A few weeks ago I was invited to afternoon tea with Zoe Marriott at Walker Books headquarters. It was a brilliant event, which included some gorgeous cakes, a few of my favourite book bloggers and the always inspirational Zoe Marriott. At the event, we also got to meet Annalie, Zoe’s editor and Maria, the designer of her book covers.
Zoe told us all about her new book, Frail Mortal Heart, which is the final book in the fantasy trilogy, The Name of the Blade and will be published in July 2015. She hasn’t any plans to ever write another trilogy, so with it being the last book, Zoe decided that she had to go big or go home. Her main intention is to make us cry and break out hearts into tiny pieces, in the grand tradition of Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan! In the second book, The Darkness Hidden, the characters went through a very dark time, so by this book they needed to do something really different. Zoe decided to send them into a different realm, which is both beautiful and parallel. Lots of unexpected things happen in the third book and we are told on good authority, that some people die. We all gasped at this news, as no reader likes to discover their favourite characters are about to be killed off.
Zoe reading a chapter from Frail Mortal Heart
Zoe talked about plotting. She mentioned how everyone thinks she is really good at plotting because of all the diagrams and plans she has showcased on her blog. But in actual fact, Zoe feels that plotting is her weakness. She often goes back to the beginning of the book to make it match the end. However when writing a trilogy, she couldn’t do that. She had to make sure her characters stayed with the original plot. The only way Zoe could plot this trilogy was by writing a really detailed synopsis. It was 10 pages long and she threw everything into it. She then folds it up and puts it in the back of her very special notebook and it very rarely sees the light of day again. So plotting really feels like a controlled fall for Zoe, where she hopes she will catch a branch on the way down and save the whole story.
Zoe revealed the cover for the final book, Frail Mortal Heart.
Zoe also talked about world building. It is one of her favourite things to do and she does it instinctively. If it is a real setting, Zoe likes to be culturally respectful and realistic as possible, so she immerses herself in research until her brain feels saturated, in the hope that it will inform the story. Zoe includes a lot of the information she has discovered in her story, but it is often cut out at the editing stage. When creating a new fantasy world, it can be even harder to develop. You need to have a base line of reality in the story and it has to be even more solid., because the reader is unable to imagine what the world looks like.
Zoe also talked about her journey to publication as well as diversity in books, which is an area that Zoe was pioneering long before it became fashionable.
During the event, Zoe revealed the final cover of the trilogy, which we all thought was stunning. She then went on to read a chapter, which had us all desperate to read the rest.
We all had a lovely afternoon at Walker Books. I want to thank Zoe for inspiring us all. And I would also like to thank Annalie Grainger, Zoe’s editor who organised the event.
Some of our lovely UK book bloggers who also attended.
To find out more about Zoe Marriott: