Interview: Pip Murdoch talks about Relative Strangers
Pip Murdoch was born in Roxburgh and was brought up in Gore. She is a trained nurse, grief counsellor and oncology nurse and she has lived in Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington, Sydney, Canberra, Washington DC. She is married with three adult children and seven grandchildren. Pip enjoys writing, golf, bridge and gardening. She currently lives in Wellington.
Relative Strangers is her first book and it offers a raw, honest account of her personal journey of giving birth and placing her child up for adoption in early seventies New Zealand. She talks to NZ Booklovers.
What inspired you to write this book?
I started to write a general memoir and decide that was too boring; when I got to this part of my life I decided to focus on that alone and it developed from there.
What was your routine or process when writing this book?
If only there had been a routine. It’s taken me nearly 10 years and many rewrites and editing to get to the completed article. Largely I wrote in chunks, as I became more interested in each part of the story. Mostly I just got it down on paper, then looked at the shape of it.
What did you enjoy the most about writing this book?
I loved writing about the young me, recalling those aspects of my life.
What was the most difficult elements of writing Relative Strangers?
I found it extremely difficult and challenging in the second half, when I had to consider all the other people involved.
What do you hope readers will take from this book?
I hope all people from the adoption circle, will find something that resonates with them. I also hope that by exposing my experience, people learn to understand the shame birth mothers carry, even to this day [while the fathers never have to deal with public humiliation].
What did you do to celebrate finishing this book?
Opened some bubbles with my Editor and printer.
What is the favourite book you have read so far this year and why?
“The Spy and the Traitor’ by Ben Macintyre. It’s a riveting read, exposing the KGB, while reading like a fictional thriller.
What’s next on the agenda for you?
I would like to do some fiction writing; I am undisciplined and am looking for a course I could take to keep me motivated.