The Heroine’s Journey of Kathy L. Murphy

What is the best thing that I love about my work? All my life I have worked really hard at just trying to find my place in the world following all the rules. It was only after I was downsized from a job I loved, (book publisher’s representative), that I broke all the rules and found my true life’s calling. I opened in 2000 the first combination Hair Salon/Book Store, Beauty and the Book. Everything began to fall in place as started around the same time my book club with six complete strangers, The Pulpwood Queens and Timber Guys, which has become the largest “meeting and discussing” book club in the world with over 725 chapters nationwide and in fifteen foreign countries. I would have to say, “Books saved me.” The full story is all in my book, The Pulpwood Queens’ Tiara Wearing, Book Sharing Guide to Life published by Grand Central Publishing.

What is my idea of perfect happiness? Happiness for me is finding work that seems like play. You never work harder in your life for something you are truly passionate about but you also lose yourself in your work. After my divorce nearly five years ago, I had to sell my shop, move, and start over. My book club and authors have supported me both spiritually and monetarily while I found my next calling. I decided to go back to college after dealing with the fall o of my father on to hospice and his ultimate death. I had lost pretty much everything I truly cared and love. So on my 59th year I drove to the nearest university and signed up to go back to college. I never looked back. Currently, I am in my senior semester at The University of Texas at Tyler, Texas to receive my B.F.A. in Studio Arts, with a minor in Art History this fall. I have never worked harder in my life but I am truly happy.

What is my greatest fear? I believe my greatest fear is not being able to finish all that I want to accomplish. I require little sleep so I am working round the clock trying to keep my book club growing and vital in promoting literacy and already decided that once I finish my college degree to go on for my Masters. I have a next book started and another novel that I have been working on most of my adult life that I have to get finished. It’s called EUREKA! and may be my swan song, we shall see.

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself? Easy peasie, patience, I have little patience but really work hard at trying to disguise that flaw in my character. I want everything to be done at once and my work whether the book club or my art is a process. I am still learning.

Which living persons in my profession do I most admire? I would have to say first, my Pulpwood Queen Book Club Authors, they have quite a story. They inspire me, all of them and next would be my college professors each one is so unique and so incredibly knowledgeable and talented that I look no further than following their incredible guidance as I launch my art career.

What is my greatest extravagance? I love to decorate my home so if I have any extra money, it goes into my home including the ever advancing growing collection of books to art work, to all the many things that I collect, one of kinds, and things from my travels. Everything in my home has a memory for me, a happy one. Anything else was removed long ago.

On what occasion would I lie? The only reason to lie is to protect someone’s heart. I always ask myself these questions as a Rotarian, “Is it the truth? Will it be fair to all concerned? Will it bring goodwill and friendship? Will it be beneficial to all concerned?” I have my answer.

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work? Time, it takes a good amount of time to do all that I do and that is something I have not enough of working two jobs and going to college plus the Pulpwood Queens and timber Guys Book Club.

When and where was I the happiest, in my work? The best thing that can happen is when my work brings pleasure and beauty to others whether it is my book clubs connecting with authors, authors connecting to real readers, authors connecting to each other, and when someone is transformed and transported to other worlds through my art and their imaginations. Making other people happy makes me the happy; I am a people pleaser with great empathy.

If I could, what would I change about myself? I would like to be thinner, what woman would not want to be an ideal weight? So I give myself a pass as I just try to be healthy, God must have made me this way for a reason. I also wish to be a better listener and less of a talker. You cannot learn a thing if you are doing all the talking.

What is my greatest achievement in work? I founded and started this incredible book club that runs internationally and of note, it did not start in New York City or Los Angeles, but right here in East Texas. I think that is really a profound statement and one that perhaps breaks the stereotype of what is important when it comes to reading. Readers are everywhere and most of mine are in small town America.

Where would I most like to live? Venice, New Orleans, Leaper’s Fork, Tennessee, Henley, England, Portland, Oregon, Bellingham, Washington, I would like to live many places and I do because I am a voracious reader that takes me to places I never dreamed existed.

What is my most treasured possession? I have glass bottle that has my grandparent’s homeplace dirt inside to remind me of where I come from in the Flint hills of Kansas. We kids called them Mudd and Dirt and my cousin and I went back to that place that we called “Outhome” long after they were gone and dug up the dirt. Yes, my most precious possession, the dirt from Outhome.

What is my most marked characteristic? I would think it is my personal style. I wear outrageous outfits and dress for my mood and comfort, which suits me, lots of color! Always a peacock in a flock of chickens…

What is my most inspirational location, in my city? I love my little house out in the woods that I named “Murphy’s Law”. It is in a gated community where I cannot see my neighbors but they are nearby. I live alone with my cats and like the quiet for my work and art as just added an art studio on my property. Murphy’s Law is my refuge and helps me to be quiet, reflective, and focus on my God given talents and gifts.

What is my favorite place to eat and drink, in my city? Good Lord, Hawkins is the nearest town and so small. Ritchie’s, would be my choice as it is a family, owned Tex –Mex restaurant in downtown, Hawkins, Texas population 1,800 but still miles from where I live. Or perhaps I would choose Eagle’s Crossing; another family run café, which is nearby in the possum capital of Texas, Rhonesboro. I am not making this up.

What books influenced my life and how? All the childhood classics from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to the Little House on the Prairie books to all books Tarzan to my favorite book of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and it’s subsequent recently published book, Go Set a Watchman to all of Pat Conroy’s books, my absolute favorite author. After that I would have to say all of my Pulpwood Queens and Timber Guys Book Clubs Selections which otherwise, why would I have selected them. They are the very best books to read as they enlighten, educate, and let you walk in someone elses shoes for awhile just like the fictional character Atticus Fitch told Scout in the book To Kill a Mockingbird.

Who are my favorite writers? Again, Harper Lee, Pat Conroy, Cassandra King, Rebecca Wells, Mark Childress, Michael Morris, Robert Leleux, Jamie Ford, Carolyn Turgeon, Alice Hoffman, Fannie Flagg, Ellen Gilchrist, all my Pulpwood Queens and Timber Guys Book Club Selections.

You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day? I am a child of the 70’s so it would be Linda Ronstadt, The Eagles and Don Henley, but then I love Elvis Presley, Harry Connick, Jr, Rick Springfield, Rufus Thomas, Buddy Holly, Etta James, Smokey Robinson, movie soundtracks like To Kill a Mockingbird and Across the Universe, The Beatles, Loretta Lynn, but I love all music, the blues, opera, bluegrass, alternative, world music. My favorite song is either Crazy by Patsy Cline or Dolly Parton’s The Story; they are the heart of all of who I am.

Who is my hero or heroine in fiction? Atticus and Scout Fitch, they are both me.

Who are my heroes and heroines in real life? Teachers and librarians are my heroes and heroines because they devote their lives to educating us and are the keepers of the written word. In my opinion, our teachers and librarians should be the highest paid profession in the country, common sense.

Which movie would I recommend to see once in a lifetime?To Kill a Mockingbird, everyone should see it, as the same truths that were evident with the very first showing of this film are still truths we need to learn from now, perhaps even more than ever. You can never understand another man until you walk in my shoes to paraphrase Atticus Fitch, the father in the Harper Lee book to film made story. But I would have to add Wes Anderson films, especially Moonlight Kingdom; I really, really loved that film.

What role plays art in my life and work? If you mean film role, I am going to have to say Bette Davis. She worked so hard and did it her way, I always have admired this woman especially as she aged and got older. If you mean whom does art fall into my work, why art is everything to me. It is about creating beauty in everything you do. People may not remember anything about you but how you make them feel and this includes your work.

Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime? My grown children are my home team, Helaina Amethyst Wilkerson, her husband, Toby Wilkerson, and my daughter Madeleine Patrick. They help me every year put on my annual Pulpwood Queen Book Club hosted convention. We call this book club festival Girlfriend Weekend. They encouraged me in going back to college and they even bring me on campus Starbucks. Coffee keeps me going so that my friend is true love. They are my life and where all my undying love lies.

Whom would I like to work with in 2017? Well, my dream came true when one of my personal favorite authors said, “Yes” to coming to my annual Girlfriend Weekend, Alice Hoffman, and all because of my dear friend and author, Carolyn Turgeon, editor of my absolute favorite magazine, Faerie Magazine. I love both of their work and cannot wait to meet and hear her in person since I have been trying for years. SCORE!

Which people in my profession would I love to meet in 2017? I would love to meet artists, Ysabel Lemay and Renee Brown. I have them both listed as influences in my artist statement and then again I would also like to meet David Hoey, the window dresser and senior director for visual representation at Bergdorf Goodman. I watched a documentary called, Scatter my Ashes at Bergdorf’s and feel exactly the same. It is the first place I go in New York City to just take in those windows as all my imaginations come true in his work.

What project, in 2017, am I looking forward to work on? That would have to be my lifetime Bucket List #1 goal of graduating from college. I began in 1974 at Kansas State University so to graduate this coming December, you have no idea how important that is to me. I also am applying for graduate school, onward and upward.

Where can you see my work or me in 2017? At this moment one of my works is in the Student Fine Arts Gallery on the campus of The University of Texas at Tyler, Texas. My ceramics and paintings are currently in the gallery setting at Decorate Ornate in Gladewater, Texas. Please stop by, as it is my favorite place to find treasures from Europe, kind of like Alice going down the rabbit hole. You have to see it to believe it!

What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me? Could be my life motto because I have had to start over so many times that I do not see retirement at all in my future. In fact, I am kicking up the pace since my divorce just so I can just make it in this world. It is just like my former bookseller friend, Fred McKenzie, used to tell me, “If you stop, you drop!” There will be no stopping me as I am on a mission to make my mark in the book and art world. And I also am looking forward to my book, The Pulpwood Queens’ Tiara Wearing, Book Sharing Guide to Life going to film as sold the option to DreamWorks. I would love to see everything I have created go to the big screen, only time will tell. Hope I live to see it, hahahaha.

Which creative heroines should Peter invite to tell their story? I would have to say ALL my Pulpwood Queens and Timber Guys authors as the entire book list is up on my websites, and and I can help in anyway to make sure those connections happen.

How can you contact me?


Facebook pages: Kathy L. Murphy

Kathy L. Murphy Artist

Twitter: Pulpwoodqueen

Websites: Http://


Also check out these videos:

My documentary trailer, For the Love of Books:

Video: What the #@& is a Pulpwood Queen?

Where my artwork is currently present:

What follows is a message of Peter de Kuster,  the founder of the Heroine’s Journey

What is Your Story?

Two Day Tour with Peter de Kuster  in the greatest bookstores of your favorite city. In Paris, Rome, Florence, Barcelona, Berlin, London and Amsterdam we offer this unique What is your Story? experience.  To (re) write your story about yourself and your work. In the process transforming your capacity to successfully have the creative life and work you love. 

In this journey, Peter de Kuster,  founder of The Heroine’s Journey explores with you the way we tell stories about ourselves to ourselves — and, most important, the way we can change those stories to transform our creative business and life.

“Your story is your art, your art is your story,” says Peter. As human beings, we continually tell ourselves stories — of success or failure; of power or victimhood; stories that endure for an hour, or a day, or an entire lifetime. We have stories about our creative challenges, our art, our clients, our money, our self promotion, our time, our families and relationships, our health; about what we want and what we’re capable of achieving. Yet, while our stories profoundly affect how others see us and we see ourselves, too few of us even recognize that we’re telling stories, or what they are, or that we can change them — and, in turn, transform our very destinies.

Telling ourselves stories provides structure and direction as we navigate life’s challenges and opportunities, and helps us interpret our goals and skills. Stories make sense of chaos; they organize our many divergent experiences into a coherent thread; they shape our entire reality. And far too many of our stories, says Peter, are dysfunctional, in need of serious editing. First, he asks you to answer the question, “In which areas of my creative life and business is it clear that I cannot achieve my goals with the story I’ve got?” He then shows you how to create new, reality-based stories that inspire you to action, and take you where you want to go both in your work and personal life.

Our capacity to tell stories is one of our profoundest gifts. Peter’s approach to creating deeply engaging stories will give you the tools to wield the power of storytelling and forever change your creative business and life.

Become a great Storyteller

That’s why I set up What is your Story? service in the great cities of the world and their great bookstores. A new way to use the power of your story.  To guide you to life-changing, eye-opening but often elusive works of literature, both past and present, the books of fiction that truly have the power to enchant, enrich and inspire.

In two days with Peter de Kuster you’ll explore your relationship with books so far and your unique story identity will be sketched. You will be guided to books that can put their finger on what you want to rewrite in your story, the feelings that you may often have had but perhaps never understood so clearly before; books that open new perspectives and re-enchant the world for you.

You will be asked to complete a questionnaire in advance of your session and you’ll be given an instant story advice and books to read to take away. Your full story advice and books to read list will follow within a couple of days.


What Can I Expect?

Here’s an outline of the WHAT IS YOUR STORY? journey.

Journey Outline


  • What is your Story?
  • Are you even trying to tell a Story?
  • Old Stories  (stories about you, your art, your clients, your money, your self promotion, your happiness, your health)
  • Tell your current Story
  • Is this Really Your Story?


  • The Premise of your Story. The Purpose of your Life and Art
  • The words on your tombstone
  • You ultimate mission, out loud
  • The Seven Great Plots
  • The Twelve Archetypal Heroines
  • The One Great Story
  • Purpose is Never Forgettable
  • Questioning the Premise
  • Lining up
  • Flawed Alignment, Tragic Ending
  • The Three Rules in Storytelling
  • Write Your New Story


  • Turning your story into action
  • The Story Effect
  • Story Ritualizing
  • The Storyteller and the art of story
  • The Power of Your Story
  • Storyboarding your creative process
  • They Created and Lived Happily Ever After


The “What is your Story?” fee is Euro 2.495 excluding VAT for a private tour with a small group of 1 or 2 people.

Questions? Contact Peter de Kuster at 0031 6 33661772 or mail him at

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