Archive for the ‘Zombie Apocalypse’ Category

warning-there may be typos!

Well we have no internet so that makes me more productive and so I’m writing this blog post wihtout an intenet connection because I’m waiting for the potatoes to bake.

David Dufty from the Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild organised this retreat in Braidwood. However, we’re not quite in Braidwood but near it. It’s called Half Moon Retreat and it’s on a big property about 7 kilometers out of Margarlowe, which is about 13 kms from central Braidwood. It is three kms from the gate to the house. We are in deep. The house is large. It’s got a huge living area that could accommodate a country dance.

It is a great writing space with floor to ceiling french doors all around. Matthew and I arrived at night so we caught glimpses of stars, the full Milky Way in all its glory but nothing prepared us for the morning. The house is sitting on a ridge with spectacular views of wooded hills and scrub around us. There is some interenet but you have to sit by the water tank to catch a glimpse of it. And tonight, it is too darn cold and dark to try and get a connection.
There are five bedrooms in the house, three double rooms and two bunk rooms. We are in the room with an ensuite, which is lovely. We’re the only couple so that makes sense to me! There is one huge bathroom that’s the size of a bedsit. It’s huge and I’m guessing that everyone has to share that one. A bit of a disadvantage but it is still a fabulous house. We believe part of it is original and transported there, an old weatherboard place and the huge living area is built on as is the three quarter deck.

Last night and today as we had people coming and leaving we talked about writing goals. David likes to have a bit of structure and as he organised the retreat we are up for that. My goal was to write 10,000 words on my wip and then do some reworking and maybe outline my next novel, which is The Changling Curse, the sequel to The Sorcerer’s Spell. So far I’m on track as I’ve written 10,000 words today and put on the roast lamb!

I took a break in the middle of the day to walk to the river. I explored the property keeping to the graded road as there are mine shafts apparently. I found an old ruin, just the chimney and encountered a kangaroo, a few wombat holes, the river eventually which was amazing. It was still and quiet and the bird calls were amplified in that space that it sounded so loud and surreal. There was was another ruin of a miner’s cottage by the river too. I made my way back, loving the bush around me and day dreaming how much Matthew and I would like a place like this. It.s so quiet and picturesque that we cuddled on the verandah and watched the quiet grey hills and glimpsed the sunset while we were restocking the wood for the fire.
I like retreats because they make me focus. We have gathered to write and the expectation is there and that is great for me because I don’t shirk. I was hoping to be working on my new novel but I’ve been slack so I’m finishing one instead.
The day before  we came here I broke my laptop and the document I was working on is open on that one. I’m hoping that when the repairer looks at it I can retrieve if and then put the two documents together.If not Ill have to rewrite that little section I worked on during my writers date on Tuesday.
So as I have reached my word count, tomorrow will be about rewriting the ms and fixing things. You see I had a flash of insight that I needed to make the relationship between Earl and Nea more than about sex so I’m going to work on that and generally tidy up.

Here is a few selfies of us.

Selfie with some of the gang

Selfie with some of the gang

That's   us (ignore scary guy in the middle. Thats the Dweeb)

That’s us (ignore scary guy in the middle. Thats the Dweeb)



The living areas  with the windows and sun

The living areas with the windows and sun

Some of the view and the house


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It is my pleasure to bring this interview to you. JT Clay (Jo) is a fellow Canberran, who has written A Single Girl’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse. I’m so envious.  She published a zombie apocalypse novel and got away with it and its good too.

Here she is!


How would you describe A Single Girl’s Guide?

A zombie survivalist romp with love, humour and hippies.

Jo tell us a bit about yourself

I live in Canberra and work as a technical writer and spec-fic writer, which have more in common than you’d think. I recently signed on for the mad science experiment of creating new life. The baby is due in February, which I’m sure won’t affect my schedule at all…

I’ve been writing novels for years, but the first one published is A Single Girl’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse. I won a couple of manuscript prizes prior to that (Hachette and Olvar Wood) and had short stories, poems and articles published. I also wrote a regular column for Canberra Cyclist until recently.

What was your path to publication?

A Single Girl’s Guide won an Olvar Wood Fellowship Award in 2010. As part of that award program, I worked with my mentor, Inga Simpson, to bring it up to scratch. I found an agent, Alex Adsett, in 2012 and a publisher, Momentum (Pan MacMillan) last year. The book came out on 1 November 2013.

How did that story evolve for you? Or was it a progression? Would you say the characters remained the same and that the story changed around them or vice versa?

Q and Hannah came together the first time I sat down to write. The others were created. One excellent suggestion from Inga was to cut down my cast. I moved from a dozen poorly drawn bit parts to a few distinct characters.

The book has a very complex set up. How did you keep track of that? (mechanics of that, spreadsheet, your head etc)

I thought the book was a simple A-B narrative!

I used Max Brooks’ zombie books, SAS survival guides and zombie chat rooms to get my outbreak and survival stuff together. The rest I made up as I went along, then went back to spreadsheet the details. My fabulous editor, Kylie Mason, was picking up continuity and logic problems a month before the text was settled, which goes to show how important good editing is.

Can you tell us a bit more about Q. I noticed she calls herself different names. Is it possible to explain that?

Q’s real name is Quentin, but no self-respecting zombie survivalist can live with a name like that. Her online handle is Quaranteen because she keeps evil at bay. Her online address is www.ninjaofnineb.com, because while she’s a terrible kindergarten teacher, she’s the best combat warrior in the Nine B classroom. Her enemies call her ‘Qwinston’ or ‘Agh! Stop beating me with my own innards!’, depending on where the conflict’s up to.

 What is your writing process? (planner, panster, write every day, write sporadically, writers block etc).

I like to write in big chunks of time. For a few years I was working 4 days a week and writing on the fifth. This last year I’ve been fifty / fifty, but I tend to work a day or a week on one project, then switch. I don’t multitask.

I’m better at plotting than I used to be, but my planning is no more than a two-page list of key events. If I map out too much, I get tied up (and not in a sexy way).

What do you prefer drafting the story or revising and reworking?

I’m in love with first drafts. It’s all those others I resent, because someone hacks my computer, steals the magic and leaves me with a steaming pile of inarticulate ramble to fix up. Bastards!

What part of writing do you find hardest?

The final drafts, when you’ve been staring at the same words for too long and your characters no longer delight you. Like being snowed in at an airport for days, watching friendships devolve into homicidal fantasies.

What do you plan to work on next? (ie do you have another book coming out).

I recently received an ACT Government Arts Grant for a time travel novel, which I hope to finish this year. I’m also working on the final drafts of a thriller, but Project Baby may delay that one until 2015.

Thank you very much Jo.

Here is a pic of the cover of A Single Girl’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse and the blurb.


It’s the old story. Girl meets boy. Girl loses boy. Zombies attack.

Q, a trainee kindergarten teacher and martial arts expert, wants to woo beautiful vegan, Rabbit, but doesn’t know how. Her luck turns during the zombie outbreak. She teaches Rabbit and his hippie friends how to make war, not love, and does her best to save him from the living dead.

But can she defeat evil ex-girlfriend, Pious Kate? And can love survive the end of the world?

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