#LoveOzYA Q&A with Lynette Noni about THE GILDED CAGE

After studying journalism, academic writing and human behaviour at university, Lynette Noni finally ventured into the world of fiction. She is now a full-time writer and the bestselling author of the six-book young adult fantasy series, The Medoran Chronicles, as well as a second bestselling and award-winning series called Whisper.

Lynette won the 2019 ABIA Award for Small Publishers’ Children’s Book of the Year, along with the 2019 Gold Inky Award (Australia’s only teen choice book award). She is currently collaborating on a project with #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas.

Her new release, THE GILDED CAGE (the sequel to The Prison Healer), is out now!

You can read Lynette’s chat with #LoveOzYA’s Bianca Breen below, our check out clips via our YouTube channel.

Congratulations on the release of THE GILDED CAGE! For those who may not have picked it up yet, can you give us the brief premise of the book?

In the first book, we follow seventeen-year-old Kiva who has been locked in a Death Prison for 10 years. Once she’s been given the chance to earn her freedom, the cost could be her very life. THE GILDED CAGE continues her story, and it sees her outside of the prison, navigating this entire new world with people she doesn’t know if she can trust. So much of the first book was Kiva learning to trust others whereas the second book is Kiva learning to trust herself, to make her own decisions. She has a few missteps along the way, but she grows stronger throughout the process.

The Prison Healer series is your ‘global splash’ – your first release in the UK and the US. You’re obviously not new to releasing books, but has there been anything about this experience that has taken you by surprise?

Everything is so much bigger. I have multiple publishers around the globe and a big support network. But even the countries it’s been translated are behind this series and believe in it so much, which is just surreal. It’s really opened my eyes to the world of publishing beyond Australia. It’s been a real learning experience and I’ve enjoyed every moment.

I’m so pleased that it’s all gone so well! As a YA book, what do you hope audiences will take away from THE GILDED CAGE?

It’s more what I would like readers to leave with from the series as a whole. Kiva has been through so much in her short life, and a lot of the characters around her have also been through a lot in different ways. They all have different strengths and weaknesses. Kiva isn’t a fighter in the physical sense, but mentally and emotionally she’s had to be really strong and has had to learn to be compassionate in the face of horrific things that could have turned her bitter and cynical. I guess I would like readers to remember that no matter how difficult things are, no matter how dark your world, no matter the trials you go through, there’s always the potential for a better day tomorrow. Teenagers go through trials and challenges every day! It’s not weak to be vulnerable or kind. But for THE GILDED CAGE specifically, one of the main messages is that if you make a mistake or fail, keep going, keep moving.

Looking ahead, how’s the writing for The Blood Traitor coming along?

The writing’s going really well! Book 3 is almost completely done. It’s been through the first two major rounds of edits and it’s now off to the copyeditor. We really only have baby edits left at the end of October, then I do a round of copyedits, then it’s proofread – at the end of this year it’ll be done and waiting to come out!

That must feel amazing but sad at the same time.

Yeah it’s a bit of both. It’s bittersweet. There’s a lot of relief, especially after all that happens in THE GILDED CAGE – when I went into writing the third book I knew there was so much that had to happen; not just on a plot level, but also on a character and emotional level. There’s a lot of fallout from a lot of decisions that were made, so writing that book had me panicking at every single word, like “Can I do this book justice? I don’t know!” So it was a huge relief to finish that and be happy with how the series ends.



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