Author Visits

“Melody Maysonet’s presentation for our students was terrific. Students loved meeting and interacting with her, and Melody’s background as a teacher certainly showed in not only her prepared presentation but also her Q & A. Her presentation was interesting, relevant, and not to be missed.” –Cathy Castelli High School Teacher, Atlantic Technical High School “Melody Maysonet provided my students with a tremendous learning experience filled with creative inspiration!” –Jean Brodie MA Language Arts Department, Coral Springs High School   “Melody Maysonet provided an engaging and entertaining presentation for our library’s teen audience. In addition to sharing her own experiences as an author,...
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Win a Copy of A WORK OF ART

Did you know that April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM)? I didn’t until my sister got involved in Safe Passage, an organization that helps prevent domestic violence and sexual assault in her hometown of DeKalb, IL. I should have known about SAAM, especially because my book A WORK OF ART delves into the shame and insecurity that many sexual assault victims suffer from. It also deals with love—how victims of sexual assault sometimes have a skewed perception of what love is, and how sometimes we can love those who victimize us. Research has shown that readers of literary fiction...
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What I Would Tell My Teen Self

As a novelist for young adults, I spend a lot of time trying to recapture the emotions I had in high school. For me, there wasn’t much joy in being a teen. I wrote poetry back then, and a lot of what I wrote captures my self-loathing and fear and confusion. I sometimes wrote about wanting to get life over with. But I also wrote about hope. I hoped things would get better. I only half-believed they would. So if I could go back in time and talk to my teenage self, this is what I’d say: All those feelings...
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The Book I Want If I’m Stranded on a Desert Island

I write edgy fiction for young adults. Real issues. Real problems. So why are my favorite books steeped in fantasy? I’ve always been an avid reader. When I was a kid, I read the same books over and over (Bambi, by Felix Salton; The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis), but these days, I’m a little more diverse in my tastes. In fact, there’s only one book I go back to again and again—the amazing and wonderful Watership Down by Richard Adams. For those of you who don’t know, Watership Down is a book about rabbits. And yes, I know...
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Writing Tips from the Experts: A Newbie Author’s Take on Writing Conferences

I recently had the honor to sit on the First-Books Panel at the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators Florida Regional Conference, and while it was an amazing experience to tell about my journey to publication and something I will always remember, I came away from the conference with so much more than that. Here are some of the gems I picked up from the wise and talented speakers. Jonathan Maberry, a NY Times bestselling author and five-time Bram Stoker Award winner, passed on the wise words he learned (at the tender age of 13) from legendary author Richard...
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Discussion Guide for A WORK OF ART by Melody Maysonet

1. In the book’s opening paragraph, Tera says that painting her dad is “all about mood.” What mood does the author create in describing this painting? After reading this paragraph, how do you think Tera sees her father? 2. In chapter three, Tera’s dad is teaching five-year-old Tera to draw a self-portrait. In what ways does this chapter foreshadow their relationship? 3. Tera spends the first third of the book trying to protect her dad from the allegations against him, even using her money for art school to hire an expensive lawyer. Do you think she has blinded herself to...
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Writing About the Taboo

People have asked me how hard it was to write about child sexual abuse in A Work of Art. It’s a touchy subject—raw and often shameful to the abused and not something most people like to think about. But when I sat down to write about this painful subject, I found it freeing. Just as Tera, the main character in my book, finds therapy in her painting, I found therapy in my writing. So I think it was harder to imagine writing about child sexual abuse than it was to actually write it. Because many victims never report abuse, it’s...
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Inspiration in Strange Places

My muse is an elusive thing. Sometimes it swells my chest and comes out through my fingertips, but most of the time, it stays locked in a box at my feet, only occasionally making a surprise appearance. It’s hard to pin down what inspires me to write—what makes my muse come out of its box—but in thinking about it for this blog, I remembered a chance encounter I had when I was eight years old. I was sitting in a laundromat while my mom and I waited for our clothes to wash. I’d brought along my spiral notebook, and I...
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How One Character Can Have Two Points of View

A WORK OF ART is a first-person narrative, but the main character’s flashbacks are told in third person. This was a deliberate choice on my part to show how seventeen-year-old Tera has removed herself from her past, as if her memories belong to someone else. To further set off the flashbacks, I gave each one its own chapter, and whereas none of the other chapters have titles, the flashback chapters do. Once again, I wanted Tera’s memories to feel like events that she’s packed up and stored in a box, with the chapter title acting as the box’s label. The...
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The Art of Symbolism

I remember studying symbolism in high school after reading a short story called “The White Heron” by Sarah Orne Jewett. The story is filled with symbolism, and to be honest, it bored me, but I absolutely loved the idea that literature could be bubbling over with these mini riddles called symbols. Shortly after studying “The White Heron,” I began inundating my own stories with hit-you-over-the-head symbolism that I thought for sure made my writing more deep. I might include, for example, a main character who was watching a bird escape from her cage. (Look! That means my character wants to...
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