Monday, November 4, 2019

Chatting with Meg Cabot

Anyone who reads my blog knows that Adore Meg Cabot and her books. I'll read anything she writes. I was super excited when I realized that she was going to be at BEA this past year signing Black Canary ARCs. 

Well, Amanda and I were almost late to the signing. Once we got our badges and dropped off our bags, we made a beeline for the booth. I was surprised to see there wasn't much of a line. I think there were two people in front of us. 

The line manager was holding up the book and said it was the last copy. My  face fell. Amanda graciously said that I should take the book. Luckily, the line manager found another copy for Amanda.

I'm excited to chat with the fabulous Meg Cabot all about the book that just came out last week!

If you could pick a superpower to have, what would it be?
 If I could pick any superpower, it would be the power to turn invisible! Then I could sneak into all sorts of concerts and eat in restaurants for free! And I could spy on everyone’s conversations. I would always know the truth about what was being said, especially by big corporations and world leaders! And of course I’d record these conversations and play them for the world. Oh, and of course I’d steal things I wanted, like art from museums. I didn’t say I’d be a GOOD superhero! 

That's a great superpower to have. 

What are the differences in the creative process between writing a novel and writing a graphic novel? I had no idea writing a graphic novel would be so different! It’s more like writing a screenplay (which I did for the movie Ice Princess starring Michelle Trachtenberg and Kim Catrall), although even more work, because you have to describe what’s happening in every single panel, including the facial expressions of the characters, what they’re saying, wearing, what’s going on in the background, etc. Fortunately DC held workshops in NYC taught by legends like Jim Lee. I’m so glad attended these – I learned so much! 

Oh, that's very different!

 I loved how Dinah's friends talked about everyday people making a difference. Has anyone recently made a difference in your life? 
I’ve been fortunate to have so many amazing role models in my life, everyone from my mom to my teachers to librarians who helped me find great books to read that I’d never have discovered on my own, to women I worked for—I always had amazing bosses who were very encouraging—all the way to when I became published and writers like Judy Blume and Tamara Pierce took me under their wing and gave me great advice. I’ve been so lucky in that way, and have always tried to make a difference in the lives of other young people whenever I could. 

Oh, I love the shoutout to librarians. I love it when people reach out and help others. 

I love how the book takes place during career week. What did you want do with your life when you were in middle school? 
Ha, thanks for noticing that! When I was Dinah’s age, I wanted to be everything from a veterinarian to a police detective to an actress to a writer. I was obsessed with Nancy Drew and animals and solving crimes, and spent most of my time going around my neighborhood writing down what my neighbors were doing (I thought a number of them were criminals). Eventually all these notes became books that happily for my neighbors will never get published as my handwriting is illegible. 

That's funny. You were like Harriet the Spy! Apparently I wanted to be a high school English teacher. Which I wouldn't chose today. Although I'd love to teach a college/graduate course on YA Literature. (So I guess it's kind of similar...)

I also loved the feminist concept of speaking up and controlling your voice. Did you have a moment in middle school (or high school) where you spoke up? Or wanted to speak up? 
I had a pretty bad lisp as a kid and got made fun of a lot when I spoke, so I was very shy – until I went through Speech and Hearing in 2nd grade. Then I gained a lot more confidence – so much so that my middle school principal told me I was the loudest kid in the whole cafeteria and that I needed to shut up! This was one of my proudest moments (I was only entertaining my friends, putting on a little show for them during lunch). That’s when I knew I’d probably be an entertainer of some kind when I grew up. What drew me to Black Canary is that she only has one superpower, and it’s her voice – and she uses it to make things right in the world, the same way I used mine to make people feel entertained. I think that’s a great message for not only girls, but all kids – you have a voice, and it’s not only okay, but important to use it to make change. This message especially resonates with me since for so long as a kid I was afraid to use mine. 

Such a great lesson in life! 

Thanks so much for chatting with me today, Meg!

And if you haven't read the graphic novel yet, don't wait! It's a fun middle school graphic novel about music, friendship, family, and finding your voice.

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