By Ameerah Holliday
Mysterious Galaxy is a unique bookstore after all not many places have green walls and aliens on their signs. When I walked in to the store on October 5th, for the signing of Made For You, the latest novel by bestselling author Melissa Marr, I was immediately greeted by two things: an Edgar Allen Poe lunchbox and a very excited employee wearing a “Need a hug?” tee shirt. I knew this signing was going to be interesting.
Before Marr arrived I explored the intimate bookstore on my own. The store itself was warm and friendly, more like a home library than a business. During my exploration of the Galaxy I overheard hushed conversions about upcoming signings, the plethora of books surrounding us, and of course, Melissa Marr.
The audience sat in fold-away chairs that had been arranged just for the signing. They expectantly faced a lone book that was sitting on a table, waiting to hear the author read the story it held within the pages. But before Marr began telling her story, she participated in a sudden impromptu photo shoot with her friends and familiar readers in attendance. As the signing began, Marr was introduced by the owner of the store, stating “we’ve been fans since Wicked Lovely times and now she’s back and she can see dead people!” Immediately, the twenty chairs were surrounded by the rest of the wandering shoppers everyone was already hooked.
Marr began her signing with a presentation and a short Q&A. She expressed her gratitude to the owners, sharing that she was a regular at Mysterious Galaxy, San Diego and that there is “something in the air or the water out here that makes books happen!” She began her signing with a series of announcements, one of which included reassurance that the film adaptation of Wicked Lovely was still in effect. She gushed about the project “it’s better than my book!”
Marr then gave her audience a brief overview of her latest novel Made For You, a thriller inspired by her own experiences with being stalked in North Carolina, which was not illegal at the time and resulted in her stalker never being caught. Made For You is a new experience for the author who is known for her fantasy novels. When asked about her taking on the world of thrillers, Marr gushed that, “I don’t believe there is a genre I could not consider.”
The novel’s main character, Eva, is described by Marr as “a strong protagonist.” Marr stated that she found inspiration through the writing of her character who exemplifies that “courage is what you do when you’re scared, and you do it anyhow.”
Courage is what you do when you’re scared, and you do it anyhow.
As her signing continued, her audience- driven by the knowledge of her teaching experience- began to become intrigued with Marr’s views on literature and the teaching of it today. Marr raved about teaching and her own writing processes, calling herself “a chaotic writer. When the words are here, I write them.” She ended her presentation with words of inspiration to her readers, expressing “I [Marr] taught the literature that makes me want to weep and howl” and that serves as inspiration to continue to push her boundaries as a writer and continue to inspire others as a teacher. When asked if she had any advice for other authors, Marr laughed and said, “there isn’t a right way, there isn’t a right answer… but I would rather anyone in general pursue something that fills you with passion.”