13 Questions With Melanie Murphy

Melanie Murphy is an award-winning creator and novelist who champions self-growth, optimism, education and celebrating the little things in life. Find out how she's getting on in Lockdown...

First of all, how are you and how are you coping in lockdown?

I’m doing my best to keep super busy and to embrace the time with my new husband! As a coping mechanism, we’re treating it as an ‘extended honeymoon’, seeing as our real honeymoon couldn’t go ahead! ‘Homey moon’ time has been a lovely way to look at it. I avoid overdosing on the news and fill my days with creating content, writing my next novel, baking, walks and Netflix! When something is out of my control, I get through by shifting my focus to things that are in my control, and how I spend my time is (thankfully) up to me, because I work from home!

Congratulations on the news of your pregnancy! How are you handling such an important time in your life?

Thank you! At first, I was super upset that I had to announce the pregnancy virtually to most of my friends and family, and then I cried even more tears when I realised I’d have to cancel many plans that I had for the last of my childless days on this planet because I can’t go visit friends etc! So far, four months of my pregnancy have been lived out at home, with no celebrating, and while it’s not what I’d anticipated, it’s probably a really great time to be chilling and relaxing! I’ve felt little to no stress as my calendar is much clearer than usual, and I can only assume that’s really good for me at this crucial time! Always trying to see the positive.

You are one of our favourite people to follow on social media, can you tell us what you are all about?

That’s so lovely to hear! I’m all about self-growth, celebrating the little things in life, education, optimism and community! I love to share the good and the bad with my audience and I cover everything from food and sex to love and beauty and fitness…nothing is off limits across my platforms! I consider my social media accounts to be extensions of me and along with making memories for my future self, I’m always trying to create content that’ll either inspire or educate (I have a teaching degree!), that’ll entertain, distract, motivate…I just want my corner of the internet to leave people feeling better, feeling seen, and for my books to provide comfort and escapism!

Your debut novel ‘If only’ came out last year, can you tell us more about it?

If Only is about a mess of a woman named Erin who takes a trip home to Ireland, to visit her beloved grandmother to escape reality after calling off her wedding. While there, she receives a magical family heirloom that offers her glimpses into parallel versions of her life! I’ve always been a ‘what if?’ type of person and I’ve often wondered how my life might look had I made different choices…so I really wanted to explore this through an uplifting story that hits on the importance of being present in the moment.

What was it like to write a book and get it published?

I’d already written and published a book for young adults called ‘Fully Functioning Human (Almost): Living in an Online/Offline World’ which went on to be a bestseller in Ireland and was featured on state exam papers (truly my biggest life flex!), but my experience with the novel was completely different and was much more positive. As I explained in a writing q&a, I didn’t actually enjoy writing FFHA as it was rather heavy and I had to delve into difficult memories, such as my times with eating disorders, serious online trolling, depression, a miscarriage…it was A LOT. I wrote it for my viewers, I could cover a lot more in a book than in a ten to fifteen-minute video, and ultimately I’m glad that I finished it and that it was well-received.

However, I’ve wanted to be a novelist since I was a child and I only agreed to publish FFHA if my publisher would consider my fiction ideas (if I proved myself, of course!), and they agreed! Writing ‘If Only’ and watching it reach people all around the world has been one of the most satisfying experiences of my entire life. It’s had a big surge of ebook sales during lockdown thanks to a BookBub promotion and I’m so glad it’s reaching new audiences who don’t already follow me!

Are you currently working on anything exciting?

A podcast with Spotify! However, it has been put on hold due to the quarantine, of course. Also, my second novel is due to my publisher later this year and I’m really hoping to finish a first draft before my baby is born! So in 2020, I’ll be birthing a word baby AND a human baby! I’m kind of sad that I can’t work on any bigger projects for YouTube (like my short film ‘Choice’ or my mini-documentary ‘Is Social Media Making You Lonely?) as I love challenging myself and trying new things, but I’m moving into new phase of life and I’ve decided to focus on regular lifestyle content and writing, career-wise, for now. Those things make me really happy. I do have plans to turn my successful limited edition ‘Me Time’ journal collection (all sold out!) into an app, but that’s going to take some time! I need to find the right team first.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

There have been so many! The books, the travel, the events, the people – I’ve adored the past seven years. Best of my life, really. I’ve somehow won a few awards too, and for someone who didn’t win a single decent medal as a kid, that’s been pretty amazing, haha!

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?

You don’t know everything and you never will, so quit thinking that you know how things will pan out and just BE. In five years you’ll be a different person and you’ll like yourself a whole lot more. Just relax, have fun, don’t take life so seriously.

Who are your current favourite follows online?

Right now I’m all about that pregnancy and baby content, haha! Makes me so excited for my future. And the more body-positive they are, the better! Iskra, Ashley Graham, Anna Saccone (my original inspiration for starting YouTube!)…I also follow a lot of authors and really love seeing writers I love succeed! Beth O’ Leary, author of ‘The Flatshare’ and ‘The Switch’, is such a sweetheart, and her Instagram posts inspire me.

What do you always carry with you?

My Hedwig wallet with a little photo of my husband inside, my phone (of course!), ANY kind of lip balm and hand cream, because all of this lockdown hand-washing has my hands crustier than sourdough toast!

What does your perfect weekend look like?

A lie-in, some sexy time, a bath, a BIG brunch, a long walk in the sun, a few hours with a good book, baking, pasta and an old movie I’ve already seen, but one I adore! Fire lit, pets around me, virgin mojito. Heaven.

If you could only eat one more meal what would it be?

Pasta carbonara! Being gluten-intolerant doesn’t help…neither does the fact that dairy can mess up my skin…but it’s just SO GOOD.

If you could give one positive message to our followers what would it be?

When things are hard, count your blessings instead of your problems. Gratitude has changed my life and it takes seconds to moments each day to practice it! One tip I use a lot is to tackle negative thoughts with the word. BUT. “I’ve failed, I’m a failure…BUT, everyone fails sometimes.”