Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Author Interview - Zoe Marriott!

Hi there readers! Wow do we have a treat for you today!! One of my favourite YA authors, Zoe Marriot, has done an interview for us! She has written three amazing books so far and has a few more on the way to. Waterstones Bluewater has chosen Zoe as our YA Author of the month! So stay tuned to see more posts about Zoe's books, as we will be doing reviews for each of them over the next four weeks.

*Happy Dance!*

Which books have influenced your life the most?

I think everything I've read has influenced me! Even books I've hated - they teach you how not to do things, and sometimes make you so cross that you end up writing something just to show that author how it *should* be done. Reading The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton as a kid made me a life-long reader. Discovering Robin McKinley in my early teens transformed the way I looked at fairytales and language. Re-reading Tamora Pierce's The Song of the Lioness Quartet at the age of eighteen is what made me realise that I needed to be writing fantasy for young adults. My first read of The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold permanently expanded my mind. And I'm still learning and being influenced!

What book are you reading now?

I usually have a couple of different books on the go, so that I can trade off if one becomes too intense, or if I'm not in the right mood. I've got Unrest by Michelle Harrison here, which I'm very excited to start. I'm also re-reading a favourite, Paladin of Souls by Lois McMaster Bujold. And on my eReader I've got Unravelling by Elizabeth Norris.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

There is no one favourite! I love Diana Wynne Jones because she has this amazing lightness of touch which deceives you into laughing as she breaks your heart and rearranges your brain with her amazing characters and multilayered plots. I love Ursula K. Le Guin because of the pure, crystalline beauty of her prose. I love Lois McMaster Bujold because her characters take root inside me and live there forever. I love Terry Pratchett because he's got this knack of turning the whole world on its head while you read. I love Jane Austen because I find new things in her work every time I re-read, and I love Dickens because he shouldn't be able to pull off any of the things he does, but he does, every time. 

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

I once read a professional review in a respected review journal which stated that the setting of my second book was 'standard Medieval Europe'. In fact it was a multicultural fantasy setting based on Tibet and Northern India, which had taken me months of research to get right. The same review said that my characters only told the reader what they felt instead of making them feel it. At the time, that review really crushed me. It was clear that the reviewer hadn't read the book with very close attention (hence the mistake about the setting) but for some reason the dismissive comments hit home and it took me a while to get my confidence back. However, as I've continued writing it's become more easier to let those worries about criticism go. These days I can look at negative comments without much of a pang because I've had so many sincere, passionate, moving emails from readers telling me how much my work has meant to them. I've had writers that I respect turn out to respect *me*, which I never expected. Recently I met a young girl who confided a heartbreaking personal story to me, convinced I would understand because she knew I was the author of Shadows on the Moon. What greater compliment could there be than that?

When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?

I started writing what I now realise was Beatrix Potter fanfic basically as soon as I could actually write. I used to trace the illustrations onto new paper and make up the continuing adventures of Peter Rabbit or Jemima Puddleduck. Even before I could string words together on a page, I was a storyteller by nature. I told my little brother tall tales to make our games more exciting, and tried to put stories into my drawings. I think the first manuscript that I actually finished was a romantic novel called 'Maddy's Ransom', when I was about sixteen. I tried to sell it to Mills & Boon and was soundly rejected, thank heavens!

Are there any occupational hazards to being a novelist?

Definitely! The first is that you spend so much time with imaginary people that you forget, sometimes, how to interact with real ones! You become unnaturally obsessed with stationary. You end up with pencil or ink or toner all over you quite a lot. And on a less crazy note, if you become a full-time, self-employed writer, you end up pulling a lot of long hours and doing a lot of not-fun stuff like accounts and tax returns. Boring but true!

Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?

I'd love to be able to find a way to re-use Akira from Shadows on the Moon. She's probably the most intriguing secondary character I've ever written and there's so much history there that I'd love to explore more fully.
I think all my work tends to start out with a basic theme of love. The power of it. How it can go wrong. How it can redeem and destroy. All the other themes - simple and complex ones ranging from revenge and fear to war and racial intolerance and illusions - grow from that.

Many of the characters in your books have a magical power of some sort, if you could have any magical ability what would it be and why?

Ask a random sampling of people this question and you will probably be able to tell right off which ones are writers or creative people. Writers (the ones I know, anyway) always have an answer to this, and probably complex arguments to back it up. So if I was a character in a book, I've always thought that instant, unlimited teleportation would be my pick. That means I could go anywhere, take anything or anyone with me, travel unlimited distances, and do it as often as I wanted. Much as other powers are fun or glamorous or impressive, if no one can catch you then no one can hurt you, and if you can zip your enemies away and drop them straight into a volcano, you'll probably live a long and peaceful life.
However, if I was just me, living my life? I'd take unlimited healing powers, please. That way I'd never have to watch a friend, family member or beloved pet (or, and I can't emphasize this enough, myself) suffer again.

If you could be any of your characters, which would it be and why?

Are you kidding? Have you seen what I put those guys though? Being in one of my books is Hell! I'll stick to being the writer, thanks!

What are your hopes for the next five years?

Wow, that's a big question. Well, in the next five years I've got two standalone books and a trilogy coming out, so my hopes are that people like them as much as they've liked my first three novels. I hope that the slow but fairly steady upward trajectory of my career continues. I hope to get to go to a few more award ceremonies like the Lancashire Book of the Year Award and the Leeds Book Award (as I did this year) where I get to meet amazing writers, teachers, librarians and most of all young readers. And I hope I don't run out of words or ideas!

What was the greatest thing you learned at school?

Honestly, I learned most of the things I've used in my career so far from reading and from the people I've met since I left school. School taught me how to hide from bullies in the bathroom and sneak books into class to read when I was bored - not something I've utilised too often since then.

Is there any advice you were given, or would love to have been given, when you first started writing?

Give yourself permission to suck. You can fix anything but a blank page. And you'll never figure out how to write a book - only how to write the book that you've just finished.

Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?

Mostly just: I LOVE YOU GUYS! *Huggles*

Zoe Marriott's new book Frostfire hits the shelves tomorow, GO AND BUY IT! lol

As I mentioned above, Zoe is our YA Author of the month here at #YABluewater. So make sure you pop back throughout the next four weeks to see some reviews and other interesting stuff about this amazing YA author!

As always we welcome your comments and feedback, so don't be shy! Leave a comment :D

See you next post :0)
Kaylie x


  1. Great post! I loved the answer to "If you could be any of your characters, which would it be and why?". It had me giggling.

    Sam x

    1. I know! All the answers were great, but that one made me giggle too!

      Kaylie x

  2. I can't believe that criticism, I think that the biggest danger of reading any of Zoe Marriott's books is that you feel the character too deeply, when I finished Shadows on the Moon I half expected to see Akira to look back at me from the mirror that's how caught in the character I was.

    Great interview!

    1. Shadows on the Moon is one of my favourite books! I know what you mean about the strength of her characters. I had some crazy dreams while I was reading that book! lol

      Kaylie x

  3. Such a brilliant interview! I love her answer to the advice question, one of the best answers to that question I have ever seen!

    1. I know right!
      Thanks for stopping by :0)

      Kaylie x


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