Take Five Interview: Juliet Marillier and Heir to Sevenwaters

PhotobucketToday marks the U.S. release of internationally acclaimed and best-selling novelist Juliet Marillier’s latest work, Heir to Sevenwaters. Juliet, who’s also a valued contributor here at WU, is known not only for the uniquely detailed worlds she creates in her epic fantasies–featuring her signature blend of well-researched mythology and magical realism–but for her mellifluous prose and characters that all but breathe through the page.

We’re eager to learn more about her new work and happy she took time out for this Take Five interview. Enjoy!

Q: What’s the premise of your new book?

JM: HEIR TO SEVENWATERS has a theme of identity and alienation. There are several strands dealing with the relationship between parent and child. It also includes something quite dear to my heart, the power of storytelling to help people solve real life problems. A storyteller named Willow tells three tales near the beginning, but the characters listening are slow to pick up the fact that this is more than after-supper entertainment.

The great strength of the protagonist, Clodagh (that’s pronounced kloh-da) is her capacity to accept difference – something not all the characters are so ready to do.

Q: What would you like people to know about the story itself?

PhotobucketJM: HEIR TO SEVENWATERS is a stand-alone novel but shares the same setting as my first series, the Sevenwaters Trilogy. In other words, it’s set in Ireland in early Christian times. It’s a blend of romantic historical novel and folkloric fantasy. People need not have read those earlier books to enjoy this one. The first person narrator is the daughter of an Irish chieftain, whose world is turned upside down when a devastating event befalls her family at the birth of a long-awaited son. Clodagh’s main skill lies in household management. She likes her world orderly and calm. Now she must undertake a desperate journey into an unknown realm in an attempt to put things right for her family. Her companion on this quest is not the highly suitable young man she likes, but a more mysterious character who has far too many secrets to be trusted.

Q: What do your characters have to overcome in this story? What challenge do you set before them?

JM: There are plenty of physical challenges, and these test Clodagh to the limit – she is not a physically adventurous person, but her innate practicality helps her. The challenges to attitudes and perceptions are bigger hurdles for some of the characters: learning that everyone deserves love, however physically or emotionally flawed he or she may be; coming to terms with one’s own weaknesses; learning that friendship can triumph over jealousy; learning the strength of a mother’s love for her child.

Q: What unique challenges did this book pose for you, if any?

PhotobucketJM: It was definitely a challenge going back to the Sevenwaters setting after so long – I wrote seven other books in between CHILD OF THE PROPHECY and HEIR TO SEVENWATERS. During that time my style and general approach to writing have changed a lot. For instance, I’m much more rigorous in my historical research now, which made certain aspects of the Sevenwaters setting difficult(I solved this by placing the entire action within Ireland.) Once I got started on the book it flowed extremely well. I’ve always loved writing an unashamedly romantic story, and this book certainly is that. I believe it shares some qualities with the earlier Sevenwaters novels, but has key differences as well.

Q: What has been the most rewarding aspect of having written this book?

JM: Proving to myself that I could go back to the setting of a much earlier series and write a book that was artistically satisfying. Working with Irish folklore, which I’ve always loved. Creating a fascinating, charismatic antagonist for Clodagh. Reintroducing the Old Ones, my rather eccentric version of the Irish mythological race, the Fomhoire.

Thanks so much, Juliet! Readers, look for Heir to Sevenwaters at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and at other bookstores nationwide.

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About Therese Walsh

Therese Walsh co-founded Writer Unboxed in 2006. Her second novel, The Moon Sisters, was named a Best Book of 2014 by Library Journal and BookRiot. Her debut, The Last Will of Moira Leahy, sold to Random House in a two-book deal in 2008, was named one of January Magazine’s Best Books, and was a Target Breakout Book. She's never been published with a lit magazine, but LOST's Carlton Cuse liked her Twitter haiku best and that made her pretty happy.

Comments

  1. Becky says

    Already read it (couldn’t put it down, eep) and it was great! Waiting for your next book will be… painful. Ah well, c’est la vie.

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  2. says

    Thanks, Becky, I’m happy that you enjoyed the new book – I expect the devotees of the Sevenwaters Trilogy will set rather high standards for it. My next book, Heart’s Blood, will be off to the publisher in a week or two but you’ll have to wait until November 2009 to see it on the shelves.

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  3. Beth Miller says

    Juliet, I just wanted to say that HEIR TO SEVENWATERS is a fabulous book! I love the original trilogy, and have re-read it several times, and was thrilled to see you had returned to Sevenwaters for a new tale. I love the complexity of the characters and the vivid setting you create. I look forward to HEART’S BLOOD, and will also hope that perhaps you’ll return to Sevenwaters again…

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  4. Angela Hale says

    I just started the book on my lunch hour yesterday. I, too, was hesitant…but after page 3 I knew you had done it again Juliet. I love your style, the way you write is unique in that your characters come to life immediately. I enjoy the flow of the story and it makes me feel like “yes, I can relax and savor this book”. I have all of your works many times over. I have read hundreds of female authors’ books and must say you are on the top of my list still! Thank you so much for continuing on. I got my copy of this book as they were taking it out of the box! I’m not too far in, but I am going to finish it tonight!

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  5. says

    I agree with the “relax and savor” comment. I just sank into this book. It was so lovely to be back at Sevenwaters. And I was proud of the characters and how they were able to stretch outside of themselves to save those they loved. Thanks so much for this book, Juliet. It was just what I was hoping it would be.

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  6. says

    I can’t wait to read this book, I adore the Sevenwaters books. I think my favourite aspect of these books is how much folklore is a part of them.

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  7. says

    Beth, Angela, Angie, thank you for these lovely comments! If I manage to please both the fans of the original series and new readers I’ll be really happy.

    Kathleen, I agree about the covers – I’ve been extremely lucky this time around. Each of them was done by a highly respected artist, John Jude Palencar for the American cover, Jon Sullivan for the UK cover and Kim Nelson for the Australian cover. Kim has also designed covers for a new Australian edition of the original Sevenwaters Trilogy, based on paintings by John William Waterhouse. Those can be seen on my website.

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  8. Peggy says

    We readers (in the U.S. anyway) have been very lucky to get two new Juliet Marillier books in 2008 (Cybele’s Secret and Heir to Sevenwaters). Great work Juliet! I’m a big fan of your books, and I look forward to reading your future works.

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  9. Katie says

    As always a fantastic book! As all books by Juliet Marillier are. I wish she could write a book that never ended as I find they’re over all too soon!
    Thankyou Juliet, Can’t wait for the next book xx

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  10. Julie says

    I’m so pleased I subscribe to this blog. Now I know I have a great new book waiting for me to read at the library!

    Juliet, I adore your books; and you are right, I’m expecting wonderful things from this latest one. I’m not worried at all though, just excited. :)

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  11. Gemma says

    Oh my gosh,I really cannot wait to read HEIR TO SEVENWATERS! I just loved the Sevenwaters Trilogy and although it will contain the much-loved old characters, I cannot wait to meet the new ones!

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  12. Leslie says

    I can’t wait to get my hands on this book! I picked up the first book in the trilogy many years because that folktale with the swans has always been one of my favorites. I ended up being completely hooked by Juliet’s gorgeous writing. I’m so excited to see the most recent!

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  13. says

    Thank you all, I hope the book meets your expectations. Your lovely comments mean a lot to me.

    Gemma, Heir to Sevenwaters does contain some of the old characters (including Fiacha, who has now appeared on two covers, not bad for a bird) as well as interesting new ones.

    I’m very much hoping that my Australian, US and UK publishers can do the same again with Heart’s Blood and have all three editions released together – if so, it will be around this time next year. One book a year seems to be the fastest I can work.

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  14. Amy says

    Peggy, I agree with you 100%! I just started Heir to Sevenwaters about half an hour ago- can’t wait to keep reading.

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  15. Sara says

    Ms. Marillier,
    I just wanted to say how much I loved Heir to Sevenwaters. I couldn’t put it down and as soon as I finished, I began to reread the original trilogy. Any chance of knowing whether you will write another Sevenwaters book? There are clues that you will, but I am so curious. Also, the cover art is stunning. I had given up on another Sevenwaters books so I didn’t know about the release of this but the distinctive cover caught my eye from two aisles away and I ran to grab it! Thank you for the wonderfully strong heroines you supply us with, and the knowledge that housewives can do anything they put their mind to doing!

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  16. Amanda says

    Juliet, I’ve been a huge fan of your books since middle school and I own every one. You did a great job with Heir to Sevenwaters (as I had no doubts you would) and I’m planning on striving towards a creative writing major next year in college with you as one of my top inspirations. :)

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  17. says

    Thank you, Sara. Clodagh does demonstrate that being a good housewife and dutiful daughter / sister has given her the skills and strength to achieve some truly remarkable things. One need not be a warrior woman to handle a quest or be a hero.

    Yes, I did leave this open for a sequel or two, even though Cathal expresses a wish at the end of the book not to be involved! There could be a major struggle between the Sevenwaters clan and the powerful Mac Dara.

    I think it’s quite likely that I will write another Sevenwaters book, but a lot depends on how Heir to Sevenwaters is received. It was a change of direction for me to write this book and the next one, Heart’s Blood, which is in a similar mode (shorter, less historical and more romantic than the Bridei Chronicles, and with a first person female narrator.)

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  18. Prudence says

    Hello Juliet and everyone,
    I am a tremendous fan of your novels! I read the Seven Waters Trilogy years ago when i was in high school and fell in love with the characters, the history and sceneries. Even now as a mother and a full time university student I enjoy reading your books – it is a nice way to end a busy day :).

    I really look forward to reading your new novel and eagerly await its arrival down here in little old Tasmania, Australia. From the other comments posted, it sounds like Heir to Sevenwaters will prove as successful as your previous books.

    Thank you so much for these wonderful tales, they have been happily read time and time again :).

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  19. says

    Amanda, best of luck with your ambition to study creative writing in college. I’m delighted that my work is partly responsible for your choice and I hope it goes really well for you!

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  20. Anna says

    Hi Juliet and everyone,
    Any idea when the book is due to hit the bookshop shelves in NZ? (I was just in the bookshop today, pondering what I should spend my book voucher on and there was nothing exciting that caught my eye – can’t wait till I get my hands on this one!)

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  21. says

    Anna, theoreticallly it should be available in NZ at the same time it comes out in Australia – but past experience suggests it could be up to a month later. The best bet is to ask your local bookseller to order it in. There should be copies at the Macmillan warehouse in Auckland.

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  22. Sally says

    Juliet – I noticed you comment on picking up on the Sevenwaters branch again after Heir to Sevenwaters, depending on how well Sevenwaters is recieved…

    Well, I am speaking on behalf of loads of origional triology’s fans that your book has been well recieved.

    The news spread like wild fire on the upcoming release date, and everyone I know who’s read your earlier books had raced to the nearest bookstore as soon as it hit the shelves! Including me! I have just finished the book now. It made me smile, laugh and cry just as brilliantly as the first of the tales started years prior.

    So by all means – please write more! Your talent is amazing, inspiring and captivating.

    I will always go back to your books again and again.

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  23. Laura says

    Dear Juliet,

    I read “Heir to Sevenwaters” and thought it fine. Coming back to this setting was like a family reunion where you meet loved ones, old acquaintances, and new friends all in one read. I am hoping that you will further develop the Cathal character, as I feel he has barely begun to discover himself. Your characters are my favorites (I particularly loved Keeper in Foxmask) – they twist my heart and at times make me laugh and cry out loud. I re-read your books periodically – they are dense enough that I often forget some of the details and so then have a rediscovery when I go back.

    I have all of your books – I watch for their release dates and run off to the bookstore to get them (I am not willing to wait a day or two for a delivery from Amazon). So, you can count at least one reader for all your new releases!

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  24. Juliane says

    Dear Juliet,

    since the special day my grandmother first lent me “Daughter of the Forest”, I am a great fan of your writing – those worlds are so rich an dense and the characters are easy to love and cry with – it is almost like going back to childhood were my grandparents used to tell me fairy tales all evening long. It is always like somehow leaving one’s friends when finishing a book, knowing they have found their way safely back home but at the same time it is sad to part.

    I always re-read the books when I am feeling low, and it makes me feel better.

    I really loved the Bridei Chronicles and the Sevenwaters books best, although the new book is just too short…as I am from Germany I have to wait impatiently for the delivery (haunting the postman ;-)) – so you have at least two more fans here who are waiting for more and will buy it as soon as it’s out!

    By the way, do you know whether it is planned to translate “Well of Shades” and “Wildwood Dancing”/”Cybeles Secret” into German? My granny dotes on that…

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  25. says

    I cannot wait for HEART’S BLOOD, and it is so very good to hear you will probably write another Sevenwaters book or two (let it be two!) :-) It seems to me there must be a showdown between Ciaran and Mac Dara at some point.

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  26. says

    Hi Julianne,

    I’ve had a couple of readers tell me the book is too short! It’s certainly shorter than the original three Sevenwaters novels. This is not a matter of choice for me – my new American editor has given me a maximum word count of 160,000. (I’m not sure what would happen if I turned in a longer book, but very likely she’d make me cut it down to size.) That means any novels I write for Penguin in the USA will be the same length as Heir to Sevenwaters (and Heart’s Blood.) No more of those big bug-whomping books like Wolfskin, which came in at around 220,000 words.

    Re German translations, my publisher, Heyne, plans to publish Wildwood Dancing in late 2009. At this stage there are no dates for Cybele’s Secret or Heir to Sevenwaters. It never hurts for readers to write direct to the publisher letting them know you’d like to read a German edition some time soon!

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  27. Amber says

    Just want to let you know that I too am a fan. I also have all of your books and I never thought that I would be compelled to write and say thanks – yet here I am searching online for the hope that there is another book coming that I can ask for from Santa! It is a very long wait each year, please keep up the wonderful work, I look forward to becoming part of one of your worlds very soon….

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  28. Heather says

    I adored this book. I couldn’t put it down. Luckily, I had just finished the entire series again so I remembered all of the Sevenwater’s History pretty well. I could sure see another sequel… crosses fingers and toes in hopes.

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  29. Michelle says

    I am sad that Heir to Sevenwaters is so short! PLEASE tell you editor that this is NOT the way to go, whether its with your young adult novels or regular adult fantasy. Your books have always been just right, but with the newest ones, I believe they would have been even better with a bit more pages in between. Your stories are always beautiful no matter what, but truly your new American editor should not force you to make your stories shorter. That is discouraging news to us readers who enjoy a lengthy, more fleshed out story and not just a quick read. Young adults and adults alike deserve more than that. You of course do a wonderful job despite the limitations of the editor, and Heir is definitely not a shallow read. You always do such a good job of keeping the reader engrossed with major and minor characters, as well as major and minor storylines within your novels. The themes are truthful and real, and that is what makes your works stand out among the same old wizards and dragons fantasy out there.

    I always finish your books much too quickly because I enjoy them so! One book a year is not enough to keep me satisfied! But whatever pace suits you, I guess I’ll have to deal with. But please, let your editor know that there are readers not fully satisfied by short books by their favorite author. You do a grand job of story telling, and you should not be limited in any way. Your new editor is not doing your talent justice by making you write shorter novels. Please tell her that as a reader, it is disheartening and disappointing to know that a beloved author is so limited.
    I greatly enjoyed Heir to Sevenwaters, and I look forward, as always, to your future works.

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  30. Christina says

    I´ve just finished the book and I love it!!!! Again this was a wonderful book like each book that you wrote. You have proofed again that you are a fabolous and very talented writer Juliet. I really can´t wait for the German version of Heir to Sevenwaters, Wildwood Dancing and Cybele´s Secret. In my opinion the book was not too short and not to long it was just perfect and I was so addicted to it that I read a whole day long till I have finished it. What I want to say is: THANK YOU!!! – for writing such woderful books. After reading the books I am always happy and have just great feelings. I hope you will always write such wonderful books as you are doing now and as you did. I will always support you´re work. Thank you and take care.

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  31. Cara F says

    Ms. Marillier,
    Will there be another book after ‘Well of Shades’?
    I have been waiting for it for three months, and if I don’t get it for Christmas, I’m going to cry, Seriously. And Faolan, as a father figure!!! All I have to say is AWWWW!!!! I read the first two books in the bridei trilogy… LOVED ‘EM!!! I can’t wait to see what happens with Faolan. Your books are so moving that I just positively SOBBED when I was reading blade of fortriu. The only thing I disagree with in that book is the fact that Faolan didn’t get the girl. :)

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  32. says

    Amber and Heather, the next book out will definitely be Heart’s Blood, publication date November 2009. The only other thing I am likely to write and have published before that is a 10,000 word story I am writing for an anthology – more details of that later. I do expect to write another Sevenwaters book, but probably not for a while.

    Michelle, I appreciate your comments about book length. Editors sometimes make authors keep their manuscripts under a certain length so the book will fit into a standard display rack in the supermarket. It’s also a sad fact that bigger books cost more to produce, therefore they make less of a profit for the publisher. It’s only the very, very high profile authors (think J K Rowling or Stephenie Meyer) who can make their own terms (and possibly not even they can.) I should add that my Australian publisher has no problem with long books.

    Christina, I’m happy that you thought the length of the book was OK! This was a simpler story than some of my earlier ones, so it was easier to keep the word count down. But then, if I’d been able to write 190,000 words I’d probably have made the story more complex.

    Cara, the question of another novel to follow The Well of Shades is a delicate one. I had always planned to write more than three books in the Bridei Chronicles, but it all got very complicated with certain publishers not wanting any more of that series, and I ended up writing Heir to Sevenwaters and Heart’s Blood instead. And I changed publishers for my adult books in the US.

    I would love to follow the story for another generation, featuring Saraid and Derelei, and giving Ferada a big role as an influential woman in her mid-thirties (a change from my young protagonists.) I have this novel all planned out. But I have to say this is unlikely to be my next project, however much I might want to do it.

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  33. Juliane says

    Hello Juliet,

    I don’t understand how your US publisher can deny thousands of your readers the pleasure of another book of the Bridei chronicles, we are so waiting for such a book, however long it may take. I would buy it without a second thought, even at a higher price. And it is really a shame that book store displays now determine the length of a story.
    But I guess that’s just business, then, and the US market is a big one. And how could you possibly write another Bridei book with such a word count, when they’re always so complex – and that’s what makes them so good.
    I really hope some day you will be able to write that fourth Bridei book, although in the US it may not be appreciated as much as here in Germany. Would it do any good if we wrote to your US publisher (is it Penguin?) Your novels really are outstanding.

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  34. Lindsey says

    I absolutely love your books also. However, it is a disapointment to find that another book in the Bridei Chronicles is on hold. However, I was wondering where you can find accurate historical information regarding your books. Everywhere that I search for my research papers I basically find nothing but theory, or nothing at all.

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  35. says

    Juliane, thanks for your support. I think these isssues will be resolved with time – after all, Heir to Sevenwaters is my first book for this new publisher, so their caution makes good business sense. Even established writers are subject to market pressures and editors sometimes have to argue strongly in-house for certain authors to be taken up. I’m finding the folks at Penguin very good to deal with.

    As far as the Bridei series goes, the proposal for a fourth book was turned down by my previous US publisher and was not offered to any others, so at this stage there would be no point in writing to anyone about it, but thanks for the offer! Right now I am getting a lot of feedback from readers (some want another instalment of Sevenwaters, lots of younger readers want a follow-up to Cybele’s Secret, and some want a fourth Bridei book or a sequel to Foxmask.) I need to take my time over the decision about what comes next – it might be none of those things.

    Lindsey, the two series of mine that required most research were the Wolfskin / Foxmask pair and the Bridei Chronicles. With Wolfskin I did read some scholarly books about the Vikings and about Orkney, but I also went back to older sources, in particular the Icelandic Sagas, which gave me heaps of authentic detail as well as getting my brain into the right storytelling mode. For the Bridei books, I read many history books and some more tourist-oriented books (eg from Historic Scotland) about the Picts. The scholars disagree about a lot of the detail, and that allowed me to choose which theory I liked best, or to invent a new theory if the facts were unknown. That’s the nice thing about writing fiction! I just made sure my guesses were historically feasible and culturally appropriate.

    I do have a habit of choosing parts of history with ‘grey areas’ because that allows more scope for the imagination.

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  36. Sharon says

    Dear Juliet,

    I just wanted to say that I love your books! From the time when I picked up Daughter of the Forest in the library, I have been amazed by how absorbed in the worlds I become. No matter how many times I reread them, they still hold the same magic as the the first. I have all of them. I was wondering what the hardest part of being an author is. Thanks! Keep up the great work!

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  37. Jessicalee says

    To Juliet,
    You have touched my life in such a profound way. By reading your novels i have drawn strength during the dark times in my life, when the world to me was seeming so jaded i felt a calm from your work that i cant explain you have a gift with words! and i would just like to thank you for that, you have brought a peace i can always draw upon to my life.

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  38. Sarah says

    PLEASE NOTE: THIS COMMENT CONTAINS SPOILERS

    Dear Juliet,

    I really liked your book though I thought it could be a little longer.I hoped you would tell more about Bran and Liadan maybe Simon of Horrowfield, Fainne and her husband T___T …..anyway keep writing such wonderful books I hope that there will be a 5th book of the Sevenwaters Saga. Could you imagine to write a 5th book? That would be more than great.
    But I have just one question:Why is Johnny gay? I really can´t understand this fact. It is kind of annoying and disturbing. I can´t handle this fact, because I don´t think this suits either the books you wrote before nor the recent book. I really don´t want to offend or insult you, because it is just MY opinion, and I am just a little confused about that. At the moment I am looking forward to read your new books I think they will be great like your other books too. Thank you for such great stories and books. Take care.
    (Sorry for wrong grammar but English is not my mother tongue T_T)

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  39. says

    Sharon and Jessicalee, thank you for this lovely feedback. Writers can’t survive without readers, and to hear that something I’ve written has made a difference to a reader is wonderful (that’s what keeps us going as writers.)

    Sharon, for me there are probably two ‘hardest things’ about being a writer. One is maintaining focus and self-discipline. The other is dealing with criticism. Even for an experienced writer, the manuscript still feels like a beloved child. However, for me the positives of being a full time writer far outweigh the negatives.

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  40. says

    PLEASE NOTE: THIS COMMENT CONTAINS SPOILERS

    Hi Sarah, and thanks for your comments. I deliberately left out Bran, Liadan and the others because they are such strong characters I thought they would take over the story (in my first draft Liadan was present in the wedding scenes at the beginning, but I wrote her out.) I wanted to keep the focus on Clodagh, Aidan and Cathal.

    As for the issue of a particular character turning out to be gay, I’m going to address that issue in my next monthly post for Writer Unboxed, which should be going up on Thursday December 4. I’m sorry if you didn’t like that development in the story, but it felt right to me based on my knowledge of the character. To me it wasn’t a big deal, just as it wasn’t a big deal to Clodagh, the book’s narrator. At least one reader has written to me applauding the no-fuss decision to make this character gay.

    Look out for my December post when I will go into the issue of an ‘inclusive’ cast in more depth. There will be further opportunity to comment there.

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  41. PJ says

    Hello Juliet,

    I recently received a copy of HEIR TO SEVENWATERS to read and review for romancenovel.tv. I hadn’t read any of your books before so I had no idea what to expect. It didn’t take long for me to be completely immersed in Clodagh’s story, so immersed in fact that I stayed up long past my normal bedtime to finish the book. You write beautifully. I’ve already started looking for the earlier books in the Sevenwaters series and am excited about reading more of your stories. Do you have plans to return to Sevenwaters again?

    Btw, my review of HEIR TO SEVENWATERS is posted today (23 Nov) at http://www.romancenovel.tv. I loved it!

    ~PJ

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  42. says

    Thanks, PJ, that’s a great review! I’m especially happy that you convinced your readers the book worked fine as a stand-alone, with no need to read the Sevenwaters Trilogy first.

    Judging by the response to HEIR TO SEVENWATERS I should think seriously about returning to Sevenwaters again – it seems readers really love this setting and this style of novel. I did leave things open for a sequel or two.

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  43. Ros Bint says

    Have just spent the last three weeks being spellbound by the Bridei chronicles. I found every spare moment taken up with this fabulous tale and was extremly sorry to finish it last night. I look forward to reading the Heir of Sevenwaters as the Sevenwaters trilogy had the same effect on me. Thanks for your amazing story telling ability Ros.

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  44. Hira says

    hey juliet!
    I just recently got my hands on heir to seven waters and i absolutly LOVED IT. It was soo awsome. I absolutly love your style of writing!. You have to be one of my favourite authors- u always create such a deep, rich and encapturing story that i cant help but escape into your world and forget everything else for a while. All your books have their own special magic.
    Please dont stop writing any time soon!
    *and my favourite book is definetly daughter of the forest-because its simply magical*
    so thank you!

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  45. Ana says

    Hello Juliet,

    I’m a portuguese reader and a big big fan. I’ve read all your books and my favourites are the SUN OF SHADOWS and WILDWOOD DANCING, “Filho das Sombras” and “Danças na Floresta” in portuguese. I love your books, only they can push me away from the reality. In Portugal, we only have your books one year latter and i’m so sad about that… I just can’t wait for the “Cybele’s Secret” and “Heir to Sevenwaters” :)

    Please keep writing!

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  46. says

    Hira, thank you for these lovely comments. I intend to keep on writing for a good while yet!

    Ana, my Portuguese readers are some of my most enthusiastic and loyal. O Segredo de Cibele is out this week – I just received my author copies. I hope you enjoy it.

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  47. Nicole says

    Juliet,
    Just wanted to say how much I respect your writing. As an aspiring writer, the highest compliment I’ve ever been paid is when a friend compared me to you–of course, I’m not anywhere near your standard, but it still was nice to hear.
    I’m so excited you’ve returned to Sevenwaters, and have a feeling the wait until Christmas will be long and less than pleasent!
    Thank you so much for your amazing stories, and for giving dreamers like myself something to aspire towards.
    N~

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  48. says

    Nicole, thank you! Your comments are much appreciated.

    I’m currently re-reading Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier, first published in 1936. I’m realising as I go that her books, which I love but haven’t read for many years, have had a big influence on my style of writing. The strong, pragmatic heroine, Mary, is a woman after my own heart, and the evocative descriptions of the Cornish landscape bind the setting intimately into the story. The book doesn’t seem dated as many other novels of that time do now.

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  49. Rochelle says

    Hm, ok, so this is how it was for me:

    After months of eagerly waiting for ‘Heir to Sevenwaters’ to be released, I was finally able to start reading it at 10pm last night… and (unsurprsingly) found myself unable to stop until about 6am in the morning, when I had read the very last page.

    I have been a huge fan of your work since I first read ‘Son of the Shadows’ back in… well, when I was 14 – so almost eight years ago now. Since then, I have read every book you’ve published, and have firmly placed the Sevenwaters Trilogy amongst my favourite series, with ‘Daughter of the Forest’ being perhaps my all-time absolute favourite novel. Ever.

    Through your books, I have lived in worlds so vivid, experienced moments so fantastic and memorable, felt emotions so real, and overall, been entranced so thoroughly. ‘Heir to Sevenwaters’ had the same Marillier magic, and I begin to think that ‘brilliant’ doesn’t even begin to describe your newest offerng.

    In all, I found only one negative thing about this book – it was far too superb, engaging, and ADDICTIVE for MY own good. In the end, I went to work that morning with only an hour’s sleep.

    But then again, that hour of sleep was filled with dreams of a magical but real world created through your writing. I slept with a smile on my face, my eyes slightly damp from the emotion, and with hope in my heart.

    Thank you.

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  50. Cara F says

    Ms. Marillier,
    So, IF you’re going to install a 4th book, PLEASE give Faolan a big part in it too! You know, the chapters where you know what he’s thinking? All I ask is if you keep Faolan going. :) I have really enjoyed your books. I’m Irish, and proud of it. Ever since I learned my name meant ‘friend’ in gaelic, My mind is in this state: ‘IrelandIrelandIrelandIrelanIrelandIrelandIreland’
    So when I discovered your books via my sister’s(who is now in Air Force boot camp) bookshelf. She has/had the first three sevenwaters books, and now I have the Well Of Shades! I went through hell to get it.. See, i live in Arizona, and even the evenings are REALLY hot and humid, even in winter. I biked from Gilbert to the mesa bookstore, and searched high and low. I just want to say, I am your most loyal reader. :)

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  51. says

    That is extremely loyal, Cara, and I am duly grateful! One of the few bits of Irish I know is ‘anam cara’ or soul-friend, which is a lovely term.

    If I can persuade my publishers to take on another instalment in the Bridei Chronicles, I will certainly provide more of Faolan’s story.

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  52. Joshua says

    Deat Juliet,
    I am a newcomer to your works, i have just read ‘wolfskin’ and its sequel ‘foxmask’ and i loved them both, they are works of art that touched me to the very core and recognised in the characters part of myself, particularly Somerled (perhaps not one of the best characters to empathise with, but thats how it is). Your writings have made me fall in love with reading all over again.
    There is but one question that i wish to ask and that is; Is there going to be a sequel to ‘foxmask’ or was that the end of it?. The fact is that the books left me wanting more and i was wondering if you could shed any light on this topic?
    One of your newest yet already biggest fans
    Joshua Hoggan

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  53. says

    Hi Joshua, and thanks for posting. It makes me extremely happy to hear you say my work rekindled your love of reading! (Big smile.) Of all the characters I’ve created, I found Somerled one of the most interesting to work with (closely followed by Eyvind – the two always went together in my mind, dark and light, shadow and sun.)

    As for the question of whether there will be more in that saga, I can’t really answer. It’s not a top priority right now, but I agree the story was not finished, and I believe Thorvald in particular has quite a long journey still to make. We’ll see!

    If you are intending to sample more of my work, I’d suggest reading the Bridei Chronicles next (starting with The Dark Mirror.) They are closest to the storytelling style of the Light Isles books.

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  54. Linda says

    Dear Juliet,
    I absolutely loved the new sevenwaters book ‘Heir to Sevenwaters’. I enjoyed it so much that a sadness overwhelmed me when I had finished it. I don’t want to put any pressure on you but please please please write a fifth sevenwaters book. You are a fantastic writer and I love the romance and satisfying endings in all four sevenwaters books.
    Linda.

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  55. says

    Thank you, Linda! You could always read it again, I suppose :)

    I currently have contract negotiations under way for some new books, at least one of which is a Sevenwaters novel. As you probably know, my next book out is a stand alone, Heart’s Blood, (to be published Nov 09) but it’s possible the one after that may be the next instalment of Sevenwaters.

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  56. Christine Keung says

    Ms. Marillier! I just finished Heir to Sevenwaters and it was AMAZING! I read it in one sitting and then I went back and reread it again! Clodagh is such a realistic heroine and I really liked the fact that she overcame her fears. Cathal is definitely one of my favorite heroes. He’s kind of like an anti-hero, a bit like Bran. I look forward to your next Sevenwater books!

    I also loved Wildwood Dancing and Cybele’s Secret! Will you be continuing that series as well?

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  57. says

    Thank you, Christine! Yes, I do plan to write one more book to follow Cybele’s Secret. It will probably be written in between the two new Sevenwaters books.

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  58. Alanna says

    Wow, I’m a bit late finding this site! I don’t care though, I’m still going to say my bit.

    I first started reading your books when I was twelve and an insomniac. My mother was given “Daughter of the Forest” by a publisher friend as a proof copy or something and after she read it she lent it to me. I never gave it back.

    There is so much I could say about these books!! Espeically that “Heir to Sevenwaters” felt like coming home and the end of a very long day. I had no idea you were writing (not being very internet savvy) and when I saw the book by fluke on the shelf I grabbed it as soon as I could afford it!

    One thing about Sevenwaters is how realistic it is – generations dying and being replaced, and I felt every death in that family as a personal loss. It’s a little sad but there it is.

    I have a theory about Ciaran and Mac Dara which I hope is on the nose (’cause then I’ll feel smart) but don’t want to spoil this…

    I hope you will write other Irish based novels, outside of Sevenwaters. I have long been obsessed with Ireland and it would just be a wonderful indulgence for me! I own all your books – and haven’t read Wildwood Dancing or Cybele’s Secret yet because I have only just gotten them – I live in the country and they were impossible to come by. Thank god for Dymocks online!

    I think Wolfskin was my favourite.

    Just want to say thank you for thrilling my life with your romantic fantasy. I can’t get enough of your style and imagination. I’ve read the Sevenwater’s trilogy at least four times now. I love your work. Number one. Thanks so much.

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  59. says

    Alanna, thank you for these great comments! I’m delighted that you appreciate the way the impact of certain dramatic events lasts through several generations in the story, as in real life. You’ll be happy to know that my next new book, Heart’s Blood, which is coming out in Nov 09, is set in Ireland. The story is set in a later period than the Sevenwaters books. After that I go back to the Sevenwaters clan and pursue that interesting lead on Ciaran and Mac Dara.

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  60. Alanna says

    I am so pleased to hear that! Yay, I know what I want for Christmas. I have just read Wildwood Dancing today and it was another triumph – I loved the forg. I saw it coming but I didn’t expect it all to unfold at it did (no spoilers here I hope). I’m going to read Cybele’s Secret next week… I am going away for the weekend.

    I’m so please that you take an interest in your fans, and responded even after all this time – how many movie stars would do that? I don’t know really.

    I can’t wait to go back to Sevenwaters again afterwards… I can’t wait to discovre if my theory is right!

    I hope you are well, and I send you kind thoughts and positive vibes during your time of illness. Thank you for responding so kindly to my little rave!

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  61. Rosie says

    I absolutely LOVED the Sevenwaters Trilogy! I could’t put it down! i am 14 and read them in less than two weeks. i also never used to read and now i read all the time beacause of your books, Juliet. I am SO excited for Hearts Blood! Who’s point of veiw will it be from? Who?

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  62. says

    Rosie, thanks for this lovely comment! Heart’s Blood has a set of characters who are completely unrelated to those in any of my other books (there is one tiny reference, via a place name, to a certain character from Heir to Sevenwaters – I might offer a free book to the first person who picks up this very small connection. This story is set several hundred years later than the Sevenwaters books.)

    The narrator is Caitrin. She has been trained as an expert scribe by her father. When the story starts she’s running away from home. She ends up seeking refuge in a place nobody else is prepared to visit (there are many frightening rumours attached to it) and things unfold from there.

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  63. Angela says

    Hi Juliet,

    After reading Rosie’s comment, I remember when I was 13-14 and how it was also Juliet’s books that first got me seriously into reading. I stayed up till 3-4am trying to finish Daughter of the Forest, and somehow convinced all my other friends to read it as well.

    I can’t wait till November for Heart’s Blood’s release. Darker gothic fantasy is just what I need. I saw the covers on your site and I can’t help but wonder what the Australian cover will look like. I hope it doesn’t feature any specific faces of any characters since it always kills off my imagination in picturing what they would look like. I think that’s why I loved the Australian covers for the Bridei Chronicles.

    November seems so far away…I know I’ll be checking every bookshop I can find towards the end of October, just like I did everytime your more recent books got released.

    Just a question, for your future Sevenwaters books, will there be any mentions to what happens to Fainne and her family? She’s one of my favourite characters. In Heir to Sevenwaters, it’s been noted that there have been changes in the Fair Folk and their relationship with humans, I’m wondering how that will affect Fainne’s role as the Child of the Prophecy, or has her role already ended by staying on the island?

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  64. says

    Hi Angela,

    The Australian cover is up on my website now:
    http://www.julietmarillier.com/Heart‘sBlood.htm

    It does show a figure, but because it’s a reproduction of a J W Waterhouse painting there may not be that imagination-sapping effect (I hope not – this woman suits the way I see the character.)

    At this stage I can’t answer the question about Fainne. I don’t think there will be much about her in Song of the Island, but it’s possible for a later book. There are many story threads in the Sevenwaters world, and I could pick up any of them.

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  65. Rosie says

    Hello again Juliet! Do you know who’s point of view will Song of the Island be? Fiannes daughter, Niave maybe? Cant Wait For It!!! How Have You Been?

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  66. says

    Hi Rosie! Song of the Island is told mostly from Sibeal’s point of view, but I’m trying something new for the Sevenwaters series by allowing one other character (male) to tell part of each chapter. In the book, Sibeal travels to Inis Eala to stay for awhile because Ciaran thinks she needs to experience more of the world before making her final commitment to join the druids. Of course, quite a few members of her family already live there (Clodagh and Cathal, Muirrin and Evan, Johnny, Gareth, Cormack.) She gets quickly embroiled in an adventure.

    I am OK thanks, I’ve been seriously ill this year but I’m getting through my course of treatment and hope to have more energy back in a couple of months.

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  67. says

    The original, intended publication date for Song of the Island would have been late 2010, but because of my illness everything has been delayed. I can’t give a definite publication date yet, sorry.

    When I finish writing the book I’ll be jumping up and down celebrating!

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  68. Emma says

    Hi Juliet! I think it’s AMAZING that you’re actually here responding to readers’ comments… I guess I have you up on a pedestal and that’s why I’m surprised. Love the books, and I’m so excited to hear that another Sevenwaters book is in the works!

    *SPOILER ALERT*
    I know I’m in the minority saying this, but I’m kind of hoping to see a book from you one day that ends with the lovers not being able to be together, just for suspense purposes…is there any chance of that? (I’m not counting Blade of Fortriu, since Ana and Drustan wanted to be together; I may be in the minority there too.) When I got to the part in Heir to Sevenwaters where Cathal sacrificed himself for Clodagh, I was left thinking that it was such a powerful scene that the book should just end there. Not that I was upset when they got a happy ending, of course!
    *END SPOILERS*

    Best wishes for your recovery… my neighbor recently recovered from cancer and he isn’t the healthiest of guys, so I bet you’ll be fine…

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  69. says

    Emma, this is an interesting comment! Firstly, any author who gets up on a pedestal needs to be reminded from time to time that he or she is just an ordinary human being with a full set of human frailties! However, it does make me happy when readers tell me they love my writing.

    Now to the question of happy endings. It depends a bit on editors. I would like to be able to end a novel with the lovers parted unhappily, if that seemed right for the story. However, as you’ve pointed out, the majority of my readers would find this a bit disconcerting, since I do usually give my two central characters a happily resolved romance (Blade of Fortriu being the exception, since a three-cornered romance can’t generally turn out well for all three people.) It is very possible that if I presented a proposal for a sad romantic novel to my publisher, and she thought my readers would hate the tragic or unresolved ending, then the publisher might not take the book, or might ask me to change the story.

    I guess the ending is whatever seems right for the story – provided the author can present it convincingly. As a reader, I like happy endings, and if I can’t have a happy ending, I like a satisfactorily resolved one in which the protagonists learn something, or are set on a more positive course. I hate books that leave me feeling depressed.

    By the way, thanks for the good health wishes. It all helps!

    all the best

    Juliet

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  70. lovelybones says

    you mentioned that you used one fairy tale (beauty & the beats -loosely) are there any more? can you afford to tell us anything other than what you wrote about HEART’S BLOOD?

    …and what i also want to know, i’m aware that you have to keep a certain booklength depending on what your (editor?) tells you …do you have the feeling the story (heart’s blood) contains all the elements required to satisfy “you”? or would you have liked it more to have a little more of playground to write a longer and thus maybe for example “stronger” characters etc.?

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  71. says

    Lovelybones, Heart’s Blood only uses Beauty and the Beast. Although the plot does more or less parallel the fairy tale, the story is changed in many ways. In particular, my central character, Caitrin, does not end up in the ‘beast’s’ household because of a bargain made by her father, but by her own choice. I was keen not to make her too much of a victim.

    When my new website goes up in early September, you will be able to read an excerpt from Heart’s Blood – about 15 pages from Chapter One.

    Re book length – most publishers have general guidelines for how long a particular kind of novel should be. My personal experience is that American publishers, in particular, are keener these days to set a maximum length for a novel, over which the writer mustn’t go (although there are obviously exceptions for best-selling authors who write huge books, eg Diana Gabaldon.) This has to do with the publisher’s profit margin, and what size of book certain stores are prepared to stock.

    With any novel, the author prefers to take however many words / pages feel right to tell the story in the best way possible. I would have liked to make Heir to Sevenwaters a little longer, but I am reasonably satisfied with the end result. For Heart’s Blood, the word count allowed by the publisher was fine – I thought it was just right for the story. My manuscripts usually sit around the maximum allowable, though. My two young adult novels were both quite a bit longer than the maximum word count I’d been given, but the editor accepted that (not the same editor / publisher as for my adult fiction.)

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  72. lovelybones says

    ohh, interesting interesting *scratcheshead*

    I’d understand that the YA-books have a maximum length … but — HEIR TO SEVENWATERS ??

    Why is it actually that you needed to work with the american editor? I thought it suffices working with the australian editor (sorry, – no idea how this editor-writer-thing works…)

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  73. says

    lovelybones, when a book is published separately in (say) Australia and the USA, there are various different ways editors can deal with their job. Sometimes, it’s true, one editor will use the fully edited material from the other and only change what’s required for her readership (for instance, spelling will be Americanised.) That never happens with my books! Often it will be a different publishing house in each country, and usually each editor wants a say in the editorial process. Sometimes they disagree, which makes it difficult for the author. In the past for me, the different editions have sometimes come out months apart which means different editors are expecting me to work on their version at different times.

    I was very lucky with Heir to Sevenwaters, my first book with my new US publisher, Penguin (published by Macmillan in Australia and the UK.) All three editors agreed to work together and give me just one set of editorial notes, and all three publishing houses agreed to publish their editions at the same time. This time around, they all pretty much agreed on what changes they wanted to my original manuscript. It was much, much easier than some experiences I’ve had in the past! I’ve had the same very considerate treatment with Heart’s Blood.

    I believe that if an editor is doing her job properly and is genuinely committed to the book being as good as possible, she’ll want some direct input into any changes that are made.

    For my adult books, my contracts with the US publisher specify 140,000-160,000 words. It’s quite good for me to keep within this! Some of my earlier books were probably a bit too long.

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  74. lovelybones says

    No, they certainly weren’t *g* (too long, that is)
    Thanks for taking your time on explaining the whole
    scenario, now I can see things much, much clearer!

    Is Heart’s Blood also about the same average length like your last novel Heir to Sevenwaters?

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