Interview “If the shoe fits you” with Julie Murphy

“Lucky Forever can be for everyone, no matter their shape or size. It depends on us. “

Loosely inspired by Disney Cinderella, If the shoe fits introduces readers to Cindy Woods, a young woman who just graduated from a design degree, and wonders what will come next. Recalled to live and work for her stepmother, who happens to be the executive producer of the reality show Before midnight, Cindy grapples with aspects of her past and tries to plan for her future. When a stain on Before midnight in need of filing, Cindy takes a chance and volunteers for the job, believing the show could launch her long-awaited career in fashion.

Cindy doesn’t know that being the only tall woman to enter a reality contest is taking the world (and the internet) by storm. Not only does she get the exposure she set for herself, but she also finds inspiration and love in the process. Ultimately, if the shoe doesn’t fit, Cindy learns that maybe it’s time to design yours.

If the shoe fits is filled with memorable quotes and valuable lessons (some of these are discussed in my book review). So just as it was enjoyable to read the latest novel by NYT bestselling author Julie Murphy, it was just as enjoyable to chat with Julie about her book, her previous plans, Cinderella, and the pursuit of her own. happiness forever.

Julie! Thanks for chatting with us. You were a New York Times bestselling author before If the shoe fits you are therefore no stranger to writing. Tell us a bit about your career so far and some of the things you’ve learned along the way.

I’ve been really lucky to publish since 2014 and have done everything from young adults to college to screenwriting and now adult books. Dumplin ‘, my second novel, came out in 2015 and then was adapted into a Netflix original, and I was really lucky to be able to be a part of it with Jennifer Aniston and Dolly Parton. Currently I live in Texas with my husband, our dog and two cats. I write full time.

If the shoe fits was posted Aug 3. How did you celebrate?

I loved book releases a lot, and I always party with my friends and family, but for me, the real celebration is when I meet my deadlines. This is the most exciting part on my side. Seeing the book in person and in stores is so special, of course, but the best part of writing a book is… well, writing it!

How would you describe this book?

If the shoe fits is a new modern romantic comedy from the Disney classic Cinderella. In this version, our main character is Cindy. It is a young plus size woman and recently graduated fashion student who finds herself a candidate for a reality TV show. It’s full of heart, humor, and good, slow-burning romance. It’s definitely suitable for teens and adults alike, so while I love a good, juicy romance, it’s definitely one that you could shamelessly co-read with your mom.

Tell us a bit about how you ended up working with Disney on this project.

Well, because it was a project that came from the publisher (Disney), so they looked for authors and I was lucky enough to be the first to sign and to have my pick of the princesses. I like to think of it like a bullet, but for the authors. Ha!

In writing If the shoe fits, you use a loose frame provided by the traditional Cinderella story, but ultimately you build a narrative all your own. What do you consider to be some of the important parts of the traditional Cinderella story that inspired or provided guidance in the story you wanted to tell in If the shoe fits?

I love that at the heart of every classic Disney princess is cuteness and bravery, so those two things were really my flagships. Other than that, the aspects of the original that I really connected with were the family dynamic, the shoes and the fairy godmother plus all the little helpers (in the form of mice!) Cinderella I encountered along the way.

What clear departures from the traditional Cinderella story did you want to make and why?

I think what readers will immediately understand is how I reorganized Cindy’s in-laws. In this take, Cindy comes from a blended family that is complicated, down-to-earth, and supportive even if not perfect.

For me, one of the best parts of this story is that Cindy makes her own way. The fairy tale does not sparkle around her. No fairy godmother seems to make it all better. Cindy creates her own opportunities and experiences and pushes herself to see how far she can go when she believes in herself. What do you think are the main lessons to be learned or which themes resonate the most with you, from If the shoe fits and why?

In my own work, it is deeply important to me that my main characters have agency. I truly believe that while some things happen for a reason, at the end of the day we are the designers of our own destiny. Happiness forever can be for everyone, no matter their shape or size. It depends on us.

Was Cindy inspired by anyone in particular or did you draw from many people or points of inspiration to create her character?

As with any character I write, there is never a specific inspiration. It’s always a handful of experiences and moments.

Who is your favorite character in this story and why?

I have to say that Bex is pretty close to my heart. I like anyone who can see there’s a problem with a machine (in this case Hollywood) and decides to change it from the inside out.

Without giving too much away, what is your favorite scene or chapter in If the shoe fits and why?

Oooooh, I’ll be sparse on the details, but I have to say the big New York scene! Broadway, dumplings and run away for stolen moments!

What was the most rewarding part about writing this story? What was the hardest part?

I think the most intimidating thing was knowing that the Cinderella story is a story that so many people know and cherish, so I wanted to honor the original while creating something different and doing things that the original could not or did not. It was about learning how to pay homage while creating something totally new and exciting. And I think the most rewarding aspect must have been bringing a plus size version of Cinderella to life. It was something I never thought I would see, let alone do!

What’s next for Julie Murphy?

I have the second Faith duology book coming out on November 2, and next year I’ll be releasing Bee Merry, an adult vacation romantic comedy that I’m co-writing with one of my best friends.

What do you ultimately hope readers will take away from it? If the shoe fits?

I hope readers will come away with the truth that each of us deserves our happiness forever, regardless of what society has made you believe. Not only that, but we deserve to have stories that reflect this.

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