25 May 2015

Who were the Murphys?

Sara and Gerald Murphy were incredible people who led incredible lives at an incredible time. They counted among their intimates F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso, Fernand Leger, Dorothy Parker, Cole Porter, Archibald MacLeish, Robert Benchley, John Dos Passos, Philip Barry and many, many others who were part of what we refer to as The Lost Generation.

Here’s the story of how I came to write a novel very loosely based on the real lives of real people Sara and Gerald Murphy:

I'm a voracious reader -- biography and history. I love the 1920s and 1930s and have read biographies of all the movers and shakers of that era. In nearly all of them, over the years, I would encounter at least one mysterious reference to a fabulous but tragic couple called the Murphys -- just a word or two but nothing in depth. I would mention this to my spouse, Matt, every time it came up. Who were these people? How were they everywhere with everyone all the time?

One day, we were in a used bookstore (where I find most of my books) and Matt found Everybody Was So Young by Amanda Vaill. He handed it to me and said "This sounds like the kind of book you'd like." When it dawned on me that it was about THE Murphys I started jumping up and down, there, in the used book store, screaming something along the lines of "Do you know what this is about? Who these people are? It's the Murphys! It's the Murphys!" It was one of the most exhilarating moments in my life. I read it several times and then dug in to research their lives in earnest. It was only then that I realized how obscure they really were and set out, with my humble little novel, determined to change that, if only a little.

My book Sarah & Gerald, a novel of Paris in the 1920s, came out in 2012. It’s enjoyed good sales and received good reviews. Soon, I’ll have some wonderful news to share with you about by book, so stay tuned over the next few weeks.

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