Monday May 22, 2017

How Melanie J. Fishbane found the voice of a teenaged L.M. Montgomery

Melanie J. Fishbane is the author of Maud

Melanie J. Fishbane is the author of Maud (Ayelet Tsabari/Penguin Teen)

Listen 3:21

Melanie J. Fishbane is a long-time fan of Anne of Green Gables and its' author Lucy Maud Montgomery. Her new novel, Maud, is a fictionalized account of Montgomery's teenaged years L.M. Montgomery — Maud to her friends — longed to go to college and become a writer, but it wasn't a hospitable time for an ambitious young woman with an independent streak. 

Finding Maud's voice

I went about writing the book by going back to her journals. I looked at what the arc would have been for her teenage years and listened for the voice. What came to me was that this was a person with so much ambition during the late Victorian-era Canada, when women had no rights. We couldn't vote, we couldn't own property. She always wanted a sense and place of home, but she also wanted to write and she wanted an education. I had to think about what it would have been like in such a controlling world for women.

How Maud made it through adolescence 

What took Maud from all of this conflict to becoming this beloved Canadian writer was passion. She knew what she wanted. She learned how to be in the community and navigate around the politics. She used the passion within to write her story.

Melanie J. Fishbane's comments have been edited and condensed.