By Maria Duffy. First published on Thursday 25th July 2013. 4 Comments so far.

What are the chances?

I keep saying I must set up a new blog, update my website, write a monthly newsletter… but the thoughts of anything remotely technical sends me into a spin.  So for now, I’m just going to write a post here, on my old, neglected blog.  I was tempted to tell the story with tweets but I reckon it would have taken a whole lot of 140 character posts to get it told.

I seem to be the queen of funny/awkward/embarrassing situations, with my friends regularly telling me: “It could only happen to you!”  And today was no exception.  I was dropping my son to work in Easons in Liffey Valley and decided to have a browse while I was there.  I was talking to my friend and fellow author, Michelle Jackson, on the phone as I was looking around.  As we were chatting, I overheard a girl say to her friend: “I wonder if there’s a new Michelle Jackson out”.  I whispered this to Michelle who was, of course, delighted.  “See if they find one,” she said, as I proceeded to duck behind book shelves and pretended to look busy!

But instead of finding one of Michelle’s books, the two girls suddenly pounced on my latest book, The Letter, and proceeded to giggle and hug the book!  I was a little startled as I reported the developments to Michelle!  “Go and talk to them,” she said.  “They’d get a good laugh out of knowing you’re there.”  I thought about this for a moment and then decided to be brave!

Me with the other Maria Duffy

Me with the other Maria Duffy

“Sorry for interrupting,” I said, my cheeks burning.  “But did I hear you say you were looking for a Michelle Jackson book?”

“Yes,” the both said.  “We love her books.  She’s one of our favourite authors.”  I could feel the heat of Michelle’s beam down the phone.

“Well I’m talking to her on the phone at the moment and she’ll be delighted to hear that.”

Then the squeals began!  “Oooooh you ARE NOT!  REALLY?  Are you serious?  It’s really her on the phone? OMG!!”

And just as I thought the situation couldn’t get any funnier, one of them held up The Letter (my book!) and said: “And I’m Maria Duffy – not the real one of course, but that’s my name too!”

I was completely thrown at that since I hadn’t said who I was.  “Em, I’m actually Maria Duffy,” I say, slightly confused by the situation.

“OMG!! Do you know her too?  I love her books.  I read The Terrace and loved it.”

“No, I don’t know her – I am her.  That’s me.”

Then the squeals recommenced.  “Oooooh ARE YOU? NO WAY! REALLY? Can we get a picture? Will you sign a book?”

It was such a funny, surreal moment but we had such a laugh as I signed a book and Michelle chatted to one of them on the phone.  They were sisters, stocking up on books because one of them is going into hospital tomorrow.  The one called Maria Duffy said that her friends often tease her about the books, asking her when her next one is out.  She couldn’t believe she just bumped into me and I was just as

delighted to hear they’re fans of my books.  They went off with copies of The Letter and 5 Peppermint Grove.  The picture is me with the other Maria Duffy – she looked like a model and I’d just slipped out in my rags with no make-up on and hair not done!  Ah well, it was worth it to give me the biggest laugh I’ve had in ages and I know Michelle Jackson is still laughing too!

Maria x

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