Now retired after 43 years in the hairdressing business, Brenda Murphy has embarked on a new life chapter as an author.
Her debut novel 'The Kilton Girls' written under the pen name Lexie Lee Elliott, and self-published through Carrowmore press in Dublin, has hit the shelves in Wexford Book Centre and Byrnes book stores of Enniscorthy, Wexford and Gorey.
Set in an Irish village in the 1950's, it tells the story of four young women friends Emily, Siobhan, Ellen and Charlotte aka the Kilton girls who 'contend with great love and tragic loss, with the challenges of business, of rumours and fierce loyalty, as they make their way through the dance of life'.
Inspired by the writing of Maeve Binchy and Alice Taylor, the book takes the reader into the daily lives and accompanying struggles and victories of the girls of the Kilton parish.
Bunclody-born Brenda who now lives with her husband Pat in his native Enniscorthy, is more familiar to people as the proprietor of Scissors Empire hairdressing salon in South Main Street, Wexford which she and Pat ran for 43 years until their retirement in late 2016.
Mother of the award-winning actress Charlie Murphy, Brenda wrote the book while she was still working, sometimes during breaks at the back of the hair salon and also studied social science and art through the Open University while running the business.
She has a second book completed, on a more hard-hitting theme and is currently looking for a publisher.
In the acknowledgements, Brenda offers a heartfelt thanks to everyone who helped to make the book possible including her family for their support, Anne Marie O'Connor for her invaluable help and Diana Ryan, Sinead Hudson and Amanda Thomas 'for all the fun we had on the Mondays when I was writing the book'.
She thanked her mother Alice Howard Dunbar, herself a storyteller, Fiona Kiernan for all her encouragement, and the author Patricia Murphy.
She remembered her late friend Betty Kiernan (wife of the late Dominic Kiernan) who encouraged her to finish the book. 'I miss all the stories and the endless cups of coffee', Brenda wrote.
'The Kiklton girls' is also available on Amazon paperback and kindle.