Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

On Writing, with Marthe Jocelyn

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On Writing, with Marthe Jocelyn

Marthe Jocelyn talks to Open Book about her latest novel, Folly (Tundra Books).

Open Book: Toronto:

Tell us about your latest book, Folly.

Marthe Jocelyn:

I’ve been thinking about writing Folly since doing research for a non-fiction book called A Home for Foundlings. That book took me back in time and into my own family history, but also illuminated the far-reaching reverberations of small actions. I’ve been waiting to revisit that world through a fictional lens.

OBT:

Did you have a specific readership in mind when you wrote your book?

MJ:

I’m sure Folly will appeal to girls and women who like history and romance, but I don’t really think about readers while I’m writing.

OBT:

Folly is told in the voices of four people. Was it difficult to switch from character to character when writing?

MJ:

Because the wished-for effect depends on hearing the story from different perspectives, it felt natural to keep switching voices so that each character could have her or his say. Much more difficult was figuring out what order to put the sections in, particularly as the time period shifts back and forth.

OBT:

Tell us about the research you did for writing Folly.

MJ:

I find myself still researching for Folly! There is, of course, an endless supply of information and literature that refers to Victorian London. It was most productive to simply write the story and pause when I had a specific detail to discover: What colour was the postman’s uniform? Which biscuits could be bought in a shop? What was the name of the church in Pinchbeck?

OBT:

What are you reading right now?

MJ:

for pleasure, I’m listening to Roald Dahl’s BFG in the car, I’m listening to Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke when I walk anywhere, and I’m reading A.S. Byatt’s The Children’s Book in bed. That’s aside from the ceiling-scraping stacks of work-related books.

OBT:

What is your next project?

MJ:

I am finishing up two books right now; one is a non-fiction study of women writers in remarkable circumstances. The other is a picture book, co-created with my daughter, Nell Jocelyn. After that will be another contemporary teen novel and then a middle grade.


Marthe Jocelyn is an award-winning author and illustrator who worked for many years as a toy designer before turning her hand to writing. Her picture book, Hannah’s Collections, was shortlisted for a Governor General’s Literary Award for Illustration. She has written and/or illustrated sixteen picture books, written eight novels, one work of nonfiction for older readers, and edited two collections of short stories. Marthe was the first ever winner of the TD Award for Canadian Children’s Literature for her novel, Mable Riley and is the recipient of the Vicky Metcalf Award for Children's Literature. For more information on Marthe Jocelyn, please visit www.marthejocelyn.com.

For more information about Folly, please visit Tundra’s website at www.tundrabooks.com

Buy this book at your local independent bookstore or online at Chapters/Indigo or Amazon.

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