Fantasy writer Juliet Marillier Interview

    Thanks to our friends from the Burn Bright site, we had the chance to share an interview fantasy writer Juliet Marillier.

    Juliet Marillier’s novels combine historical fiction, folkloric fantasy, romance and family drama. Juliet is a member of the druid order OBOD (The Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids) and her spiritual values are often reflected in her storytelling – the human characters’ relationship with the natural world plays a significant part.

    1) As a fantasy writer you have the challenge to take your writers to marvellous worlds with amazing creatures. What would you say is the hardest part of that process?

    Usually my novels are set in real world history and geography, so creating the world is not so difficult – I do the same kind of preparatory research as I would if I were writing straight historical fiction. The uncanny element in my books is almost always based on the folklore and mythology of the setting’s time and culture. For instance, in the Sevenwaters series, set in early medieval Ireland, the human characters interact with the Tuatha de Danann, sometimes called the Fair Folk, and the Old Ones, who are very loosely based on the Fomhóire. These are the two main races of fey folk from Irish mythology – my versions of them, anyway. In my new book, Shadowfell, whose setting is an imagined version of ancient Scotland, I’ve delved deep into my Scots heritage and into the folklore of the region to create the cast of uncanny characters. I do find it challenging to invent systems of magic that are logical and consistent within the world of the book. I make no secret of the fact that I am more interested in character development than I am in world-building! I’m therefore thrilled with the great reviews Shadowfell has been getting, in which both character and world have been praised.

    2) The artwork in your book covers is amazing. What is your favourite one and why?

    It’s very hard to pick out only one favourite as I’ve been privileged to have some wonderful artists do covers for my books, notably John Jude Palencar and Kinuko Y Craft. I’d have to choose Kinuko’s cover for Wildwood Dancing, which is full of intricate detail and is a perfect match for the story. That art work was so wonderful it was used for every edition of the book: Australian, American, UK and various translations.

    3) What’s your favourite movie and why?

    The Last of the Mohicans, starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Madeleine Stowe. Sweeping, epic story, great cast, superb cinematography and – last but definitely not least – a wonderful musical score that provided great emotional depth for the story. The move is full of memorable scenes. My favourite is the one where Hawkeye leaps out into the waterfall, shouting ‘I will find you!’ to Cora. I love a good romance.

    4) From all your books and characters, which one would you like to see adapted to a feature film, animation or Tv show and why?

    Wildwood Dancing would make a beautiful animated feature – it ticks all the boxes for a classy fairy tale adaptation,  perhaps done by one of the gifted Japanese animators. I can just see it – the mysterious dark forest, the girls in their dancing dresses, the crumbling old castle … Not to mention a feisty teenage protagonist and a witty pet frog.

    5) What is the most common question fans ask you?

    When are you going to write the next book in the (Wildwood / Bridei / Sevenwaters) series? It’s hard for readers to understand that this kind of thing isn’t always within an author’s control. I’d love to be able to please all my fans by writing the books they want, but I also have to satisfy my publisher and, very important, keep on challenging myself creatively.

    We must thank the Burn Bright site and Bec Stafford for this great interview opportunity.


    For more information about Juliet Marillier visit