Wildwoodby: Colin Meloy
Prue and Curtis in the I.W. from Wildwood Illustration © Carson Ellis
TALENTED FAMILIES ARE the nature-versus-nurture debate come to life. How do two or more writers turn up in one family? Is there such a thing as literary genes, or a writerly upbringing? Maybe it's just a coincidence; certainly there are more examples of writers whose siblings have other interests entirely. Literary families are the anomaly. And, like any rarity, they fascinate.
There aren't a whole lot of examples of literary siblings where all shine equally bright: Emily and Charlotte Brontë (both better known today than their siblings, Anne and Branwell), Margaret Drabble and A.S. Byatt (famous feuders), Nancy and Jessica Mitford ... One sibling is often more successful than the others, as in the case of Evelyn and Alec Waugh, or in the Minot family, where all seven children are artists of one sort or another but Susan is the star.
Until last year, Maile and Colin Meloy were stars in separate galaxies. Maile is the acclaimed author of the novels Liars and Saints and A Family Daughter, and the story collections Half in Love and Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It. Colin is the lead singer of The Decemberists, an arty folk rock collective whose fantastical, narrative albums have captured a wide and impassioned audience. Last year, sister and brother both ventured into new skies, albeit the same one: Maile Meloy's The Apothecary was published by G.P. Putnam's Sons in October, while Colin Meloy's Wildwood came out in August, courtesy of HarperCollins. Both are young adult novels.
It's not hugely surprising to find either Maile or Colin Meloy writing young adult fiction, or YA, ...