The Kingdom of Cello is in crisis. Princess Ko's deception has been revealed and the Elite has taken control, placing the Princess, Samuel and Sergio under arrest and ordering their execution. Elliot is being held captive by the Hostiles and Colour storms are raging through the land. The Cello Wind has been silent for months.
Plans are in place to bring the remaining Royals home from the World but then all communication between Cello and the World will cease. That means Madeleine will lose Elliot, forever.
Madeleine and Elliot must solve the mystery of Cello before it is too late.
What is it about colours that inspire you to write a trilogy based on them?
Colours are underrated. They are fragments of light, the visible part of the electromagnetic spectrum, pieces of flying energy. They can have a profound effect on your mood and emotions and are used in therapy. They can also have physical and biological effects: factory owners have painted the colours of their walls a rich orange and found that the workers feel warmer. So they saved on heating bills. When we're kids we are surrounded by colour: crayons, toys and blocks. As we get older, we write in black and white, and often dress in greys and blacks. We lose the power and creativity of colours. (But the original inspiration came from looking down at the coloured textas on my table in a café and deciding they could be the monsters in the Kingdom of Cello.)
Is there a colour that you feel now should have made an appearance but didn't?
That's an interesting question and makes me wonder if your own favourite colour was missing from the books? If so, do not worry, it is somewhere in the Kingdom of Cello. There were a lot of colours that missed out: I drew up a giant table with as many colours as I could think of and all their forms and effects, and there wasn't room for all of them in the books. I definitely wanted to include Cobalt Blue as that was the colour of the small bowl of fruit and chocolate that I always had beside me when I was writing. But I think it missed out.
Do you have a favourite colour?
My favourite colour is yellow, so I was disappointed when Lemon Yellow turned out to be lethal.
Was Madeleine's story one that required a lot of planning on your part?
Yes. I had Madeleine and the Kingdom of Cello in the back of my mind for years before I started planning, and then I spent about a year planning the whole trilogy. Between books 1 and 2, I spent a year refining the plan. I probably went a bit mad planning this.
Which character do you have the biggest soft spot for and why?
I like Samuel because he's so hopeless and well-meaning and I like his Olde Quainte accent. But I always feel most protective and fond of the flawed characters - the one who make readers mad - so I would choose Princess Ko and Belle. (I can never just give one answer, sorry.)
Describe the final book, A Tangle of Gold, for me in a sentence?
This is a really good book: the author must be lovely and she is hopefully getting a lot better at not losing her keys and her phone.
What do you think is the most important part to get spot on when writing a novel?
The ending. Even if it's not spot on, it should make sense and (this is controversial) shouldn't suddenly kill off the main character in an avalanche. The reader has invested a lot of time and emotion into the main character and will feel cheated by the avalanche even if it's true that avalanches sometimes come along out of the blue. I've read a few novels that I found dazzling, breathtaking, magnificent as I was reading them and then, in the last two pages, something went awry, or askew, and I completely turned against them. I might be a bit ruthless, I guess, but I feel like a bad ending has a retrospective effect undermining all the good before it.
Is Madeleine's story finished now or is there a chance that you may revisit her in the future?
I definitely like the idea of returning to the Kingdom of Cello one day. I've spent so much time there in the last few years that it seems like a betrayal of the place not to return. But I've started four different books and I just have to quickly finish them all before I do that.
west and studied Law and English on three continents - at Sydney University in Australia, Yale in the US and Cambridge in England. She spent four years working as a media and entertainment lawyer and now writes full time so she can sleep in each day. She lives in Sydney with her son Charlie and is learning the cello.