I was in a book store yesterday and I purchased a copy of The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.

It’s taken me a long time to get my hands on this book, but I knew I would enjoy reading it for two reasons. Firstly, I’ve read his other book The Messenger and it was delightful. He only has two books despite being a fantastic author. He really thinks about his stories.

[The lady at the book store said, ‘Unlike James Patterson who bangs out three books a year’. I replied saying he has several publishing houses behind him, so he can afford to pitch-pitch-pitch. Chances are one of them is going to take it. She said, ‘I find that a bit insulting to readers, don’t you think?’]

Secondly, my thirteen-year-old eyes were wide and bug like, because he was the first real author I had ever met; and his personality is amazing. I was thinking the other day about that author talk, back in 2004 – ten years ago – when he was asked questions by students. Someone raised their hand and said, “have you ever sat down and read your book?” meaning, as a proper, published book.

He replied, frankly, “No.”

At the time, I was shocked. I wished more than anything I could be sitting on my patio reading a real version of my book. I mean, seriously? All that work, and he hadn’t read it?

Now as an author myself, with one book out and another on the way, I totally agree. BLERGH!! [That was the sound of me vomiting]. I’ve read my book at least 300 times. Why would I want to read it again? Currently I’m doing the final edits on DIVIDED and it’s nauseating. Then, once the proofs come: I.must.read.it.again. Good thing I have a couple of chums, and my mum, who are going to help me. This is a totally normal feeling for writers. Once you start to feel like nothing you ever write is going to make it better: It’s time to stop. Chances are, you’re just making it worse.

M.J. xox

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