Bec Stafford interviews Gold Coast based YA author, Marianne Curley.
Q1. Fearless (the third book of your Avena series) will be released later this year and is already available for pre-order. Your star-crossed lovers, Ebony and Nathaneal, are determined to reconnect, though Ebony is trapped in a hellish reality. Will he free his angel?! How does your romance background inform your YA novels? And are you a romantic in real life?
What a loaded first question! In the upcoming finale to the Avena Series, Ebony and Nathaneal are determined to reconnect, but whether they do, and whether or not Nathaneal is able to free his angel, is not something I’m willing to divulge at this time. In other words, you have to wait until Fearless is released on the first of July to find out! But I can tell you that Fearless is packed with action, and whether the star crossed lovers reconnect or not, it won’t be from a lack of trying by the both of them.
I’m assuming by romantic background that you mean the eight manuscripts I wrote and submitted to Mills & Boon twenty odd years ago. They were enormously helpful even though Mills & Boon didn’t publish them. I refer to those manuscripts as my learning phase, my writing apprenticeship. Those were the books that taught me discipline, patience, persistence, and above all, how to write romance. All my young adult novels, from Old Magic to Fearless, have strong romantic elements. Almost all great books have love stories at their core. It’s the love story that drives the characters as they forge ahead to eliminate the obstacles that keep them apart.
Your question whether I consider myself a romantic intrigued me, and I had to check what being a romantic actually means. There are quite a lot of ideas and interpretations on the Internet, but it seems the general consensus is that a romantic is someone with a sensitive nature and who has an awareness of people’s feelings. They can tell when someone is sad, for instance, and they give love out as much as they receive, and probably more. Their view of love is idealistic, believing in the happily ever after scenario, and their actions and gestures come from their hearts. In other words, they’re sincere. And finally, they look for beautiful things and beautiful ways to express themselves. Is this me? Other than being slightly jaded from life’s occasional bitter experiences, I would say, yes, at heart I am a romantic.
Q2. I read the amazing story of how one of your avid Guardians of Time trilogy fans actually wrote a sequel to your story. How does it make you feel to know that you’ve made such an impression on your audience, and if you could continue, or extend, a favourite storyline, which would you choose and why?
I am consistently floored and humbled by my readers. Whether my writing has inspired someone to create a drawing of my characters, a poster or book cover for a school project, or write a 500 page sequel, or go on to become a published writer, every time I’m made aware of their achievements, I feel privileged and inspired to write more and more.
The storyline I would continue is The Guardians of Time, a fourth novel to pick up after the final battle in The Key. I’ve thought about doing this many times, even to the point where I created a plan for a new series based on the same characters but one year later. The reason I would like to do this is simple, this series doesn’t feel finished.
Q3. Where to after the Avena series, Marianne?
It’s going to be something different for me next. I’ve written a young adult contemporary manuscript, title not yet confirmed, that I have just sent to my agent to read. My fingers and toes are crossed as I wait a verdict. After that I will be writing another YA contemporary novel. And following that book, I will likely return to writing paranormal fiction.
Q4. Which of your characters burns brightest?
Without hesitation the character who burns brightest in my family of characters is my most recent member – Ebony Hawkins. I’ve watched her evolve from being a confused girl who knows she is different to something unique and special. From the start Ebony knows she does not fit in the normal world. Questioning her parents, she learns of her unusual adoption. Then a remarkably-beautiful stranger enters her life. He tells Ebony that she’s an angel. And while trust doesn’t come easy to Ebony, nothing will now stop her from searching for the truth. Ebony goes on a roller coaster ride, breaking free of restraints that were forced on her at birth, learning more about herself with each chapter, each volume, until she evolves into her true self.
Marianne never thought she would be a writer. It was not until her mid-thirties, while teaching office studies and computers to adults at the Coffs Harbour Education Campus that she began to write, taking courses and experimenting with various styles and genres.
Marianne’s first four novels, Old Magic, The Named, The Dark and The Key, were published by Bloomsbury Publishing in Australia, the UK, and the USA, with translations into more than a dozen foreign languages. They have won numerous awards, and sold in numbers well in excess of half a million books worldwide.
In 2004, just as The Key was being prepared for printing, Marianne was diagnosed with an aggressive form of bone marrow cancer called Myelofibrosis. With only a short time to live, she was given a stem-cell bone marrow transplant using her sister’s cells, which saved her life. Marianne has now been cancer free for ten years and has written a new trilogy called the Avena Series. The first two books, Hidden and Broken were published in 2013 and 2014, with the third, Fearless, is to be released on the first of July, 2015.