I am absolutely thrilled to welcome Melanie Fishbane to What Was on…
Melanie is one of the world’s leading experts on Anne of Green Gables and its author, Lucy Maud Montgomery. She is so in-the-know that she was tapped by Penguin Random House Canada to write a novel inspired by the teen life of Montgomery—a life that is indeed fiction-worthy! Maud, which is hot off the presses, is rich in details and a marvelous gateway into the world of L.M. Montgomery. But it’s just not for fans! Lovers of historical fiction and children’s literature alike will revel in this story.
While writing Maud, Melanie immersed herself completely in the life and ways of L.M. Montgomery. Today, she joins us from Toronto, where she lives with her partner and cat, Merlin, to tell us about her ‘method’ writing and What Was on Melanie Fishbane’s…
Office Walls: Right now my office walls are empty because I’m moving. But when I was in full-on Maud-writing mode there was a plotting chart featuring the various scenes, pictures from the archives that I had printed up, as well as maps of Cavendish, Park Corner and the whole of Prince Edward Island and Prince Albert. You couldn’t turn around without catching something related to the novel.
Kitchen Table: I drank a lot of rooibos teas, particularly one from the PEI Preserves company and another called, Alpine Punch by David’s Tea. Alpine Punch reminded of “The Alpine Path,” Maud’s autobiography. I also ate those traditional Scottish shortbreads…I should have learned how to bake them. It helped me get into character.
Playlist: I always need music and listened to secular and popular music from the period, as well as contemporary artists from the Island, particularly The Meds and Catherine MacLellan. Sia’s “1000 Forms of Fear” was also on repeat for awhile. (You can find my full play list here.)
Travel Agenda: I travelled all over to do research for the novel. I went to Prince Albert, Saskatchewan and tried to recreate Maud’s trip when she stopped in Duck Lake. I also journeyed to Cavendish and Park Corner, Prince Edward Island.
List of favourite similarities between Anne of Green Gables and L.M. Montgomery: Hmmm….Maud sometimes felt like an outsider, an orphan because her father lived in Saskatchewan and her mother had died when she was 21 months old. Anne was an orphan whose parents had died when she was a baby. She also had some dear friends which are said to be inspirations for some of her fiction, such as Laura Pritchard, the friend Maud had made in Prince Albert, as being part of the inspiration for Diana Barry. And, a couple of Maud’s boyfriends, two I talk about in my book—Nate Lockhart and Will Pritchard—who are composites for Gilbert Blythe.
Calendar: I’m quite grateful for all of the exciting things they’ve got planned for me. On the day my book launched, April 25th, I was on Global TV’s The Morning Show in Canada (first time on TV!). On April 29th I participated in Canadian Authors for Indie Day at Ben McNally Books and Book City in Toronto. Today (May 2nd) I’ll be having my official launch at Ben McNally Books in Toronto and then, on Thursday May 4th, we’ll be celebrating in Charlottetown, PEI at the Confederation Centre for the Arts. This is part of a week-long festivity promoting reading on the Island called Reading Town. It is very exciting.
Post-its: I’ve always been partial to Madeleine L’Engle’s quote: “You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.” And there was a quote one of my advisors gave to me about being true to the fictions we wish to create.
Bedside Table: Rereading, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood and I’m about to start Goodnight from London by Jennifer Robson.
Neighborhood Street: My neighbour is the best. We’ve known each other for 10 years and she helps me tend my garden—okay she gardens in my garden, but she’s way better at it. She tends to hibernate in the winter and we know Spring is coming when we see her. I’m not sure how I will know the change of seasons without her next door to me in two weeks.
Mind: A constant tug and pull to create balance, find the boundaries, be proud of where I’m at. Be in the now. Celebrate. Embrace.
Wonderful, Melanie. Thank you.
If you would like to purchase Maud: A Novel Inspired by the Life of L.M. Montgomery, click the book link below.
Melanie Fishbane Sandra Nickel Melanie Fishbane Sandra Nickel Melanie Fishbane Sandra Nickel