Elaine Forrestal

Blurbs and Boobooks

The wise old owl who lives in our garden

At the moment we are grappling with the problem of how to give potential readers of Goldfields Girl a taste for this book, which has been written for all ages from Middle Primary up. ‘In two or three sentences? An impossible task,’ my wise old friend Boobook tells me from his favourite branch in our lilli-pilli tree. But then what would he know? He’s never read a book in his life. He does, however, have many stories to tell if only we could speak his language. Suddenly I realise that the crux of this matter is how we use our own language. When the size allowed for the blurb on the back of a book is so small, how are we ever to choose the right words for everyone?

I guess what I want the blurb to say is that I have written this book for me, and learned a lot about myself along the way. But then that’s what has happened with all of my books and it’s not what the browser in catalogues, bookshops and libraries wants to know. Really their question is ‘Will I like this book?’ And maybe the blurb should say, ‘This is a book for everyone who has ever wanted to go off on an adventure into the unknown. A journey that will test courage, endurance, survival skills and emotional resilience. A story of life and death in the wild, unforgiving landscape of the Western Desert in the 1890s when life for everyone was equally hard and a sense of humour was a precious gift.

Also that writing blurbs is never easy.