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Muselings Feb 2009


Interview with multi-published author, Sally Murphy

Sally Murphy is a talented and prolific Australian writer. When she visited my Book Chook blog, I asked about her new book, The Big Blowie, her Aussie Reviews site, and what she does to promote her own books.



Sally, you have a wonderful site called Aussie Reviews. Please tell us about the site - how it started, and what we can find there when we visit.

Aussiereviews is a labour of love, and reviews all genres of books, but focuses on children’s books because they are my main love.

I started the site as part of the Webseed network and when Webseed closed down I bought the domain name and kept it going. At the time there were few websites which reviewed Australian books (this was long before blogs became popular). I thought maybe I could help Australian authors and publishers, as well as the reading public. 

When you visit Aussiereviews I’m hoping you’ll find helpful reviews of wonderful Australian books. That’s what I aim to provide.

You're a writer as well as a book reviewer. Your latest book to be published is The Big Blowie. What on earth impelled you to write a book about a blowfly?

I wrote The Big Blowie on spec, to submit to Aussie Schoolbooks for their Aussie Aussie series. I must have been successful in following the guidelines and tailoring my story to their requirements, because they published the book.

Because the publishers were looking for uniquely Australian stories, I decided to use Aussie icons including the Outback, blowflies and ‘Big Things’. They were also keen on stories which explored important issues, so I used the backdrop of a drought, as drought is a huge problem in Australia. With these things in mind, I crafted a story which I hope is both entertaining and a little informative.

So, to answer the question, the reason I wrote a story about a blowfly is that I couldn’t think of anything more likely to be found in the outback in the middle of a drought. I wanted something really Aussie and there it was, buzzing around me!

You've been on a blog tour to promote The Big Blowie. What else are you doing to spread the word about your book?

This was my first ever blog tour (though I’ve had one off visits to other blogs, and I’ve also hosted a couple of tours before). I’m really excited about blog tours as a way to spread the word about books, and they're also lots of fun. Answering all the questions was a great writing exercise. I would recommend it as a promotional idea for anyone with a published book.

I try to take whatever opportunity is available to promote The Big Blowie, and my other books. I have the cover image in my email signature line, with a purchase link. I write articles for other websites and newsletters about all aspects of writing, and include information about the book in the bio. I write about The Big Blowie on my blog.

Away from the net, I promote my books and reading and writing generally when I do school visits.

I read in your bio where you narrowly escaped being blown up by a bomb! Has that or any other real life experience made it into one of your 27 books?

That particular story hasn’t made it into any stories yet but may well do so one day. I am certainly influenced by experiences from my life when I write, but rather than writing about events that have happened, it is more that I draw on my emotions and reactions to experiences. For example, if I’m writing about someone dying, I will remember what it was like for me when people close to me died. I did this for my forthcoming book, Pearl Verses the World, where I cried buckets of tears as I wrote it.

On a lighter note, I recently travelled across Australia with my husband and five of our six kids, living in the confines of a small caravan for five weeks. Not only did we see lots of wonderful sights, but we had a gazillion life experiences which I am sure will make it into my yet to be written stories, I do think, though, that I’ll avoid telling the kids of Australia about the giant huntsman spider which found its way into my underpants in a public toilet. That might be a mental image they don’t need! Oops – I think I might have just told your readers, though.

Muselings readers are a tough bunch - they need to be! Thanks for letting us in on your secrets, Sally.


Thanks so much for having me. I’ve had a ball!

The Big Blowie can be purchased at the publisher's site. If you'd like to find out more about Sally, visit her site, her blog, or check out her Aussie Reviews site.


Have you been to these sites?

Delacorte Books for Young Readers announces its Eighteenth Annual Delacorte Yearling Contest for a First Middle Grade Novel.  First prize is a book contract with a $7500 advance against royalties, plus a $1500 cash award. U.S. and Canadian authors who have not previously published a novel for middle-grade readers may enter their manuscript of between 96 and 160 typewritten pages. Manuscripts must be postmarked after April 1 but no later than June 30. All the details are available at

Promote your Book

It's official. Blazing Trailers is now open for submissions. If you have a book trailer, it's free to post. Instead of inviting readers to view your trailer on a dead end url at a video sharing site, send them to Blazing Trailers. Each video is accompanied by an excerpt, review, blurb, author info and BUY LINKS! Blazing Trailers authors are also invited to share their news, contests, reviews, etc on the home page.

To submit a trailer visit If you have any questions, please email

(Disclosure: Kim is a friend of mine, but I think what she's doing with this site is a terrific and generous opportunity for writers.

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Until next time, write on!