On a Saturday afternoon 15 years ago, Hunter Murphy first put his pen to paper and launched his journey as an author.
Murphy, one of Lynn’s librarians, already had been writing personal poetry for some time, but he had yet to craft or publish a story of his own. After working in a public library in Birmingham and organizing several author festivals, Murphy fell in love with writing fiction.
“I don’t think I’ve ever had a more exhilarating hobby,” said Murphy. “I try to put in about an hour a day after work. The whole process has become an entirely new life for me.”
At the start of Murphy’s career, he aspired to write long stories split into logical sections and chapters. However, as his creative process developed, Murphy grew more intrigued by the characters, scenes and details evolving in his manuscripts rather than their technical aspects.
Throughout his career, Murphy has written more than 1,500 pages of fiction, but he believes the words bringing life to those pages matter much more than the sheer quantity of the material itself.
“The process of creativity is invigorating,” said Murphy. “Even when I’m not doing it, I’m thinking about doing it.”
Murphy’s most recent publication, The Curse of the Bridal Chamber, follows Imogene, an old yet formidable woman, as she attempts to exonerate her family from false murder accusations. Inspiration struck Murphy for The Curse of the Bridal Chamber as he visited Silver Springs State Park in central Florida.
“It has a complex social history, glass bottom-boats, legends and folklore,” said Murphy of the park. “I said to myself, ‘Self, this is the place for your next book.’ The natural springs in Florida are gorgeous and mysterious, perfect settings for mystery novels.”
Murphy’s passion for creating launched his journey as an author, but his love for learning carried him from rough drafts to publication. With the help of a freelance content editor from New York, Murphy rewrote the entirety of his first manuscripts several times before publishing them.
“She punched some of my writing in the gut, and it was a real gift,” said Murphy in regard to his editor. “I enjoyed learning. You must accept constructive criticism.”
Though the editing process was taxing, if he could do it all over again, Murphy would only change one thing – he would have started sooner. He encourages all aspiring authors to make their dreams a reality.
“You owe it to yourself to try,” said Murphy. “Seek advice from a professional editor. It’s okay that your [mother] likes your art and that [significant other] loves it, but you must let professionals see it.”
Murphy invites all writers looking for a place to start to submit their creative work to the Lynn Library’s annual Creative Writing Contest. The winner receives $100, an engraved plaque and publication as an iBook to be displayed in the library. Submissions are due March 22, and more information can be found at the information desk in the library.