Nellie: I’m here today with Terri Meeker because she has a new book coming out about me, entitled ‘The Madhouse in Manhattan.’
Terri: Available July 15th, wherever online books are sold.
Nellie: Interesting. I wonder … since I’m kind of famous and you’re kind of not, how did it end up that I am interviewing you?
Terri: Wow, you come out swinging, doncha? Well, Nellie, sometimes when there’s a choice between a well-qualified woman and a bumbling narcissist, the narcissist wins. Also, my blog, my rules.
Nellie: This brings me to the obvious question, why did you decide to write a book about me?
Terri: You invented investigative journalism when you had yourself locked in a madhouse at age 21! The next year, you became world famous by traveling around the world in 72 days! You even patented a milk can design that we still use today. Nellie, you were badass!
Nellie: Thank you, I think. Though I must confess that I’m not entirely certain that ‘bad—” is a compliment. I will admit that I was pleasantly surprised to find your tale was so accurate when it came to the events at the asylum.
Terri: Thank you. I tried.
Nellie: Which aspect of research did you find most difficult?
Terri: The historical section was pretty easy. I read a few biographies about you, but mostly relied on your book, “Ten Days in the Madhouse.” Two-thirds of the book takes place in modern New York City, however. And that part was challenging. I’ve been to NYC a few times, but needed a lot of little details filled in. Things like transportation routes, details about Rockefeller Center in summer, etc. For that, I relied on a friend, author Regina Higgins and a sub-reddit called /r/asknyc.
Nellie: I’m glad you brought that up. I found the modern section most peculiar. Was it as accurate as the historical part? Are there truly airplanes and skyscrapers and all of it?
Terri: Yeah, most of that part is absolutely true, including the bits about Victoria’s Secret. The parts of the book that deals with—well, without giving spoilers—some of the stuff about magical statues and evil weed eaters was from my own twisted head.
Nellie: What do you hope readers will gain from your book?
Terri: I want them to get to know you a little better, Nellie. I find your story endlessly inspiring. In a very different time and with little formal education, you carved a path for women journalists and stood up to power—alone. You never backed down from doing the moral thing, from speaking out for the vulnerable. It is a world-changing message that we need to remember. Especially now.
Nellie: Goodness! That’s a whole lot of responsibility!
Terri: I think you’re up for it, girlfriend. Thanks so much for this opportunity to talk with you.
Nellie: I was entirely unaware I had a choice in the matter. But thank you as well.
Release date: July 15, 2018