Special to the Record
Comox Valley singer/songwriter/musician/author Mary Murphy is working hard to add another role.
The native of Wexford, Ireland is well into preparing a proposal for an educational TV series based on her heritage and titled Take Me Away, after one of her songs.
The series would be based on the original award-winning storybook series Away With The Fairies. Murphy self-published the second book this year after the series debut in 2013 earned her a Children’s Literary Award and was added to a Waldorf school curriculum in the United States in 2013.
“A couple of themes are very important to me,” she said in a recent interview. “Vocabulary extension, through a good storyline … and problem-solving through co-operation.”
That comes naturally to the Dove Creek area resident.
“I am definitely a problem-solver. I hate conflict. I’d rather address it head on, co-operatively.”
Murphy, who began writing curriculum for children in the early 1990s, has been musing for some time about an educational children’s TV program.
The concept started to jell in early 2014 when she was researching the creation of an interactive television series for children using her original music and stories from Away With The Fairies, which Murphy wrote to honour her culture, family and children.
“In Irish culture, to say you’re away with the fairies means … your mind works kind of differently.”
She was introduced to Ontario actress Katalina Kovecses, who was researching along the same lines. They co-created the Take Me Away concept, which is enhanced by Comox Valley illustrator Fiona Van Housen, Murphy’s daughter.
“I’m hopefully taking people, and not just children because adults are loving the books as well, away to somewhere else.”
The characters in Murphy’s narrative are mainly from Irish folklore, although Kovecses’ heritage will be reflected in several Hungarian characters.
“They are going to be running into issues of immigration and not being able to understand the language, and being bullied.”
Cross-cultural communication and co-operation are important to Murphy, as is literacy generally.
“I’m a huge proponent of children being read to, and being read books that are challenging and educational.”
Murphy said she was disheartened when she researched children’s books to find many were “so dumbed-down.”
Murphy is auditioning for an animator to complete the TV series proposal.
“Once we get our animation onto the (web)site, we need to present the package that we have. The website is complete, we have the first script, I have 13 episodes written – we just need to script the other 12.
“Then we need to pitch it to try and find funding to get a pilot … that we can give to (TV) stations.”
The 22-minute interactive live action and animated TV shows would be aimed at children aged four to seven.
Murphy would take viewers through a tiny fairy door to the mystical land of Woodland Moss. She would recount tales of the royal Ó Murchú fairy clan and numerous forest dwellers that inhabit the magical realm.
Grammy-nominated Irish Rovers founder Will Millar; David Francey, a Scottish-born three-time Juno Award winning singer-songwriter; and Sue Pyper, an English-born Comox Valley visual artist, have committed to be guests on a television show.
Her fairy stories will be aired on Irish radio and on an Irish podcast later this year. Murphy has begun a second series of books entitled The Many Adventures of Nash the Dash, starring a mischievous male character of mixed races.
She has also authored the full-length novel The Emerald Diaries-Secrets of an Irish Clan.
When she’s not writing books or scripts, Murphy is writing, singing and playing music. Besides releasing 10 music CDs, she and her husband/musical partner Paul Keim own and operate recording studio Dove Creek Recording.
For details about the proposed TV series, visit www.takemeawaytvseries.com. For more about Murphy, visit www.marymurphy.ca