On the Couch with Juliet Marillier

Juliet Marillier AAR On the CouchWho is Juliet Marillier?
A druid, a mother, a grandmother, a musician, a crazy dog lady. A writer of historical fantasy for adults and young adults. Born and educated in New Zealand, but now an Australian citizen and resident in WA. I’m of mostly Scottish ancestry and I love the bagpipes.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
I stand by my life decisions – ideally, a person learns from their errors. I’m content with where I am in my own life. I’m deeply troubled by the current state of the world, but I still have hope for the future.

Who inspires you and why?
People with the courage to stand up and be heard. Greta Thunberg – a strong voice on climate change. Behrouz Boochani – eloquent and brave on the plight of the Manus Island asylum seekers. WA Greens Senator Jordon Steele-John – a voice of conscience in our Parliament. Nancy Pelosi – speaker of the US House of Representatives, for her fearless handling of an incredibly difficult job.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
My best tool for making a difference is my writing. We face some pressing issues right now, both world wide and here on our own patch. My work is not overtly political but through storytelling I try to convey the need to look after our planet and to practice tolerance and compassion.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
The Margaret River region in WA’s southwest. I don’t get there as often as I’d like, as I have a crew of ageing dogs to look after, but that area is full of the magic of nature – you can’t walk along the beaches or through the ancient forest without feeling it. The food and wine are pretty good too.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
There are plenty of options in Perth, where I live. I’d probably take them to visit King’s Park, which has a beautiful view of the harbour and Perth City as well as wonderful native bushland to walk through.

What are you currently reading?
I’ve just finished Trent Dalton’s Boy Swallows Universe, which is a truly remarkable piece of writing. The story is a dark one, but somehow Dalton conveys a spirit of love, warmth and hope through his memorable cast of characters. This deserves to become an Australian classic.

What are you currently listening to?
Celtic folk/rock band, Runrig. I was sad to miss their final live concert in Scotland last year. Like many other long term fans I’m revisiting their music while waiting for the DVD of that performance.

Happiness is?
Simpler for dogs than for humans. A nice walk, a full belly, a warm lap, a sense of security – that’s pretty much it.

What does the future hold for you?
I’m hoping the future will provide good health so I can keep on writing – in the immediate future I have the third book in the Warrior Bards series to write, along with a collection of fairytale-based short fiction. Storytelling awakens the imagination, and we’ve never needed that more than in this challenging time. I’ll keep speaking out on the issues that matter to me. I’ll watch my grandchildren growing up into fine young people. The future may also provide me with more elderly and infirm rescue dogs – who knows?

Juliet is the Author of The Harp of Kings – which is published by Macmillan Australia and available from all leading book retailers.

Image: Juliet Marillier (supplied)

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