Can you share a bit about your background and connection to the Smithtown area? How has your hometown influenced your writing and your children’s book, “Your Heart’s Voice”?
We moved to Smithtown, from NYC in 2012 right before we got married. We are originally from Three Village. We moved again to St James just before my third child, Sage was born in 2019. I came up with the concept of Your Heart’s Voice after my second child, Eden was born in 2018. I was a stay-at-home mom, and I wanted to write a children’s book, and noticed there was very little written on the topic of intuition. The idea was formed then, but life took over so I put it down. My little brother, Robert tragically passed away in a car accident in Smithtown in May 2022. He worked in Smithtown at an Italian restaurant for over 11 years, and formed an extensive close following of friends/customers. Almost everyone in this town knew him because of his charming personality. My family’s lives forever changed after Robert, there’s truly no words to express the deep pain we are now living with. He was the youngest of the 4 children, you don’t ever think you’re going to lose a sibling at a young age, they’re supposed to grow old with you. Living in this town he passed in, is even more difficult, to say the least, so I turned to writing too as I found it was somewhat therapeutic for me. My intuition gravitated back to my original story, and I decided to add Robert as a main character and dedicate it to him. This is another way for us to keep his memory and legacy alive.
“Your Heart’s Voice” focuses on a child named Jade learning to listen and use her intuition. Can you tell us what inspired this story and the message you hope young readers take away from it?
Jade means the “jewel of heaven, the stone of the heart”. Once i went back to writing, I wanted Your Heart’s Voice to be spiritual and as personal as possible. There’s tons of meaning behind it as i added a lot of pieces throughout the story which ties in my brother, my family and my grieving. I have always relied on my intuition from a very young age-after realizing when i listened to it, i made the right choice, i began to trust it more and more . Like a muscle it grew stronger over the years into my current life. After realizing there were little to no children’s book on this important topic, I knew it needed to be written out, taught and explained how to use in the most simplest of ways. My aim is to help people understand what it is, and how to use it no matter what your age, or where you’re from, or who you are. We all have this gift and it’s meant to be used to guide us throughout life.
Can you share a memorable moment or experience from your journey as an author that stands out to you, especially in relation to connecting with your readers or receiving feedback from families?
I wrote the rest of my book on my phone. I found solace while sitting at the beach daily, as it helped clear my mind and calm my nerves after my brother’s accident. Life started to become too overwhelming. I am a mom of 3 and as I mentioned above living in the town the he passed away in, became too much to handle. The beach was my only source of peace. I wrote the rest of my book in 2 months and submitted it to my now publisher as a manuscript and got accepted. Jan until October was all editing and illustrations. My book was released in mid-October 2023. It’s available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, hardcover and paperback as well as ebook. The ebook only is available on Google and iTunes. My website Reneegreenemurphy.com also sells my book.
Balancing motherhood and pursuing your dreams as an author can be challenging. What advice do you have for other moms who are trying to navigate their own personal and professional aspirations while raising a family?
Take time for yourself. Whether it’s finding a quiet space to write or visiting the beach to hear the water’s tides splash, or touch the sand on your feet, or smell the fresh air outside during your walks… it’s important to tap into your senses as it brings peace and control back into our lives, especially when life becomes chaotic and unmanageable. I am constantly trying to balance my well-being along with my family’s, but I find when I take time for myself even a few minutes a day, it greatly helps.
I understand that the tragic passing of your brother, Robert, played a role in inspiring you to finish writing “Your Heart’s Voice.” How did this personal experience shape your approach to storytelling, and what impact do you hope the book has on its readers?
I want readers to practice using their Heart’s Voice throughout the days and weeks of their lives and see if it will guide them in the best way. It will boost self-esteem in children after noticing they are in fact making good choices, independently. When we search within we have the answers. Grief is complicated and a daily struggle. When you lose someone abruptly who you love, and are very close to, it rips a part of you that will never be the same again. We try to focus on all the positivity he brought into this world, with the many people who continue to reach out to us, to tell us their loving stories of Robert, and how much he greatly impacted their lives, how talented he was, how happy and how much of a bright light he exuded to all he met. The stories and memories are what we cling on to, as nothing will never truly make it ok. Your intuition is there to help you in some of the hardest moments in your life, and my book is a great example of that.
Congratulations on winning the 2023 and 2024 Family Choice Awards and a Mom Choice Award! How have these accolades impacted you as an author and what do they mean to you personally?
Thank you, I appreciate that. It’s important to me that my book and its message are recognized by both families and mothers with their prestigious awards. It helps me spread the word to the community and beyond as my goal is to reach more and more people with my story.
What are some upcoming projects or goals you have in your writing career, and how do you envision continuing to make a positive impact through your work, both locally and beyond?
My main focus right now is promoting my book and marketing it beyond our community. I can see myself possibly writing 2 more in the future.
As a mom who has achieved success in the literary world, what piece of advice would you give to other moms who are aspiring writers or looking to pursue their creative passions while managing the demands of motherhood?
The idea is half the battle. Come up with something that not only fuels your passion but that you truly believe in. Writing is work, and like work, when we do something we love, it’s not really work after all. The words will flow if we believe in what we are writing and the story we are telling. At least that’s how I know I’m on the right path, I find the words just flow. Balance balance balance. Take care of yourself, and you will have the best of you to give to your loved ones. Mini moments of peace are still valuable as they add up. Hold on to what you can and focus on the present. Align with your intuition and remind yourself that trust yourself and that heart’s voice will become louder and more profound.