Interview by Belle McQuattie.
Lynette Noni is the author of the five-part young adult fantasy series, The Medoran Chronicles, described as a combination of Harry Potter, Narnia, and X-Men. Her first book, Akarnae, was released in 2015, with the second, Raelia, in April 2016, and the third, Draekora, coming out soon.
A regular panelist at national and local events, Lynette has featured at Sydney Writers’ Festival, Emerging Writers’ Festival (as part of the National Writers’ Conference), Supanova Pop Culture Exhibition, GenreCon, the National Young Writers’ Festival, Bellingen Readers and Writers Festival, Voices on the Coast, and the Australian National Speculative Fiction Convention.
Lynette’s engaging world building and character development workshops make her a sought after presenter for schools, both local and interstate, and for National Youth Week activities. She presented this year’s inter-school Readers’ Cup in June for the Sunshine Coast region (on behalf of the Children’s Book Council of Australia) and has been invited back again for the August competition.
Lynette was one of the YA authors featured on the inaugural ABC Radio #OzYA broadcast earlier this year. She is also an active blogger at www.lynettenoni.com and has an impressive and rapidly growing international following.
Your first two books, Akarnae and Raelia, have been released and Draekora looks to be well underway, what’s next for The Medoran Chronicles?
This is such a tough question to answer without giving away any spoilers! Let’s just say that in books three, four and five, Alex will have to face *cough*, *cough*, and *cough*… She’ll also struggle with *cough* and sadly, *cough*, but she’ll get through the aftermath by *cough* and with help from *cough* and, of course, *cough*. Believe me when I say *cough* will definitely be worth the *cough*.
… Fortunately, amid all that, Alex doesn’t have to suffer from a chest infection (just everything else you can imagine), so all of the above will happen without the actual coughing.
To be completely serious though, things to expect are plenty more action scenes, heaps and HEAPS of surprises (which shocked even me), some new and very important friends, some special times between old friends, some personality transplants between certain characters, lots of danger and intrigue, and plenty of backstory and continued worldbuilding and plot twists. And on top of all that, many more Library adventures. So all in all, exciting—and dangerous—times ahead!
You’ve also had a busy year with conventions, speaking engagements and festivals. What have been some highlights?
This year has been insane for me. I feel as if between March and July I pretty much lived out of a suitcase since I was touring so much. It was beyond surreal, and such a wonderful experience!
As for highlights, Supanova is always an incredible experience, and I’ve had the pleasure of being a guest at three tours in the last eighteen months, all of which were AMAZING. On top of that, speaking at Sydney Writers’ Festival, National Young Writers’ Festival, and Emerging Writers’ Festival were also brilliant experiences, as well as Bellingen Writers’ Festival and Voices on the Coast—and a whole heap of other opportunities, of which there are too many to note! Perhaps one of my favourite memories would have to be the ‘Medoran Chronicles Q&A’ that Dymocks (George Street) hosted for me while I was in the city for Sydney Writers’ Festival—that was basically a whole evening just to spend chatting about my books and characters, and it was incredible!
But to be completely honest, I have to say that what I love most about what I do is the people I get to meet along the way. The industry professionals, like other authors and publishers, etc., but even more, the readers who come along to meet me and get books signed. It’s because of my readers that I get to keep doing what I’m passionate about, and it is an absolute privilege to have the chance to meet them in person and say ‘thank you’.
Once The Medoran Chronicles are finished, do you think you’ll try your hand at another genre? Do you have any other projects waiting to be started?
Ha! Always! I have a gazillion folders on my laptop that say “DO NOT OPEN THIS YET!!!” and each have story concepts across multiple genres that I’ve jotted down for when I get the time to draft them fully. Fortunately, I’m a relatively speedy writer, but I currently have three on-the-go series that are taking all of my focus right now. The first is, of course, The Medoran Chronicles. But on top of that, I’ve written two other first-in-series books, both for trilogies. They’re also YA, but one is slanted more towards sci-fi (but still definitely fantasy), while the other is more… I guess you could call it magical realism. I absolutely can’t WAIT to share those other books with the world when the time is right!
What Australian work have you loved recently?
One of my favourite reads from the last six months was Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman. I loved it from a storytelling perspective but also found the creativity fantastic. That book truly was a work of art, and I’m eagerly anticipating the release of the sequel, Gemina later this year.
Another book I recently read was Jane Harper’s The Dry. It’s a thriller/crime and not something I would have perhaps normally have picked up at a bookstore for myself, but I was speaking on a panel with Jane in Melbourne last month and read her book on the plane trip there and back only to find myself immersed in the ‘Whodunit’ nature of the story. I was on the edge of my seat right until the end, which made it a pleasure to read!
Australia has many, many incredible authors—I could honestly go on and on forever with book recommendations!
Which author (living or dead) would you most like to sit next to on a long plane trip and why?
It’s a total cliché, but I’m going to have to say J.K. Rowling. If only because I have SO many questions for her, especially about her writing process with the Harry Potter series. Having gone back to re-read it as an adult and as a now-published author, there are just so many things I would love to ask her. Not the least of which include the requisite, “WHY SIRIUS? WHY DOBBY? WHY FRED?” and I would probably continue with my list of ‘whys’ until our plane landed, long-haul flight or not.