New Montgomery book looks at author's teen years, with a twist

A new book about L.M. Montgomery is out, but this one takes the Island's author somewhere new, into biographical fiction.

Author builds fictional story of Maud around her journals, writings

Melanie Fishbane is the author of the new book Maud, which explores the teen years of L.M. Montgomery. (CBC)

Just when you thought you'd read everything about Lucy Maud Montgomery, there's something new on the Island's most famous author.

This is something with a twist though; it's actually a fictional story from the imagination of writer Melanie Fishbane that takes place during Montgomery's teen years.

Maud: A novel inspired by the life of L.M. Montgomery was launched at the Confederation Centre Public Library Thursday night.

The book is aimed at teenage readers, but any fan can enjoy it, Fishbane told Mainstreet's Angela Walker.

Melanie Fishbane's book is a fictional account of Montgomery's teen years, but uses the characters and facts of her life. (

"I'm hoping it will inspire people, young people in particular to learn about L.M. Montgomery and her work," she said. "That this will inspire more readers, and discover more about who she is."

Researched Montgomery's life

Fishbane took real-life characters from Montgomery's youth, both from P.E.I. and from the year she spent living in Saskatchewan, and built the story around their personalities.

She looked at the young woman's letters, her published journals, and spent time in both Prince Albert, Sask., and the Island.

It was careful work, weaving back and forth between reality and fiction, she said.

"I started with the journals, and looked at how Montgomery talked about these people, and in terms of her friends and her boyfriends," said Fishbane. "If you think about how she talks about Nate Lockhart, if you read just the early parts, there's a lot of 'he's the smartest boy in school,' and there's a lot of game-playing that is typical of that age. And then suddenly his kisses are disgusting, and she doesn't want to like him anymore, but then throughout her life she comes back, and she's sort of missing him."

Montgomery families involved

She approached family members and received an okay for the project.

Melanie Fishbane started reading the Anne books when she was 11, and that inspired her studies in children's literature. (

"The families have been so generous. I spent a day with Jennie MacNeil, we drove around the Cavendish area," she said. "She told me lots of stories and was so generous, and when I had odd questions, I could pick up the phone and call her and she was fantastic."

Fishbane also took extra care because as she admitted, "I'm from away."

"I tried to be very sympathetic to that," she said. "I think it's very important, I'm trying to tell a Canadian story about someone from two parts of Canada I've visited but don't live in, and I'm hoping that I could be compassionate and provide the most real story I could of that place."

From the Mainstreet interview by Angela Watson