Posts Tagged ‘author interview’

One of the topics I thought was interesting was the types of characters one sees in fantasy and science fiction, that is that they are mostly white. While I’ve not read ‘all the fantasy’ out there, there are a number that I’ve read that do. Some exceptions to this are NK Jemison and Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin among others. My Dragon Wine series features people of mixed race. This is because it’s a post apocalyptic world and because of the destruction people intermarried to survive, so only a very few people would be all white or all black or Asian etc. My main protagonist Salinda is brown skinned and of mixed race. I didn’t consciously try to make my characters non-anglo it was just the result of the world setting.

Today I’ve invited Patty Jansen to the blog to talk about her use of non-anglo characters. Take it away Patty.

Patty Jansen

Patty Jansen

When Donna asked me to blog about what inspires me to use non-Anglo characters, my first thought was: do I need inspiration for that? They’re part of society, part of my life. They have pasts, and because I write SF, I’m interested in their futures. They’re people.

If we can say one thing about the future, it’s that it won’t be “more of the same” of what we have today. It has never been that way in all of humanity’s messy history. History is made up out of interwoven strands that sometimes don’t make sense until you understand the context.

Far too often, science fiction tells the author’s view of the future from a one-sided perspective, usually American, white and male. In my fiction, I strive to make it less monolithic. There are many segments of society whose histories deserve to be pondered on, extrapolated and told.

The majority of people in the world are non-Anglo. I use them in my fiction in hopefully the same way they are used in Harry Potter. For example, nowhere in all of the seven Harry Potter books is it mentioned out loud that the Patel twin sisters are Indian. Of course you can see that they’re Indian. Their name gives it away. So why point at it when it’s not a plot point, as if saying “Hey, LOOK! I’m using a non-Anglo character!!” That sort of pointing out, when done to any minority character, just annoys the crap out of me. As if minority characters are only allowed in a book when they’re a plot point. What rubbish.

Non-Anglo characters play an important role especially in my ISF-Allion interlinked series of novellas and novels. In this world, the future goes like this:

When various problems (disaster, wars, lack of money) forces western countries to scale down the space program, a group of normally disenfranchised people picks up the ball and runs with it: a conglomerate of applied sciences students who study in western countries, but who come from the poorest and most repressive/repressed countries and societies in the world. This group would never have gotten off the ground without two people: the brains and drive of Fatima “Ally” Al Alamein and the financial backing of heiress Marion Gluck. The company they form is Allion Aerospace, the name a combination of their names. They are the first to put a person on Mars. That person is Chandra Lee, a woman, half Indian, half Chinese, not a drop of western blood in sight. The company with a 90% female workforce operates on a shoestring budget (relatively speaking) and makes huge strides because it attracts smart people for whom even the risk of dying in a Mars mission is better than their current lack of opportunities. Within a short time span, Allion has a huge work force, space bases and some ingenious hardware.

Meanwhile the western countries and their International Space Force are forced to do a huge catch-up mission. Their mantra is big and cumbersome, and when they can’t find enough people to crew their huge space stations, they resort to “resettling” people from the poorest, dilapidated cities in the world at that time. They are the people from low-lying areas (Jakarta, Bangladesh) and victims of desertification in India/Pakistan and Africa. Parts of the world that, even today, white men in power do not care about. Here we have colonial behaviour all over again.

These two groups of non-Anglo characters end up on opposite sides of the spectrum. The Allion women, mostly Africans, Indians, Chinese and Arabs and their high-controlled, high-tech environment, versus the raw hardship of the displaced mining workers. While the ISF methods sound akin to slavery, Allion has some very “interesting” ideas (not in a good way) about what constitutes a human being and also about free choice and privacy. There are no angels in this world.

Shifting Reality is a novel that takes place on a giant space station at Epsilon Eridani, amongst second and third generation forced migrants from the slums of Jakarta. Seventy years after their forced departure from Indonesia, they’re no longer Indonesian, but they’ve morphed into something else through circumstance and the tyranny of distance.

I did a lot of reading to construct this society. It is not faithfully cultural and was never intended to be. But there are plenty of weird, quirky and mostly just plain different customs that have morphed into a multi-pronged, diverse Indonesian-based cultural melting pot. There are the political groups, the gossipy block associations where ground-level politics happens between men who want power and old women who hold said power, there are the gay and transvestite bars, there are the religious hypertechs, where men and women both wear face veils, who abstain from “pleasure” and who are a fertile breeding ground for unusual technological, uhm, solutions, including hacking, spyware and other illegal stuff. While the cliché has us see Indonesians visit temples, Indonesia is the largest Muslim country in the world, and my characters adhere to the Indonesian brand of Islam which is fairly relaxed and has a good deal of traditional stuff thrown in. Did you know that the spread of Islam to Indonesia dates back to the 1400s?

I wanted to construct a possible future culture that was not based on western ideology and western values. Because often when writers use non-Anglo characters, they still operate in an Anglo cultural framework. I’d encourage other writers to think beyond their borders. Not only is not every person who matters in the world Anglo, not all cultures aspire to be Anglo either.

Patty Jansen is an author of 15 novels and numerous short works of science fiction and fantasy. Find out more about Patty’s fiction here. Find out more about the novel Shifting Reality here. Patty is also on twitter and Facebook and talks about writing, photography and other random things on her blog Must Use Bigger Elephants.



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I’m pleased today to bring you and interview with the lovely and talented Jo Anderton. Jo is going to tell us about her new book, the follow up from Debris and Suited.

Jo Anderton

Jo Anderton

Hi Jo, can you tell us a bit about your new novel?

Guardian is the third book in the Veiled Worlds Trilogy, and the final step in Tanyana’s journey. The official blurb is:

“The grand city of Movoc-under-Keeper lies in ruins. The sinister puppet men have revealed their true nature, and their plan to tear down the veil between worlds. To have a chance of defeating them, Tanyana must do the impossible, and return to the world where they were created, on the other side of the veil. Her journey will force her into a terrible choice, and test just how much she is willing to sacrifice for the fate of two worlds.”

Unofficially, I’d say Guardian is about sacrifice and love. And the ending still makes me cry.

Jo can tell us a bit about yourself (where you live, how long you’ve been writing, previous publications etc)

I live in Sydney, with my husband and pets, and I’ve always written. Even as a kid I used to tell myself stories, and eventually decided I should try writing them down instead of just keeping them in my head.

Apart from the first two books of the Veiled Worlds Trilogy, Debris and Suited, I’ve also published a short fiction collection The Bone Chime Song and Other Stories, which won the 2013 Aurealis Award for Best Collection.

Tell us a bit about why you write speculative fiction.

Because I can’t help it. Seriously, I’ve tried writing not-speculative fiction and it was so hard. It’s what I love, it’s how I think, and it is definitely how my writing brain works. All my ideas come with unusual worlds and/or magic systems attached to them. I usually blame my Dad for that. He brought me up on a diet of Tolkien and Star Trek and I can’t thank him enough.

Your novel is a third in a trilogy. Are we going to see more of it in future?

No plans at the moment, but there are possibilities. No story ever really ends, does it? And if this story did continue, I know the direction it would go. But for the moment, I’m excited to be working on new projects.

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m working on a new book currently called The Bone Gardens. It’s young adult, it’s science-fantasy, and heavily influenced by the movies of Studio Ghibli (Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, Laputa: Castle in the Sky, and Princess Mononoke in particular). Flying gardens of bone and toxic flowers, never-ending desert, steampunk cities, genetic engineering. That kind of thing. And I’m loving it!

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

I think of myself as somewhere in between a planner and a pantser. Before I start writing I always know the beginning, the end, and a few important plot points in between. I’ve learned that if I know too much of the story before I start writing it, I get bored! The joy in writing is telling myself the story, learning about the characters, and living it all as it happens. This usually means my first drafts are a wreck, and I have to go back and do significant rewriting, but that works for me too. The most important thing is to enjoy the process, and love telling stories!

I make sure I do something every day. Even if it’s not much — if I come home from work exhausted or my lower back can’t handle sitting in a chair anymore, I don’t beat myself up about it. Even a few words, or some blog posting is better than nothing. I have at least one full-time writing day a week, and most of my holidays are actually for writing J

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

Ha, my favourite part of the process is usually NOT the part I’m doing! If I’m writing a draft I long for revision, when I’m revising I long to be writing something new. The grass is always greener, you know?

But my overall favourite part is the planning — when an idea is fresh and new and full of potential and I can get swept away in it.

What part of writing do you find hardest?

Knowing when to stop. I’m terrible at working out when a story is done. If it was up to me, no story would ever be done, and I would probably tinker with them for eternity. This is why we have publishers and deadlines.

What do you plan to work on next?

The sequel to The Bone Gardens. I think it’s called The Fiery Skies and it’s been waiting very impatiently for me to pay attention. Soon, my precious. Soon.

Here is the cover of Guardian followed by some links to where you can find Jo on the web.

Cover image of Guardian by Jo Anderton

Cover image of Guardian by Jo Anderton



Website: http://joanneanderton.com/

Twitter: joanneanderton

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/joanne.anderton.16

Details on fablecroft website are here: http://fablecroft.com.au/about/publications/guardian

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Today I have a fantastic interview with Daniel, who lives in Canada but is from Perth originally. Thank you Daniel for coming along.



I understand you have a gay romance out with Escape Publishing. Can you tell us a bit about it?


It’s called Beckoning Blood and is about twin brothers, Olivier and Thierry, who are made into vampires in medieval France. Olivier is obsessed with his brother, while Thierry’s heart belongs to another. Olivier isn’t exactly one to take no for an answer so their path through the centuries is littered with plenty of corpses and misdeeds.


Daniel, tell us a bit about yourself (where you live, how long you’ve been writing, previous publications etc.)


I’m a Perth boy, born and bred, but at the moment I’m living in Toronto with my soon-to-be-husband. It was while in Canada that Kate Cuthbert from Escape Publishing accepted Beckoning Blood for publication. I wrote the book at the end of 2009 but it’s gone through a number of edits since then, and then took time to find a home. It’s my first published novel so I’m pretty excited about it.

Prior to that I worked as a professional writer, amongst other things, and studied creative writing and journalism at university.

Daniel, what draws you to the romance genre?

It’s not so much that I was drawn to the romance genre, just that that’s where I’ve found a home. I love reading paranormal and fantasy novels, but a lot of them have straight romance in them (a lot of the ones I read in high school anyway). The male/male market has boomed so I feel there’s more opportunity to write (and publish) the paranormal stories I like. As a result, they’ve usually got a gay love interest in them, which is integral to the plot.

What are you working on at the moment?

I recently finished writing the first draft of the sequel to Beckoning Blood but it’s nowhere near ready. I have a feeling there’s going to be almost a full rewrite. I’ve already rewritten the opening chapter and showed it to my critique partner. She loved it so I think I’m moving in the right direction.

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

I’m more a pantser than a planner. I start with a general idea about what’s going to happen but once I start writing, things can change quite a bit. Often in new and previously unthought of ways. That’s what I love about the writing process: the discovery. Especially when one element at the beginning, that you thought was innocuous, ends up playing a significant role by the end (and saves the plot).

When I’m writing a new book, I try my best to write every day, and I can usually do it. Once it’s done though, the thought of editing it is almost too much. It takes a lot of effort to get into the mindset to edit my own work.


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

Revising and reworking. My first drafts are always hideous, but I treat them like a first sketch of a painting. I’ll then go back and flesh out the detail, or rub sections out. It’s a long process. But like nearly every author, I wish the first draft came out gleaming.

What part of writing do you find hardest?

Not using clichés. When I’m doing the first draft, I’ll put them in as it gets the words down on paper (unless I’m feeling particularly inspired). Then later, I’ll rewrite as many as I can into something a bit more original. It’s hard to overcome the almost subconscious use the first time around.


What do you plan to work on next?

After I get the sequel together, I’ve got two more books to edit. The sooner I get them polished and published, the better. I will have to work on something new somewhere in there, otherwise I’ll feel like I’ve forgotten how to write. I have a few ideas (including one new one that has struck me) but I’m keeping them close until I make a decision.


Here is the cover and the book blurb.

The cover of Beckoning Blood

The cover of Beckoning Blood

Book Blurb

A gripping, blood‐drenched saga about twin brothers, the men they love, and the enduring truth that true love never dies — no matter how many times you kill it.

Thierry d’Arjou has but one escape from the daily misery of his work at a medieval abattoir — Etienne de Balthas. But keeping their love a secret triggers a bloody chain of events that condemns Thierry to a monstrous immortality. Thierry quickly learns that to survive his timeless exile, he must hide his sensitive heart from the man who both eases and ensures his loneliness…his twin brother.

Shaped by the fists of a brutal father, Olivier d’Arjou cares for only two things: his own pleasure and his twin. But their sadistic path through centuries is littered with old rivals and new foes, and Olivier must fight for what is rightfully his – Thierry, made immortal just for him.

Here are Daniel’s contact details on the web.


Beckoning Blood is available on Kindle (http://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B00JD7EYX0), iBooks (https://itunes.apple.com/ca/book/beckoning-blood/id852042874?mt=11) and Kobo (http://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/ebook/beckoning-blood).


For a free short story, introducing the heroes of Beckoning Blood, head to Daniel de Lorne’s website (http://www.danieldelorne.com/the-boys).


Facebook: www.facebook.com/danieldelorne

Twitter: www.twitter.com/danieldelorne

Google+: http://plus.google.com/+DanieldeLorne


I can’t wait to read this Daniel. Best of luck and thank you for appearing on the blog.

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Ah finally I get to drag Alan to my blog. I hear rejoicing!

Thank you Alan for answering some questions about your new book coming out with Harper Voyager.

Alan Baxter

Alan Baxter

Your new novel is coming out, Bound, the first novel in your new trilogy. Can you tell us a bit about it?


It’s the story of Alex Caine, a martial artist fighting in illegal cage matches. His powerful secret weapon is an unnatural vision that allows him to see his opponents’ moves before they know their intentions themselves.


An enigmatic Englishman, Patrick Welby, approaches Alex after a fight and reveals, ‘I know your secret.’ Welby shows Alex how to unleash a breathtaking realm of magic and power, drawing him into a mind-bending adventure beyond his control. And control is something Alex values above all else.


A cursed grimoire binds Alex to Uthentia, a chaotic Fey godling, who leads him towards chaos and murder, an urge Alex finds harder and harder to resist. Befriended by Silhouette, a monstrous Kin beauty, Alex sets out to recover the only things that will free him – the shards of the Darak. But that powerful stone also has the potential to unleash a catastrophe which could mean the end of the world as we know it.

The cover of Bound by Alan Baxter

The cover of Bound by Alan Baxter


Alan tell us a bit about yourself


I live on the south coast of NSW, among rolling dairy country. It’s beautiful, we’re very lucky to live here. I’ve been writing since forever, even as a kid I would make up stories and write them down. I’ve got three novels out now, a dark fantasy duology, RealmShift and MagesSign, and a short horror novel called Dark Rite, co-written with David Wood. My new trilogy is coming out from Voyager soon – Bound, Obsidian and Abduction. Bound is out in July. As for other work, I’ve had over 50 short stories published all over the place. I recently sold a story to Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine, which is like the holy grail for me. I’ve been trying to sell the for a decade and it’s always been top of my short fiction wish list. My full bibliography is here:


Alan what do you find so attractive about the fantasy genre? In what ways do you find it fulfilling?


I like the total freedom it gives us to explore any ideas we like. We can expand any concept well beyond the boundaries of the real world and that makes it much more exciting for me.


I know you have had a new addition to the household. How does having a baby affect your writing time?


It makes it much more precious! I wrote my first novel during my lunch hours at a 9 to 5 office job, so I trained myself early to make time whenever I could to write. Having a baby means I’m drawing on those experiences again.


What are you working on at the moment?


I’ve got a new novel under way – a standalone horror novel that’s a kind of organised crime/Lovecraftian thing with other stuff mixed in. It’s slow going with the baby, but I’m working on it while also doing edits and final proofs of the Alex Caine books.


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


My process is to make time to write whenever I can. No one can find time to write, so you have to make it. I also run a martial arts academy, so I can’t write every day, nor do I think people need to. But you do meed to be a writer every day – that means always thinking about writing and stories and characters even when you can’t be writing. Always look at the world with a writer’s eye. I’m a bit of a hybrid pantser/planner. I make loose plans and outlines, then wing it from there. I’m always happy to throw the plan out the window and go wherever the story takes me though.

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


Drafting. Get that first draft down no matter how shitty it is. Get it finished. I make notes along the way of things I think will need looking at later. Then edit and polish and edit and polish and edit again until it shines.


What part of writing do you find hardest?


The middle of books. I hate middles!



What do you plan to work on next?


Not sure. I want to get this standalone novel finished and hope the Alex Caine books go well. Beyond that, I’m not sure!

Thank you Alan. Here is Alan’s contact details on the web.

Website – http://www.warriorscribe.com

Twitter – @AlanBaxter

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Alan-Baxter/115972625096325


Book cover and mugshot attached.



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One of my favourite people in the world is Glenda Larke. Not only is she a wonderful, knowledgeable and interesting person, she is an exceptional author. I’m so pleased her next book is out (or coming out) that I thought it would be a good idea to interview her.

Your new novel is coming out, Lascar’s Dagger. Can you tell us a bit about it?

It’s the first book in a trilogy, The Forsaken Lands.

It is set in a fictional world, evocative of our 17th to 19th centuries when the expansion of the Dutch and British East India Companies led to colonial wars and aggressive expansion. The wealth of Asia fed the prosperity of Europe at the expense of Asian freedom.

In my fictional world, a lascar arrives from the East with a magical dagger — and nothing is quite the same again…Image

Glenda, tell us a bit about yourself (where you live, how long you’ve been writing, previous publications etc)

I’ve spend most of my adult life abroad: Malaysia including Borneo, Austria, Tunisia–but now I’ve returned to Australia to live, not too far from where I was born. I started to write fiction when I was a kid, but my first published work was all photo-journalism articles (travel and nature). My first novel was accepted for publication when I was 52.

Since then I’ve had three trilogies and a standalone published. The standalone, Havenstar, was the first published, and — weirdly — has garnered the most passionately enthusiastic reviews and the least negative ones, yet has sold the least copies.

Glenda, what do you find so attractive about the fantasy genre? In what ways do you find it fulfilling?

It enables a writer to explore all facets of humanity with greater ease than any other genre. For example, within the pages of The Lascar’s Dagger, a reader will find cultural misunderstandings and irrational prejudice; the tragedy of arranged marriage; the greyer areas of murder and piracy; misuse of inherited power; religious compassion and spirituality alongside evil, sanctimonious self-righteousness; sacrifice, bravery and honour; battles and … Well, you get the picture. In a fantasy, anything can happen. The secret is to make it believable.

Have you had any feedback from readers about your fantasy worlds and if so what have they said?

Each of my trilogies is very different from the next. The Isles of Glory is more of a kick-ass swords-and-scorcery. With intelligent, aquatic aliens.

The Mirage Makers is really a story about an individual stolen from her culture and family, rather as children of Australia’s stolen generation were, and how she exacts her revenge — and the cost involved. All with mirages.

The third trilogy, called either the Watergivers or the Stormlord trilogy,  is about the preciousness of water and understanding what it takes to live in a desert nation and survive. With magic. And pedes and ziggers…

Some readers have loved them all; others have favourites. As I said above, everybody raved about Havenstar. Probably the least popular of all was the second book of The Mirage Makers. Some people found that very difficult to read because it reminded them of their worst memories of highschool!!

What are you working on at the moment?

Book Two of The Forsaken Lands. Publication is scheduled for January.

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

Not much of a planner. Or rather, I plan like mad, then never follow it because I think of better ways to tell the story. I write anytime, anywhere – literally. In the past that has involved sitting on  the floor of crowded Asian airports, or the deck of a fishing boat chugging up the Kinabatangan River, or in a study so untidy I can’t find anything…

I do find that as I grow older, my ability to write for long hours has diminished. Writer’s block? I write anyway, knowing it’s mostly rubbish, throw it out and try again. Until I get it right.

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

Reworking & revising, because that’s the fun part. That’s when you decide that maybe, just maybe, this particular story is not crap after all.

What part of writing do you find hardest?

Almost everything?

It’s self-torture. Nothing comes easy. You pick yourself up off the floor and try again. And again. The weird thing is that I never thought of myself as a masochist — yet I must be, because I would do it all over again. Every bit. And still believe I enjoyed myself.

What do you plan to work on next?

Book 3.

You write under different names. Does maintaining these identities (blog, twitter and facebook) it take a lot of time? Do you have any tips for those of us who write under more than one name?

Well, I do double up a lot. My webmaster set up a system whereby I can send blog posts on writing/publishing straight to my website. My tweets go straight to Facebook.

Changing my name was at the request of my publisher at the time. They thought Noramly was too difficult for readers to remember. If I were to do it again, I’d start with the name Larke.

There are only two reasons to use different names: 1) because books flopped and a change of identity seems a wise strategy, or 2) because you write several different kinds of books. For example, Melody Silver for romance, Morgan Sheild for fantasy and Mike Storre for military sci-fi.
You can find Glenda on the web


Twitter: @glendalarke

Website: www.glendalarke.com

Facebook: The Glenda Larke Page


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