Darkstars Fantasy News

21. Dezember 2014

Interview with Juliet Marillier

Category: Interviews – Darkstar – 09:59

Dreamer's PoolLast month “Dreamer’s Pool” got released – Juliet Marilliers new fantasy novel for adult readers, which is also the starting point for her new series “Blackthorn & Grim“.

The story is set in ancient Ireland and focuses on older, more damaged characters than her previous novels. In the following interview, Juliet explains the reasons behind it and talks about her new series and what makes it special to her.

Interview with Juliet Marillier on “Dreamer’s Pool”

Which key word and which colors describe the atmosphere of Dreamer’s Pool best?

Three colours for my three narrators:

an angry red for Blackthorn,
a strong oak brown for Grim,
and for scholar prince Oran, a misty blue-grey.

Key word: mysterious.

Does the Story take place in the same universe as your Sevenwaters books?

Yes. It takes place in Ireland just a bit later, with most of the action in an area north of where Sevenwaters would be.

The time frame would allow for cross-over characters, but I haven’t done that yet.

Both Blackthorn and Grim are characters you don’t see often as primary characters in fantasy novels. What made them special to you so that you decided to make them the protagonists of your new book series?

I wanted to feature older, more damaged protagonists than those of my earlier books, and to give them significant personal issues to deal with as well as the external challenges that come up in the story (Blackthorn and Grim will have a mystery to solve in each book of the series, while their personal stories will continue through the whole series.) I have found these characters, and to an extent the third narrator, Oran, fascinating to develop. Oran, too, is atypical – a man with a strong feminine side, born to rule in a male-dominated society.

I like the inner conflict in Blackthorn – she’s a healer, therefore trained to help people and to be compassionate, but her past has made her bitter, furious and impatient. Grim is something of an enigma – clearly a man of considerable talent, but with very low self-esteem. I’ve been reading a lot about PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and I suspect that has influenced my approach to both of these characters.

Do you already know how many books you’ll likely write about both of them?

I have a contract for three books. I am hoping very much that my publishers will allow me to extend the series beyond that.

The story suggests seven would be the appropriate number!

Is it relevant to the upcoming books that you mention within the book that Blackthorn is still of childbearing age?

That reference is there mainly to allow the reader to get a general idea of Blackthorn’s age. It may or may not be relevant in future books.

What inspired you to write Dreamer’s Pool?

Although the story is not based on a fairy tale, the scenario when Blackthorn and Grim first get to Winterfalls does echo one particular fairy tale – I won’t say which because it’s a potential spoiler. The original idea for the novel came from that traditional story.

The other inspiration was my love of mystery series in which the same protagonists return in each novel to solve a new crime or puzzle – the Sherlock Holmes stories, Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple books, and more recently, Kerry Greenwood’s Phryne Fisher mysteries, which are set in 1920s Melbourne.

Because I love reading that kind of series, I wanted to have a go at writing one. But with magic. So I was delighted when one reviewer said Blackthorn and Grim were like Holmes and Watson in medieval Ireland.

How does Dreamer’s Pool differ from the novels you wrote before and was there anything which challenged you during writing especially?

I haven’t written a mystery series before, nor have I written a series with the same two protagonists in each book.

The other aspect that is different is the structure and voice for Dreamer’s Pool. It has three narrators, Blackthorn, Grim and Oran, who take chapters in turn. Each has a very distinct voice, with Grim narrating in present tense. Most readers have welcomed the challenge and loved the way the different voices complement each other.

I’m doing something similar in the sequel, though this time the third narrator is female. By the way, the audiobook of Dreamer’s Pool is available from audible.com, and I’m delighted that it is narrated by three different readers.

Although it won’t come out before the end of next year: Could you tease us a little bit about the story of the sequel?

The second book is called Tower of Thorns.

Blackthorn and Grim are called on to help the mysterious Lady Geileis, on whose holding stands the lonely tower of the title. A monster has taken up residence there and its howling presence has set a curse on her lands and people.

But it’s dangerous for Blackthorn to travel away from her home base – and when she and Grim go north, they enter a realm of trickery, where even trusted friends can become enemies.

Thank you!

Juliet Marillier’s Website: here!


  1. Danke dir für das großartige Interview.
    Dreamer’s Pool hat mir sehr gefallen, auch weil es anders ist als Juliet’s bisherige Bücher. Ich freue mich auf das zweite Buch und warte gern :D
    Schöne Feiertage und liebe Grüße
    Johanna (ehm. phantastische Mittagspausen :D)

    Kommentar by jolie — 21. Dezember 2014 @ 17:49

  2. Hallo Johanna – freut mich voll, dass Dir das Interview gefallen hat.
    Ich mochte den Roman auch voll gern.

    Liebe Grüße!

    Kommentar by Darkstar — 21. Dezember 2014 @ 22:47

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