So today is the beginning of a three day Bank Holiday here in the UK, then on the day that everyone returns to work, The Girl will be published!! EEK! That means that in just four days, the book will be making its merry way out into the world. Are you excited? I know I am! (I’m also terrified, but that’s another story!).
So today I have a little sneak preview of the beginning of the book – the Introduction and the Preface. These two chapters have been posted on my publisher’s website, so please pop along and read them here. But not before you’ve finished reading my blog of course! 🙂
I’d also like to share a little story with you, about something that happened shortly after I began writing The Girl. In the 1990s I ran a little Marilyn club called The Marilyn Lives Society. I published a newsletter and became friends with many different fans – some of which are still in my life today. Around 1995, one of the members of my club – John Hazell – sent me a huge envelope containing copies of newspaper clippings that had been published during Marilyn’s lifetime. There were literally hundreds of pages in this file, so I separated them all into different folders according to subject (nerdy girl alert!) and filed them away with the intention of reading them, later….
Over the next few years, some of these files were really helpful to me. For instance, when I was writing a book about Marilyn’s trip to England (which later became Private and Undisclosed), I used the London articles during my research. However, while the England file was used time and time again, the rest of the envelopes were filed away in my cupboard, and promptly forgotten about.
In 2007 we had a house move and the files came with us, but were once again put into a cupboard and never looked at. Then when I was commissioned to write The Girl – a full twenty-two years since first receiving the clippings, I suddenly thought about them. Now I have written extensively about Marilyn over the years, and never have I remembered the clippings, so why they suddenly came into my mind remains a mystery. I went searching through all of my archives and there, right at the bottom, were the files. When I opened them up, I could not believe my eyes. All of the newspapers were British and many contained Marilyn interviews and details that I had never used in my books before. There was even a series of articles written by drama coach Natasha Lytess, which as far as I know, has been long forgotten by everyone. I was astounded.
How could I have forgotten these files existed?! Maybe I just needed to wait for the right book to come along, before the universe wanted me to find them, who knows? I’m just glad I did. By reading these interviews, I discovered that Marilyn spoke to several British reporters many times, and she shared quotes with them that were rare and full of emotion. One of these was to David Lewin from The Daily Express: “It is getting used to it – happiness and belonging – that is difficult. I’m not satisfied with myself – no one ever is. What I’d like… what I’d like is to have more freedom within myself. Freedom to be really happy. I’m still a little scared of it all.”
The lovely friend who sent me all of these newspaper clippings passed away many years ago, but I still think of him with great fondness. I hope that wherever he is now, he is pleased that I found his donations in my cupboard, and have finally made good use of them. Thank you John!! 🙂
Until next time,