A Book Apart

Bookends Q&A: Katel LeDû & Lisa Maria Marquis

Mar 03, 2022

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A green leafed plant in a purple pot, next to six copies of You Should Write a Book paperbacks between two cream colored metal bookends.

Up next in our Meet the Author series, we’re switching things up just a little! You may have already gotten to know Katel LeDû and Lisa Maria Marquis from their previous interviews, so we thought we’d ask them to talk ALL. ABOUT. BOOKS. We’re calling it the Bookends Q&A!

ABA: What are you reading right now?

Katel LeDû: Bel Canto by Ann Patchett. Are Ann Patchett fans called Patchett-heads? If so, I am one. And Already Enough by Lisa Olivera, which is providing some much-needed soothing in this current moment.

Lisa Maria Marquis: The Dutch House by Ann Patchett—sorry to copy Katel, but it is her fault, and it’s just so damn well-crafted—and Because Internet by Gretchen McCulloch, which is fascinating and fun. I ardently, aggressively recommend both.

ABA: What’s the last book you read that you wanted to share with others?

LMM: Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice and N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy. Both were strange, specific, marvelously shaped future worlds that explored ideas of agency within damaged systems—the former via AI and aliens, the latter via geology and apocalypse. I want to tell everyone about them all the time.

KL: I’m late—later than I’d like to be—to reading bell hooks, but somehow I found my way quickly and directly to her book, All About Love. After reading it, I bought three extra copies just in case, and I’ve shared all of them; I should really restock!

ABA: What’s a book that made you laugh out loud?

KL: Jonny Appleseed by Joshua Whitehead, which, judging from the book cover’s description, might seem like a weird answer. It’s an intimate story of identity, love, and family, surfaced through reflections on trauma—which Whitehead unfurls with crushing tenderness and sharp humor.

LMM: Here for It: Or, How to Save Your Soul in America by R. Eric Thomas and The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell. The first is a collection of hilarious personal essays about growing up and becoming oneself (in this case, oneself is a gay Black playwright from Baltimore), while the second is a sarcastic look at the religious conflicts of Massachusetts’ early Puritan settlements. I laughed so hard at both.

ABA: What’s a book in your industry that you return to again and again?

LMM: Ursula Franklin’s The Real World of Technology and Donella Meadows’ Thinking in Systems—both offer absolutely timeless and crucial lessons about how we think about our work. Everyone working on the web should heed them.

KL: Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love, and Liberation was cocreated by three authors: Rev. angel Kyodo williams, Lama Rod Owens, and Jasmine Syedullah—a feat on its own—and models an expansive way of writing in, and for, community. Along with its remarkable presentation, in my eyes it’s an absolutely essential manual for coexisting with humility and humanity.

ABA: What book did you read in childhood that really stuck with you?

KL: In maybe fifth grade(?), we read Ray Bradbury’s sci-fi short story All Summer in a Day and it took root in my soul. If you’ve read it, maybe you’re saying, “Oof.” If you haven’t, just wait for a moment when your optimism tanks are full.

LMM: I was a big, big reader as a child and cannot pick just one book. I spent a lot of time in libraries (nobody is surprised) and was always sneaking age-inappropriate novels (YA lit wasn’t as much of a thing in the ‘80s and ‘90s as it is now!). I loved Madeleine L'Engle, Ray Bradbury, Zilpha Keatley Snyder, C.S. Lewis, Agatha Christie. Also, my family had an old set of encyclopedias, probably from the 1960s, that I used to read for fun. We didn’t have Nintendo.

ABA: If you could write a book in any genre, what would it be?

LMM: Science fiction, no question. I love world-building, and I’m in awe of authors who can do it well. To tell a story that resonates—that presents real, flawed, compelling characters—that tracks and unravels a meaningful conflict—all within a setting that is at once both unfamiliar and utterly reflective of our own? That’s an impossible task. That’s what I want to be able to do.

KL: I would love to write poetry! I used to write a bunch of it as a very goth-emo teenager, but never really developed it the way I’d like to today.

Photo of Katel’s TBR pile of books on her white, wooden nightstand next to a photo of Lisa Maria’s TBR pile of books on a blue ottoman.

ABA: What’s in your To Be Read pile?

KL: Sankofa by Chibundu Onuzo, The Overstory by Richard Powers, The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See, and Please Don’t Sit on My Bed in Your Outside Clothes by Phoebe Robinson. Those are in the TBR pile next to my bed. There are many other piles around my home, much to my partner’s chagrin.

LMM: We Do This ’Til We Free Us by Mariame Kaba, What Can a Body Do? by Sara Hendren, The Atmospherians by Alex McElroy, and The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson. And there’s another thirty-three titles in my libro.fm wishlist, so.


Learn more about all our authors—check out the rest of our Meet the Author series!

This Q&A was inspired by Literary Hub’s wonderful The Book Marks Questionnaire.


NEW! Authoring Q&A: Let’s Get Started

Small photo of You Should Write a Book paperback with a cup of coffee and a journal next to it, above two photos of authors Katel LeDu and Lisa Maria Marquis. Text reads Authoring Q&A: Let’s get started.

Join Katel LeDû and Lisa Maria Marquis, authors of You Should Write a Book, as they answer your questions about authoring and publishing! This month we'll focus on topics like: generating book ideas, conducting research, getting past the blank page, and warming up to whatever your next big project might be. Send in your questions ahead of time, or bring them to the discussion. This event is *free* and all are welcome. RSVP here!