Before I wrote Finnikin of the Rock, I wanted to write about a woman my age named Georgie Finch who had to travel to France to retrieve the body of her brother who died there in a bomb blast. That’s all I knew about the story at the time. It wasn’t going to be a story about terrorism, but the impact it had on a family. Then Finnikin came and Georgie just became an idea. A year later, Tom came calling and in true surreal fashion he whispered his family’s story to me and explained that Georgie Finch was his aunt. That’s how it began.
It doesn’t usually begin that mystical, but Tom and Georgie were a bit of a gift in that way. These two characters are twenty-one years apart in age, but they are going through the same emotions, the same relationship stuff ups, the same issues with friends who they’ve kept at arm’s distance because of their grief.
I stuck them both under one roof and watched them dance around each other and when I thought they were both getting strong enough, I let the rest of the Finch-Mackee circus into that house. They are two of the most flawed characters I’ve ever written, but they have a great capacity to love. It was a joy having them live in my head for those eighteen months.
- Melina Marchetta on The Piper’s Son