Creative Companions

I don’t normally do this, but I found this too hilarious not to share. One of the things that I do for inspiration is follow a few blogs of teen authors that I really like. Libba Bray and Maureen Johnson are two authors whose books are intelligent, hilarious and don’t seem to take themselves too seriously (which I like.) I discovered Libba Bray a few years ago with her first novel, A Great and Terrible Beauty, about a sixteen year-old who discovers she can connect with this other mystical world came out. Since then, she has finished the series and I spend one weekend, engulfing them. They are sort of a Victorian gothic mystery/mystical books. The characters are complex and interesting and she isn’t scared to go to places where some teen authors might stray for fear of being banned in school libraries.

Maureen Johnson has a few books out, but the one I had read was called Suite Scarlett about a teenage girl who lives with her family in a rundown hotel in New York City. It sort of reminded me of Eloise meets Are you there God Its Me Margaret? First love, dramatic mayhem and an eccentric rich lady round out this cast of characters. There is a sequel to come.

What I love about some of the authors that are now publishing, is seeing the network or creative companionship that has emerged. It is not only great to see how much they help each other creatively, but these two clearly are good friends. Recently, I finished a great book called The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E.Lockheart. In her acknowledgement section in the back, she thanks (among others) teen author of the Uglies series, Scott Westerfeld. It was interesting for me to see who she mentioned and how they helped her along. The book is a witty satiracal look at one Frankie Landau-Bank’s one-woman escapade as she takes down the establishment (at least tries to) at a private school for the rich and richer. The book contains a ton of literary references and was quite enjoyable to read.

Here is a video of Libba Bray and Maureen Johnson at the American Girl store in New York. Libba apparently is scared of dolls and here we see her facing her fears. I think this is part of some larger “facing your fears” thing that the two authors were doing.

Personally, this resonated because my parents have a house full of dolls. At one point they had these Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy dolls standing on the top of the stairs staring down upon us as we entered the house. I mentioned to them that this was incredibly creepy. But my mother thinks that they are all adorable. In the family room, there are about fifteen dolls on top of the huge armoir. In what was my old bedroom, dolls sit on chairs and shelves and the couch.

Thus, I understood completely where Libba Bray was coming from. I have to say, she is definitely a braver woman then I….


About Melanie J. Fishbane

My novel, MAUD: A Novel Inspired by the Life of L.M. Montgomery was published in 2017 through Penguin Random House on April 25, 2017. I hold an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Here I talk about my writing process, things I love, and creative people who inspire me.
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