Author, Lucy Christopher tells us about her special relation with John Marsden.
John Marsden was a huge influence on my writing. I would go so far as to say that without John Marsden, I may not even be a writer at all. It all started way back in the 1990s when I was a teenager in Mentone. John came to visit our school. At the time I had never met an author before, and John certainly wasn’t what I expected an author to be like. The first thing he did was to move us from sitting on the floor looking up at him, to sitting on chairs: he said he wanted to speak to us face-to-face, as equals. We are all storytellers, he said.
I responded to him immediately, enthralled as he told us how he got the ideas and story lines for his novels. I went away and read every one. Then I wrote to him as a pen pal (yes with real paper and ink!) and he wrote back. He told me to keep writing and to keep being brave. So I did. I wrote all the time after that. I wrote though my Creative Arts Degree at Melbourne University and then through my Creative Writing Masters and PhD degrees at Bath Spa University.
I wrote and wrote and wrote, until I eventually wrote a book called Stolen. Stolen is set in Australia and tells the story of Gemma, a young English girl, and her complicated relationship with arid Australian land and with the man who has kidnapped her there. I asked my publisher if they would send it to John as a gift. Within a few days of receiving it, John got back in touch with me: he loved the book, he wanted to endorse it. I’m not sure I’ve ever felt so proud, or overawed, than when I held the hard copy of my novel Stolen in my hands with the endorsement from John on the front cover: A stunning, scary and beautiful book. I love John Marsden. I always say it was his books that influenced me most in my pathway to becoming a published writer.