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BOOK LIST: Books I Read in March

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I read only nine books in March, but then its been rather a whirlwind of a month for me, travelling all around Australia talking about THE WILD GIRL. 

These are the books I read:

1 The Venetian Contract – Marina Fiorato

I loved this book so much! Fabulous historical novel with romance, intrigue and adventure in one heady brew. Marina Fiorato is fast becoming one of my favorite authors (look out for a review & interview with her next week!)

2. Finnikin of the Rock – Melina Marchetta

I was really impressed with Melina Marchetta's first epic fantasy novel. Better known for her contemporary social realist novels for young adults, Melina made a bold move switching to fantasy. Her plot is cleverly built and well-handled, the pace never flags, and her characters are all intriguing and believable. Well worth the read!

3. The Three Loves of Persimmon – Cassandra Golds 

Cassandra Golds is one of the most bewitching and original writers Australia has ever produced. Her novels are fables about love, hope, and faith, and unlike anything else being written by any other writer I know (except perhaps Kate di Camillo, whose work I also love). Her books are all utter treasures, and 'The Three Loves of Persimmon' is no exception. Look out for an interview with Cassandra, coming soon!

4 An Uncertain Place – Fred Vargas

An intriguing murder mystery with a shambling, slow-thinking and slow-moving Parisian detective. These books are translated from the French, which adds to their charm. I found it a little slow, but I loved the settings and the characters were all quite unique. 

5 Nine Days – Toni Jordan

What a beautifully written little masterpiece of a novel! I loved it. Once again, I'll post a longer review and an interview in the next few weeks. 

6. When Maidens Mourn – C.S. Harris

This is the latest in a series of murder mysteries set in England during Regency times. Think the dark underbelly of a Georgette Heyer romance novel. The amateur detective is a Viscount with a troubled past  - his suffragette wife is a delight and my favourite character in the books. 

7. The Somnambulist – Essie Fox

An intriguing and unusual book set during Victorian times, with the feel of a Victorian melodrama. The historical setting is superbly well done, with a rather creepy foggy atmosphere, and more twists and turns than a roller-coaster ride. 

8. The Last Templar  - Michael Jecks

A very enjoyable medieval murder mystery, with an appealing hero and a puzzling mystery. I'll be trying another of these.

9. On the Way to the Wedding – Julia Quinn

Frothy and funny as ever. 

INTERVIEW: Melina Marchetta, author of 'Finninkin of the Rock'

Friday, March 15, 2013

Melina Marchetta is one of Australia's best loved authors and I'm incredibly pleased and proud to have her part of a stellar lineup at the SPECULATIVE FICTION FESTIVAL, at the NSW Writers Centre in Rozelle this weekend - 16 March 2013.

Melina is probably best known for her contemporary novels for young adults, but she has also written an amazing fantasy series, which begins with 'Finnikin of the Rock.' She has been kind enough to spare me some time in her busy schedule to answer my questions:

What is your latest novel all about?
I'm kind of not acknowledging that I'm writing one just yet, but I am jotting things down and thinking of it over and over again so all I can say is that it comes from the Hugh Latimer quote: Tell the truth. Shame the devil (which is also expressed by Hotspur in Henry the IV Part 1).

How did you get the first idea for it?
I've always had this story in my head, but what made me feel as if I could write it now, is having read a bit of crime fiction lately where writers use multiple narrators or omniscient narrators which is the only way I can tell this particular story.  I played around with multiple narrators in The Lumatere Chronicles but I'm ready to really let loose with this one.

What do you love most about writing speculative fiction?
I love being able to express really big emotions in really big dramatic ways. I felt as if I could take the characters to the pinnacle of their emotions which I probably wouldn't have got away with as much with contemporary fiction. Having Froi drop to his knees and almost tear his hair out with despair is quite liberating to write.

What are the best 5 books you've read recently?
It's being a combination of crime, spec fiction and YA.  When Will There Be Good News by Kate Atkinson; The Woodcutter by Reginald Hill;  Captain Vorpatril's Alliance by Lois McMaster Bujold ;  Wildlife by Fiona Wood; The First Third by Will Kostakis (the last two are coming out this year)

What lies ahead of you in the next year?
I think (fingers crossed a thousand times over) that it will be the year of the On the Jellicoe Road film being shot.  My part is pretty much over with the script, but I'm fortunate enough to be an up-close giddy spectator of how other people interpret my words.

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