Marchetta Madness: Guest Post by Trish Doller

Trish Doller’s debut novel, Something Like Normal, is one of my most anticipated 2012 releases (my review). Did it live up to my expectations? Definitely. Which is why I was ecstatic when Trish mentioned that her main character, Travis, was partly inspired by Melina Marchetta’s Jonah Griggs from Jellicoe Road. Check out what Trish has to say about how the swoon-worthy Jonah Griggs influenced her writing.


I’ve read most of Melina Marchetta’s books, but my favorite remains ON THE JELLICOE ROAD. Why? Two words: Jonah Griggs.

Well, okay, the story is brilliant and beautiful, but for me, Jonah is pretty much the perfect love interest. He’s big, tough, strong, and in the beginning he’s a bit menacing and we learn he’s got a past, so he’s got a bit of bad boy about him. But as the story unfolds, he reveals the softer middle that makes him better than a bad boy. The way he worries about Taylor’s asthma. The way he’s vulnerable around her. And the cranky, gruff way he admits how he feels?

He stops and looks at me. “I’m here because of you. You’re my priority. Your happiness, in some fucked way, is tuned in to mine. Get that through your thick skull. Would I like it to be any other way? Hell, yes, but I don’t think that will be happening in my lifetime.”

Swoon. This is a boy who will be a rock and woe to anyone who tries to move him. And, as far as I’m concerned, a boy like that is so much better than a bad boy.

When I stared writing the book that would eventually become SOMETHING LIKE NORMAL, the main character was a girl and Travis was meant to be her romantic lead. As I thought about him, I knew I wanted him to have the same kind of tough-guy-with-a-soft-center quality that Jonah Griggs’ possesses.

And then the story changed. Travis became the main character and it was his world that was in turmoil. So the difference between the two boys becomes Jonah’s ability to reveal his softness in layers, while Travis’ vulnerabilities are laid bare for the reader to see. While I still think there’s a lot of Jonah in Travis, when you think about it, who is the real Griggs in SOMETHING LIKE NORMAL? Harper.

A wave of anger crashes over me. At myself for being unable to control my reactions. At Harper for just putting on a smile and saying it’s all good when it’s not all good. I throw my soda cup at the wall. It bursts on impact, splashing Coke everywhere.
“You’re too fucking nice to me.” I’m yelling at her and I don’t know why.
“What do you want me to do, Travis?” she yells back. “Be mad at you about this? Don’t be stupid.”

I don’t know about you, but I kind of like the idea of a female Griggs. Harper doesn’t baby Travis. She doesn’t shrink in the face of his outbursts, either. And when he’s at his lowest, she is a rock and woe to anyone who tries to move her.

So this guest post didn’t turn out exactly as I expected. I was going to tell you how one of Melina Marchetta’s characters inspired one of my own. Turns out, Jonah Griggs actually inspired two. Which is even better.


Thank you, Trish! Your guest post is like an ode to Jonah Griggs (which is always a good thing because he’s my favorite Marchetta male lead). Also, I think it’s awesome that he served as an inspiration for your own characters. Fellow Marchetta fans, does this post make you curious about Something Like Normal? 🙂 Who are other fictional characters that remind you of Marchetta’s boys and girls?

Check out these Marchetta Madness posts in other blogs:
Maja reviews Froi of the Exiles over at The Nocturnal Library
Alex talks about her first Marchetta read over at A Girl, Books and Other Things

28 thoughts on “Marchetta Madness: Guest Post by Trish Doller

  1. ‘Hah, ‘a bit menacing’ is such a nice way of saying that he’s scary as hell at the beginning. 😀
    I agree, though, there is a thin line between a bad boy and Jonah Griggs, but it makes a huge difference. He is absolutely perfect. (I’m still a Trevanion girl myself though:)

    • I agree, “a bit menacing” is the perfect description for Jonah in the beginning of the novel! I love how he shows he cares for Taylor though – by being overprotective even though they’re supposed to be at war.

      Oh yes, Jonah Griggs is the perfect male lead. There’s just so much about him to love. LOL okay, good to know that you’re a Trevanion girl, Maja. What about Jude? I think he and Trevanion have some similarities.

  2. Oh wow, I didn’t think I could want to read Something Like Normal any more than I already did.
    Harper sounds like my kinda heroine.

    Also… um…. Travis sounds… um… delicious.
    Great post, ladies!

    [Also, Maja.. LOL… I fancy Trevanion too. ;)]

    • Jo, go request it from NetGalley! Forget your galley ban. 😛 In any case, June is only a couple of months away so you’ll be able to meet Travis and Harper soon.

  3. So. Hmm. I sense that throughout this week, my comments to various posts are going to be in the vein of “I really SHOULD read that JELLICOE ROAD book, huh?”

    I really enjoyed SOMETHING LIKE NORMAL (which I will review sometime this week, hopefully), but I did not know about the inspiration. Very cool.

    • Janice, that’s because you really SHOULD read Jellicoe Road soon. 😛 Then follow it up with Saving Francesca and The Piper’s Son. I’m hoping that you’ll love them just as much as I did. I will be eagerly waiting for your feedback on those books.

      Looking forward to seeing your review of SLN!

  4. I love the idea of a female Griggs! Haper sounds awesome and I actually put Something Like Normal in my wish list earlier today, but now it has been bumped up!

    Also, you picked one of my favorite Jonah quotes! 😀
    Awesome post.

    Also, for today, I wrote a lits of my Favorite Secondary Characters of Melina’sbooks. It was a lot of fun to write. And I ended up re-reading a lot 😛

    • Yes, please bump it up! I think you’ll like both Travis and Harper. 🙂

      Thanks for doing another Marchetta Madness post, I included a link in the latest roundup. I’ve also started rereading Francesca because of all the posts and comments this week.

  5. So – perfect timing – I *just* finished Something Like Normal last night, and the passage Trish quotes is from one of my favorite scenes. 🙂 I love knowing now that both Harper and Travis were inspired by Jonah Griggs. I have nothing more constructive to say than that’s so awesome!

    • Those two scenes that Trish chose are favorites of mine as well. Can’t wait to see your review of SLN, Holly. Are you planning to review it soon or will you wait closer to the release date? 🙂 LOL me too, I keep wanting to just say “AWESOME!” for all the posts this week.

  6. Oh wow, so there are two characters inspired by Jonah Griggs? Looking forward to Something Like Normal even more.:) I’m so jealous that you’ve read it already Chachic!:)

    • Don’t worry, Celina, you’ll get to read it soon enough! 🙂 I hope you’ll enjoy reading it just as much as I did. Although I didn’t think to connect Travis and Harper to Jonah until Trish pointed out the similarities.

  7. Love this post, Trish! I think it’s awesome that both Travis & Harper were inspired by Jonah. ❤ Jonah was actually how I found out about your book. I remember searching 'Jonah Griggs' through Twitter, and one of your tweets showed up where you were talking about a character from a book you were writing (Travis) and you mentioned Jonah. So I started following you right then and there because I wanted to know more and just knew I had to read your book when it was released. Cannot wait!

    • Alexa, you’ve officially proven that you’re a huge Jonah Griggs fan! It’s so funny that you found Trish by searching for Jonah Griggs. What else turned up when you did that search? Would love to discover more Griggs-like characters.

      • I used the Twitter search so it only showed the most recent tweets at that time. But there have been other times where I’ve searched, and basically…lots of people love Jonah Griggs! lol And some folks see Liam Hemsworth as Jonah Griggs. (Nooo! ;p)

  8. I think we must do a swap of novels, Trish. A signed copy of Jellicoe for a signed copy of Something Like Normal.

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    • I love that Trish says that her characters are influenced by Melina Marchetta’s writing. Oh Travis is swoon-worthy in his own way, no need to worry about that. 😛

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