Murphy’s newest novel is the obscenely suspenseful This Is the Water, about a killer stalking a high school girls’ swimming team. Murphy caught up with herself at her home in Vermont.
Yannick, do you ever share your work with your husband?
No, for the following reasons:
1. When I received a review in Publishers Weekly, he said, “Great, another review in Publisher’s Clearing House!”
2. When I received a Pushcart Prize, he said, “Hey kids, your mother’s won the Shopping Cart Prize,” and then he said, “No, wait, it’s the Wheelbarrow Prize.”
3. I receive a literary organization newsletter and when it arrives he says, “There’s never a story about you in here. I hate this thing.” And then he throws it into the wood stove before I even read it. He’s very supportive.
4. He never read my book The Call, which is about a large animal veterinarian based on him. He only knows what happens in the novel because when he visits his clients they talk to him about it. With one hand on the underbelly of a horse feeling for possible colic, he listens to his clients tell him their favorite snippets from The Call.
Yannick, haven’t you at least once shown him your work?
Can you tell us about that time?
I wrote a novel about a female racehorse trainer. I asked him to read it because he is a racehorse doctor.
Excuse me, Yannick. Don’t you think you should interject here and let readers know that the novel was never published?
No, don’t interrupt. Anyway, I asked him to read it, because who would know better than he about what really goes on at the racetrack? He started rewriting it with things like, “...she said with a smile,” “...she danced like a butterfly in flight.”
Wow, was it really that bad?
Wasn’t it nice of him to take the time to read it?
That’s beside the point.
Would you like to share your writing with him?
No, we already share socks. Isn’t that enough? Plus, when it is his turn to do the dishes, he leaves everything in the sink, saying it all needs to soak.
Are there any benefits to not showing him your writing?
Plenty! I write about him all the time, and he has no idea. Sometimes I think of him like a setting. I try to inhabit him and then I rip the stuffing out of him and jettison it out onto the page.
Does he appear in your latest book, This Is the Water?
He does, but he’s in denial about it.
“You’re in this book, too,” the kids told him after they read the book.
“It’s fiction. It’s made up. That’s not me!” he said. The book is about Annie, the mother of two children on a swim team. Annie is drawn into the lives of other families from the swim team in a way she never imagined, which leads her to betray her husband. But her involvement proves to be dangerous when a girl on the swim team is murdered and the killer is on the loose in the community.
Is this a plug for This Is the Water?
Yannick, is your husband really in your latest book?
Sort of. You know, parts of him. It’s a mix of him and somebody else. It’s fiction, for crying out loud!
Yannick, have you enjoyed this interview?
I have. I’d write more but I don’t have time. I’ve got to do those dishes left soaking in the sink.