The star of the book is 12-year-old Picasso, Oliver's precocious and dictionary-reading daughter, who tries to make sense of what she knows and doesn't know.
Murphy, who now lives in Seattle, emailed me that her biggest dream was always to write and publish a novel. But as a former single working mom, a writing schedule was a luxury. She got serious after she went to the Wild Acres Writers Conference in Little Switzerland, N.C., and studied with novelist Ann Hood, who encouraged her.
At Bread Loaf Writers Conference in Vermont, she met an agent, who offered to represent her. In 2011, Hood invited her to a conference in Tuscany, Italy. Murphy took 50 pages of her novel-in-progress, "I Love You More." Hood liked it so much, she advised her to dump the novel she'd been working on and stick with this one.
Nine months later, she completed "I Love You," and in a few more months, her agent sold it to Doubleday.
"It took awhile," she writes, "and there were a lot of rejections along the way. But ultimately I believe it was the stick-with-it-ness that made it happen."
Murphy, who served as executive director of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Art Commission, will read from "I Love You More" at 2 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 7, at Park Road Books in Charlotte.