If you guys know me but at all, you will know how much I fangirl over Jellicoe Road. In fact, since I read it last year, I don't think my copy of the book has been in my possesion. It is out THERE doing it's stuff in the world being read by other people. And if you REALLY know me (Jenny, looking atchoooo) then you know I only borrow people books on SUPER special occasions. And Jellicoe is it's own occasion. To me, Melina can do no wrong. If I was lost at sea, her writing would be the lighthouse, guiding me back home. So, I don't think she needs a big fan fare, her books alone do the talking. Here she is guys!!
Jonah Griggs is my fictional boyfriend (and not just because he wears a uniform). And boarding schools rock my face off, and turf wars are genius, so Jellicoe Road was a trifecta of book heaven for me. What book makes you feel like that? Like you could live inside it's pages forever and never get bored?
Probably The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner. The first novel is kind of like a road trip and I do love a road trip. It’s the appeal of fantasy – finding a snug stable to rest in for the night. The reality was probably awful, but fantasy writers make it seem so cosy. I also love court intrigue and castles so the next couple of novels in the series were my favourites.
When I was growing up I loved Anne of Green Gable and I wanted to live on Prince Edward Island in Canada.
YA is growing and growing as a genre and it makes me SO excited to see all these amazing books reaching a wider audience. What do you think this genre has in store for us?
You know, I try not to worry about that. I’m not that good at keeping up with what’s in. I’m always about two years behind everyone else. A friend joked to me when Finnikin came out that I decided to write a high fantasy novel at a time when high fantasy wasn’t fashionable and paranormal was the way to go. Now I’ve released Froi of the Exiles when Dystopian is all the go. But Finnikin has had a great response and although Froi’s only been out a couple of weeks, I’ve been pretty overwhelmed by readers’ feedback. I really hope these novels have shelf life so I stick to writing the stories that resonate with me. But the thing is that if someone whispered the secret of what would be the next thing in YA, most of us would still get it wrong. An idea or a concept is just an idea or concept. It’s what you do with it that’s important.
Jellicoe Road blew my head right off. I can't wrap my head around how you managed to construct the story so beautifully. I never once doubted that your words would take us down the right path. Did your writing process differ from normal?
Thank you. What I found out with Jellicoe was that I had a readership that did trust me despite not knowing where I was taking them. The secret of it all is rewrite after rewriter after a rewrite. And then more re-writing. That’s where I found my links and the heart aches and coincidences. I remember there was a time when I knew the entire prologue off by heart. To write a novel like Jellicoe you have to know the story so well. Spend time with it and not be in a hurry. That’s what I did with Jellicoe. Knew it so well that I could answer questions about it in my sleep. I get a bit cranky when someone says there are holes in the plot. I defy anyone to point out what those plot holes are. There are certainly questions to be asked, especially about the motivation of the adults but my answer to that is adults do all the wrong things for the right reasons.
Australia is a gorgeous country. Are there any particular places that inspire you?
It depends on the novel. Travelling out to the Riverina in country NSW was very important for the writing of Jellicoe. I don’t go into the exact river, but it’s a combination of the Murrumbidgee and the Lachlan. When writing Alibrandi, Francesca and The Piper’s Son, the inner west of Sydney was my inspiration. I’ve lived in the area most my life. When I’m writing the fantasy novels, it has to be Europe or the UK. For Finnikin I travelled to France, for Froi I travelled to Italy and Turkey, and for Quintana I’ll be travelling to a different part of Italy and Guernsey. I’m obsessed with castles in the UK as well and will go to any town that’s medieval looking.
If you could spend the day with two characters from your books, which characters would you choose and how would you spend your day?
I’m going to have to go with Quintana (from Froi of the Exiles and Quintana of Charyn). I’d have her hanging out with Taylor Markham. They’ve both had a pretty awful childhood and they’re both drawn to very tortured young men and they both need to learn about trust. For anyone who’s read Froi of the Exiles, you’ll understand that the first things I’d do would be to take them to a hairdresser. And then to Yoga. There’s a lot of stress in both girls’ lives.
And then I’d probably throw a BBQ at Hannah’s house by the river and get them to invite all their friends, and their lads of course.
A great big hugggggggggge massive thank you to Melina for taking the time out of her busy schedule to answer my questions! I am trying hard not to fangirl myself out over here! You can go follow her RIGHT NOW on Twitter right here or go stalk her website right here
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