I was recently interviewed by author Elizabeth Huergo for her blog. An excerpt:
HUERGO: What inspires you to write?
BURNS MURPHY: I am inspired by people and their stories. Everybody has a story. I grew up in a culture where storytelling was as natural as breathing. I listened to family stories, work stories, Bible stories, and survival stories. The potential for drama lurked in each facet of everyday life. Later, I read the works of writers–Tennessee Williams, Flannery O’Connor, and Carson McCullers—whose stories resonated with me.
When I was an MFA student at George Mason University, I had the privilege of studying with a wonderful writer—Richard Bausch. I had read his short story, “What Feels Like the World,” and was so inspired by it. In that story, he does what all good storytellers aspire to do; he delivers each literary element in a way that elicits the maximum emotional impact. By the time readers get to the last word, they know everything they need to know about the characters through the details Bausch has sprinkled through the narrative. Upon absorbing these details, readers feel the protagonist’s pain as he watches someone he loves confront an everyday obstacle that for other people is no big deal, but for her is everything.