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Margaret Gill on The Quetzal Skull

The Quetzal Skull by Margaret GillAbout The Quetzal Skull

BCB: What do you think readers might find notable about The Quetzal Skull?

Margaret Gill: They will learn about a little known Central American country, a country of magnificent rainforests and cloud forests, about the problems of corruption and drug dealing facing a peace loving, friendly people, who have a ‘manana’ complex, whose president won the Nobel prize for peace, and  who staunchly refuse to maintain an army. It is a surprising place where witchcraft, shamans, curanderos, and native superstition exist cheek and jowl with modern life.

BCB: Do you have any interesting anecdotes surrounding this story?

Margaret Gill: Two surprising coincidences occurred during the writing of the novel. First I discovered a paperback edition of an unpublished manuscript by D H Lawrence  written in the 1920’s had just been brought out called “Quetzalcoatl”.  I’d studied all his novels so this was a surprise to find myself more than half way through a novel about the same legend by a writer I’d always regarded as my mentor.

The second coincidence was discovering yet another book entitled  “Quetzalcoatl and 2012” in which the story was told of an ancient Mayan legend that the god would re-appear in 2012.  My book was published in 2011 and In my story the skull of the god is returned to its burial place, so I am only one year ahead in case the Mayan legend comes true.

BCB: Did researching The Quetzal Skull teach you anything or influence your thinking in any way?

Margaret Gill: Like Costa Ricans I discovered that the Haitian people also held their old superstitions and merely covered them with a thin veil of modern life. I had always believed that zombies were fictional but not to the Haitians. Even in the 21st century they still use every known method to protect their dead from being re-activated into zombie form. Their voodoo system which followed them from Africa is an amazingly complex religion and not at all the ‘black magic’ we suppose. I used some of these ideas and superimposed them on the native river dwellers in my book.

BCB: What would you most like readers to tell others about this book?

Margaret Gill: I think, while I tend to choose a young person for my protagonist, that I do not want  the book to be categorised into a specific  age group. I respect young people’s ability to grasp difficult concepts and vocabulary and feel that they don’t need to be written ‘down to’. I would like to feel that my books are not only for ‘Young Adults’ but are for all ages.

BCB: Can you suggest one question readers might find interesting to discuss about the book?

Margaret Gill: Do you think Gray was right to undertake the Quetzal quest in view of the short acquaintance he had with Juan?  Or if you prefer:  Do you think the masculine or the feminine values are most emphasised in this book? Why do you think that?

BCB: How can readers promote The Quetzal Skull?

Margaret Gill: Share it among friends and family members belonging to different age groups and evaluate the different responses.

Photo of author Margaret GillAbout author Margaret Gill

BCB: Why do you write?

Margaret Gill: Writing  for me is about exploration. As a teacher I’ve always known that ‘to teach is to learn’ is a true adage and this is also true about writing. It is an immense learning curve, not only about facts but about oneself. You learn about how you might respond to different situations so widely different from events you might encounter in your own life.

BCB: What is your greatest strength as a writer?

Margaret Gill: I would say perhaps, the ability to capture atmosphere and sense of place. Also perhaps because I’m impatient by nature I have to hot up the pace and keep everything and everyone on their toes with lots of action and cliff-hangers everywhere.

BCB: What quality do you most value in yourself?

Margaret Gill: I have a deeply ingrained sense of responsibility and always believe  I should honour any promises I make. If I give my word then, like my characters, I will go through hell fire and water before reneging on that.

BCB: What are you most passionate about?

Margaret Gill: I think about helping others to recognise their true potential.

BCB: What are you most proud of?

Margaret Gill: I’m genuinely most proud of the achievements of my students. When they surpass me with honours degrees, books they write and professorships, my pride knows no bounds.

BCB: Is there any author you feel deserves more attention?

Margaret Gill: Aldous Huxley whose book The Island seriously changed the way I saw life, is rarely read today and I think deserves more than the lip service afforded to his Brave New World which most people speak about but probably haven’t read.

Read more about The Quetzal Skull

Visit the WEBSITE of Margaret Gill.

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Posted by Pearl on Mar 16 2011. Filed under Author Interviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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