Some books seem, on reflection, totally inevitable. And I think Brad Meltzer would be among the first to say that his new book, Heroes for My Daughter, just had to happen. I, for one, am glad it did.
I last interviewed Brad for his New York Times best-selling book Heroes for My Son, which he wrote for his first-born, his son. But if you were Brad's daughter how would you feel if your older brother had a book for him but there was not one for her? Thus my mention of the feeling of inevitably. As Brad says in the interview his daughter has been nagging him for this book for two years. So now the companion book has arrived.
These two books about heroes are not, though, Brad's usual cup of tea. Normally he writes thrillers, often involving conspiracies. His books have included The Book of Fate, The Inner Circle, and six other bestselling thrillers. He also hosts the television program Brad Meltzer's Decoded and has written some of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer comics. He also co-created the television series Jack & Bobby and wrote the Justice League of America comic book series.
This great new book is moving and inspiring. In it Meltzer not only writes eloquent vignettes about 60 heroes, most of them female, but he also reminds his daughter of an important lesson he wants her to never forget.
"Women are not weaker," he writes in his opening letter to his daughter. "Read that again. Women are not weaker. They are just as strong, just as resolute, just as creative, and are filled with just as much potential as any man ... Remember," Meltzer adds, "that you are not a damsel in distress, waiting for some prince to rescue you. Forget that prince. With your brain and your resourcefulness, you can rescue yourself."
Heroes For My Daughter has moving vignettes about the story of pioneers like aviator Amelia Earhart and astronaut Sally Ride alongside the story of four-year-old cancer victim Alex Stone, who opened a lemonade stand to raise money to find cancer's cure, sparking a national charity in the process .
The book's overriding theme is humanness, from those overcoming adversity (Helen Keller and Temple Grandin), to those standing up to authority (Rosa Parks and Sojourner Truth), and those breaking down barriers (Golda Meir and Dolly Parton.)
For this interview by email I asked him a variety of questions about his busy career.