Saturday, March 5, 2011

An Interview with Melina Marchetta

I recently had the opportunity to interview one of my favorite young adult authors, Melina Marchetta about her recent book release The Piper's Son. Melina is the author of The Piper's Son, Gellicoe Road, Saving Francesca, Looking for Chasing Alibrandi, and Finnikin of the Rock. Here is what she had to say-

1.Why did you choose to write a story about Tom, instead of a different character from Saving Francesca?
I didn’t really plan a sequel to Francesca. When it came out in 2003 that was it. I loved those characters because they seemed the most real to me, but then Jellicoe happened and I just went with it. If I ever planned to write a sequel at the time, it would definitely have been about one of the other characters like Tara Finke or even Will Trombal, although I wasn’t willing to write male point of view back then. But Tom came back exactly five years after Francesca was published and although I didn’t think he was big enough to carry a novel, I listened to what he had to say. Tom and his people, despite some of the sadness, were such beautiful characters to have in my head. Sometimes it’s good not to plan and just allow them to find you.

2. Is there a difference from being published in Australia and being published in the United States? If so, what is it?
I haven’t found a big difference at all. The process is quite similar although in the US they have commissioning editors which means that editors can come across a book and lobby for it to be published. In Australia, manuscripts go straight to the publisher and then he/she gives it to an editor to work on. These days agents come in handy, but I think if a publisher or commissioning editor gets a great story landing on their desk, they’ll run with it. I suppose the biggest difference personally is which books of mine are the most popular. Jellicoe definitely in the US. Back home, my first novel Looking For Alibrandi had a big reaction so everything I write gets compared to that.

3. If there is one thing (or multiple things) that you would want your fans to know about Tom, what would it be?
That although he comes across as a blokey bloke, he’s probably my most vulnerable character. That he feels all the right things but says all the wrong things.That he’s an amalgamation of a whole lot of boys I taught over ten years. The good, the bad and the ugly

4. You've written books in multiple sub-genre's of YA- do you have a favorite to write?
After the social realism (if we’re going to use terminology) of Francesca and Alibrandi, I wanted to do something a bit different with Jellicoe so there are parts of that novel which are quite mythical. It seemed the natural step to go fantasy after Jellicoe, but after spending so much time in the Finnikin fantasy world I was dying to get back to a Sydney setting and the realism of The Piper’s Son. Of course after all that realism and familiarity, I was dying to escape it with the Finnikin sequels. I never love a novel as much as the one I’m working on, so at the moment I don’t want to be hanging out with anyone in my head but Froi and his incredibly dysfunctional world.

5. Is there anything you would like to add?
Yes, I’ll be speaking at David Levithan’s New York Teen Writer’s Festival between the 14th-20th of March. The details are on Facebook -


A.J. said...

Eee! Melina Marchetta! :D Great interview; I really enjoyed it. :)

Sarah Lydia said...

I love Melina Marchetta!