So you know Belle, right? Of course you do.
Belle’s Bookshelf is one of my all time favourite book blogs and Belle is one of my favourite people of all time. I know she’s a pretty big fan of this feature so of course I was going to ask her if she’d get Under the Covers with me and talk about the story behind her most precious books.
When Jo asked me to get Under the Covers with her I jumped at the chance. Thanks Jo, you saucy minx!
My bookshelves are filled to bursting with quite ordinary books (ordinary in the sense that the physical copies don’t have special stories, not that the contents aren’t special, of course). I do, however, have a few that are on my must-save-in-a-fire list, including the two I’m going to share with you today: On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta and Preloved by Shirley Marr. They sit very close to each other on my shelf, which is in alphabetical order – something about the “Mar” surname seems to create literary magic! I might have to change mine before I ever try to get published.
Of course I’d have to actually complete writing something first. I’m one of those people that keeps talking and talking about writing and is too chicken to do much about it. Well, last year I decided to put my money where my mouth is and I signed up for a creative writing course with none other than the Queen of Aussie YA, Melina Marchetta. Not gonna lie, I would have paid just to meet her, let alone learn from her. She’s one of my favourite writers – and I’d only read two of her books at the time. I wanted to read as many as I could before the course started, so I ordered Saving Francesca, The Piper’s Son and On the Jellicoe Road online and devoured them as soon as the postman dropped them off.
Needless to say, the course was amazeballs. Sadly I still haven’t finished writing anything – though I did start, which is better than before! But back to the book. When the final class came, I knew I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get something signed by Double M, as Jo would say. I took along On the Jellicoe Road because we’d talked a bit about it in class, so it felt fitting.
Towards the end of the class we somehow got into a discussion about where people buy their books. We discussed online stores and the damage they can do to local bookshops. Melina talked about how she supports her local stores as much as possible, especially when it comes to Australian novels. Why am I telling you this? Well, you’ll see.
Things wrapped up, and I nervously went to the front of the class to get my book signed. Another lady had the same idea, and started talking to Melina about On the Jellicoe Road while she waited for her to sign my book.
As I picked up my newly-inscribed novel (and tried not to squee out loud), the lady next to me said, “Hey, how come you’ve got a different cover to me? And it only says Jellicoe Road?!”
“Um… I think it’s the American version,” I mumbled.
“How did you get your hands on that?” This was from Melina herself.
“Um… I got it online.”
Yeah. I was just slightly mortified, regretting my Book Depository addiction more than ever. But don’t worry, I quickly forgot that mortification about an hour later, when I managed to spill wine across the table towards Melina after she so kindly agreed to come to the pub with us. I’m cool like that.
The story behind Preloved is much shorter and contains much less embarrassment. Back when it was but a twinkle in Ms Marr’s eye, I won a competition on another book blog to have a cameo appearance in the follow-up to Fury. As if that wasn’t awesome enough, when Preloved came out, Shirley sent me my very own copy, complete with a very lovely inscription. I was tickled as pink as her pen.
Where on the shelf?
Thank you Jo for having me on your awesome blog!
No, thank YOU, lovely Belle for writing such a great post. I mean… it kinda makes my stories pale in comparison. A cameo in a book? Lovesong written in it in gorgeous pink pen (and Ms Marr’s fancypants scrawl)? A writing class with Melina Marchetta? WINE WITH MELINA MARCHETTA?
Some girls have all the fun.