I'm sure you all know that Melissa Marr is the author of Wicked Lovely - one of the most addictive books I've read - along with its sequels Ink Exchange, Fragile Eternity, Radiant Shadows and last book in the series Darkest Mercy. In addition to this, she has her first adult novel, Graveminder, due out in the summer, and all are published by HarperCollins UK.
Thanks for answering my questions, Melissa!
What can readers expect from Darkest Mercy, the final installment in the Wicked Lovely series?
I’m not sure how to answer that one. It’s the conclusion; it ties together the threads of the protagonists in the series. There are deaths, and there are rejoicings. By the end of RADIANT SHADOWS, Faerie is sealed, and the courts are on the edge of war. The last book begins where RS ends.
In it, we meet Ankou and Far Dorcha (I used the Anglicized spelling of “far” instead of “fear”). We get the resolution of the original protagonists from WICKED LOVELY & INK EXCHANGE. I think it makes clear that this is a series, not a few side books and series books.
Who has been your favourite Wicked Lovely character to write about and why?
I suspect it’s Irial more often than not. He holds a special place in my heart because he’s so unapologetically himself. He knows what he wants (to protect his court), knows that sometimes that will hurt (losing those he loves), but he doesn’t angst or whine. He does what needs done because that’s who he is. He’s the only character I’ve considered writing a full book about and the only character I’ve considered writing a prequel about.
He’s certainly not someone I’d recommend as a great dating choice, but he’s the sort of character who would be fun to run around with if he could step out of the pages. I was a little dismayed when some people referred to him as a “villain” in reviews of INK EXCHANGE. (Keenan might have been a hero/protag in other books, but he and Bananach were the “villains” in that book.)
I know from following your tweets that you're a big fan of Scotland. Did it inspire any scenes or settings in your books?
I don’t typically write a one-to-one representation of real places into my texts. However, Scotland is one of the most inspirational places I’ve visited. I went there for a few weeks last year to write (and did so in 2008 too), and I’m hoping/planning to do so this year too. I lovelovelove Orkney, and of course, the Hebrides are magical, and the Highlands are stunning. It is, quite simply, a beautiful place. (I sent a flurry of pictures to my producers because there are definite scenes I could see there.)
Of all your book covers, do you have a favourite? I think mine would have to be Fragile Eternity!
INK EXCHANGE is the one I love best, but DARKEST MERCY is a close second. I love the way the artists captured the feel of the characters in those covers.
Can you tell us a little about your first adult novel, Graveminder, that's due to hit shelves this year?
GRAVEMINDER is the story of a commitment-phobe, a mortician, and a dead girl in a town where the dead don’t always stay dead. It plays with the idea of “minding the dead” by giving them nourishment (food, drink, and story), and it shows the consequences of not doing that: they take the living world equivalents (flesh, blood, and breath). It’s a cross-genre book, and the first industry review said that ". . . the emotional dance between Rebekkah and Byron will captivate female readers. Fantasy-horror fans will demand more" (Kirkus, Feb/March 2011). In other words, it’s a genre-straddling book like my YA series.
What have you found to be the biggest difference for writing for an adult audience rather than YA?
I don’t write for an audience; I write for my characters. The publishers and agents decide on the audience. I write the story I have to tell. That’s the only way to do it. If I think about readers or editors when I write, I’m paying attention to the wrong voices, and I think that would hurt the story.
So what's next for you as far as YA is concerned? More faeries, or are you taking a break from them?
Since I didn’t have a YA book due for almost 16 months, I decided one weekend that I would play around with a story I’d begun a few years ago rather than work on the next book. The result was that I sort of accidentally wrote almost half of a novel, CARNIVAL OF SOULS, in that one week. The next week, I confessed to my agent & my US editor. That book apparently will release in 2012. It’s definitely not about faeries, but like the WL books and GRAVEMINDER and all of my short stories so far, it’s rooted in folklore.