Monday, June 7, 2010

Another Meloy to Write for Young Readers

A while back we wrote in this blog that Colin Meloy, lead singer/songwriter for the Portland-based band The Decemberists, had signed a contract with Harper Collins to write a three-book adventure series for kids, illustrated by his wife Carson Ellis. Now we've just learned that his sister, Maile Meloy, has also signed to write a kids book.

Maile, the author of two interconnected novels (Liars and Saints and A Family Daughter) and two collections of short stories (Half in Love and Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It) has signed a contract with G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers for a Young Adult novel, The Apothecary, set during the cold war that follows a teenage girl who moves to London. While there, a chance meeting with a strange apothecary draws her into a scheme to save the world from nuclear destruction.

Maile's most recent book, Both Ways..., was cited in the Top Ten Books of 2009 by The New York Times Book Review and was named a Best Book of 2009 by The LA Times. The stories focus on big moments in small, isolated lives, featuring decent people with tragic flaws that lead them to try to have it both ways, which of course they can't.

She was born in Helena, Montana, and currently lives in LA. She earned her MFA in fiction writing from UC-Irvine. Some of the books that influenced her early on were Still Life with Woodpecker, by Tom Robbins, and The Monkeywrench Gang, by Edward Abbey. Some of the books she's loved lately include Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives, by David Eagleman; Let the Great World Spin, by Colum McCann; and Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel. She's also a big fan of The Collected Stories of John Cheever and Nine Stories, by J.D. Salinger.

Maile likes going back and forth between writing short stories and writing novels: "It's like the difference between a long marriage and dating, and there are advantages to each." Her advice to writers is to "set aside a time to write, even if it's only an hour or two a day, and think of the time as the requirement....I start many, many stories and abandon most of them, but eventually some pay off."

Not too surprisingly, Maile lists The Decemberists as one of her favorite bands. And now we will be treated to books for young readers from both Meloys!

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