Jun 20, 2015

Australia Week: An interview with Jaclyn Moriarty

An interview with Jaclyn Moriarty
1) Could you tell a bit more about yourself?

I was born in Perth, Western Australia. I grew up in Sydney in a family of 6 kids, 2 horses, 2 dogs, a cat, 12 chickens, and a duck. I've lived in the US, England, and Canada but now live in Sydney again. My favourite foods are chocolate and blueberries. I was a media lawyer for a few years but now write full-time. I love baking, ice-skating, paper lanterns, reading, writing, and my 8-year-old son named Charlie.

2) Where did you find your inspiration for the Kingdom of Cello?

I drew pictures of the Kingdom of Cello when I was living in Montreal, Canada. I was inspired by the silver and white of the snow and ice. I thought about the Kingdom for years before I started writing it. Once I went on a road trip across western New South Wales collecting small country towns for the province of the Farms in the Kingdom of Cello.

3) Your main characters all have special gifts, which one would you have liked to have yourself?

I would like to be able to fly whenever I want to fly. I would love to hold my 8-year-old's hand and say, "Guess what, we're about to meet the sky."

4) Cello is different from the world as we know it, what do you like best about it?

I like the fact that magic seems like part of everyday life. Especially I like the Lake of Spells where you can fish and dive for spells.

5) Madeleine is really smart and she's already had quite an adventurous life while she's only fourteen. At first it seemed like a dream to live like that, but not everything is as it appears to be. Is that a message you have for your readers or is there another reason this happened to her?

Madeleine runs away searching for magic and adventure, and then begins to think that she has trapped herself in a tower and that the magic and adventure are behind her. She is trying to untangle the truth from her memories.

6) How many The Colours of Madeleine books are there going to be?

The Colours of Madeleine is a trilogy, so there will be three books. The third book is going to be called A Tangle of Gold and it will be released early in 2016.

7) If you'd have to describe Madeleine and Elliot in five words what would they be?

Madeleine: confused, dreamy, angry, fierce, hopeful
Elliot: determined, popular, frightened, brave, sexy

8) Why have you given colours such an important role in the story (I loved that), what's so attractive and special about them?

When I was working on my ideas for the Kingdom of Cello in a cafe one day, a friend stopped by and asked what I was doing. I told him I was writing about a Kingdom and he said, "What are your monsters?" He said: "You can't have a kingdom without monsters." (This friend is a filmmaker and he had just finished shooting a horror movie.) I looked down at the coloured pencils and markers on my table and I decided that the monsters could be colours.
When I got home I started researching the science, psychology and cultural significance of colours, and they came alive for me. It made sense to me that colours would come alive in the Kingdom of Cello, and that some would be vicious and brutal, and others would be gentle and kind. I think colours are evocative and magical.

9) You've lived in different countries, what do you call home?

I am definitely a Sydney girl but I like the adventure of the world. Home is wherever my little boy is sleeping.

10) What do you like most about Australia?

The fact that it's surrounded by sea. I loved living in Montreal but I was always looking for the ocean.

11) What are your favourite Australian books?

My favourite Australian authors include John Marsden, Margo Lanagan, Garth Nix, Elizabeth Jolley, Kirsty Eager, Simmone Howell, Markus Zusak, Jackie French, Ruth Park, Sonya Hartnett, Melina Machetta, Emily Rodda, Justine Larbalestier, and P.L. Travers, but my number 1 favourite Australian authors are my sisters, Liane Moriarty and Nicola Moriarty.

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