By Olivia Yepez
Picture this: You’re living happily on a small island with your family and pets, when news reports start blasting hurricane warnings.
It’s imperative to evacuate right now… but that may mean leaving your beloved pets behind. Is that wrong?
In her new book No Judgments, New York Times best-selling author Meg Cabot tells the story of 25-year-old Bree Beckham, who rides out the storm to help pets abandoned by evacuees — all the while preaching “no judgments!”
Inspired by a real experience, Cabot’s retelling grapples with how people tend to condemn others without knowing all the facts.
“It’s something that we see a lot in the news, and we judge them for it,” said Cabot, who will discuss her novel at the Morristown Festival of Books this Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019.
She’ll speak at 10 am in St. Peter’s Parish Hall, at Miller Road and Maple Avenue. Admission is free. The festival runs until 5 pm; more than 50 authors are scheduled to speak at venues along South Street.
Cabot, an Indiana native, said she hopes to promote openness and understanding with her latest work.
Her 80-plus books for adults and teens have sold 25 million copies worldwide, and some have been adapted into movies: The Princess Diaries series and Avalon High by Disney, and the 1-800 Where Are You? series, marketed as a Lifetime series called Missing.
“I think it’s fun to see the Hollywood version of my books,” Cabot said.
When The Princess Diaries were turned into movies, the directors deviated from the plot and gave character Mia Thermopolis (played by Anne Hathaway) a late father. This gave actress Julie Andrews, who played Mia’s grandmother, more lines.
“If I had Julie Andrews in my movie, I would want to give her as many lines as possible, too,” Cabot said with a laugh.
Movies are great for getting reluctant readers to pick up a book, she said, adding that technology is boosting reading by making books accessible at the tap of a button.
Cabot also just finished Black Canary, a graphic novel for DC Zoom. Created with help from artist Cara McGee, it’s scheduled for release on Oct. 29.
Graphic novels are more like screenplays than books, she said.
“The writer describes what’s in each panel: What’s in the background? What are they saying? What are they wearing? You describe everything and then the artist draws it,” Cabot explained.
She said McGee’s artwork impressed her, surpassing what she had written and described. Cabot added she hopes to give away a few pre-release copies of Black Canary at the festival.
No Judgments, the first installment in Cabot’s Little Bridge Island series, hit book stands last month.
MorristownGreen.com correspondent Olivia Yepez is a student at Drew University.