Class of 2008
Many writers only dream of seeing their name on a book cover. For Madeleine Roux, that dream came true just months after leaving Beloit College. Allison Hewitt Is Trapped, her first novel, hit shelves in 2011; her second book, Sadie Walker Is Stranded, was released in January 2012. She recently moved to Los Angeles, and is in the process of signing a two-book deal in the young adult genre with Harper Collins, the first book of which will be out summer 2013.
“I cannot believe how lucky I am every day,” Madeleine says. “It was so random.”
But Madeleine’s success isn’t totally random. She did something unprecedented: She used the blog platform for serial fiction. In cliff-hanger installments, she told the story of a graduate student whose world is overrun by zombies. “Serialized fiction is a dead art,” she says. “I realized it would be perfect in blog format. It’s so obvious, but I’d never seen it done.” Her innovation became an interactive experience: Readers commented and even created their own storylines, and this ability to get involved drew people in.
This kind of fiction is the first Madeleine published, but it’s not the first she’s written. She completed her first book during an honors term at Beloit College. This post-graduation semester, which supports students’ self-designed projects, gave Madeleine a shot at a full-length work. Guided by Assistant Professor of English Fran Abbate’90, she wrote a historical fiction book. “I wanted to know I could finish a novel—and I did!” she says. “I’m so grateful the college let me do it. When you write every day, it’s amazing how much you improve.”
Beloit’s supportive workshops helped her thrive. “One of the most valuable things I got from Beloit’s program was the confidence to write with authority,” she says. But the most meaningful part of Madeleine’s education extends beyond specific programs. “Beloit gives you the freedom to take on your own projects. Having confidence in students to take risks and take on accountability in undergraduate school is fantastic. Just giving us the space to try—I think it’s pretty revolutionary.”