Fitting sequel: U-M alum brings to light 'Heroes For My Daughter'

By Kurt Anthony Krug

Legal News

It took 6 years for New York Times best-selling novelist Brad Meltzer to complete his second non-fiction novel, "Heroes For My Daughter"--the most emotional book he's ever written.

"Six years ago, on the night my daughter was born, I began writing this book for her. I did the same for my sons when I wrote "Heroes For My Son." And yes, for two years now, my daughter's been asking, 'Where the heck's my book?'" said Meltzer, 42, a 1992 alumnus of the University of Michigan and a 1996 alumnus of Columbia University Law School, who lives in Florida with his wife and three children.

Meltzer is the author of eight political thrillers, the most recent being "The Inner Circle," which features Beecher White, Meltzer's first recurring character. To research "The Inner Circle," he interviewed former President George H.W. Bush. He also hosts "Brad Meltzer's Decoded" on The History Channel, where he and a team of experts take a closer look at history's mysteries. The second season ended earlier this year and Meltzer is still awaiting word if there will be a third season.

In addition, Meltzer created the 2004-05 political drama "Jack & Bobby," which aired on The WB network and starred fellow U-M alum and Birmingham native Christine Lahti. The show centered around brothers Jack and Bobby McCallister, the latter becoming the President of the United States from 2041-49.

He is now writing his second Beecher White novel.

"But as for where this book actually came from, in these past few years, my mother died after losing her battle with breast cancer," Meltzer said. "And in the past year, I also lost my dad and my grandmother - who's one of the heroes in here. It's been a heck of a year. And as I wrote this book, I was forced to look to the world for women - and men - who, like my own parents, could serve as ideals for my daughter. Or to say it another way, it came from me wanting to show my kids what a real hero is."

In this book of two-page vignettes, Meltzer summarizes the lives and accomplishments of 60 historical figures, living or dead, who made a great impact and who he believes are great role models. Of the 60 people he named as heroes, there are several personal heroes, including his wife, mother, grandmother, and his former English teacher Sheila Spicer.

"As you'll see, every hero in this book is a fighter. And as I tell my daughter in the introduction: 'No matter what stage of life you're in, when you want something - no matter how impossible it seems - a you need to fight for it. When you believe in something, fight for it. And when you see injustice, fight harder than you've ever fought before,'" he explained. "And, yes, that probably highlights... how overprotective I am. But it also shows that - and I'm just being honest here - I do want my daughter to learn how to fight. It's the dream that links every single hero I picked for her."

He pointed out that his readers sent him ideas for the heroes included in this book, whether it was through e-mail, Twitter, Facebook, or when he was on tour. It was through his readers that he found out about Alexandra Scott, the little girl who died at 8, but raised money to find a cure for childhood cancers by selling lemonade from her front yard. This eventually became The Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation, which has raised about $30 million.

Meltzer stated the most important page in here is the last one - because it's blank.

"It says 'Your Hero's Photo Here' and 'Your Hero's Story Here,'" he said. "And I promise you, you take a photo of your mom, or grandmother, or teacher, or a military member of your family--and you put their picture in here--and write one sentence of what they mean to you - that will be the most beautiful page in "Heroes For My Daughter.'"

Published: Mon, Apr 16, 2012

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