Monday, June 26, 2017

Welcome to the FFBC: The Disappearances by Emily Bain Murphy

The Disappearances

by Emily Bain Murphy
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Release Date: July 4, 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Magical Realism
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What if the ordinary things in life suddenly…disappeared? Aila Quinn’s mother, Juliet, has always been a mystery: vibrant yet guarded, she keeps her secrets beyond Aila’s reach. When Juliet dies, Aila and her younger brother Miles are sent to live in Sterling, a rural town far from home--and the place where Juliet grew up. Sterling is a place with mysteries of its own. A place where the experiences that weave life together--scents of flowers and food, reflections from mirrors and lakes, even the ability to dream--vanish every seven years. No one knows what caused these “Disappearances,” or what will slip away next. But Sterling always suspected that Juliet Quinn was somehow responsible--and Aila must bear the brunt of their blame while she follows the chain of literary clues her mother left behind. As the next Disappearance nears, Aila begins to unravel the dual mystery of why the Disappearances happen and who her mother truly was. One thing is clear: Sterling isn’t going to hold on to anyone's secrets for long before it starts giving them up.

Hello Emily! We are super excited for THE DISAPPEARANCES and to have you in our FFBC tours. 


Favorite Book?

Growing up, it was probably The Secret Garden. Recent favorites are anything by Leigh Bardugo, Sabaa Tahir, and Rainbow Rowell. 

Favorite TV show?

Parks and Recreation

Favorite movie?

Pride and Prejudice in almost any iteration

Favorite Song?

I’m in Here by Sia; O’ Lord by Lauren Daigle

Favorite Food?

French macarons, strawberries, chocolate chip cookies, fried chicken and mashed potatoes, Nutella crepes, salmon nigiri. (I’m sorry, was this supposed to be a singular answer?) 

Name 3 fictional places you would move to in a heartbeat.

Stars Hollow, Pemberley, Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.

What were your favorite books growing up? (I was a Fear Street girl!)

The first series I ever fell in love with was either The Boxcar Children or The Babysitters Club. I also loved The Secret Garden, Anne of Green Gables, Homecoming, Harriet the Spy, Little Women, The Chronicles of Narnia, Redwall, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh, The Westing Game, Matilda, The BFG, and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. 

 Favorite Quote?

“Look at everything always as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time: Thus is your time on earth filled with glory.” – Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it.” – Roald Dahl

What are your fandoms?

I love the Dregs, Anne Shirley, Alias, the entire ensemble cast of Parks and Rec, Jane the Virgin, Gilmore Girls, and Arrested Development. I’m an Emberling, Austenite, Potterhead, wannabe Inkling, Marshmallow, and new Whovian. 

Who is your favorite fictional boyfriend (or girlfriend)?

Mr. Knightley, Nikolai Lantsov, or Gilbert Blythe


Could you tell our Book Addicts a little bit about THE DISAPPEARANCES?

THE DISAPPEARANCES is about a sixteen-year-old girl named Aila Quinn who loves her mother, Juliet, but doesn’t understand why Juliet keeps her secrets so guarded. When Juliet dies rather suddenly in the midst of WWII, Aila and her younger brother are sent to live in Sterling, the small farm town where their mother grew up.

But Sterling has its own mysteries. Once every seven years, the experiences that weave life together--scents of flowers and food, reflections from mirrors and lakes, even the ability to dream--vanish.

No one knows why these “Disappearances” happen, or what they’ll lose next. But Sterling always suspected that Aila’s mother might somehow be responsible--and Aila is determined to solve the mystery and clear her mother’s name as she follows a chain of literary clues her mother left behind in an old Shakespeare book. 

At the end of the day, I see THE DISAPPEARANCES as basically a love letter—from a girl to her complicated, late mother and also to the world, in all of its pain, difficulties, and its magical beauty. 

Are there any other towns or places in your favorite movies/TV shows that remind you of Sterling (maybe even in small ways)?

Stars Hollow! I’d say Sterling is like a cross between Stars Hollow, Avonlea and Bedford Falls from IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE in terms of its small-town feel, with a pinch of the historical coziness and romance of THE NOTEBOOK. 

What 3 hashtags would you most associate with your book? (Could be a word or phrase or anything that would instantly make you think of THE DISAPPEARANCES)


How did you come up with the story? Did you find inspiration in any other story/movie/show and how has this affected your writing?

I started writing the story when I was blogging and doing volunteer work with a nonprofit that deals with child trafficking and exploitation, and I think in order to cope I really had to purposefully look for every little bit of magic and beauty I could find in the world. Even things as simple as flowers and the stars. And then I started to think—what if those things began to disappear one by one? How would people react? What would they be willing to pay to get them back?  And the story kept spinning from there. 

Also, Shakespeare and his works are a big theme featured and woven throughout the story. I’m so interested in the ways Shakespeare still inspires so many things in current life, from our phrases to retellings to references in novels still being published today. I grew up watching Baz Luhrman’s R+J, Ten Things I Hate About You, and Much Ado About Nothing. I distinctly remember my school in Japan putting on A Midsummer Night’s Dream as our middle school play, and experiencing the interactive production of Sleep No More several years ago in Boston. I love the idea of the classics and the “current” sort of braiding together to tell new stories—so that definitely influenced my writing, both in the overall feel of it and the plot itself. 

Tell us your favorite quote from THE DISAPPEARANCES.

“It looks like any other sleepy farm town, but this is the one where my mother grew up. Maybe something of her is still here for me to find, like sunlight catching a handprint on glass."


“Hope uses darkness to make itself stronger.”

Is there a specific scene that you had the most fun to write?  Or which part was the most difficult to get through?

There are a couple of romantic scenes that were really fun to write. There was one ending to a romance-related chapter that I was smiling as I wrote, because it was turning out just the way I wanted—and I knew it was going to be good when my husband got to it and did a little “whoop” noise. 

If you had to pick one song to be the Theme Song for THE DISAPPEARANCES– Which one would you pick?

Everything’s Magic by Angels and Airwaves, The Call by Regina Spektor, Bird Set Free by Sia, This is Not the End by Gungor

Are there any recommendations you could give your readers to be in the “perfect mood” to read THE DISAPPEARANCES (specific music, snacks…)? 

Maybe listen to something from the 40’s, curl up in a cozy spot with a warm drink, and read when you’re in the mood for something immersive and atmospheric. (I have plenty of recommendations if you are in the mood for an action thriller! But The Disappearances is definitely more of an eerie, literary, slow burn-sort of book.) One to read when you’re sitting in a garden or in front of a fire with rain pattering outside the window—or simply want to feel like you are.  

What’s next for you? 

A move from San Francisco to the St. Louis area with my family! And a new YA novel I’m working on, that is going to be a similar feel and tone to The Disappearances—and I hope a lot of fun. 

Thank you so much for everything, Emily!

Thank YOU, so much, for hosting me and THE DISAPPEARANCES. I’m thrilled and very grateful for the opportunity! 

Emily Bain Murphy grew up in Indiana, Hong Kong, and Tokyo, and has also called Massachusetts and Connecticut home. She loves books, Japanese karaoke, exploring new cities, and anything with Nutella. Her debut YA fantasy, THE DISAPPEARANCES, will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2017. Murphy currently lives in San Francisco with her family and is at work on her second novel.

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  1. I will *definitely* be reading The Disappearances! It sounds so amazing, plus that cover! Insert heart eyes here. ;) I don't really have a favorite final girl, per say. I am about to start Final Girls by Riley Sager and I have a feeling I'm going to really like it. :) Thanks for the great interview and giveaway! I'm In Here by Sia is also one of my fave songs and I think it's so interesting how Shakespearean themes are interwoven in this story!

  2. I have already added this to my wishlist. I love the book summary and mystery behind the story! My favorite horror girl -- maybe Scully from X Files.

  3. Great interview! I'm a Whovian too, though I'm still on the 11th Doctor. Shh...don't tell anyone. LOL

    This sounds like a really fascinating story, and I love Shakespeare!


  4. I've seen this book about the blogosphere, but haven't really stopped to read more about it (maybe because too many other books are clamoring for my attention!). Thanks so much for the reminder to look into this one, Michelle - that synopsis and cover sound/look intriguing! :)