Long time inkcrush fans (hello!) will need no introduction to Jaclyn Moriarty. She is, in fact, my all-time, always and forever, favourite author and today she is here chatting with us about authorly life, creativity, her fun family, current writing projects, some of her favourite characters from her books (including her fave character crush) and more. After the interview I also have my review of the much anticipated A Tangle of Gold, the conclusion to the Colours of Madeleine trilogy (out now in Australia!)
Hello Jaclyn and welcome to inkcrush! I’m Nomes, one of your hugest most ridiculously enthusiastic fans and I am so thrilled to get to chat with you :D. I have loved your books and reread them all so many times and each one of them (and the characters inside them) have become highlights of my reading life (Cute fact, my own kids thought for a long time that Cassie and Celia were real-life friends of mine, having heard me talk about them in passing so often, lol). Thanks so much for coming by and having a chat :) -
Nomes, you are so very, very lovely. I’ve always been so grateful for your support of my books (and my sisters’ books too), and I love that story of your children thinking Cassie and Celia are real. J x
1. Your Colours of Madeleine series is so creative with brilliant and unique world building, off-kilter, grin-worthy dialogue, and gloriously perfect, startling plot twists. I imagine your brain is whirring and buzzing as you plot and write and create. How do you manage living in such a creative space? Do you find it easy to get in a creative flow, or hard to switch off once the lights are out? How do you balance creating and living in your fictional world and coming back to regular life?
First, thank you so much for your very kind words about the trilogy, and second, thank you for this great question! I really like the idea of myself as the kind of person who lives in a mad, creative space, rather than the kind of person who walks around wondering what has happened to the second sink strainer. (It was missing for two weeks. I honestly think I’ve spent the last two weeks wondering about that sink strainer. It turned out that it was inside the other sink strainer all along. Right there in front of me. I was so excited to find it last night that I tweeted about it, and I never tweet.)
I guess I have always been a daydreamer, which means I am always getting lost or losing things or tripping over. If I don’t feel especially creative I go for a long walk, especially a walk near water. Or I listen to music. When I was a lawyer I had to train myself not to wake in the night and start worrying about a case, but I always like to think about story and characters as I’m falling asleep, or if I wake in the night. I find it soothing, and maybe it’s like a bridge from awake to dreams.
2. I have developed such a deep and real affection for so many of the characters in Cello. You write your characters with heart, humour, quirks, intrigue, charm and passion and even passing cameo-characters shine brightly on the page. Yet, despite so many grins-per page, there is a lot of heart-ache and tragedy that many characters face (longing and sorrow and injustice and sadness, to name a few). I would love to know any writing tips on how you to create such real and nuanced characters.
Thank you again: this makes me very happy. I think the characters come alive for me when I spend time with them inside my head. I like to let my mind wander, following a character around and seeing what they do and listening to their thoughts. I once read that the author Joan Aiken started a manila folder for each of her characters and carried these around collecting thoughts, interests, quirks and attributes for them. So I started doing that too. I also choose favourite music for the characters and listening to that music always seems to open up various unexpected dimensions of the character for me.
3. I LOVED A Tangle of Gold. It was an exhilarating, genius, daring and utterly happy-making, totally absorbing wild and winsome reading experience. I feel nostalgic thinking about my time spent in Cambridge and Cello and will definitely be going back (in rereads and my imagination) in coming years. Now that Colours of Madeleine is finished I know you are working on a pirate book: “it’s about a girl whose parents ran away to have adventures with pirates when she was just a baby. They left her with her aunt.” Already I am thinking it sounds just like the kind of book you would write (and the kind of book I would love to read!)! Have you got any more little tidbits you can share with us about what you are working on (although, it’s okay if it is all very top secret!) or on how the writing is going?
You are a dream. Thank you so much for such generous words.
You are right that I’m working on a pirate book (which so far has nothing to do with pirates except that the main character’s parents have run away with them) and I am really enjoying it. I’ve decided to write the whole thing in many different cafes.
I’m also writing a novel about a woman who signs up to take a series of seminars on the secret of human flight. It’s about missing people, the self-help industry, single motherhood, and flight. And I’ve written the openings of a time travel novel, and a new Ashbury-Brookfield book.
I was so excited for this opportunity to have you come and visit on my blog that I have been telling many people about it and amongst all the anticipation and excitement, I extended a tiny invitation for two other long-time, equally crazily-in-love fans to sneak a question each into this interview (I hope you don’t mind!).
First is Flannery, saying hello from Seattle:
My favorite Jaclyn Moriarty book is Finding Cassie Crazy (or The Year of Secret Assignments as it's called in the US). Jaclyn is one author who is consistently funny and it doesn't feel forced. I think it is especially hard to convey emotional subjects in epistolary format yet she manages to do it. Plus, to be completely honest, I love Jaclyn Moriarty's books (as well as a select few other Aussie authors) because they remind me of wonderful friends I've met online while discussing their books. I have a lot of fond memories connected to her books.
4. My question is whether she thinks having siblings sharpened her wit and sense of humor because her dialogue, especially in her epistolary books, is hilarious and on point.
That’s a brilliant question (partly because it incorporates praise and I like praise). On the one hand, I find myself reluctant to share the credit for any sense of humour that I might have; on the other hand,that makes no sense. I guess everybody’s sense of humour is developed by the people around them - as well as the books they read, the movies they see, the strange experiences that they have - but at the same time is an intrinsic part of their nature. (My 9-year-old has found very specific things to be hilarious from the time he was a baby, even when other babies did not get the joke.)
My family and I laugh together a lot, and being together is usually about trying to make the others laugh. My dad tells hilarious stories, but he’s also very discerning with his laughter: you know how little kids tell a dumb joke and grown-ups laugh obligingly? My dad never did that. He only laughed if he actually found you properly funny. He is still the same and it still makes me feel proud if I can get Dad to laugh. I think that kind of audience really helps you finesse your humour. On the other hand, my sister Liane is quick to laugh a big, beautiful laugh, so you want to try to keep being crazy around her so that you’ll keep hearing the laugh. She’s also very funny herself, as are all my other siblings. My mother is sensible and kind and more of a straight man, but she has sudden darts of wicked humour that are so much funnier because they’re unexpected.
I was just thinking aloud there so thanks for the interesting question.
And my second interviewer-guest is Deborah saying hi from Brisbane:
5. You write so many fascinating characters who have extraordinary adventures. So my questions are a bit like one of those online quizzes where you usually have to nominate your real-life friends as an answer to each question, but on this quiz, you have to nominate one of your book characters as an answer to each question (and explain why/elaborate if you feel like it):
1. Character who is most like you:
Elizabeth Clarry (because I imagined myself into her shoes a lot of the time), Listen Taylor (for the shyness) and (I really hate to admit this, and I hope I am not too much like her but marks were way too important to me in high school and I often felt a strange, passionate disconnection from other people:) Bindy Mackenzie. But every single one of my characters is like me in some way, because I imagine myself into all of them at least a little bit.
2. Character who would drive you the most crazy if you were their mother:
Bindy Mackenzie (it’s when you recognise your own flaws in your child that they drive you maddest); Keira (when she’s in her dark moods - but you can’t blame her for her moods)
3. Character you would most like to have as your best friend:
I’m finding this one strangely difficult because all the main characters have too much of me in them, so I feel like I’m imagining being friends with my reflection. Maybe Sergio - actually there’s a Sergio in Bindy Mackenzie and a Sergio in the Colours of Madeleine trilogy and I like them both. So I will choose Sergio. I’d also like to be friend with Gabe from Tangle of Gold as he is great at farming and can predict the weather.
4. Character who would be your teen crush:
Elliot Baranski (also Finnegan Blond from Bindy Mackenzie)
5. Character you would like to switch places with for a day (a la Freaky Friday)....and which day in their life you would pick:
Keira, when she and the others are in the Turquoise Rain in Cracks in the Kingdom (but without having the particular backstory issues that are getting her down that day).
Thanks so much for coming and I hope you’ve enjoyed chatting on here :) And I’ll be looking out for you as you continue visiting other blogs on the tour (so exciting!). I wish you all the best as you keep writing and finding cool cafes and colours everywhere you go!
Thank you, again, Nomes - that was a lot of fun, and like I said, you are lovely. Thanks also to Flannery and Deborah.
Ahh, isn't Jaclyn the best!!?! Thanks for answering our fangirl-y questions so wonderfully! Check out the breathtaking cover for A Tangle of Gold and also my review below... (and also, even further down ~ new editions for the Colours of Madeleine series. So much love for the new covers!)
Cello is in crisis. Princess Ko's deception of her people has emerged and the Kingdom is outraged: The Jagged Edge Elite have taken control, placing the Princess and two members of the Royal Youth Alliance under arrest and ordering their execution; the King's attempts to negotiate their release have failed. Color storms are rampant, and nobody has heard the Cello wind blowing in months.
Meanwhile, Madeleine fears she's about to lose the Kingdom of Cello forever. Plans are in place to bring the remaining Royals home, and after that, all communication between Cello and the World will cease. That means she'll also lose Elliot, now back in Cello and being held captive by a branch of Hostiles. And there's nothing he can do to help his friends unless he can escape the Hostile compound.
Worlds apart and with time running out, Madeleine and Elliot find themselves on a collision course to save the Kingdom they love, and maybe even save each other.
A Tangle of Gold found it's way into my greedy hands and, as to a hot buttered bun in a spinning tea-cup, it was beyond amazing. Look, this series is stunning and creative and wild and heart-felt and deliciously winsome. Those who have read A Corner of White and The Cracks in the Kingdom and have fallen in love with Madeleine and Elliot and Cello know just how brilliant this series is.
What you may not know is that the final book reveals a whole new level of genius-like revelations that will leave you in suspense and awe. There are twisty-twists I did not see coming, suspicions and heartbreak, and reveals that take the series as a whole and raised it, to, like, the next 100 levels of plotting-artistry and flair. I knew I would be blown away by the conclusion to the series, but I was still unprepared for the sheer scope and awesomeness of pretty much everything.
When I find a book that is so brilliant and falls into my absolute fave (of all time) category, it's hard to do justice to the entirety of the book and my feelings for it. So, I just want to say: this book made me so happy. It provided everything a bibliophile could ever possibly crave from a reading experience. It captured my imagination, had me in suspense, left me reeling and grinning and staying up all night turning the pages. I fell in love with the characters and their world and spending time with them enriched my own life (LOL, corny, but true!).
It felt so nostalgic, going back to Cambridge and Cello. I'm actually rather bereft that the adventures of Cambridge and Cello are over for now (although I do plan on revisiting all my mates there often). A Tangle of Gold was brilliant, it whisked me away and a tiny piece of my heart kind of believes Cello is real - I just need some smoke and mirrors...
Thanks to Jaclyn Moriarty for gifting me with one of the literary highlights of my reading life with The Colours of Madeleine <3
My reviews of
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|Have you guys seen these must-have editions!!?! WOW <3 See them in giant form @ Jaclyn's website (or click on this image).
Jaclyn is blog-touring all over the place so check out where else she has been (and where she is still to come!)