Merrimack teen author, a Trinity High junior, sees success with children's books

Union Leader Correspondent
November 12. 2012 8:52PM
At left, Emily Murphy and Mary Leonarczyk, both juniors at Trinity High School, recently published their own book, "Mark Hartford." (COURTESY)
MERRIMACK - Inspired by a trip to the Newport Mansions in Rhode Island more than four years ago, a young writer scribbled her thoughts onto paper, unaware that her writing would someday be published.

Now, at the age of 16, Emily Murphy is not only the author of a published book, but she already has two fiction children's books under her belt.

Her journey as an author began during a three-hour car ride home from the Newport Mansions in Newport, R.I., several years ago. After touring the Marble House mansion and learning about the owner's rebellious side toward the rules of Newport society, Murphy decided to create her own, younger character who breaks all of the rules in the late 1800s.

The main character, Kissimmee, is a 9-year-old girl who spends the summer at Pristol Hall in Newport during the Gilded Age trying to avoid her mother's proper notions by following her own passion for fun.

"Kissimmee's Newport: 1894," is a 200-page book detailing Kissimmee's daily routine of wearing pants, befriending the mansion staff and playing billiards with her brother - despite societal expectations that she should be doing otherwise.

"This is a fun book. There is nothing really serious about it," said Murphy, a junior at Trinity High School. "You can't analyze it. It is pretty straight forward."

A Snowy Day Publishing in Bedford published the book in September, printing 250 copies of the children's book. Murphy has already received her first royalty check, and is thrilled about the unique opportunity at such a young age.

Murphy, of Merrimack, began writing short stories in first grade when she created a series of "Emily the Goods" books, a guide to various topics such as fires, potty training and adjusting to a new family.

She has come a long way since the days she stapled together her little guide books, as "Kissimmee's Newport: 1894" is now available through Barnes & Noble, Amazon as well as Nook and Kindle devices.

The Newport Mansions are also interested in selling her book at their gift shop, which Murphy says is a tremendous honor.

"Writing has greatly enhanced my life, and now I can go on to say that I am a published author," she said. "But, it really hasn't changed my life, as I would be writing regardless."

Murphy's mother, Janet, admits that her daughter is slightly modest.

"She doesn't like to brag," Janet said of Emily. "We are incredibly proud of her. Neither me or my husband have the gift of writing, so this is a whole new world to explore."

Emily's classmate, Melissa McCormick, agreed to illustrate the cover of her book, which portrays the main character, Kissimmee, with a wide grin standing in front of the summer mansion.

"I'm really excited about this book. This has been a big opportunity for me," said McCormick, who has taken classes at the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester.

McCormick, also 16, says she may study in art in college, and would love the chance to become an illustrator. As for Murphy, her future is still up in the air. She is undecided where to attend college, but is leaving several options open. She may pursue a career in creative writing or film, and is currently taking a media journalism class.

In her spare time, Murphy enjoys writing poetry. She previously had her poem, "Swing," published in the Celebration of Poets spring 2011 northeast edition. Around the same time "Kissimmee's Newport: 1894" was published, Murphy also published a second book that she co-authored with her friend, Mary Leonarczyk, titled "Mary Hartford."

Leonarczyk is also a junior at Trinity High School. Their book is a diary-written story for young teens that takes place on a large estate in England.

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