A native of Brooklyn and Miami, a graduate of the University of Michigan and Columbia Law School, Brad Meltzer is the author of nine novels, including the #1 New York Times bestsellers THE INNER CIRCLE and THE BOOK OF FATE, as well as bestselling thrillers including DEAD EVEN, THE FIRST COUNSEL, THE MILLIONAIRES, THE ZERO GAME, THE BOOK OF LIES (another personal fave!), and THE FIFTH ASSASSIN.
Listen to this: Brad is one of the only authors to ever have books on the bestseller list for Fiction and Non-Fiction (HISTORY DECODED), Advice (HEROES FOR MY SON and HEROES FOR MY DAUGHTER), Children’s Books (I AM AMELIA EARHART and I AM ABRAHAM LINCOLN), and comic books (JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA, which won the prestigious Eisner Award).
Allow me a special shout-out here for Brad’s IDENTITY CRISIS, a controversial murder mystery involving some of my favorite superheroes.
Brad is also the host of BRAD MELTZER’S DECODED on History Channel, a show my family has loved to watch together. The Lincoln Assassination and UFO episodes were particular hits in the Cadigan household.
Brad's terrific new children’s book, I AM ROSA PARKS, was just released in June. (Perhaps you saw him talking about these great hero stories on “CBS This Morning” a couple weeks ago.) His latest thriller is THE FIFTH ASSASSIN.
As you can see, Brad is a busy, busy guy. But he always has time for fans and he’s generous to other writers. When we met last month at BookExpo America, Brad was all too willing to support a new novelist who has been with him since THE TENTH JUSTICE. I am thrilled that he took time out of his crazy schedule to visit the blog of a longtime fan (and unknown writer) as we talk about the creative life. A big thanks and welcome to Brad Meltzer.
Brad, thanks so much for being here. Let’s start with this: What creative work most recently inspired you?
I’ve been using the summer to show my younger and older sons some true film classics. THE IRON GIANT and THE TRUMAN SHOW still do it to me.
The most underrated creative (writer, musician, artist) …
Storyboard artists in film. They’re directing it with lead pencils and getting no credit at all. Viva la storyboard artist!
Which of your works comes closest to the way you heard/saw it in your head?
THE FIRST COUNSEL. It’s the only opening I ever wrote that I didn’t rewrite by the time I got to the end. It’s word for word the same.
What was the best creative advice you ever received?
"If it was easy, everyone would do it."
What creative work might we be surprised to find on your shelf, iPod, or DVR?
No one loves ANIMAL HOUSE like I love the film ANIMAL HOUSE. On my iPod, I’ve got a sudden love for the soundtrack of A STAR IS BORN, since it reminds me of my mother.
In addition to writing, how do you express your creativity?
Little notes for my kids. Tiny emails and texts and post-its. I will take them everywhere.
The most difficult thing about the life of a creative is …
That day where you’re convinced you don’t know what you’re doing. Those days come all the time. To me, if it all always goes perfectly for me, I’ll know I’m done.
Works that simultaneously made you want to write and to quit writing:
REPLAY by Ken Grimwood. THE ADVENTURES OF KAVALIER & CLAY [Robb's note: this is my top candidate for a Great American Novel]. THE FAULT IN OUR STARS. The play AVENUE Q. Any great comic book art. FOX IN SOCKS by Dr. Seuss. Watching any documentary about Jim Henson or Mr. Rogers.
You can find Brad at his website and he's quite active on Facebook and twitter. His wonderful children's books, like the latest--I AM ROSA PARKS--are here, along with all of his thrillers, graphic novels, advice books for our sons and daughters, and other non-fiction.
Thank you, Brad Meltzer! So great to meet you face to face after all these years.