existence. So, fast forward to publishing If You Find Me; I was very concerned about smudges when signing books for readers. After some research, I was ecstatic to find special pens for lefties which help with hand and finger placement, but most importantly, that come with smudge-proof ink!
I'm ultra-proud to say that I haven’t smudged one signed book.

For any lefties out there, here’s a great site for everything lefty. Their newsletter is a delight, packed with interesting left-hander information, and they hail from the UK!

I love being a lefty. I can’t snap my fingers, curl my tongue or whistle. But I’m one of 4 to 10% of the population to go against evolution and write with my left hand. (Right-handedness is believed to have developed from human beings’ need for cooperation in groups, a.k.a. commonality for preservation’s sake.)

Thank you so much for highlighting myself and If You Find Me, today. I love that you’re a mother-daughter reading duo, and I wish you many more wonderful books together!

Thank you Emily for sharing your thoughts and pictures with us!

Win a copy of If You Find Me

Leave a comment, e-mail or tweet us (@wesatdown) about the comp by Sunday, 2 Feb 2014, 6pm. 
One winner selected at random by our yellow-furred random-eater. Open to UK postal addresses. Under 13s should get parental permission to enter.

Prize is a UK paperback edition of If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch, published by Indigo, 30 January 2014.

If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch

As promised, more horsey pics from Emily!

Go sign some signatures....

And tweet, comment or e-mail us to win.

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