Megan Whalen Turner ed i suoi regni
Lo scorso 19 maggio ho avuto l’opportunità di intervistare Megan Whalen Turner, conosciuta soprattutto per la serie Il ladro della regina. Il Ladro (primo volume di cui avevamo già parlato qui), edito da Fanucci, è finalmente approdato in Italia.
La scrittrice, nelle ultime settimane, ha visitato alcune città italiane per firmarne le copie e presentare La regina di Attolia, che vedremo, invece, in libreria da giugno.
Durante il pomeriggio abbiamo avuto modo di parlare della sua scrittura, dei luoghi e dei personaggi della saga, ma anche del fatto che tra i suoi fan americani è famosa per non rispondere ad alcune domande. Questo lascia un ruolo attivo ai lettori nell’interpretazione dei libri e rende anche i loro regali fantasiosi. Un esempio sono i calzini con scritto sopra “NOT” e “TELLING“.
You told you were inspired by a trip to Micene for the temple, how it worked instead for the world building and the landscapes?
In 1992 I visited Greece and that’s when I saw Delphi and the lion’s gate of Mycenae and just all these beautiful landscapes for the first time in person. I had been trying to find a place to set a story that didn’t look like Tolkien’s Middle Earth. It’s so easy to imitate a book that you love and I love Tolkien. When I was growing up loads and loads of books were a sort of imitations of his world and honestly all of the places that I grow up in the USA, they looked a lot like Middle Earth.
It was great when I was a kid and I was imagining myself in his books. I had a landscape right outside my door that looked like the one he was describing, but than when I wanted to describe a different world I was kind of stuck. Until I saw Greece and then I thought, no one will ever confuse this with the sort of Northern European welsh mitology, elfs, orcs and Tolkien landscape.
Tell us more!
There are a lot of other things going into the construction of a world. There is a lot from the ancient world, but the levels of technology of my world is a bit like the Bizantine and the early Renaissance in Italy. A lot of the city states I describe in Attolia are inspired by the Italian ones. All that sort of history was put into the world building for my world. There are also parts in the empire inspired by the Syrian empire or the Babilonia, one you will see in the coming books, no spoiler.
These are all sort of ancient inspiration. In my world time has moved on, past that point in history and it looks like “What the Syrian empire might have looked like if it had lasted for thousand of years”. The religion in my book is a pantheon with gods and goddess that people worship in temples, so you have a Byzantine world that hasn’t moved to a monotheist religion. I take what I like about the ancient world and sort of culture about more recent history and jammed them togheter.
Both the political system and the pantheon are full of strong women, differently from the past. What were your sources of inspiration for them?
There is an author named Diana Wynne Jones, she wrote a series called Dalemark Quartet. When I read them I assumed that the religion in her story was one that I just had heard of. You know you may pick a fictional book and there are the Northern gods. Maybe you never heard of them before, but they seems very real and you think they are probably just something you don’t know.
But that wasn’t true, she just made them up. So when I was trying to write this book, she was one of my inspirations. I wanted to make the gods and goddess in my world feel that real and at the same time I wanted there to be a female head of the pantheon. And that was easier said than done! Because I still wanted it to feel real and not forced. I wanted people to believe in these gods and I didn’t know if I succeeded until the book was published.
How do we pronunce Eugenides?
What came first; Eugenides or the stone?
Eugenides…The beginning of the book for me was the moment when you have a group of people traveling together and there is a revelation that one person in the group is been wildly underestimated. I wanted to have that moment and I wanted it to be a surprise for the readers.
There are 24 years between the first and the last book. How was the journey?
I write really slowly. It’s always been very important to me that every book stands on its own and it has a beginning, a middle and an end. Because I don’t think that you should write a book with a cliffhanger.
I have just been really lucky that I have readers who were so patient and who remembered me. Usually when you are writing for a younger audience you got to get the book out before they grow up but 25 years and there are people who read the books and are grown up and have children of their own starting to read the books, as they wait for the next one to comes out.
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