5 truths about Brad Meltzer
Let me first say that I am not on Brad Meltzer's payroll (although, Mr. Meltzer, if you are looking for someone, I'm available. Just saying.) I just happen to be a big fan and thought I'd spread the word about what makes his books so alluring.
Here are five things I believe to be true about Brad Meltzer.
1. He has a LOT of historic knowledge rattling around that big, beautiful brain of his.
If you've never read one of Brad's books (and really, why haven't you?) you will love the fact that the fictional stories are so beautifully and deftly woven with historic figures and anecdotes. I can't tell you the number of times I've said to my hubby, "Did you know?" while reading one of Meltzer's books. (Currently, I'm reading "The President's Shadow").
2. He will make you love -- and hate -- his characters.
As you read a Brad Meltzer book, you'll get drawn into the story -- that's very true -- but what really gets me about his books is the way he draws you into the characters. You'll root for them, question their motives, fall in love with them, pull for them, wish karma to pay a visit to them - and so much more. Meltzer's characters are so rich and textured that you'll come away from reading his books feeling like you have made friends with a motley crew of people with whom you'd never likely cross paths in real life. (I don't know anyone who works in the Secret Service or at the National Archives, do you?)
3. He knows how to make you read just one more chapter
If you've never read a book that makes you want to prop your bleary eyes open late at night, desperate to read one more chapter, you've never read a book by Brad Meltzer. The way his chapters are crafted leaves a natural cliffhanger at the end of each one, the kind of dangling carrot that compels one to keep reading, even if the clock points an accusing finger, letting us know that it is far too late for any self-respecting adult to be awake. Keep reading: Books like these are why large cups of coffee were invented. They are worth every sluggish step the following day.
4. He makes history come alive for kids
Ask the average kid what gets them excited, and I wager your question will not be met with enthusiastic cries of "HISTORY!" But Brad Meltzer has come up with a way to change that. His line of children's books about historic figures such as Abraham Lincoln and Rosa Parks make the lives of these important people from our collective past come to life in a way that is interesting and engaging to 21st-century kids. Not an easy thing to do in the age of technology, but Meltzer achieves it in a big way. I wish we owned this whole collection! We are working on it, though.
5. His books strike the perfect balance between immense detail and perfect pacing
Some authors get so bogged down with the desire to cram so many details into their book, to impart as much of their knowledge and research onto the reader as possible, that the result is a book that is heavy on information but lacking in the kind of pacing that compels the reader to keep going to find out what happens. Others are so afraid of adding in detail, fearing that their pacing and plot will be sacrificed, that the whole of the book ends up being something akin to cotton candy -- all fluff and no substance. Brad Meltzer doesn't suffer from either of these afflictions. I don't know what wizardry is at work in his books, but he always, without fail, manages to strike the perfect balance between rich details that make the stories what they are and perfect pacing that keeps driving the story forward.
In short, I want to be Brad Meltzer when I grow up. I've been making a living as a freelance writer for more than 15 years, but my skills aren't even in the same galaxy as his. For now, I'll keep honing my craft, reading Brad's books, and answering "Brad Meltzer" to the question "If you could have any famous person at your dinner table, who would it be?"
Thanks for all you do, Brad.
An undying fan and her 8-year-old mini fan.