Marchetta Madness: Guest Post by Megan Whalen Turner

Remember Queen’s Thief Week back in January? I made a stunning discovery when Melina Marchetta’s guest post went up: Megan Whalen Turner is also a fan of MM’s work. You can just imagine how excited I was to discover this – mutual author love FTW! So of course I had to ask MWT if she’d be willing to write anything for Marchetta Madness. She kindly said yes.


There are many things to love in Melina Marchetta’s book, but selfishly, what I love best are the parents. In fairy tales, the first step was always to kill off the parents so that the next generation could go off and have adventures. Modern authors frequently do the same. (So many dead mothers in those Newbery Medal books, not to mention one or two in mine.) For variety’s sake, we sometimes throw in bad parents instead of dead ones, those who are either absent or so dreadful that you wish they were absent.

There are dead parents, missing parents, and dreadful parents in Marchetta’s books, but there are just as many loving and attentive parents. I’m glad because the unfortunate side effect of having all adventures and problems begin with absent or awful parents is the underlying assumption that kids with good parents don’t have adventures and moreover don’t have problems. That’s a mistaken and disturbing assumption. On the upside, good parents don’t have to get in the way of adventures. On the downside, as Marchetta shows so eloquently, even the best parents can’t protect their kids all the time.

Thank you, MWT, for allowing me to encourage readers of your books to pick up Melina Marchetta’s novels (and vice versa). I know how busy you must be so I appreciate that you were able to squeeze in a guest post. Be blessed in your endeavors!

14 thoughts on “Marchetta Madness: Guest Post by Megan Whalen Turner

  1. As always you managed to say so much beautifully and concisely. I especially like that second paragraph. This is an element of the books I appreciate too. You said it better than I could have though. (No surprise.)

    • Like you said on Twitter, anything that MWT writes is made of awesome. šŸ˜› Love that she chose to focus on the parents in MM’s novels because that’s something that I also appreciate. Some of my favorite scenes in Piper involve Tom and his dad.

  2. To drop yet another basketball reference, this is like Magic Johnson talking about Michael Jordan on the Dream Team in ’92. Amazing. Love hearing MWT talk about MM, and vice versa.

    I love that all these posts are bringing up so many different aspects of Marchetta’s writing. There is no singular way to describe this truly singular author. Can’t wait to see what else you have in store, Chachic!!

    • Maggie, I’m pretty clueless when it comes to basketball (which is funny because the Philippines is a basketball-crazy country) but I know those two guys! šŸ˜› I was delighted that MWT was able to write something for this week.

      I know, there’s just so much that we can discuss about MM’s writing. All the guest posts for Queen’s Thief Week made me reread Queen of Attolia and King of Attolia. And now, these Marchetta Madness posts have made me reread Francesca (which will be followed by Piper). I’ve become a victim of my blog events.

  3. i love the grown ups in general in Melina’s books. I think she writes them with so much compassion, because it’s hard to be the adult in charge and she shows that. She shows that you can make mistakes and that doesn’t mean you don’t love your kids or that you aren’t trying your best.

    The parents are awesome, and I love that they aren’t clueless and that they are diverse.

    • Love all of the characters in MM’s books – kids, teens and the adults. She has such a way with words that she makes all of them come alive. Because of her writing, readers learn to care and feel for her characters. But yes, I love that MWT chose to highlight the parents in MM’s novels because we don’t get enough amazing adults in YA.

  4. Wait, am I supposed to be coherent? MWT writing about MM?! This is the best post ever! Except maybe for that time when MM wrote about MWT. Hmmm, tough choice.
    Chachic, you’re spoiling us rotten.

    And I agree about the parents. Strong sense of family is really one of my favorite things about Marchetta’s work too. šŸ™‚

    • Maja, let’s squee and giggle together! Like the true fangirls that we are. šŸ˜› I’m so glad you understand how fabulous this guest post is. I will be eternally grateful to both of them for agreeing to write posts for my little bloggy.

      Yep, I love how important families are in MM’s novels because that’s true in real life – our families are a huge part of our lives.

  5. Thank you, Megan.

    I’ve been teaching a writing workshop for adults and I chose three award winning books one week and looked into what goes into a scene. Most of the class weren’t fantasy or YA readers, but the most popular scene was yours. It was Chapter Six in the Queen of Attolia when Gen gets a visit from the man with the square leather box. It had everything I wanted to explore with them and it was wonderful to hear what came out of the discussion. The thing is that I picked it randomly. It was easy to photocopy because it was on two pages, side by side. But it made me realise that I could close my eyes and pick any scene in one of your books and find pure gold.

    • I could close my eyes and pick any scene in one of your books and find pure gold. -> Beautiful! I remember that scene clearly (having reread the book for Queen’s Thief Week) but you’re absolutely right, you could have picked so many other scenes for that discussion. That writing workshop sounds interesting, wish I could have attended that.

      Again with the mutual author love. šŸ˜€ *hugs this comment*

  6. Thank you, Melina, but I think we were supposed to be talking about the pure gold of YOUR writing here. Jeez. Stay on topic!

    The scene were Francesca calls her father from the train station is one of my favorites. Francesca doesn’t “give up” and call her father, she isn’t foiled or defeated. She has taken this long train journey to nowhere and yet has gotten to exactly where she needed to go. It is brilliant. And I love her father. He let his wife down and he let his kids down, and yet, he is the one person Francesca knows she can count on. That both things can be true, that’s what makes me admire the book so much.

    I am curious. Are you, like the Blues Brothers, on a Mission from God to give YA parents a fair shake? Or are your warm, three dimensional, flawed but caring, parents just a by-product of your commitment to writing all your characters well?

  7. You’re very bossy, Megan. I’ll stay on topic and say that you chose one of my favourite scenes. I think Francesca only has $2 left when she gets on that train and she only needs 40 cents of it to make the call, but I wanted to convey her certainty that she wouldn’t be needing the rest, because her father would come for her.

    And about your curiosity – part of it is selfishness and has to do with my age (when I went through a stalkerish stage wanting to find out everything about you, I discovered we were born in the same year). I just don’t want to disappear as a character in a novel because of my age or gender or status which tends to happen, and not only in YA. It’s a societal thing as well. More than anything, I’m interested in reading about adults so I tend to write the type of stuff I’d love to read myself. The one thing I always say about the adult characters in my novels is that they do all the wrong things for all the right reasons.

    And to get off the topic and talk about MWT again, you did it in the Queen of Attolia. I’m almost sure that Trevanion (Finnikin’s father) was inspired by Gen’s father’s. So much of his values and relationship with Gen was off the page, but I have magic glasses that can see things off the page and what I read inspired me to write one of my own favourite characters.

  8. Pingback: Marchetta Madness: Random Facts | Chachic's Book Nook

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