'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Tuesday 30 July 2013

12 Curly Questions with author Juliet Marillier

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
When I was one and a half I nearly drowned in a river. I remember being in the water and unable to breathe, and I remember the feeling of scratchy twigs against my cheek when I was lying on the bank after my father rescued me. I was wearing green wool bathers with bunnies on them, very 1950s! That must be my earliest memory.

2. What is your nickname?
In the bad old days (at school) my closest friends called me Jul, but I have long since trained them out of it. Certain members of the family call me Grandma Owl.

3. What is your greatest fear?
Being helpless/powerless. Especially if someone I love is in danger.

4. Describe your writing style in ten words.
Like oral storytelling, full of heart, crafted with love, intense!

5. Tell us five positive words that describe you as a writer.
Orderly, empathetic, creative, meticulous, human.

6. What book character would you be, and why?
Jo March from Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. She is so strong, determined and forthright, and very much herself. Sometimes a bit prickly, but with a very good heart. And she’s a writer!

7. If you could time travel, what year would you go to and why?
Ireland in the early medieval period. It was quite an enlightened place, with a great legal system that had many protections for women built in. I’d like to see how the early Christian monks gradually introduced the new faith to a population that had for years and years followed older traditions, and I’d be interested to see how different the real place was from the version I’ve created in many of my novels.

8. What would your ten-year-old self say to you now?
May I pat your dogs?

9. Who is your greatest influence?
My mother, who taught me to love books and music and who always encouraged my writing. She typed out my first stories for me when I was about seven, and patiently read many handwritten manuscripts when I was a teenager, always offering positive feedback. I was very happy that she lived long enough to see me become a professional writer — I didn’t do so until relatively late. Mum was a well-regarded piano teacher and accompanist, and she wrote music reviews for our local newspaper.

10. What/who made you start writing?
I always loved books and stories. Writing my own seemed a logical step from reading other people’s. My parents were keen readers, and the local children’s librarian was also a big influence, as she introduced me to a wider range of books than I might have found for myself. I wrote heaps between the ages of seven and around seventeen. Most of those stories were science fiction or fantasy. Then I ended up studying music and becoming a music teacher/performer. I returned to serious writing much later in my life.

11. What is your favourite word and why?
I love many, many words. One of them is 'shadow'. The sound is soft and mysterious. It’s a versatile word that can have many layers of meaning, not only the physical phenomenon of shadows cast by objects, but shadows of memory, a shadowed past, a shadow cast over a friendship or relationship, a shadowy figure and so on. It also makes a great character name.

12.  If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?
A huge volume of traditional stories: myths, legends, folklore and fairy tales. There’s something new to be found in those every time you read them.

Juliet Marillier's young adult book Raven Flight was released on 1 July 2013. It is the second book of the Shadowfell trilogy.

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