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March 4, 2011

Melina Marchetta: Companion Novel, Not Sequel

Posted by jordana

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Posting today is Melina Marchetta, the author of numerous books for teens including JELLICOE ROAD, a winner of the pretigious Printz Award in 2009. Her most recent book THE PIPER'S SON is a companion novel to SAVING FRANCESCA, out in 2003. 

Sequels are a strange animal and so are trilogies. My first question to someone who has written a sequel or trilogy is whether he or she knew from the first line that the story would not end there.

When I finished SAVING FRANCESCA and it came out in 2003 as far as I was concerned, I was finished with those kids and their world. But in 2008 I was sitting in my living room watching TV and Tom Finch Mackee came calling. That doesn’t usually happen to me so please don’t think it’s a normal occurrence for writers. It makes it sound mystical and half the time there is nothing mystical about writing. But that night it was mystical and Tom will go down as the only character I’ve created whose re-entry into my head can be pinpointed to a day and time.

I’m a bit in denial about calling THE PIPER'S SON a sequel. Someone referred to it as a companion novel to Saving Francesca so I’m stealing that. THE PIPER'S SON is a companion novel. That means that Francesca doesn’t have to be read first. I love the fact that new readers are connecting with Tom and the girls so much that they want to go back and see what things were like when they first met at 17. I love the fact that teenagers read Francesca when they were 17 and now they will be reading THE PIPER'S SON at 21, the same age the characters are in both those novels. I especially love that older readers are relating to the Tom story as much as his aunt Georgie’s and that younger readers are enjoying Georgie’s story as much as Tom’s. In my experience, I’ve found that there is no truth in the fact that teenagers are not interested in reading about adults, especially adults whose lives are entwined with the next generation so I’d love to think this is a novel for all ages. 

--- Melina Marchetta