July 21st, 2010


Interview: Jaclyn Moriarty

Jaclyn Moriarty's novel The Year of Secret Assignments is one of this month's recommended reads at readergirlz. Here's a little something from Jaclyn:

Readergirlz kindly invited me to write something for this blog - maybe on my latest book, they said, or my writing schedule, or on the theme of courage.

I'm a very indecisive girl. I couldn't choose. So I ended up doing all three.

My latest book: The Ghosts of Ashbury High is part of a series of connected books but it also stands alone. Some characters from The Year of Secret Assignments have starring roles, but there are also two new characters: scholarship students named Amelia and Riley who have mysterious pasts. I got the idea for the book when the foundations of a convicts barracks and lunatic asylum were uncovered just behind my parents' house. I had a lot of fun writing it, partly because I ate rocky road and drank apple-and-cinnamon tea. And the other night, when I was sick with a feverish flu, I became convinced that James Cameron should make a movie of this book. I was awake most of the night while my mind raced through a filmscript, and tried to figure out how to get in touch with James.

But that was just the fever. The book is nothing like a James Cameron film.

My writing schedule: It changes all the time. Used to be, I'd write into the night and sleep half the day. A lot of ideas came to me in the strange half-dreams of late morning. Then I had a baby and started writing whenever he slept. Now my baby's at preschool two days a week, and I start those days by walking to a café where I listen in to conversations, and read books that are connected to my current work. So, I'm working on a trilogy about the Kingdom of Cello at the moment, and I'm reading a novel about a cellist. In fact, my trilogy has nothing to do with the musical instrument, but I pretend to myself that this is research.

On the other days, a babysitter comes for the afternoons and I write upstairs while they play downstairs. Those are my favourite times - especially when I know they're baking cookies.

Courage: The other day I made an appointment to see my dentist. It was tricky to do because I couldn't remember his name. (It had been a while since I'd been to the dentist.) I had a feeling his first name was John, and I thought it was probably John Turturro or John Tarantula. But the first one's an actor, and the second one's a spider. Eventually, I called my sister - she goes to the same dentist - and then I made the appointment. Doing something that scares you, like going to the dentist – that takes some courage. But having to go through several steps to do it – including googling actors and spiders - now that is truly courageous.

- Jaclyn Moriarty