Being a west coast guy, I didn’t attend Woodstock, but motivated by the success of the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival in Monterey California, which inspired its own documentary, a friend and I packed up our car and drove there and were blown away by Janis Joplin, the Mamas and the Papas.
Woodstock was memorable to me and my generation for so many reasons, so many things that went wrong that turned out right. The magical performances, like Richie Havens improvising his famous song Freedom and Country Joe McDonald’s famous Give me an F chant.
My first step in writing a novel occurred because of a woman I worked with for ten years, Louise Castro. When Louise came down with cancer and had to quit work, I learned that she’d attended Woodstock. I felt guilty that although I worked with her closely, I never got close enough to know about her Woodstock connection.
Louise, like the characters in my novel, dealt with a medical issue. The aging Woodstock Nation and how to deal with the calendar turning is a major theme in the novel.
Although I focus on serious issues, Goodbye Emily is also an upbeat, funny novel that captures the music in flashback. I wanted my generation to look back at how it was and for those too young, to experience the magic for the first time.
I wanted to write about the sixties generation as we are now. My novel depicts members of Woodstock Nation as I believe we are, optimistic about the future, our own, the country’s and the planet’s. The spirit of Woodstock lives on, and that’s what inspired me to write Goodbye Emily, that and a wonderful woman, Louise Castro, to whom the novel is dedicated.
Murphy’s novel is set to be released in January of 2013 by Koehler Books. You can visit his website, www.mjmurphy.com to find out more about Goodbye Emily, or find him on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.