Mystery novelist Megan Abbott spent Tuesday sharing her experiences and stories with the Heidelberg community. She is the author of QueenPin, Die A Little, The Song is You, Bury Me Deep, and her newest novel Dare Me is currently being made into a movie.
It was a busy day for Abbott. She hosted a master class in the morning, spent time in Heidelberg classes in the afternoon, met with Heidelberg’s Women’s Leadership Initiative, and then gave a presentation and book signing in the evening. It was apparent to all who interacted with Abbott that she is passionate about writing and making stories come alive for readers. “I try to tap into the absolute elementary emotions of life that we all experience every day,” Abbott said.
In her presentation, Abbott talked about the various places writers find inspiration. It can come from a photograph, a friend’s personality, traveling, a song stuck in your head, or even a bulletin board overflowing with scraps of material and colors. “If you can find that something, you need to mine that muse for all it’s worth,” said Abbott.
She equated inspiration to “lightning in a bottle.” A flash of inspiration that becomes a larger idea. The need to solve or untangle that idea is what drives her as a writer. Of course the challenge becomes how to engage the reader. “I don’t write for myself. If I can’t engage the reader then I’ve failed.”
During her time at Heidelberg, Abbott did not fail to engage with students. Freshman Kayla Campbell felt inspired by the author’s talent and passion.
“My experience with Megan Abbott was amazing. We talked about her favorite books and movies and the things that we students were interested in,” said Kayla. “I walked away truly amazed that I ate dinner with someone who is working with movie producers in Los Angeles as well as writing novels that are well written and extremely entertaining.”
Abbott showcased her talent during her presentation when she read an excerpt from her novel, Dare Me. The novel delves into the life of the suburban cheerleader with a mystery novel twist. Not having been a cheerleader, Abbott had to do her research. “I was basically an online predator,” she jokes. “I read message boards and followed social media. I wanted to hear what they were saying when they didn’t know anyone was listening.”
Abbott’s visit was sponsored by the English Department, Bryenton Center for the Honors Program, and a grant from Jean (Warren) Gekler, ’80 & Brooks Gekler. Heidelberg is lucky to have professors, departments, programs, and alumni who are constantly working to create opportunities like this for current students.
“She really inspired me and made me thankful that I go to Heidelberg where I had this wonderful, once in a lifetime opportunity,” said Kayla. “In my life, I hope to find something like she did that will bring new surprises every day.”
Inspiration is beautiful thing.