Interview + Giveaway: Marcus Sedgwick

Blog tour for Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick published by Roaring Brook Press

I am so thrilled to be a part of the Midwinterblood Blog Tour!  Today I have Marcus Sedgwick visiting to answer some of my questions about this unique and beautifully written book.  You can read my review here.

Marcus Sedgwick was born and raised in East Kent in the South-east of England. He now divides his time between a small village near Cambridge and the French Alps.  Alongside a 16 year career in publishing he established himself as a widely-admired writer of YA fiction; he is the winner of many prizes, most notably the Branford-Boase Award for a debut novel (Floodland), and the Booktrust Teenage Prize (My Swordhand is Singing). His books have been shortlisted for over thirty other awards, including the Carnegie Medal (four times), the Edgar Allan Poe Award (twice) and the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize (four times).  Marcus was Writer in Residence at Bath Spa University for three years, and has taught creative writing at Arvon and Ty Newydd. He is currently working on film and other graphic novels with his brother, Julian, as well as a graphic novel with Thomas Taylor. He has judged numerous books awards, including the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize and the Costa Book Awards.He has illustrated some of his books, and has provided wood-engravings for a couple of private press books. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Midwinterblood is like an archaeological dig itself, as the story digs deeper in time as the book progresses.  What made you decide to structure the story that way?

That’s a fun way of looking at it! It always sounds complicated when I talk about the structure of the book but I hope it reads simply enough – having decided that there were going to be seven stories it seemed like a good idea to place them in reverse order, to start at the front and then to see what lead to that point. This means that as you read on, you’re getting closer to the origin of the whole series of lives, and what has caused this whole thing to come about. So it was a way of building suspense I guess, but then of course, there’s a little cheat, as there’s the epilogue that brings us back to the first story again. There’s supposed to be a degree of circularity about the whole thing.

2. Did the painting, Midvinterblot, inspire you to write this story?
 
It was a combination of things, but this wonderful, and I should say HUGE, painting was the starting point. The first time I saw it I knew I wanted to make a story out of it one day. It took me a few years to work out how – because I knew I didn’t just want to retell the scene I imagined was happening in the picture. The painting is by one of Sweden’s most famous artists, Carl Larsson, and depicts the moments before the sacrifice of King Domaldr, who goes willingly to his death in order to restore fertility to his land.

After several years of thinking, I finally came up with the device of having seven stories all based on the themes of the painting, which to my mind are love, and sacrifice. The sacrifice is obvious – the naked King is about to be killed by the executioner – the love takes a little while to see – but there’s a figure of a woman in green, prostrate on the ground, ignored by everyone, but who to me must be the Queen. And looking even closer we see the face of a child in the gallery, looking on with concern.

3. Each story seems to center around the idea of sacrifice. What is it about that idea that fascinates you?
I think that some of us change as we get older. Some things that seemed important when I was younger don’t seem to be so important now, and some things I never thought about seem to grow in relevance. In the book we are presented with seven sacrifices – the one from the painting is of course a literal sacrifice, but there are many other types of sacrifice that people make and I wanted to explore some of them too. To willingly sacrifice yourself, or something of yours, for the good of others is perhaps the greatest altruistic gesture that we can make. So the King goes to his own death in order to save his people, at the cost of his Queen’s everlasting grief. But each story has its own sacrifice, some large and some small.
In the middle story, about a painter whose painting of sacrifice is rejected by the museum he painted it for as being too old-fashioned a notion, he rallies against this decision with these words:

Eric sat in the darkening room staring up at his masterpiece.
Sacrifice, he thought. Outdated?
Young upstarts from the city. Just because we have entered the modern world, have we done with suffering? Have we done with love, and loss? Have we done with wars? Then, there will be sacrifice! And when a parent works themselves to death to feed their child? Sacrifice?
And when a mother dies in childbirth?
Sacrifice.
He shook his head.

   
I think the idea of sacrifice is one that we find beautiful, and yet which scares us too. Would wehave the love sufficient to make such a great act?

4. In each life Merle and Erik are somehow intertwined, although not always in a romantic way.  What made you change the nature of their relationship from lifetime to lifetime?
Given that I’d fixed upon the idea of the two lives of Erik and Merle happening seven times, I realized that though I wanted a few of the stories to be about love in the romantic sense, I thought it would get boring if all seven were. It allowed me to explore notions of all types of love – of sibling love, of parental love, of platonic love. There is much more to love than just the narrow sense of boy meets girl. This meant I could also explore various forms of relationship; Midwinterblood is I think the only book I know with a lesbian ghost story, but also looks at the way a parent cares for a child, and even the way someone can care for someone they’ve never actually met, as happens in the section set during the war.

5. If you had a chance to “drink the tea”, so to speak, and extend your life, would you?
That’s a big question and one that’s really hard to answer honestly. Having spent some time writing about immortality, and reading other fiction on the subject, I would like to say that I wouldn’t. Take the lot that’s given to you and be happy, that kind of thing. I’ve read a lot of stuff about the serious scientific work going on in the US and in Britain to put an end to aging and maybe even death, and it’s frightening stuff for a world that’s already creaking at the seams. But who can honestly say they wouldn’t ‘drink the tea’ if a cup was put before you…?
Thanks, Kate, for some really great questions – it’s been good fun answering them.

Thank you, Marcus!

 I highly recommend putting this book on your “must read” list.  It was so enchanting and the way it was constructed just blew me away.  The good people at Roaring Brook/Macmillan are allowing me to give away one copy of Midwinterblood!  Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below and good luck!

*Open to residents of the US and Canada*

a Rafflecopter giveaway

signature_exlibris

Kate

Share:

932 responses to “Interview + Giveaway: Marcus Sedgwick

  1. I love this interview, especially the questions about sacrifice and, um, tea-drinking. 🙂 I love the author’s thoughts on exploring the different kinds of love in his book, too–the choice to expand beyond romantic love definitely made it a much more complex, layered read. Awesome post!

  2. Wow, wonderful interview, Kate! I am now questioning whether I would drink the tea. I hope my answer would be the same as Marcus’ answer, because I agree that ending aging/death would put an even heavier strain on already strained resources, but it would be really tough to resist.

    This sounds like a fascinating read, and I love that he was partially inspired by a painting. I’d never heard of this painting before, and had only heard a few things about Midwinterblood, but they all seem positive. Definitely buying this one! Thanks for this interesting interview!

  3. Kate, your synopsis, review, and interview with the author about his book has me intrigued! It would be great to win another giveaway and to be able to read this book! Thanks! 🙂

  4. I totally agree with the author about immortality. The idea sounds awesome but actually living that long is a hassle. It’s like you are running away from something all of your life – fear. Great interview and thanks for the giveaway!

  5. Title…

    […]we prefer to honor many other net internet sites around the internet, even when they aren’t linked to us, by linking to them. Beneath are some webpages worth checking out[…]…

  6. Title…

    […]we prefer to honor a lot of other internet web pages around the web, even if they aren’t linked to us, by linking to them. Underneath are some webpages worth checking out[…]…

  7. Title…

    […]Wonderful story, reckoned we could combine a number of unrelated information, nevertheless actually really worth taking a appear, whoa did one understand about Mid East has got more problerms too […]…

  8. Title…

    […]although internet websites we backlink to below are considerably not associated to ours, we feel they are in fact worth a go via, so have a look[…]…

  9. Title…

    […]check beneath, are some totally unrelated internet sites to ours, nevertheless, they’re most trustworthy sources that we use[…]…

  10. Title…

    […]although web sites we backlink to beneath are considerably not associated to ours, we feel they may be essentially worth a go through, so possess a look[…]…

  11. Model Quos…

    I’d need to test with you here. Which is not something I normally do! I enjoy studying a submit that can make individuals think. Also, thanks for permitting me to remark!…

  12. Andie Belfro…

    Once I originally commented I clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment. Is there any method you’ll be able to remove me from that service? Thanks!…

  13. Andie Belfro…

    After I initially commented I clicked the -Notify me when new feedback are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get 4 emails with the identical comment. Is there any method you can remove me from that service? Thanks!…

  14. Andie Belfro…

    Once I initially commented I clicked the -Notify me when new feedback are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get 4 emails with the identical comment. Is there any way you may remove me from that service? Thanks!…

  15. Title…

    […]Wonderful story, reckoned we could combine several unrelated data, nonetheless seriously really worth taking a appear, whoa did a single master about Mid East has got extra problerms at the same time […]…

  16. Title…

    […]we prefer to honor many other world wide web sites on the web, even though they aren’t linked to us, by linking to them. Beneath are some webpages really worth checking out[…]…

  17. Title…

    […]we like to honor numerous other internet internet sites on the net, even though they aren’t linked to us, by linking to them. Beneath are some webpages worth checking out[…]…

  18. Title…

    […]Every as soon as in a although we opt for blogs that we study. Listed below would be the latest sites that we opt for […]…

  19. You should check this out…

    […] Wonderful story, reckoned we could combine a few unrelated data, nevertheless really worth taking a look, whoa did one learn about Mid East has got more problerms as well […]……

  20. The Absent Game…

    Among me and my husband we’ve owned extra MP3 players over time than I can count, like Sansas, iRivers, iPods (typical & touch), the Ibiza Rhapsody, etc. But, the last few years I’ve settled down to one line of players….

  21. Title…

    […]just beneath, are various totally not related sites to ours, on the other hand, they may be certainly worth going over[…]…

  22. Title…

    […]Wonderful story, reckoned we could combine several unrelated data, nevertheless really really worth taking a appear, whoa did one master about Mid East has got additional problerms also […]…

  23. Title…

    […]that may be the finish of this write-up. Right here you’ll find some web sites that we think you will appreciate, just click the hyperlinks over[…]…

  24. Title…

    […]although sites we backlink to beneath are considerably not related to ours, we really feel they are really worth a go by, so possess a look[…]…

  25. Title…

    […]very couple of internet sites that come about to become in depth beneath, from our point of view are undoubtedly very well worth checking out[…]…

  26. Title…

    […]very couple of web-sites that take place to become detailed below, from our point of view are undoubtedly very well worth checking out[…]…

  27. Title…

    […]although web sites we backlink to beneath are considerably not connected to ours, we feel they may be really really worth a go via, so possess a look[…]…

  28. hi!,I love your writing very so much! share we keep up a correspondence extra about your article on AOL? I need an expert on this space to solve my problem. May be that is you! Taking a look ahead to look you.

  29. google pr…

    Perfect function you might have carried out, this page is absolutely great with superb details. Time is God’s strategy for holding almost everything from happening without delay….

  30. Title…

    […]we like to honor a lot of other world wide web websites around the web, even if they aren’t linked to us, by linking to them. Below are some webpages worth checking out[…]…