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DIYs might rule everything around us, but in between those baking marathons and hand-lettering sessions, you can bet there鈥檚 a good book in our hands. Whether we鈥檙e diving into food memoirs or pulling all-nighters to finish tear-jerker stories, our TBR lists and our nightstands are overflowing with books. And we know there鈥檚 only one thing that makes a good read better: getting your BFFs together and chatting about the latest page-turner. That鈥檚 why we鈥檙e thrilled to bring you Brit + Co鈥檚 newest series: B+C Book Club! Over the next four weeks, we鈥檒l be dishing about the sweetest, most empowering and memorable story we鈥檝e read in a really, really long time: Dumplin鈥, by Julie Murphy.

Meet the Book: DUMPLIN鈥

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Dumplin鈥 is the story of Willowdean Dickson, a sweet, funny and, yes 鈥 fat 鈥 teen who takes on her small-town Texas beauty pageant to prove to her haters and herself that she鈥檚 beautiful. The book is full of kissing, Dolly Parton references and a TON of gleeful, throw-your-fists-in-the-air-and-celebrate moments. With a #1 spot on the NYTimes聽bestseller list, it鈥檚 clear that readers everywhere are falling in love with Willowdean. You鈥檒l laugh, you鈥檒l swoon and you might just cry along with us as we dive into this magical book.

Meet the Author: Julie Murphy

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Julie Murphy is a self-described 鈥減otty-mouthed Southern belle鈥 who loves Dolly Parton, drag queens and pizza. We first discovered her writing in Side Effects May Vary, Julie鈥檚 debut novel about a teen cancer patient with a bucket list full of revenge鈥 and who goes into remission and has to deal with the fallout. While Dumplin鈥 is certainly lighter than her first novel, both stories present a fierce, bold and authentic teenage voice that resonates with readers of all ages. We caught up with Julie about her decision to become a full-time writer, her inspiration and more.

B+C: How did you decide to make the leap to become a full-time writer?

JM: It was truly a monetary decision. Growing up, our financial situation was never what you might call stable, so I held on to my job as a librarian until I knew I could support myself for at least a few years 鈥 or that I at least had guaranteed work for that long. I actually eased into it and worked part time for quite a while. It was always a little bit of a challenge to have one foot in the work force and one foot out, but it really worked for me. And, in the end, it made quitting my job a little less terrifying.

B+C: How do you power through creativity blocks? Do you have any tips or tricks for our readers?

JM: It鈥檚 really different for every project, but often times returning to the thing that inspired me in the first place gets me back on track somehow. Sometimes it鈥檚 a matter of retracing the breadcrumbs you鈥檝e left for yourself. I also really love watching movie trailers 鈥 more so than movies, actually. They鈥檙e the ultimate, distilled highlight reel. It鈥檚 kind of odd, I know, but it works for me.

B+C: What鈥檚 the best piece of career advice you鈥檝e ever received?

JM: When I first started writing, I mentioned it to my international law professor. (I actually went to school for political-science research.) And he鈥檚 this very short, yet intimidating man from Cyprus. He didn鈥檛 even look up from his papers as he said, 鈥淲ell, Julie, if you want it to be more than a hobby, you better treat it like a job long before anyone is paying you.鈥 I thought that was pretty great advice in general.

B+C: What is the last thing you鈥檝e made?

JM: I finished up a chapter of my third book the other day. Does that count? I also made this Dolly Parton collage/playlist for Dumplin鈥 to be used for some online promo.

B+C: Tell us about a maker you admire.

JM: I鈥檓 obsessed with Brittany Howard and the side project she did outside of Alabama Shakes called Thunderbitch. I love that she鈥檚 a plus-size woman, but how that is never part of the conversation when people talk about her. She鈥檚 a musician first, and I dig that. I also love A.S. King. She鈥檚 kind of like the Cheryl Klein Strayed of the YA world, but without the memoir and the online column. And yet, she has that same warmth to her. Every time I see her, I just want to hug her and cry and tell her how important her books are to me, and then ask her for some new lump of wisdom. If you鈥檙e brand new to her, I would start with Please Ignore Vera Dietz, though all of her books are incredible in their own way. She鈥檚 this great reminder that we as women can be weird and open ended and more than the many titles (mother, daughter, wife, etc.) that we hold.

Join our Book club!

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So what are you waiting for? Snag a copy of Dumplin鈥 ($18) and join us as we DIY + chat our way through this winner. Stayed tuned next week, when we鈥檒l share our first reactions and learn more about Julie鈥檚 inspiration for Dumplin鈥. Until then, happy reading, y鈥檃ll!

Will you be reading Dumplin鈥? Want to join our book club? Let us know in the comments below!