The Mattapoisett Free Public Library presented a unique opportunity to catch four popular authors at the height of their powers before last Thursday’s Teen Dance.
Scott Blagden (Dear Life, You Suck), Kimberly Marcus (Exposed), Joe Lawlor (bully.com), and Rebecca Maizel (Infinite Days) write for a 12- to 18-year-old audience and tackle subjects that tend to appeal to that age group.
Blagden’s novel – recently nominated for the Young Adult Library Services Association Best Fiction Award – features a Holden Caulfield-esque protagonist, and the Wareham resident said he enjoys running his workshops for young people through the Mattapoisett Library.
“I did write when I was a teen, but I gave it up, and I didn’t pick it back up until my 40s,” Blagden said. “I regret that, so talking to these kids about writing is something I’m passionate about.”
On Thursday night, Blagden could be seen mentoring fan and aspiring novelist Jacqueline Leduc, a 14-year-old Acushnet resident.
Marcus, who lives in Dartmouth, said she is drawn to both “silly rhyming books for children and angsty, edgy teen novels.” Exposed fits the latter description, but Marcus has published both.
Lawlor’s novel centers on cyber-bullying. The advertiser-turned-teacher-turned-author said he has seen bullying up close, and said that today’s brand is different from the more obvious bullying of the past.
“These days, it’s different. You don’t always know who the bully is. I wanted it to be topical, but I didn’t want to make it too heavy,” said Lawlor of his mystery. “When you have a school full of suspects, it’s a really nice way to begin a story.”
Maizel, meanwhile, said that there is a “stigma about supernatural fantasy, like, ‘Oh, another vampire book,’ but I think the idea of emergence and finding your identity really resonates with teenagers.” Infinite Days is the first book in Maizel’s Vampire Queen series, and the second, Stolen Nights, is also out now.
By Shawn Badgley