Maile Meloy is the award-winning author of the short story collections Both Ways Is The Only Way I Want It and Half in Love, and the novels Liars and Saints and A Family Daughter. The Apothecary, her first novel for young readers, is due out in October.
From Meloy's Q & A with Shannon Maughan at Publishers Weekly:
You’ve had a critically acclaimed career trajectory as an author for adults. What was behind your decision to write for a younger audience?Visit Maile Meloy's website.
I had just finished the manuscript of Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It, my last story collection, and I wasn’t sure what I was going to do next. I’ve heard that Iris Murdoch used to finish one novel, write “THE END,” and put a fresh piece of paper in the typewriter to start a new one. I’m not like that. While I was kicking around ideas, my friends Mark Levin and Jennifer Flackett told me they had a movie idea about a mysterious apothecary. Mark and Jen are filmmakers [directors of Nim’s Island; screenwriters of the 1998 film version of Madeline] and whirling dervishes of creativity, with six projects always going at once (and two precocious kids). They thought the apothecary idea should be a novel first, and that I should write it. I said I’d try, not knowing that it would take over the next three years of my life.
Was your approach to the book any different when writing for younger readers?
The first couple of chapters were heaven, because I had a kind of game plan from Mark and Jen. I thought, “this is fantastic! This is the only way to write novels!” Then I called them and said, “What happens next?” And they said, “We don’t know! Keep going!” So I did, feeling like I was building the bridge as I was walking on it, and I wrote the first draft in six weeks. It was an absolute pleasure. I think it went so quickly because there was no pressure, and no expectation. I didn’t write kids’ books, so I wasn’t worried about whether it was bad or good. And if there were rules, I didn’t know what they were. I got Janie and Benjamin into situations where I didn’t know how they’d get out, and I felt like...[read on]
What is Maile Meloy reading?
The Page 69 Test: Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It.
The Page 99 Test: Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It.