Internationally acclaimed Australian author Juliet Marillier writes epic fantasy novels with true-to-life characters, singular plots, vivid weavings of myth and magic, and buttery prose. Her meticulous research of unique settings–Norse Orkney, ancient Ireland and Pictish Scotland–put her on the cutting edge of historical fiction as well.
But don’t believe me. Here’s what the reviewers have to say:
“Marillier is a fine folklorist and a gifted narrator who has created a wholly appealing and powerful character.”
—Publishers Weekly on Daughter of the Forest
“Australian new voice Juliet Marillier provides a beautifully wrought answer to the legend of the swans in this sequel to her debut novel, Daughter of the Forest…The exquisite poetry of the story is carefully balanced with strong characterizations and more than a nod to Irish mythology.”
—Romantic Times (Gold Top Pick) on Son of the Shadows
“The clash of cultures and the limits of loyalty form the thematic framework of Marillier’s compelling new stand-alone fantasy….A multilayered plot, intriguing characters and lyrical prose distinguish a novel that, long as it is, never feels padded.”
— Publishers Weekly on Wolfskin
“Another great story full of well developed characters from this fine fantasist.”
— Booklist starred review on Foxmask
Writer Unboxed is truly honored to have her with us for this in-depth three-part interview.
Part 1: Interview with Juliet Marillier
Q: Where do the seeds for these epic stories come from? Are they all based on bits of old tales?
JM: The seeds often come from real history – for instance, the story for Wolfskin was inspired by my interest in the history of Orkney and what might have happened when the first Norse settlers (0r invaders) clashed with the indigenous Pictish population. I like unanswered questions: why did the Picts vanish from the north of Britain so quickly, after being such a strong military and political presence? The basis for The Bridei Chronicles is real history. I was fascinated by the story of the young Bridei being groomed for kingship by an influential mage or druid, which has some parallels with Arthur and Merlin. Because I love myth, legend and folklore and have been reading it all my life, many motifs and themes from traditional stories work their way into my books almost despite me. I also gain inspiration from what I see, hear and experience in my daily life. There are elements in the Bridei books that relate strongly to the fact that I was writing in the early days of the Iraq war.
Q: The stakes are always exceedingly high in your stories, whether characters are out to save a race of people, win peace, or in some other way combat evil. How important are high stakes in the fantasy genre and why? [Read more…]