The other week I was thinking about how great it would be if I could interview some of my favourite authors. So I decided I’d send out some emails and see if any of them had some time for me. I was so happy when Marianne replied – taking time out of her busy schedule for me – and now I can proudly post my short interview with her!
If you’ve never read any of her books, I highly recommend them if you like Young Adult fiction, Paranormal or Fantasy fiction or anything to do with time travel. I’d say they also appeal to historical fiction fans, for their time travel scenes.
Born in New South Wales, Australia, Marianne discovered her love of books at the age of eight years old. The first novel that had an effect on her was Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist. Throughout her school years, the library was one of her favourite places – and it was when she read Katherine by Anya Seton that she found a passion for historical fiction.
After marrying and starting a family, Marianne started working towards her dream of becoming a writer, inspired by the beautiful country of Australia. Her first novel, Old Magic, was published in 2000 by Bloomsbury. She then started writing the Guardians of Time trilogy, undertaking much research into the historical periods that Isabel, Ethan and the others visit.
In 2004, Marianne was diagnosed with Myelfibrosis. As this can be a difficult subject to talk about, I would like to use her words here: “It was a huge deal in my life and my family’s life. Without a stem cell bone marrow transplant I was going to die. Fortunately my sister was a wonderful match and though I was given only 35% chance of surviving the transplant, with no other option, I enthusiastically embraced the transplant. I spent months in hospital, in quarantine, undergoing high doses of chemotherapy. I lost my hair and nearly died from kidney failure and a host of other problems, but I came through it with the help of the life-saving medical staff of Westmead Hospital, my beautiful sister’s beautiful, healthy and abundant stem cells, the support of my family (all of them) and the incredible amount of prayers that were said for me. I am truly thankful.
For a year after the transplant, I was unable to concentrate well enough to even read. But it gradually returned and I began writing again. After such a dramatic experience the first writing I did was more cathartic than publishable. I wrote a novel called “Chains” about two brothers of Italian descent named, Julian and Vincent, who lose their mother to cancer and battle through their grief in different ways. And while this manuscript is close to my heart, it may never be published.
I mention this because it has been seven years since my last book, The Key, was published, and many of my readers wondered what happened and why I hadn’t written anything since.”
(from Marianne’s website)
Rinn: Who or what inspires your writing?
Marianne: I am inspired every day by my surroundings. I live on a mountain with beautiful scenery of waterfalls, rainforests, fresh-water creeks, interesting foliage, and an abundance of Australian wildlife. The birds are especially beautiful. I am also greatly inspired by music and always have songs playing when I am writing. I love to listen to dramatic music or songs that tell a passionate or epic story.
[Rinn: I lived in Australia when I was five, and I have such vivid memories of it. I can imagine just how inspirational it is!]
Rinn: What are some of your favourite books and authors?
Marianne: ‘Katherine’ by Anya Seton was a favourite book of mine for many years when I was a teenager. Later in life my favourite books were ‘The Thorn Birds’ by Colleen McCullough, ‘The Girl in Times Square’ by Paullina Simons, and ‘Battleaxe’, the start of a brilliant fantasy series by Sara Douglass. More recently my favourites are ‘The Song of Achilles’ by Madeline Miller, because it is so beautifully written, and ‘Daughter of Smoke and Bone’ by Laini Taylor, a breathtaking fantasy that is rich in description and imagination.
[Rinn: The Song of Achilles was a beautiful book. I still have to read Daughter of Smoke and Bone, but I’ve heard a lot of good things about it.]
Rinn: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Marianne: When I’m not writing I’m usually reading. But also, I like to potter in my garden, knit scarves, beanies and blankets, and collect pictures from around the world to pin on my ‘Pinterest’ boards online.
Rinn: Is there anything you find challenging when writing, and how do you overcome it?
My biggest challenge when writing is the creation of the first draft. I get a little edgy until the draft is safely on file. I listen to music during this phase as it helps to loosen the thoughts and bring visual images into my head. I thoroughly enjoy the rest of the writing process.
Rinn: What made you choose the particular periods of time that the Guardians/Order travel to in the trilogy?
Marianne: I chose those time periods because firstly, I believed they were interesting; and secondly, I felt there were important enough events during those time periods that would have a significant effect on the present should they really be altered.
[Rinn: Definitely! I think they were great choices.]
Rinn: If you could travel to any period in time, when would it be?
Marianne: The truth is I wish I owned a time-travel machine! I don’t know if I could pick just one period. I’d probably start with the dinosaurs and work my way through to the future! I suppose if I had to select one I would probably visit the Romans during their peak domination of the world.
[Rinn: I think I’d be too scared to visit the dinosaurs… I’ll stick to Jurassic Park 😉 Another great choice, a really important civilisation.]
Rinn: Who is your favourite member of the Guard, and of the Order?
Marianne: My favourite member of the Guard is Ethan, because whatever I threw at him he still remained loyal. As for the Order, I don’t actually have a favourite.
[Rinn: Mine is Arkarian. And Isabel too, because she has a great name ;)]
Rinn: If the Guardians of Time trilogy was turned in a film series, who would be in your perfect cast?
Marianne: I think, if I had a choice, I would like to go with a few relatively unknown, up-and-coming young actors. I would watch them try out and read for the parts and select them from there.
Thank you so much to Marianne for letting me interview her! I’m so proud to be posting this, and really grateful. This is a series that I’ve loved since I was young, and still re-read. I cannot wait for her next novel, Hidden!