Snapshot 2014: Stacey Larner

S. G. Larner is a denizen of sunny Brisbane, Australia, where she wrangles three children and complains about the heat. She revels in exploring the dark underbelly of the world in her short fiction and poetry, as an antidote to her relatively mundane life. Her work has appeared in Aurealis, SQ Mag, Tincture Journal, and Equilibrium Overturned, among others. Upcoming publications include Suspended in Dusk (Books of the Dead Press) and Phantazein (Fablecroft Publishing). In her non-existent spare time she knits, sews, runs, and co-ordinates a school library. You can find her at http://foregoreality.wordpress.com and on twitter @StaceySarasvati.

elfstacey

Can you tell us what you are working on now, and also about your recent publications?

I’m working on a number of short stories, mostly for different open market calls. They range from urban fantasy to horror. I’m part of the #6in6 group, aiming to write six stories in six weeks. The six weeks is almost over and I’m pretty sure I’ll have if not six brand new first drafts, then five new stories and a few in various stages of rewrites. I also churn out poetry as the mood takes me.

Recent publications include “Perfect Soldiers” in Equilibrium Overturned (through Grey Matter Press), a horror sci fi dystopian mash up; “Chasing the Storm” in SQ Mag 14, a dark fantasy/horror set in North QLD; “Paradise Drowned”, another near future dystopia set on the Gold Coast.

Last year you completed an Australian Horror Writers Association mentorship with Jason Fischer. Could you tell us about this experience and what the benefits were?

Jason’s a fantastic writer and an awesome person. He helped me see where the strengths were in my writing, but more importantly, where I needed to improve. Almost all the stories he cast his critical eye over have now been sold. Having a mentor is a good way of finding out what markets to try for, and which to possibly avoid. I think the thing he helped me with the most, though, was his belief in me. During that mentorship I was struggling with depression and kept fielding rejections, so to have someone like Jason in my corner was the boost of confidence to keep me submitting stories.

Are we seeing a trend away from horror and towards science fiction in your published work? Which areas of science fiction are most inspiring for you?

Not really! I think what I get published tends to go in phases. I’ve had a few post-climate change, dystopian stories published or accepted lately (mostly set in Australia). But I’m still writing horror and dark fantasy. I don’t like to limit myself to one subgenre, so I do tend to skip around a bit when I write different stories. Horror was big for me just after my son was born and I guess if anything the horror I write now is probably less in your face, and maybe more science fiction oriented, whereas before it was all body horror and monsters and psychological torment.

I was ecstatic to get into Fablecroft’s upcoming anthology Phantazein, and I also have stories coming out later on this year through Fictionvale, and Suspended in Dusk (Books of the Dead Press). Two of these stories are near-future Australian dystopias and one is a dark fairytale.

I’d like to write more speculative poetry and challenge myself with some Weird fiction.

What Australian works have you loved recently?

I loved Kirstyn McDermott’s Caution: Contains Small Parts, and Kaaron Warren’s Through Splintered Walls. I also really enjoyed Robert G. Cook’s “Glasskin”, and Trent Jamieson’s The Memory of Death novella.

Have recent changes in the publishing industry influenced the way you work? What do you think you will be publishing/writing/reading in five years from now?

Not really. I’m still fairly new to the writing scene and my aim has been to publish through traditional markets as a way to give my writing credibility and build up readership. I don’t have the personality to self-publish! I do like the idea of self-publishing stories that have been published elsewhere once the rights return to me, though.

In five years I will probably have worked up enough courage to commit to a novel (it will be speculative fiction, of course, but who knows what flavour?). And hopefully I will be reading the gorgeous speculative stories of my friends (which is what I do now anyway!).

~

This interview was conducted as part of the 2014 Snapshot of Australian Speculative Fiction. We’ll be blogging interviews from 28 July to 10 August and collating the links at SF Signal. You can read interviews at:

http://tsanasreads.blogspot.se/search/label/2014snapshot 

http://fablecroft.com.au/tag/2014snapshot

http://kathrynlinge.livejournal.com/tag/2014snapshot

http://bookonaut.blogspot.com.au/search/label/2014snapshot 

http://www.davidmcdonaldspage.com/tag/2014snapshot/ 

http://tansyrr.com/tansywp/tag/2014snapshot/

http://randomalex.net/tag/2014snapshot/

http://jasonnahrung.com/tag/2014snapshot/

http://stephaniegunn.com/tag/2014snapshot/ 

http://helenstubbs.wordpress.com/tag/2014snapshot/ 

http://ventureadlaxre.wordpress.com/tag/2014snapshot/ 

http://mayakitten.livejournal.com/tag/2014snapshot/

http://benpayne.wordpress.com/tag/2014snapshot/ 

http://www.merwood.com.au/worldsend/tag/2014snapshot/

http://crankynick.livejournal.com/tag/2014snapshot 

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Snapshot 2014: Sean Wright

Sean Wright was born in the town of Nhulunbuy in Arnhem Land, though most of his life has been spent in Alice Springs.

A graduate of NTU he has spent his adult working life as a security guard, a martial arts instructor, a trainer in an international gaming company, a teacher librarian and as a teacher for hire.

His interest in poetry has been a constant if not always obvious presence.  His work has been published in Tincture Journal, INDaily Adelaide, and the Anthologies The Stars Like Sand and 50 Haikus.

Sean is also a book reviewer, interviewer and podcast producer.  He has maintained his Ditmar Award winning review blog The Adventures of a Bookonaut since 2010.

 

seanand

You’ve enjoyed a number of poetry publications recently. Where can we find your poetry? What poetry and prose fiction you are working on now?

Thanks for noticing the poetry publications Helen.  I have been fortunate to pick up some paid publications in the last couple of years, my work has appeared in Adelaide INDAILY and in Tincture Journal, there’s also some other work coming out in September and December, I usually flag those publications at my poetry blog here.

I also I mustn’t forget The Stars Like Sand Australian speculative poetry anthology edited by PS Cottier and Tim Jones, launched when I was at Continuum. A great anthology that showcases current and historical speculative poetry by some of Australia’s best poets (and me).

I also post shorter Haiku for which haven’t found a market and published poems (when the licence reverts to me) at my poetry blog.  I also have a Poetry Zoo account which houses almost everything, the good the bad and the ugly. I cringe at some of the earlier works I have written, but then I think that it’s good for starting poets to see that all poets write badly and that some of the poems we have come to know and love were wrought from blood, sweat and tears, not just dashed off in 15 minutes with the help of the muse.

I have a couple of novel manuscripts that are holidaying at the moment, but in terms of poetry I have a couple that I am working on that seem to stem from rural loneliness and decline.

In terms of your own fiction writing, what are the benefits and drawbacks (if there are any) of being such a dedicated fan writer and podcast producer?

The benefit to being a fan writer, reviewer and podcaster, is that I read broadly not just in genre but in form as well. You also make connections with people and most authors are gracious with their time and advice.  I could lie and say that this leaves little time for writing but I think if you really want to write fiction then you find a way.

At times I feel I should be writing longer fiction but to tell you the truth I haven’t a story that I feel I can tell at this stage and if I am going to make the commitment to a long tale I want it to be a tale worth telling. Poetry has endless depth for exploration and learning and I find that as well as being easy to fit in around everything else I do, the entire process is enjoyable.

I can live without writing fiction but poetry constantly draws me back.

Congratulations on your two recent Ditmar Awards for Best Fan Writer – for your blog Adventures of a Bookonaut – and Best Fan Publication in Any Medium – for Galactic Chat. What is most rewarding about reviewing and interviewing and do you have any advice for newbie reviewers and interviewers?

Ah yes, thanks. I still walk past them and marvel at them. Most of the wider world wouldn’t know what a Ditmar is but they are community awards and that token of community appreciation you can’t buy. Very chuffed and humbled at the same time (plus Kathleen Jennings artwork ftw).

“What is most rewarding about reviewing?” he ponders aloud while casting his eye over the scale model of ancient Babylon constructed from his TBR pile. I think it forces me to read works that, left to my own narrow biases and preferences, I wouldn’t otherwise attempt. Sure, there is free copy but most reviewers would tell you the novelty wears off as the pressure mounts to review more and more in a tighter time frame.

Reviewing also leads to contacts and connections too and that connection with the people that write the fiction you read is another thing money can’t buy.

Advice for folks new to reviewing and interviewing, hmmm. Depends on what your long-term goal is. I have been blogging for six or seven years so the blog format, my own space, suits me. If you don’t want the time and hassle then writing for collaborative blogs is a great idea.

If you are going to do it long term, then you need to try and pick a niche or area that you know you can stand being immersed in for a long time. I still think in the Australian scene we need a dedicated short fiction blogger.

For interviews and particularly audio interviews, I’d say preparation is the big thing, knowing the work, researching your questions, learning to ask open questions.

What Australian works have you loved recently?

I have just finished reading Alan Baxter’s Bound and it’s a fast paced thriller mashed with epic dark fantasy. I have watched Alan plug away over the last 3 years and It’s a blast to see him really begin to hit his straps with this work. I don’t think we have seen the best of him by far, but now is the time to hop on board if you haven’t already.

Maxine Beneba Clarke’s Foreign Soil is another work worth picking up, she’s a slam poet and an author with an amazing gift/facility for telling  stories. I don’t generally read realist fiction but Clarke got under my skin in much the same way as Lanagan and Warren do.

I could go on but I just wanted to give you a heads up on the new fantasy Kim Wilkins will be bringing out. I rarely have been too afraid to read a book because of how invested I was in the characters. Scarily good doesn’t really encapsulate the lovely torture reading some of her work was.

Have recent changes in the publishing industry influenced the way you work? What do you think you will be publishing/writing/reading in five years from now?

I have been reviewing for about four years and I have not noticed a major shift in how publishers are doing things, I get more e-copy from small publishers (which hopefully is a cost saving for them) and I have started to get more e-copy from mid sized publishers, but other than that not much has changed. My room is filled with paperbacks. :)

I hope that in 5 years time I’ll still be reading and reviewing great Australian speculative fiction. I’d also like to have a poetry collection or two out by that time.

 ~

This interview was conducted as part of the 2014 Snapshot of Australian Speculative Fiction. We’ll be blogging interviews from 28 July to 10 August and collating the links at SF Signal. You can read interviews at:

http://tsanasreads.blogspot.se/search/label/2014snapshot 

http://fablecroft.com.au/tag/2014snapshot

http://kathrynlinge.livejournal.com/tag/2014snapshot

http://bookonaut.blogspot.com.au/search/label/2014snapshot 

http://www.davidmcdonaldspage.com/tag/2014snapshot/ 

http://tansyrr.com/tansywp/tag/2014snapshot/

http://randomalex.net/tag/2014snapshot/

http://jasonnahrung.com/tag/2014snapshot/

http://stephaniegunn.com/tag/2014snapshot/ 

http://helenstubbs.wordpress.com/tag/2014snapshot/ 

http://ventureadlaxre.wordpress.com/tag/2014snapshot/ 

http://mayakitten.livejournal.com/tag/2014snapshot/

http://benpayne.wordpress.com/tag/2014snapshot/ 

http://www.merwood.com.au/worldsend/tag/2014snapshot/

http://crankynick.livejournal.com/tag/2014snapshot  

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Snapshot 2014: Gillian Polack

Dr Gillian Polack is a historian, writer, critic, writer and general nuisance. Gillian has two published novels (Ms Cellophane/Life through Cellophane was a Ditmar finalist) and a third — Langue[dot]doc 1305 — out soon. She has also published over 15 short stories and two cookbooks. She edited two anthologies (Baggage was a Ditmar finalist). One of her stories won a Victorian Ministry of the Arts award and three more were listed as recommended reading in international lists of world’s best stories. She has received two writing fellowships at Varuna, various arts grants, and a Ditmar award for her work. http://gillpolack.livejournal.com Twitter: @GillianPolack Facebook: Gillian Polack

Gillian Polack

 

News hot off the press: Gillian will be a Liburnicon Guest of Honour. Ouch, steam! Burnt my fingers.

You recently announced that Satalyte Publishing is publishing your latest novel, Langue[dot]doc 1305. What is it about and when is it coming out?

This is the novel I swore I’d never write. I’ve always twisted my history-in-fiction and made it clearly fantastical to keep the historian part of my brain away from the fiction writing part. The second PhD demonstrated that this really wasn’t necessary. It also demonstrated that it is possible to be intelligent without being boring. These things aren’t what the novel’s about, though, they’re the novel’s backstory.

The novel is much more exciting than the backstory. A bunch of scientists go to Languedoc in 1305. They want to change the world. (Of course they do.) They know they’ll change the world. (Of course they do.) Brilliant scientists aren’t always brilliant administrators, however, and very occasionally they can be irritating. (Just very occasionally.) All this brilliance and stupidity and irritating behaviour goes back into the past along with the brilliant minds. Add to this the obvious: villagers in 1305 are real people. Add one thing more, that at least one brilliant scientist assumes that 1305 is simply a backdrop in front of which he can dissect how the universe operates. All this and practical jokes and cave karaoke and disaffected knights and the Templars and…just one historian. It only takes one historian to entirely annoy a bunch of scientists, after all.

It’s coming out this year. Soon. Very soon. Very, very soon.

~

Update: A limited number of pre-press copies will be available at Loncon, and then it will be published in October.  HS

Congratulations on being voted in as Australia’s GUFF delegate. You’re heading over to Loncon very soon! What will you be doing while you’re there?

I’ll be enjoying being a fan. I love fandom — so many fabulous people. I get to meet other fans in four (maybe five) countries, which is going to be simply magic. I’ll be going to Loncon (and giving an academic paper there as well as doing fannish things), to Shamrokon (the European convention), FantasyCon (the British fantasy convention) and maybe more. I’ll be visiting England and Ireland (obviously) but also Finland and Croatia. I get just one day in Vienna. I suspect what one does with one day in Vienna is wish that one could be there longer. The aim of GUFFishness is to meet fans and make friends and develop communities, so I basically have a license to meet people and enjoy myself on behalf of Australia and New Zealand.

What are you working on at the moment?

There are the fan books for GUFF (fundraising for the next delegate) — I’m doing a cookbook and an illustrated travel diary. These are not serious, however, and, all going well, will be out later this year. The serious writing is still happening. I’m almost finished a non-fiction book about writers and  their history (but it hasn’t found a home yet), there are my Medieval projects and some articles, and I’m at the early stages of two novels. Which novel I write next year… depends.

The first I like to describe as ‘Stepford Wives meets Dorian Gray in Australian Suburbia’. This is a misleading description. It’s my excuse to get snarky about stereotypes of suburban women. It’s going to be dark and funny and dangerous and very, very close to home. This is the novel my friends want me to write.  It will make me enemies. Many enemies.

The novel I want to write more, however is my second project. It’s also a novel about women (I write novels about women, that’s a given) and it’s kind of a road adventure, except there’s going to be a whole heap of what the travellers get up to at their major stopping points and not a lot of the road itself. It’s set in 17th century England and France and at that moment and time There Be Monsters. I’m looking at folk and religious beliefs right now, and working out precisely which ones I bring to life. The story isn’t about the monsters, however: it’s about friendship and women and life cycles. I’m tempted to put recipes in this novel. Just tempted, mind you. It would be a terrible trial to test the recipes, however, so I need to think about it a bit more.

What Australian works have you loved recently?

 

So many! I was explaining to writer-friends at Continuum that Australian YA writing is so amazing right now that books that would normally get a lot of attention fall under the radar. I have a long list of recent books I’d love to see others read. Of last year’s releases, though, there are two standouts for me: Allyse Near’s Fairytales for Wilde Girls and Kim Wilkins’ The Year of Ancient Ghosts. Two very, very special volumes.

There are also quite a few writers who keep producing terrific work: Lucy Sussex, Andrea Hoest, Margo Lanagan, Jannen Webb, Kate Forsyth, Jack Dann, Kaaron Warren, Maxine McArthur, Terry Dowling. (and that’s just off the top of my head — I could write a much longer list without much more effort)

There are ‘new kids’ who are going to change our landscape the way Margo did, a few years ago. Allyse Near is one of them, but so is Ambelin Kwaymullina.

It’s possible to read 25 top notch new Australian books in a year. It’s hard for writers to be seen the way they would in a less rich environment, but it’s a fabulous time to be a reader of Australian spec fic.

Have recent changes in the publishing industry influenced the way you work? What do you think you will be publishing/writing/reading in five years from now?

I write as I write, regardless. My novels have their own pattern. Changes in the industry affect whether publishers take me on or how my books sell, but the bottom line is that I write with my distinctive voice – I’m not someone who can adapt that without losing important story elements and, to be honest, I’m a bit envious of those who can adapt – it’s a very special skill.

It’s just as well I teach and have my academic side. Except it’s not ‘just as well’ — they all work very closely together in my life. My fiction will always be linked to my research. Since I’m researching history and narratives and genre, then, the likelihood is that these things will appear in my fiction in strange and unpredictable ways. It’s also likely that I will continue to tell stories of women, and that my stories will focus on people with small voices. I haven’t felt the need to write about the peasant boy who becomes king, for his story has been told ten thousand times: I want to write about an individual whose story can only be told once and hasn’t yet been heard.

~

This interview was conducted as part of the 2014 Snapshot of Australian Speculative Fiction. We’ll be blogging interviews from 28 July to 10 August and collating the links at SF Signal. You can read interviews at:

http://tsanasreads.blogspot.se/search/label/2014snapshot 

http://fablecroft.com.au/tag/2014snapshot

http://kathrynlinge.livejournal.com/tag/2014snapshot

http://bookonaut.blogspot.com.au/search/label/2014snapshot 

http://www.davidmcdonaldspage.com/tag/2014snapshot/ 

http://tansyrr.com/tansywp/tag/2014snapshot/

http://randomalex.net/tag/2014snapshot/

http://jasonnahrung.com/tag/2014snapshot/

http://stephaniegunn.com/tag/2014snapshot/ 

http://helenstubbs.wordpress.com/tag/2014snapshot/ 

http://ventureadlaxre.wordpress.com/tag/2014snapshot/ 

http://mayakitten.livejournal.com/tag/2014snapshot/

http://benpayne.wordpress.com/tag/2014snapshot/ 

http://merwood.com.au/worldsend/tag/2014snapshot/

http://crankynick.livejournal.com/tag/2014snapshot

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Snapshot 2014: Kaaron Warren

Bram Stoker Nominee and Shirley Jackson Award winner Kaaron Warren has lived in Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra and Fiji. She’s sold many short stories, three novels (the multi-award-winning Slights, Walking the Tree and Mistification) and four short story collections. Through Splintered Walls, won a Canberra Critic’s Circle Award for Fiction, an ACT Writers’ and Publisher’s Award, two Ditmar Awards, two Australian Shadows Awards and a Shirley Jackson Award. Her story “Air, Water and the Grove” won the Aurealis Award for Best SF Short Story and will appear in Paula Guran’s Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror. Her latest collection is The Gate Theory.

You can find her at http://kaaronwarren.wordpress.com/ and she Tweets @KaaronWarren

 The Gate Theory

What are you working on at the moment?

I’ve always got a few things on the go. At the moment, it’s finishing a novel set in a Time Ball Tower and beginning the next one, a crime and ghost story about the art of Old Parliament House. I’m also writing a story about an obsessive doll collector and finishing one about Catherine Helen Spence.

Your most recent collection was “The Gate Theory” published by Cohesion Press in 2013. The blurb is compelling.

We’re all in pain. We try to keep the gates closed by falling in love, travelling, avoiding responsibility, getting drunk, taking drugs… anything to lose ourselves. But the dull ache remains in each of us.

These stories are about the gates opening.

Can you tell us more about the stories in this collection and your motivation to explore the theme of pain?

Pain is a counter-balance to happiness. Physical pain is of course vital to survival, and I think that perhaps emotional pain is as well. It alerts is to the fact we’re in the wrong place, with the wrong person, or that we have made a mistake. It tells us to run, to get out, to change things.

The title The Gate Theory comes from the gate theory of pain, twisted to my own needs.

All five stories are reprints, gathered together because I felt they built a sense of the loneliness of loss and failure. Of people on the verge of breakdown or of change. And of people coming to understand the pain of the lives they lead. 

Congratulations on your role as editor for the next issue of Midnight Echo. The theme is Sinister and submissions are open until 31st October 2014. What are you looking forward to about working in this role for the Australian Horror Writers Association?

I’m looking forward to hearing new, strong, original voices in the slush pile as well as hopefully stories from some of my favourite Australian and New Zealand writers. It’s the chance for me to create a ‘best of’ of my own. We’re looking at poetry as well and already I’ve seen some great work.

I love the team that puts this together, especially Cassie Britland, who is a brick.

What Australian works have you loved recently?

I can’t go past the Aurealis Award short list for short story collections:

  • The  Bone  Chime  Song  and  Other  Stories by  Joanne  Anderton  (FableCroft  Publishing)
  • Asymmetry by  Thoraiya  Dyer  (Twelfth  Planet  Press)
  • Caution:  Contains  Small  Parts by  Kirstyn  McDermott  (Twelfth  Planet  Press)
  • The  Bride  Price by  Cat  Sparks  (Ticonderoga  Publications)
  • The  Year  of  Ancient  Ghosts by  Kim  Wilkins  (Ticonderoga  Publicatio

Have recent changes in the publishing industry influenced the way you work? What do you think you will be publishing/writing/reading in five years from now?

I think that at the moment it is tougher to sell a novel, but easier to sell short stories and novellas. I see a renaissance for the novella, which is a wonderful thing both as writer and reader. It’s a perfect combination of all the good things of the novel and the short story, and I think more markets are opening up to the idea.

 ~

This interview was conducted as part of the 2014 Snapshot of Australian Speculative Fiction. We’ll be blogging interviews from 28 July to 10 August and collating the links at SF Signal. You can read interviews at:

http://tsanasreads.blogspot.se/search/label/2014snapshot 

http://fablecroft.com.au/tag/2014snapshot

http://kathrynlinge.livejournal.com/tag/2014snapshot

http://bookonaut.blogspot.com.au/search/label/2014snapshot 

http://www.davidmcdonaldspage.com/tag/2014snapshot/ 

http://tansyrr.com/tansywp/tag/2014snapshot/

http://randomalex.net/tag/2014snapshot/

http://jasonnahrung.com/tag/2014snapshot/

http://stephaniegunn.com/tag/2014snapshot/ 

http://helenstubbs.wordpress.com/tag/2014snapshot/ 

http://ventureadlaxre.wordpress.com/tag/2014snapshot/ 

http://mayakitten.livejournal.com/tag/2014snapshot/

http://benpayne.wordpress.com/tag/2014snapshot/ 

http://www.merwood.com.au/worldsend/tag/2014snapshot/

http://crankynick.livejournal.com/tag/2014snapshot 

 SnaphotLogo2014


Snapshot 2014: Shaun Tan

Shaun Tan grew up in Perth, Western Australia and currently works as an artist, writer and film-maker in Melbourne. He began creating images for science fiction stories in small-press magazines as a teenager, and has since become best known for illustrated books that deal with social, political and historical subjects through dream-like imagery. The Rabbits, The Red Tree, The Lost Thing, Tales from Outer Suburbia and the graphic novel The Arrival have been widely translated throughout the world and enjoyed by readers of all ages. Shaun has also worked as a theatre designer, a concept artist for Pixar and Blue Sky Studios, and won an Academy Award for the short film adaptation of The Lost Thing. In 2011 he received the prestigious Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award in Sweden, in recognition of his services to literature for young people.

 Shaun Tan

Congratulations on your Ditmar Award for Best Artwork for for Rules of Summer. Can you tell us a bit about the book? If he eats the last olive at the watchful-bird party, will the birds eat him? (Asking for my daughter.)

To answer your daughter’s question: probably. What I like about narrative painting, which is probably a more precise description of what I do than ‘illustration’, is that there is a little mystery in a picture’s past and also its future. All we can see as an audience is a particular moment, and I suppose I’m trying to make that moment as charged as possible, exploiting the stillness and silence of painting, which I love. Rules of Summer is basically a series of such charged moments that collectively describe, in a weird and fractured kind of way, the relationship between two boys who are probably brothers (it’s never clear, and I usually don’t ascribe any particular identity to my story characters). There is no traditional narrative, although there is a kind of building conflict and resolution told through several oil paintings, each accompanied by an obscure rule that appears to have been broken by the youngest boy: Never step on a snail, Never leave a red sock on a clothesline, Never give your keys to a stranger, and so on. It’s both frivolous and serious at the same time.

What were the highlights of working as a concept artist and animator on the various films you’ve worked on, including The Lost Thing? How does it compare to working on artwork and narrative for a book?

The main difference is collaboration. Books are very solitary projects for me, even in the past when I’ve collaborated with other writers I’m still very much working on my own. The Rabbits, for instance, with John Marsden involved no real discussion between author and illustrator during production, and that’s not uncommon with picture books, that can work fine. Film, however, is fundamentally about collective creativity, simply because it’s impossible for one individual to do everything (with rare exceptions). How is that different? It can actually make the process a lot more fun, a lot more fluid, because there’s a conversation between diverse imaginations, and those moments of collaboration would be the highlights. The possible down side is that certain compromises are required, but that’s nothing unusual, and not necessarily a negative thing. The main thing is that everyone is working towards the same objective, the realisation of which can take many different forms. You learn not to get hung up on any singular vision necessarily, because it just might not be able to be realised in practical terms: instead you take a core feeling and adapt it as best you can.

What projects are you developing at the moment?

Not much at present, partly on account of looking after our baby daughter at home a lot of the time (ie. she is the new project!). I recently illustrated a collection of Grimm fairy tales for a German publisher, and am trying to get that work together for an Australian edition. That was an interesting project as I put aside painting and drawing, and for the first time decided to illustrate each story using clay sculptures, which I then photographed. It forced me to simplify my work, and not think too hard about each one, modelling the forms quite spontaneously, which I found very refreshing.

What Australian works have you loved recently?

Gosh, I feel I haven’t been paying much attention lately! I’ve been revisiting a lot of older work that left an impression on me when I was younger, particularly Tim Winton as a fellow West Australian whose stories are very landscape-inspired (as I would say mine are). In the SF vein, I very much like the work of Jeremy Geddes, amazing oil paintings with subtle narratives. Comics by Many Ord I find very amusing and honestly drawn. Both these artists make some use of the Melbourne urban landscape that I’m gradually tuning in to.

Have recent changes in the publishing industry influenced the way you work? What do you think you will be publishing/writing/reading in five years from now?

It hasn’t changed the way I work very much, in fact that hasn’t changed significantly since I had my first illustrations published in Aurealis and Eidolon magazine in the early 1990s. I’m sitting at the same desk, literally, and using the same materials. I have made slight forays into new media, co-directing an app adaptation of Rules of Summer which was very interesting. Overall I’m quite lucky, as my early career was nurtured by small independent publishers who were happy to take certain risks with unconventional work, and my stories seem to have often appeared at the right time; for example, coinciding with a renewed interest in graphic novels and picture books for older readers. If I was starting over again, I’m not sure how I might go.

What will I be working on in five years? No idea, or else more of the same! I always have a bunch of ideas for books rattling around, but they rarely coalesce into something that is worth pursuing, it’s such a commitment of time and effort. I’m also interested in spending more time doing straight landscape painting (ie. not illustrative or fantastic). The Arrival is also being considered for feature film development, but any news on that front is likely to be some way off, and I’m not actively thinking about it too much just now. It could make a brilliant film, but only if the right people are at the helm, and finance is a whole other conundrum. Whatever happens, I’ll most likely continue working from the same desk as I’ve always done, a pencil in one hand and an eraser in the other.

~

This interview was conducted as part of the 2014 Snapshot of Australian Speculative Fiction. We’ll be blogging interviews from 28 July to 10 August and collating the links at SF Signal. You can read interviews at:

http://tsanasreads.blogspot.se/search/label/2014snapshot 

http://fablecroft.com.au/tag/2014snapshot

http://kathrynlinge.livejournal.com/tag/2014snapshot

http://bookonaut.blogspot.com.au/search/label/2014snapshot 

http://www.davidmcdonaldspage.com/tag/2014snapshot/ 

http://tansyrr.com/tansywp/tag/2014snapshot/

http://randomalex.net/tag/2014snapshot/

http://jasonnahrung.com/tag/2014snapshot/

http://stephaniegunn.com/tag/2014snapshot/ 

http://helenstubbs.wordpress.com/tag/2014snapshot/ 

http://ventureadlaxre.wordpress.com/tag/2014snapshot/ 

http://mayakitten.livejournal.com/tag/2014snapshot/

http://benpayne.wordpress.com/tag/2014snapshot/

http://merwood.com.au/worldsend/tag/2014snapshot/

http://crankynick.livejournal.com/tag/2014snapshot 

SnaphotLogo2014


Australian SpecFic Snapshot 2014: Begins Tomorrow

I’m delighted to be part of the interview team for the SpecFic Snapshot 2014. Read on to find out about the Snapshot, as Tehani Wessely tells us  about it.

SnaphotLogo2014

 

Snapshot has taken place four times in the past 10 years. In 2005, Ben Peek spent a frantic week interviewing 43 people in the Australian spec fic scene, and since then, it’s grown every time, now taking a team of interviewers working together to accomplish!

In the lead up to Worldcon in London, we will be blogging interviews for Snapshot 2014, conducted by Tsana Dolichva, Nick Evans, Stephanie Gunn, Kathryn Linge, Elanor Matton-Johnson, David McDonald, Helen Merrick, Jason Nahrung, Ben Payne, Alex Pierce, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Helen Stubbs, Katharine Stubbs, Tehani Wessely and Sean Wright. Last time we covered nearly 160 members of the Australian speculative fiction community with the Snapshot – can we top that this year?

To read the interviews hot off the press, check these blogs daily from July 28 to August 10, 2014, or look for the round up on SF Signal when it’s all done:

 

http://bookonaut.blogspot.com.au/search/label/2014snapshot 

http://www.davidmcdonaldspage.com/tag/2014snapshot/ 

http://fablecroft.com.au/tag/2014snapshot

http://helenstubbs.wordpress.com/tag/2014snapshot/ 

http://jasonnahrung.com/tag/2014snapshot/

http://kathrynlinge.livejournal.com/tag/2014snapshot

http://mayakitten.livejournal.com/tag/2014snapshot

http://merwood.com.au/worldsend/tag/2014snapshot

http://randomalex.net/tag/2014snapshot/

http://stephaniegunn.com/tag/2014snapshot/ 

http://tansyrr.com/tansywp/tag/2014snapshot/

http://tsanasreads.blogspot.com/search/label/2014snapshot 

http://ventureadlaxre.wordpress.com/tag/2014snapshot/

http://crankynick.livejournal.com/tag/2014snapshot

 

 

Tehani Wessely

http://fablecroft.com.au


Subtropical Suspense Booklaunch — Brisbane

It was wonderful to attend the launch of Subtropical Suspense on Saturday! Thanks so much to everyone who came along and supported Black Beacon Books. One of the coolest things about attending a launch in Brisbane was that I got to see some friends I hadn’t seen in ages, so, yay. And I got to meet some people I was looking forward to meeting, like the other authors and the photo competition winner, Karl Forcey — brother of the very talented horror writer, Rebecca Fraser, who recently received an honourable mention for her Flash story in the AHWA competition!

The launch was held at Black Cat Books in Paddington. It’s a very cool book shop and venue. Cameron Trost — anthology editor and launch organiser — ran a fun and sociable launch.

In related news, Frank Errington reviewed Subtropical Suspense on Horror-Web Cesspool, Amazon and Goodreads and said nice things about my story.

In real life all the family is back to school and work this week, so it will be nice to settle back into a routine.

And … this is the last week of the Six in Six challenge. That is, six stories in six weeks. So I better get some fiction down!

 


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