Author Interview & Giveaway: Melina Marchetta

Melina Marchetta

Books: (US)


At the age of nine, Finnikin is warned by the gods that he must sacrifice a pound of flesh in order to save the royal house of his homeland, Lumatere.

And so he stands on the rock of three wonders with his childhood friend Prince Balthazar and the prince’s cousin, Lucian, and together they mix their blood. And Lumatere is safe.

Until the ‘five days of the unspeakable’, when the King and Queen and their children are slaughtered in the palace. And an imposter king takes the throne.

And a curse is put on Lumatere, which traps those caught inside and forces thousands of others to roam the land as exiles, dying of fever and persecution in foreign camps.

But ten years later Finnikin is led to another rock to meet the young novice, Evanjalin. A girl plagued by dark dreams, who holds the key to their return to the Land of light…

As a multi-published author, what is the hardest aspect of writing? The easiest?

Structure is always going to be the hardest part for me, especially when I write novels that are plot driven such as Jellicoe and Finnikin. The easiest is dialogue and characterisation. I let a character hang out in my head forever and I listen to what they talk about with their world before I commit them to paper.

Describe your writing style in three words.

Show not tell

Is there a difference in how your stories have been received in the U.S. vs. your native Australia?

Looking For Alibrandi, my first novel, has had the strongest reaction in Australia because it tackled multicultural back in the 1990’s and was made into a movie and ended up on the senior school syllabus. Everything I wrote after that was compared with it. In the US, everything I write seems to be compared to On the Jellicoe Road (Jellicoe Road).

You’ve tackled several genres (ya fantasy, ya contemporary fiction) in your writing career, is there a genre you’d like to write that you haven’t already, possibly one that you’ll most likely stay away from?

I’d love to write a novel set on a train. I love books and films like The Lady Vanishes or The 39 Steps and I’ve figured that if I do write a train novel it would have to be a thriller and I’d want it set in the past and it would have to have romance and a dead body. So a few genres are covered there.

What are your favorite YA novels?

The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
I am the Cheese by Robert Cormier
Hills End by Ivan Southals

If you could travel back in time for one year, where would you go, and what three things would you take with you?

I researched the year 1000 when writing Finnikin of the Rock and loved studying medieval history at uni, so I’d probably go to the cusp of the medieval world and the Renaissance, maybe the 1400’s. I’d take with me a toothbrush, a pen and paper, and a sanitary hand wash (that’s four but I’ll count pen and paper as one)

Can you tell us a little bit about what you are working on now?

My next novel to come out in the US next year is The Piper’s Son, a sequel to Saving Francesca. I’m currently working on Froi’s story from Finnikin of the Rock. It’s three years later and Froi gets access to the palace in Charyn to assassinate the King and it spirals out of control from there.

Thanks to the wonderful people at Candlewick I have five copies of Finnikin of the Rock to giveaway!

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