Aubrey Plaza, Dan Murphy bring 'Christmas Witch' to fans for the holidays

·4 min read

Let's set the scene.

It's a chilly December day. The sky is turning a dark, almost sinister purple. The leafless trees look like skeleton hands reaching out of the ground; a raven crows loudly.

You see a flash in front of you. You don't know if you should run or hide.

But wait. You're not lost in the woods somewhere; you're at the Brandywine Hundred Library watching Aubrey Plaza and Dan Murphy read from their new children's book, "The Legend of the Christmas Witch.''

The book follows Santa's twin sister as she tries to find her brother, while also trying to understand her magic and how to use it.

The event began with a loud witch cackle from Plaza as she and Murphy entered the room, Plaza in a red cloak and witch's hat and Murphy in a black sweater and Santa hat.

Aubrey Plaza and Dan Murphy read some of their new children's book 'Legend of a Christmas Witch' at the Brandywine Hundred Library Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021.
Aubrey Plaza and Dan Murphy read some of their new children's book 'Legend of a Christmas Witch' at the Brandywine Hundred Library Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021.

Murphy and Plaza started off by telling the audience about their experiences growing up in Delaware and how they met at the Wilmington Drama League when Murphy cast Plaza in his one-act play.

Before reading their book, Plaza confirmed that there will be a second book coming next year, in which the Christmas Witch wakes up in modern-day Delaware.

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Plaza and Murphy are both proud Delawareans. They even named one of the penguins in the book ''Elsmere'' after the town in Delaware.

"This is our last stop on the book tour and we, of course, saved the best for last," Plaza said.

Aubrey Plaza, right, reads from "The Legend of the Christmas Witch," a new children's book she wrote with longtime friend Dan Murphy, at a book reading at the Brandywine Hundred Library on Dec. 15, 2021.
Aubrey Plaza, right, reads from "The Legend of the Christmas Witch," a new children's book she wrote with longtime friend Dan Murphy, at a book reading at the Brandywine Hundred Library on Dec. 15, 2021.

The co-authors then took turns reading from "The Legend of the Christmas Witch,'' which came out this fall. They didn't read the entire book due to time constraints.

Plaza especially catered to younger children in the audience, who were seated upfront, creating different voices for different characters, and adding sound effects to help the story come to life.

Plaza patiently paused during the reading as children made comments.

The whole room erupted into laughter when Plaza finished her excerpt with the line, "She was sure he'd never find her once she returned to the South Pole."

This line was met with one little girl saying, "That's sad."

Never one to disappoint, Plaza quickly turned the page and kept reading because she "didn't want to end on a sad note."

Dan Murphy talks about "The Legend of the Christmas Witch," a newly released book he wrote with friend Aubrey Plaza, during a reading at the Brandywine Hundred Library on Dec. 15, 2021.
Dan Murphy talks about "The Legend of the Christmas Witch," a newly released book he wrote with friend Aubrey Plaza, during a reading at the Brandywine Hundred Library on Dec. 15, 2021.

After the reading, Plaza and Murphy fielded questions from children and adults alike.

When asked what their favorite part about being from Delaware is, Plaza smiled and said, "Well, I like to be number one." (Plaza was declared Delaware's most famous person in a Delaware Online/The News Journal poll in 2018).

"I don't know. I think my favorite part about Delaware is there's such a mystery about Delaware."

"When I talk about Delaware, it's like, y' know, you have a city, you have the beach, you have farms. We've got it all," Murphy said.

Aubrey Plaza reads her new children's book she wrote with longtime friend Dan Murphy at a book reading at the Brandywine Hundred Library Dec. 15, 2021.
Aubrey Plaza reads her new children's book she wrote with longtime friend Dan Murphy at a book reading at the Brandywine Hundred Library Dec. 15, 2021.

Talking about her now-signature witch cackle, Plaza said she had a plan to dress as a witch for interviews but that her cackle just "came out.''

"I realized it was actually a good tension release because I get so nervous doing interviews and talk shows. I just found if you scream as loud as you can right before an interview, it releases all that tension."

One of the sweetest exchanges came when Plaza's grandmother was handed the microphone to ask her own question.

Plaza smiled at her. "Yes, Grandmother?"

Her grandma asked how they came up with the name ''Kristtōrn'' for their character.

Aubrey Plaza welcomes the audience to a reading for her new children's book, "The Legend of the Christmas Witch,'' which she wrote with longtime friend Dan Murphy, at the Brandywine Hundred Library Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021.
Aubrey Plaza welcomes the audience to a reading for her new children's book, "The Legend of the Christmas Witch,'' which she wrote with longtime friend Dan Murphy, at the Brandywine Hundred Library Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021.

Before answering the question, Plaza went on to praise her grandmother for giving her a love of reading and helping her get to where she is today.

Plaza said she and Murphy wanted a name similar to Kris Kringle, as twins often have similar names. "It means 'holly' in Danish, I think."

The cover of the book shows Kristtōrn wearing a crown of holly.

"She's all about nature, and there's a theme we want to have in the book that's about her kind of celebrating nature."

After the questions, guests were welcome to go get a copy of the book while supplies lasted. Plaza was more than happy to stick around and chat with those who approached her.

Once the reading was over, she put on a face mask and sat down to talk with whoever stopped by.

This combination photo shows a portrait of actress-author Aubrey Plaza, left, and cover art for Plaza's children's book 'The Legend of the Christmas Witch,' co-written with Dan Murphy. The book was released this fall.
This combination photo shows a portrait of actress-author Aubrey Plaza, left, and cover art for Plaza's children's book 'The Legend of the Christmas Witch,' co-written with Dan Murphy. The book was released this fall.

This article originally appeared on Delaware News Journal: Aubrey Plaza, Dan Murphy make merry at Wilmington book reading

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