When The Book is YOUR Book!

Lots of people ask me what it’s like to receive your own book in the mail, and the answer is mind-blowing, surreal and really quite bonkers!

Normally when I buy or receive a book, I look at the cover, read the back and then get on with reading the actual story. However, when I receive my own book, I study it so much that I could have it as my specialist subject on Mastermind!

First of all, I always stare at the cover for a lonnnng time. Yes I’ll have seen it many times before then, but not in the flesh and certainly not to hold. I’ll look at every aspect of the cover – the style, size and colour of the font, the photograph, and even the texture. Then I’ll do the same with the back cover too.

Next I’ll open it up and gasp at the beauty of the end papers! Now let it be known that very rarely do end papers grab my attention in a book I’ve bought – unless they have something funky going on, like a photo or interesting pattern. But with my own books, they’re fascinating! The end papers for Before Marilyn for instance, show hundreds of photos from the Blue Book Agency. The end papers for Private and Undisclosed are  bright pink, and in The Girl they are gold (both to match the text of the titles). The end papers for The Battered Body, meanwhile, are blood red! I would never notice this in other books, but in my own it is absolutely intriguing!

Next I’ll start flicking through the book – I’ll read the Dedication, the Contents, and the Acknowledgements – even though I’ve read them all a thousand times before! I’ll do the same with the photographs because this will be the first time I’ve seen them on glossy paper! Then of course, comes the smell test. Yep, I’m a proud book sniffer (the sign of a true nerd!) and let me tell you that I’ve never been disappointed with the sniff-ability of my own books! 🙂

After I’ve looked through the book, it’s always great fun to show my family and watch their expressions as they study it in almost as much detail as I do. Then of course they see what I’ve written for them in the Acknowledgements. My family are always excited to see the book, and my parents read it straight away and give me regular updates on where they’re up to! I must say, The Battered Body Beneath the Flagstones is creating a lot of discussion when we get together. My parents are as shocked by the scandalous Victorians as I am!

After all the years I spent hoping, wishing and dreaming that I could become a full-time author, receiving my books is always a huge deal. How boring to be uninterested in your own book! At the moment I’m working on a book that will have lots of beautiful photos throughout, and I can’t wait to see what that one will look like! More on that later!!

For now, I hope you enjoy the photo of Betty posing with a copy of The Girl. She was absolutely thrilled to pieces, as you can see! 🙂


Before I go, I just want to make you aware of a competition I’m running, to win a signed copy of The Girl. To be in with a chance of winning, all you have to do is answer the following question: If you could go back to the 1950s to spend the day with Marilyn, where would you go and what would you do? Please comment here or on my  social media (@MMWriterGirl) by Wednesday, and I’ll pick a winner shortly after. Good luck!!

Until next time,

Michelle x

One thought on “When The Book is YOUR Book!

  1. Hi Michelle,
    The book looks fantastic! Here’s my competition entry:
    Going back to the 1950’s for a day would be a dream come true for me, especially if Marilyn Monroe was to share my adventure.

    It was a rainy July morning in 2018. I was standing at Waterloo Station ready for a day out in Blackpool. I hadn’t visited since I was a child and thought it would be nice to reminisce, however it was a typical British summer day – dark skies and rain, but I was determined to make the most of it. My train had been delayed, so I sat on a bench and dozed off. I soon awoke to a Guard’s whistle and an overwhelming smell of steam. As I rubbed my eyes I noticed the sun blazing in and people dressed in the most extraordinary outfits. It was as if I had woken up in a different world. The men were all in suits and the ladies in dresses with full skirts. I walked over to a newspaper stand and noticed the date: 8th August, 1957. I had always dreamed of going back to the 1950’s and now it was really happening! I couldn’t believe my luck and would do my utmost to blend in. I boarded the train for sunny Blackpool and managed to hide when the conductor came for the tickets, as I only had 21st century money in my handbag. It was going to be a day of ice creams, chips and mushy peas – all of which are timeless, I thought! As I boarded the train, I noticed a familiar face opposite me. The blonde hair was striking and the face was partially obscured by sunglasses, but there was no mistaking – it was Marilyn Monroe! I froze! “Dare I speak to her?” I whispered to myself. I took a deep breath and left my seat to wander over. I said a nervous “hello” and told Marilyn how much I loved her and her films. She seemed embarrassed, but explained she had crept out of her house at Englewood Green that morning to escape the hustle and bustle of London. I told her I was off to Blackpool for a day at the seaside. Surprisingly, Marilyn sounded rather excited at the thought of mushy peas which I must have made sound like some sort of delicacy! Marilyn asked me if I would mind her coming along. I couldn’t believe it, but told her it would be wonderful if she could join me for the day.

    When we arrived in Blackpool we found a women’s clothes shop selling the most beautiful Horrockses dresses. I had always dreamed of owning one of these gorgeous outfits and there were so many to choose from. I tried on a pink floral patterned dress with a tight bodice and gathered skirt. It was the most beautiful dress I had ever seen. Marilyn was more daring and picked out a bright yellow dress with abstract paintings on it. Marilyn asked the shop assistant if we could keep the outfits on and she would settle the bill. I was so touched by her generosity, as we had only met a few hours earlier. Marilyn said it was nice to wear a full skirt as the studio often insisted she wear figure hugging dresses that were extremely tight. We both left the shop with smiles on our faces and the sea breeze blowing round our ankles.

    As we walked down the promenade every head turned to look at Marilyn. We heard people saying “That girl looks just like Marilyn Monroe”; others rubbished the idea: “No that girl is a proper English rose” said one lady, much to Marilyn’s amusement. We strolled through the Winter Gardens and back onto the promenade for an authentic Italian ice cream. Marilyn loved the beach and we decided to set up some deckchairs and watch the endless parade of Donkey rides and children bringing buckets of water from the sea to fill moats they had built around their sandcastles. Men were in their Sunday best with hankies knotted on their heads – something Marilyn found very amusing. The sounds of waves and seagulls were so relaxing. Suddenly, Marilyn ran off for a paddle in the sea, giggling as she skipped barefoot through the sand. She frolicked in the waves and got some patches of her dress wet. I had a waited years to own a dress as beautiful as this one, so there was no way I was going to join her in the water! However, it was fun to see her enjoying herself so much. When Marilyn came back she was hungry, so we stopped by a cafe for chips and mushy peas with lashings of salt and vinegar.

    As we strolled along the promenade we came to Blackpool Tower. I asked Marilyn if she wanted to go inside and look at the grand ballroom, but she explained she loved the outdoors and was happy to stay on the seafront and listen to the waves crashing in. In the distance, a beauty contest took place. Imagine if the organisers had known Marilyn Monroe was standing just a few feet away! I noticed Marilyn looking around and taking everything in: the seagulls, the arguing families, the smell of chips and blobs of melted ice cream on the floor. She looked at her watch and said sadly ” It’s another world, but I need to get back now. I’ve got a full day filming tomorrow, but this has been great fun”. I was still starstruck. “Ok,” I replied “but there’s one thing we need to do first”. We dodged the trams and ran across the road to a shop selling sticks of rock. We both had a bright pink strawberry flavour stick of authentic Blackpool rock – as well as a giggle about the cheeky George Formby song ‘With My Little Stick of Blackpool Rock’. Marilyn and I decided to sing the song as we walked along the promenade and headed to the station in fits of laughter. We got some strange looks, but didn’t care!

    We boarded different trains and went our separate ways. As soon as I reached my seat, I dozed off and awoke to the sound of a mobile phone ringtone and the sound of rain hitting the carriage roof. As I looked around people were dressed in jeans, T shirts and jogging bottoms. Half asleep, I reached into my pocket for my train ticket, but instead pulled out a crumpled up wrapper – the kind used on sticks of rock! I realised that day, I had not met Marilyn Monroe, But Norma Jeane.

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