By Maria Duffy. First published on Sunday 18th December 2011. 49 Comments so far.

A bit of magic this Christmas!

Today we had our annual family Christmas day out at the shops. It’s often a stressful day with moans of “My legs are sore from walking” and “I’m so hot I think I’m going to faint” and “When are we going to McDonalds?” and always “She/he started it”! But it just wouldn’t be Christmas without it. Despite the usual stresses, it’s always a lovely day where we spend some quality time together and have some fun.

But I won’t bore you with the humdrum of present buying and petty squabbles. I want to tell you about an incident, which may seem trivial to most of you, but really meant the world to me!

Let me first take you back to this time last year. On this very night, a week before Christmas, I was out with some friends and we were talking about our wishes and dreams. I told them how much it would mean to me to have my book published. I had an agent at that stage, but no book deal. I remember one friend in particular saying how cool it would be to walk into a shop and see my book on the shelves, or better still, to even see someone buying it!

Fast forward to today and me with my 8 year old son, standing on a very long queue in a book shop. We’d just admired my book on the shelves and, as always, I had to swallow a lump in my throat at seeing my name up there, right beside some of my favourite authors. That’s when Conor almost squealed with excitement and whispered (very loudly!) to me: “That man behind us has your book – he’s buying Any Dream Will Do!”

The next few minutes saw both of us turn into first class spies, as we watched the poor, unsuspecting man, just in case he’d put the book back down, and tried to listen to the conversation he was having with his daughter. “Tell him, tell him,” Conor insisted, beside himself with excitement. If the truth be told, I was just as excited but managed to contain it a little better!

I tweeted from the queue (as you do!) to share this moment with my twitter friends and I had an overwhelming response telling me to go and introduce myself to him. At that stage, he was already giving me funny looks because I was staring so as we were both leaving the shop at the same time, I decided to take the plunge! I went up to him and apologised for staring at him but told him that I’d written the book he’d just bought and it was the first time I’d seen anyone buying it. I was almost purple with embarrassment but he was lovely. He was totally thrilled. He said he’d bought it for his wife and asked me to sign it for her. He told me it would make the present extra special and he’d have a fabulous story to tell over Christmas dinner! I can’t tell you how that made me beam from ear to ear!

I always tell my children that there’s a bit of magic in the air at Christmas and today, I really felt it. So in attempted to spread a bit of that magic, if you leave a comment below, I’ll pick out a name tomorrow for a signed copy of Any Dream Will Do.

Dontcha just love Christmas?

Maria x

49 comments so far

  • That’s a great story and all the better because it’s so near to Christmas! Can’t you just see that as a scene in a romantic film – except that he’d be buying the book for his sister – and on impulse she’d add her email address to the signature – and ooh, maybe I’ve just come up with new idea for a book!
    Enjoy those moments Maria – and enjoy Christmas

  • Loved watching this story unfold in your timeline, Maria. 🙂 I’m sure that man was as thrilled as you were by the encounter.


  • Aww that’s an amazing feeling! Your kids must be so proud of you. I think sometimes we take such pride in our kids and yet we can beat ourselves up for not being the perfect mother, wife or daughter. Sometimes if we just get a glimpse of ourselves through our kids eyes it makes you feel like superwoman! Well done you for achieving your dream and remember just how amazing you are to your kids!

  • What a great feeling that must have been! To follow your dream and then to have it validated by seeing your work published and people buying and enjoying it! Wow, what a lovely Christmas gift to you.

  • It’s been so lovely to see someone so genuinely excited by their success! And your son is obviously as excited as you are! Congratulations and merry Christmas!

  • Wow, that is such a gorgeous story! I bet that man was just as excited as you once he realised why you were staring at him. What a brilliant feeling that must have been. I hope you have many more experiences like that in future :o)

  • Oh wow, I´d love to one day experiance the same. We´ll see ;). What a fab feeling it must be to see soeone buy the book you wrote.
    That´s a real christmas present! 🙂 Congratulations!!

  • I love that story because that is exactly my dream. I was wandering around in Waterstones today and saw ‘Any dream will do’ on the shelve and just squealed for you. Well done, you have had an amazing year. xx

  • What a wonderful experience, and even more so in that you made a difference to someone’s day. I bet his wife will treasure the book as he met the author & got it signed – well, I’m sure she would treasure it anyway, of course.

  • What a difference a year makes. I would love an author to tell me if she saw me buying her books and with all the books I buy you would think it’s bound to happen sometime. I worked with a Dr who’s name is Maria Duffy and when I first saw your name I thought she had started writing. I bet she finds it strange to see her name on books now.

  • Lol do you know Maria I love seeing your book in the shops and smile to myself when I think how eccited you must be…I bought it for my friends birthday but have not read it myself yet but its next on my list when I am sure I have all bought for my nieces n nephew and friends. I dont be on twitter the same these days but im delighted u got ur bookdeal and tweettreats got published also…what a difference a year makes xxx

  • Congratulations on fulfilling your dream.
    It must have been a wonderful feeling to see a stranger purchase your book. Well done for approaching that man. I am sure you made his day special also.

  • Hi Maria,

    So nice to hear your Christmas magic story and what a lucky man he was to be buying the book when you were in the store, it made for a lovely serendipity moment for the purchaser, the author and the very excited little boy! It just goes to prove that magic is everywhere and good magic envelopes everyone with it’s special glow. Merry Christmas to you and yours and I just can’t wait until it appears on the shelves in Melbourne!

    LOve Jan xxoo

  • Wonderful story Maria, for a wonderful person. I could imagine your excitement in the queue when I read the tweets about it! And glad your youngest was with you! What a treat for him.

    Can you imagine the story that man has to tell on Christmas Day!!

    Thrilled for you xx

  • Have been following your Twitter Time line and loved that tweet from bookshop – well done – bought your book myself yesterday – looking forward to reading it over the holidays!

  • That is a delightful story. As a book blogger I get my favourites and once I tackled a lady in Waterstones who ws havering over buying a book I had simply loved. I think I rather scared her and she grabbed the book, paid for it and ran out of the shop!! Got some funny looks from the staff behind the till, I think they thought I was a stalker. Good luck with the book.

  • Hi Maria, how lovely for you to see another person ‘buy’ your book for the first time!! How even lovlier that your son was with you to share the moment. Your children must be very proud of their mum….it is so important that our ‘young folk’ dare to dream and more importantly dare to believe that their dream will come true!! Have a magical Chriastmas. x Maura

  • what a fantastic feeling that must have been. Sounds like your son is very proud of you too! Bet that mans wife will have gained a few extra brownie points too, getting her a signed copy.
    Please enter me into the draw – i would love to own a signed copy too!

  • Aw, what a lovely story! I have just come across your blog and would love to read your book. I have a couple of writing friends and I know what an accomplishment your first book is. Congratulations!

  • That is an incredibly cool story. I get enough of a kick out of seeing people buying friends’ books – I can’t begin to imagine how great it would be to see someone buying one of mine but I’m taking inspiration from the fact that this time last year you weren’t published and now you are. Have a very Happy Christmas, Maria! You’re an inspiration.

  • Well done smarts for making ‘someone’ very happy… My kids got very excited when I told them I knew you from Twitter so I can just imagine how your kids feel…they must b so proud of you. Most of all enjoy the success x

  • Fabulous story – and a lovely dream come true! I’m writing a novel and hope to finish early in the New Year and start submitting, so its lovely to hear the difference a year has made for you. Happy Christmas.

  • Congratulations on your book. I hope somebody gets me this for Christmas of not I will get myself 🙂 I love your Dancing queen poem . My daughter is 8 and I’m waiting for that day when she says but fairies don’t exist then I shall tell her well a lady once said …. Congratulations again 🙂

  • Ah I loved reading this! So glad you got to have your dream come true 🙂
    Wishing you and your family a merry Christmas 🙂

  • Thanks to everyone for the lovely comments. My daughter, Enya, is ten today so I asked her to pick a number between 1 and 38 as there are 38 comments. She picked 19, her birthday date, so congratulations Bernie Jenkins, you’ve won a signed copy of Any Dream Will Do. Can you contact me with your address please – you’ll find me on twitter at @mduffywriter or on facebook. x

  • I just got to read your blog, Maria. What a wonderful story and so perfect for Christmas. I bet that man is totally thrilled to have met the author. I know if I bumped into the author of a book I was buying I would be in a state of shock for a while. It’s so marvelous to watch your dreams coming true.

  • Thus is my first time on twitter,i am inspired by your story, i left school at 14 not because i wanted to, i am now doing a back to education course. I love reading and will buy your book today, My course has opened up a wlole new world for me.

  • i am on a back to education course and was looking for reviews for my commucations class i came across your story. i will buy your book today recomend it to my tutor to read and do a review on it. your are my .role model for the future. This is my first time on twitter.

  • Reading this certainly made mine, yours and that Lovely chap’s day. Made me grin like a basket of chips – one of my dad’s sayings xx.

  • What an incredible feeling! I am historically a Mummy Blogger, but as my daughter gets more interested in more interesting books (!) I am increasingly drawn to more book oriented blogs. I got you in a #ff on twitter yesterday and am really pleased to have found you 🙂

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