Melina Marchetta

A whole lot of Misc to start 2016

Firstly, Happy New Year.

The paperback edition of The Piper’s Son comes out in Australia today. If anyone is interested, during January, I’ll respond to any burning questions you’ve ever had about the novel in the comments section.

Except the Jimmy Hailler question, which I’ll address now.

No, I’m not currently writing a Jimmy Hailler book. But it may seem as if I am.  If you are inclined to read my next novel due out in September  (more of that down below) then the prologue will present you with two Jimmys. Netiher is Jimmy Hailler.

I know. How cruel. Didn’t do it on purpose. Wasn’t thinking. Tried to change their names, but once you name those characters, it’s really hard to change much about them.

In saying the above, a Jimmy Hailler novel does exist in my head and has for a while. It’s a four-hander and he’s one of the narrators. I’ve said it before,  I know a bit about him. He’s the first out of the “Francesca” gang to procreate, accidently. It’ll be an adult novel because Jimmy’s now in his mid twenties and two of the other main narrators are my age (young in spirit but greying slightly). I’ve actually written about one of the characters, Mattie, in a short story called “The Centre” for the 2013 anthology “Just Between Us”.  Mattie fleetingly mentions her step demon, and this year, I’m hoping to write the short story from that step daughter’s point of view which is called “When Rosie met Jim”. And then I’d like to write the short story from Jim’s perspective when he returns to Sydney after being away for quite some time, and crashes on his friend’s couch. For now most of that is in my head, and it’s all I can offer the Jimmy readers.

The not so bad problem about being a writer is that you think you’re ready to start on something and all of a sudden, a whole new bunch of characters jump into your head. That’s what happened a couple of years ago with Bish Ortley and the characters from Shaming the Devil. I’ve handed in a close-to-final edit and you’ll be seeing it in the second half of this year. It’s the first time I’ve completed an edit simultaneously with two different publishers, one in Australia and the other in the US. I’ve loved the experience and have been most fortunate working with the smartest of editors. As you probably know, it’s a crime thriller, but I can’t see it not suiting most of the readership I’ve come to know. My main focus in writing is always the relationships, the characters and the communities they find themselves part of.  For now, I’ll leave you with a couple of lines from the letter sent to me early last year by my Australian publisher, Ben Ball.

…  It’s alternately gripping, moving, challenging, and funny – it feels, somehow, genuine and joyous, despite its darker sections. It feels somehow wholehearted. It’s about family, loss, adolescence, middle-age, old age … it captures an enormous chunk of the world.

On a quick note, the Jellicoe film dream is still alive. New producers came on board last year, who I respect and who truly understand the guts of the novel and the film so fingers crossed that there’s exciting news to tell in 2016. Thankfully, the film script is ready and waiting so my part in the process is over.

Finally, here is the cover for Brazillian Jellicoe.  I think it’s my favourite so far. The artist’s name is Carlo Giovani. I was also sent a photograph on how it was put together – one piece is superimposed on to another.  Have I said enough how much I love a good designer of books.