It’s a Slow News Day, so you get a Meme

It’s the day after the Aurealis Awards and I’m basically running on fumes at this point (courtesy of an early start for the official recovery breakfast, an industry seminar, lunch, and a reading by Margo Lanagan this afternoon). With that in mind, I’m suspending any pretense of coming up with original content and embracing the ancient art of memeage.

The Rules:

1. Leave me a comment saying, “Interview me!”
2. I will respond by asking you five questions. I get to pick the questions.
3. You will post the answers to the questions (and the questions themselves) on your blog or journal.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions. And thus the endless cycle of the meme goes on and on and on and on…

Current Interview Questions courtesy of Jason Fischer (If you want to ask your own questions of me in the comments, feel free; I’m rushing the thesis draft deadline this week and the questions could make for a good warm-up of a morning)

1) You’ve recently sold a novella to Twelfth Planet Press, with the working title of Unicorn. For those of us who don’t know the sordid tale, how did this masterpiece come about? Are you looking at continuing the story?

Well, I think it’s titled now – the inimitable Cat Sparks suggested the title Horn at one point over the weekend and it’s the first suggest that’s gained any traction with folks who’ve read it since “That Uniporn Novella.”

It started at Clarion – Lyn Battersby mentioned that her husband Lee (who tutored our second week) hated stories about Unicorns, and I took that as a challenge to try and write one he liked. I succeeded, kind-of, but the idea didn’t quite fit into the five-thousand word story I’d put together, so the novella got written courtesy of some very strong encouragement from my Clarion ’07 peeps and the ever-awesome Angela Slatter (who pushed for me to get the damn thing finished and submitted two years after I’d finished the first draft).

There should be a second novella using the same character, only this time I’ll be tackling the magic-talking-cat genre.

2) What do you think about the recent spate of authors bemoaning reviews that they’ve disagreed with? What do you think about the practice in general terms, and when does professionalism outweigh a right of reply?

I might have missed the outbreak, but as a general rule I’m against an approach that can be described as bemoaning when it comes to reviews.

I’m not sure its possible to speak about the practice in general terms, although my first instinct largely comes down “don’t.” The ability to respond to any review without looking like a complete tool is largely a function of the writer’s personality and public persona, and I can certainly think of a few people who have been able to address concerns raised in reviews without seeming combative or defensive. Respect for the reviewer and the effort they’ve gone to probably has a lot to do with it, as does the ability to both pick your battles and trust readers to recognise when a review has got it blatantly wrong. The big problem in making a blanket statement may be that the instances of writers responding poorly and making things worse tend to be spectacularly visible, while those who have learned to respond well tend to pass without notice.

3) If you had to pick one genre or sub-genre, and only write in that style for the rest of your days, where would you pin your hopes?

Speculative Fiction 🙂

I find it hard to think of genre as something closed, to be honest, but I normally think of myself as a fantasy writer. If you squint hard enough, nearly everything I’ve written fits under the fantasy aegis somehow.

4) Who are the three authors that most excite and inspire your writing?

It depends on the project, but of late: Neil Gaiman, Raymond Chandler, Caitlin Kiernan.

5) If there was a televised combat show, where you could get a zombie anything to fight another zombie anything, what kind of zombie would you reanimate and send in to kick arse on your behalf? What stage-name would you give it?

A Zombie Otter named Giggles with a straight-edged razor clenched in its tiny paws. He’s not going to win all that often, but I figure his loses would be spectacular to watch (and who doesn’t want a zombie otter?)

  7 comments for “It’s a Slow News Day, so you get a Meme

  1. 26/01/2009 at 10:02 PM

    Interview me!

  2. 27/01/2009 at 12:08 AM

    Also, I'm still not sure the unicorn story is an ad *for* Clarion South… But I agree about the otter.

  3. 27/01/2009 at 1:57 AM

    What a mahvelous game. Do me, dahling, do me.

    • 28/01/2009 at 3:22 AM


      1) You've recently signed on as a columnist for Fantasy Magazine – what can we expect in upcoming columns?

      2) You write Spec-fic, which has a long history of being a very white, hetero kind of genre. How does that history affect your reading and writing within the SF genre?

      3) You've been named king of the world for a day, and you get to pick one book you can make everyone in the world read. What's your choice, and why are we all reading it?

      4) You've expressed dissapointement over Twilight after initially hearing about the new "sparkly vampire romance" subgenre. What was it that appealed to you about the version of that subgenre that existed in your head and why do you think it was missing in the book/film?

      5) I'll admit that I came up with a bunch of questions about sexuality while putting this list together, though I discarded many of them as unsuitable because I didn't want your sexuality to overshadow other aspects of your writing and personality. It does, however, bring me to the final question (in which I hope I'm not being condescendingly striaght and muddleheaded, but probably am) – as an out, politically active gay man, would you prefer to have your sexuality at the forefront of any discussion about your work or leave it as one aspect of your life that informs what you do?

  4. 27/01/2009 at 11:36 PM


    1) How do you think your art practice affects the way you write?

    2) What's the greatest book cover you've ever seen?

    3) You achieved a somewhat insane wordcount during last years Nanowrimo – what's can you tell us about the novel draft that resulted from such a flurry of wordcount?

    4) If given the opportunity to write for a magazine, or illustrate for a magazine, which one do you choose?

    5) Which three illustrators most inspire you?

  5. 28/01/2009 at 4:16 AM

    Cool — I'll play too.

  6. 28/01/2009 at 10:11 AM

    I've answered.

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