From a nightmare to a novel

Published: 7/8/2019 1:43:30 PM

Author Norma Murphy’s first novel was born from emotion and panic after she awakened from a dream in which she had kidnapped a little girl.

“When I woke up, I had to write it all down and I’ve been writing ever since, more than 15 years now,” she said.

A Better Life tells the story of Jenny who takes a child from the back seat of a car and raises her with her boyfriend, Gene. Their life as a family is complicated by Jenny’s erratic behavior and Gene’s frequent absences, but their bonds are truly tested when Margaret learns of her abduction and leaves home to seek answers about who she really is.

Murphy said she does not have a complete story in her mind when she writes, but she does have characters and a scene or two and starts there.

“The more I write, the more I learn – about the story and most importantly, about the characters,” she said. “I am currently working on my second novel and am fortunate to have characters who are gradually willing to reveal their true selves to me, trusting me to tell their story.”

The author says she does her best writing early in the morning and the best place for her to write is at her home on Lake Todd in Newbury. Murphy’s primary residence is in Lowell, Mass., where she was born and raised.

In addition to writing, Murphy enjoys reading, traveling, and discussing her novel with book clubs. She also maintains a blog found at

A Better Life is available at Barnes & Noble; Gibson’s Bookstore in Concord; MainStreet BookEnds in Warner; Morgan Hill Bookstore in New London; several Massachusetts bookstores; and on

Murphy is a member of the New Hampshire Writers’ Project.

Please support the Monitor's coverage

Help us fund local COVID-19 reporting in our community.


Support Local Journalism

Subscribe to the Concord Monitor, recently named the best paper of its size in New England.

Concord Monitor Office

1 Monitor Drive
Concord,NH 03301


© 2019 Concord Monitor
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy