One of our founding members Anna, started it off with a small speech about how Melina’s books have impacted her and then introduced Melina.
|Anna reading her speech.|
Melina started out telling us how she would speak for a while, and then we could have question time and finally moving on to sign our books. We were given an insight into all her books; how Looking for Alibrandi is close to her heart and she explained how she knew 200 people in the world and was sure they would be the only ones to pick up Alibrandi. After Saving Francesca she was categorized as a certain type of writer and how much this label annoyed her. She told us how she got the idea for Saving Francesca while she was working at an all-boys school. On the Jellicoe Road was over ten years in the making, and it was the book that catapulted her onto the international stage. Then along came The Piper’s Son and now the Lumatere Chronicles.
|Melina with a copy Quintana which she gave away.|
Melina then spoke about the process of turning Looking for Alibrandi into a movie, which consisted of a screenwriter that had no idea about the characters and had no interest in speaking with Melina about them. She then wrote the screenplay herself. Everyone was extremely pleased when she confirmed that On the Jellicoe Road is also going to be on the big screen; which she is also penning the screenplay for. Unfortunately we weren’t given many details, but hopefully casting would begin next year.
We were shown several slides of locations from Italy, Turkey, Greece and France which Melina used as inspiration in parts of the Lumatere Chronicles. The slides consisted of landscapes, paintings and buildings that she reimagined into Finnikin of the Rock, Froi of the Exiles and Quintana of Charyn. It was wonderful to see which pieces she used and how.
|This is Melina showing us a slide from Italy, and which buildings and landscapes she used.|
It was interesting for all when she showed the slides of her international covers, and how she does have some small say in what goes on the covers in the US. She wasn’t too impressed with the covers for the Lumatere Chronicles, and that the cover for The Piper’s Son went through quite a few cover models because he wasn’t attractive enough, with the right look. (She said “I didn’t want to have sex with him”, which, if you’ve read the book you’ll know he’s a very sensual character.) This got quite a few laughs.
Question time was brief, but many got their questions answered. Finally we all stood and rushed to get in line to get our books signed. She was wonderful and signed every book, and even had a small chat with people whilst signing their books and having photographs taken so we could all have a hard copy of the night.
|The beginning of the signing line. Courtesy of Jess @The Tales Compendium.|