Madeleine Roux is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Asylum series, which has sold over a million copies worldwide. She is also the author of the House of Furies series, and several titles for adults, including Salvaged and Reclaimed. She has made contributions to Star Wars, World of Warcraft, and Dungeons & Dragons. Madeleine lives in Seattle, Washington with her partner and beloved pups.
Voyage: What was the inspiration behind your novel, The Book of Living Secrets? What made you want to tell this story?
Madeleine Roux: This novel is an homage and a deconstruction of a friendship that ruled my life as a teenager. It was a relationship that really defined that period of my life and influenced a lot of who I ended up becoming. We were obsessed with fantasy and romance and magic, and while we had plenty of fun, there were also aspects of that time that were dark and destructive. With The Book of Living Secrets, I wanted to examine the joy of that relationship but also the less rosy bits, so having these two inseparable best friends actually fall into their favorite book felt like the right way to start that process.
V: When you write your stories, what is the one thing you hope readers will take away?
MR: That depends entirely on the story I’m telling; every book has a different goal and a different message. With The Book of Living Secrets, and without spoiling anything, I think maybe the obvious message is “Be careful what you wish for” but that’s not entirely accurate. A more fitting message might be: “Don’t waste your time wishing when you could be living.”
V: What was the hardest scene of The Book of Living Secrets to write?
MR: From a technical standpoint, the beginning was quite challenging because everyone knows what the premise is from reading the back copy—the reader wants to get into the world of the book that these girls fall into. Nobody wants to mess around and waste a bunch of time before that in our boring world, so it was difficult to balance setting up the girls and their relationship to our reality while also moving quickly enough to deliver on the premise.
V: If you could tell your younger writer self anything, what would it be?
MR: All the validation you’re looking for won’t come from other people, there’s plenty of good in your heart, so focus on deriving your self-esteem from your own innate value as a thinking, feeling human.
V: What are your writing must-haves?
MR: Lately I’ve been drinking a lot of hibiscus tea, but I also have sparkling water around, and if I’m feeling snacky, then some salt and vinegar chips!