Author of Dumplin, Julie Murphy shares what it was like writing and publishing a novel during a pandemic in an exclusive YEM interview

Julie Murphy is the author of If The Shoe Fits. The book is inspired by the classic fairy tale story of Cinderella we all know and love. The novel follows Cindy After having just graduated with a degree in shoe design, and trying to get her feet on the ground. YEM was able to speak with Julie about her inspiration for writing If The Shoe Fits, all about her writing process, and her favorite memory of writing the novel.

Young Entertainment Mag: Does this book share any similarities to the others that you wrote in the past? (ex. Dumplin series?

Julie Murphy: This book stands alone entirely, and while it is my first foray into adult romance, it does have all the hallmarks of what readers might expect of a Julie Murphy novel. The main character is plus size, there are heartfelt family dynamics, and lots of humor.

YEM: Does the main character Cindy share any similarities to any of your characters in other books?

Julie: Well, like I said, Cindy is plus size and funny, but I do think that, like my other characters, she has this delightful ferocity about her that pushes her to go after what she wants.

YEM: What was your main inspiration for writing If the Shoe Fits?

Julie: It definitely all started with the original Cinderella and having the opportunity to retell that story–one that has meant so much to me–for a modern audience and in what I hope is a really relevant take.

YEM: What kinds of music, if any, did you listen to while writing If the Shoe Fits?

Julie: I’m all over the place! But I do tend to settle on one artist or type of music for each book, and this one definitely had some big Taylor Swift energy for me.

YEM: What was the most challenging part of writing If the Shoe Fits?

Julie: I think the most daunting thing was knowing that Cinderella’s story is one that so many people know and treasure, so I wanted to honor the original while also creating something that was different and did things that the original couldn’t or didn’t do. It was all about learning to pay homage while creating something that was totally new and exciting.

YEM: If you can describe the process of writing, editing, and publishing this novel in one word, what would it be?

Julie: Fairytale!

YEM: How would you describe writing and publishing a novel in a pandemic? Has the pandemic changed your process?

Julie: You know, I think this has been different for different authors. For me, in the past, I’ve found it really hard to lean into my work during traumatic times, but during this pandemic, I have found so much comfort and safety in writing. Of course the landscape of publishing (like every other business) has been changed by this pandemic–some for good and some for bad–but I just feel pretty lucky that this global event didn’t put my work in jeopardy like it did for so many others.

YEM: What is your favorite memory of writing this novel?

Julie: I would have to say finding all the clever ways to work in nods to Cinderella. The fairy godmother, the mice, the pumpkin carriage, the shoes–it was all so fun! 

YEM: What is your favorite thing about the main character Cindy?

Julie: I really love how she’s compassionate, but also fully willing to stand up for herself and the people she loves. I also think she’s pretty dang funny!

YEM: What is one word you would use to describe Cindy?

 Julie: Determined!

YEM: Do you share any similarities to the characters in If The Shoe Fits?

Julie: I think there are little pieces of me scattered across every book I write, but I definitely see myself in Beck and in Cindy’s love of fashion. (I had plans of going to fashion school before life steered me elsewhere.)

YEM: What is one thing that we can all learn from Cindy?

Julie: I think Cindy gives us all the opportunity to realize that you’ve gotta shoot your shot and that it’s okay to fake it until you make it!

YEM: What is the most important lesson or theme that you want your readers to take away from your latest novel?

Julie: I hope readers walk away with the truth that each and every one of us deserves our own happily ever after regardless of what society has led you to believe.

Check out Julie’s book If The Shoe Fits!