Interview by Katharine Stubbs
New Zealand born, Australian resident Juliet Marillier writes historical fantasy novels and short stories, mostly for adult readers. Her work is published internationally and has won numerous awards. Juliet’s lifelong love of folklore, fairy tales and mythology is a major influence on her writing. She is a member of OBOD (the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids.) Juliet’s next novel, DEN OF WOLVES (Blackthorn & Grim series, book 3) will be published in November 2016. When not busy writing, Juliet rescues waifs and strays. Juliet’s website: www.julietmarillier.com. You can also find Juliet on Facebook.
Your current series Blackthorn & Grim has been doing quite well in the awards, with Dreamer’s Pool taking out an Aurealis Award, and Tower of Thorns taking out the Tin Duck to say the least. The third book, Den of Wolves is due for release in November this year. Are there any little tidbits of character backstory that hadn’t found a place in the series that you’re able to share with us now?
Readers will find out more about the link between Blackthorn and her mysterious fey mentor, Conmael, in Den of Wolves. Also, there’s a more substantial crossover with the Sevenwaters series in this novel. I always loved Son of the Shadows best of the Sevenwaters books, and I was able to revisit some aspects of that story in Den of Wolves, which takes place in more or less the same area, but significantly later. Titbits of backstory? Not at this stage. Den of Wolves does tie up the major threads of the Blackthorn & Grim series, but it leaves a lot of backstory untold. Which is fine with me, as in real life some things always remain a mystery!
Your fans are always eager for another book in the Wildwood series and you say you have the story worked out, and that it depends on a publisher. Would you ever consider small press or self publishing through a crowd funding campaign to make it happen sooner?
If I had time and if it didn’t clash with an existing project for a major publisher, then I might consider that, yes. I make my living as a writer so I do need to balance the business considerations with the artistic ones. I would probably try to get one of the Australian specialist small presses interested, rather than self-publish. Crowd funding is an option I’d have to discuss with the publisher concerned.
What’s on the horizon once Blackthorn & Grim is over?
I’m currently (July 2016) working on a proposal for a new adult fantasy series. I don’t want to say much more about this project in case it doesn’t come to fruition. It does feel weird to have reached the middle of the year without a current novel on the go, but I have worked on some shorter pieces and will have two essays on writing published in anthologies later this year, one for Serenity Press and one for Writers Digest. I’ll be visiting the US later in the year to attend a couple of conventions and to present workshops at the Writer Unboxed ‘Unconference’ in Salem.
I have a novella in the forthcoming anthology Aurum, from Ticonderoga. My story is called Beautiful. It’s a version of East of the Sun and West of the Moon, one of my favourite fairy tales, told from an unusual perspective. I’m proud of the story and thrilled to have this opportunity to share it with readers.
What Australian work have you loved recently?
I was fortunate enough to be sent an advance copy of Thoraiya Dyer’s debut novel, Crossroads of Canopy, coming out early in 2017 from Tor Books. It’s stunningly original, with world-building that draws the reader right into the story. Highly recommended!
I also really enjoyed Alison Goodman’s Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club, a heady mix of Regency romance and dark fantasy, elegantly written. It takes a really adept writer to create the period so convincingly and still allow her female characters to be strong individuals with agency.
Which author (living or dead) would you most like to sit next to on a long plane trip and why?
I hate it when people want to chat on long plane trips. Even interesting people. I would rather read my book, get on with some writing, or sleep. Under different circumstances I’d like to talk to Mary Ann Shaffer, co-author of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, about her process for putting together an epistolary novel and her creation of such a memorable cast of characters. Sadly, she is no longer with us, though I have exchanged emails with Annie Barrows, the other co-author of my favourite novel, and discovered to my surprise and delight that she had read and enjoyed my books.