Day two and we’re off again!!
And last, but definitely not least, these books were inspired by real life. I know that sounds kinda strange, but when Tanyana loses her powers she loses her job — not only her income, but a big part of her identity too. My husband went through a lot of that when the business he was working for suddenly went under, and this was definitely an inspiration for Tanyana’s experience. I also liked the idea of a fantasy hero who has to pay her rent!
I remain proudest of my role in editing Canterbury 2100. Misunderstood, a small print run – but not only were there some very fine stories in there, but the integration of those stories into a coherent narrative which suggests a future-folk-history kind of thing was a remarkably difficult task that I think I pulled off… credibly, at least. Dig up a copy. Enjoy.
I think having the world convention here at that time has helped boost the profile of Australian writers and writing more here and overseas. Though it’s a very tough market at the moment to get anything published speculative fiction still does appear to be thriving and growing. A lot of it is driven by the increasing popularity – and sales margins – of the YA market. It’s one of the biggest right now and I’ve noticed an increase in previously purely contemporary fiction writers publishing speculative fiction YA. For example, Tara Moss who was known for her adult crime fiction put out her Pandora English series, which is YA gothic and she’s only one of many crossing over here and internationally. I think here in Australia, just like the rest of the world, speculative fiction as a whole is becoming more mainstream driven by the success of Twilight and its movies, The Hunger Games, and the successful adaptation to TV of series such as Game of Thrones. We can only hope that an Australian writer’s series is the next big thing in movies or TV!
I’ve been concentrating on speculative short fiction for about five years now (see below) and I determined pretty early not to submit anywhere that wasn’t Pro-level pay rates with certain exceptions (i.e. non-pro venues that still attract awards/reputable reviews or non-pro venues where I know the editor and know they’ll take good care of the story).
Everyone has a different approach and reasons where and how they submit (or even if they submit at all, with the emergence of e-publishing as a viable alternative). For me, the decision to largely submit to pro-markets required a great deal of mental fortitude. There are more pro-markets out there than in the recent past, but you’re still not going to see anything but rejection slips for a very long time. It took me five years and no matter how prepared you think you are for five years of rejections, it does take its toll.
On one level writers of the future was vindication. It’s only one step; I might never sell anything at the pro-level again. But it still feels good and that vindication is a tremendous confidence boost.
My three favourite moments are as follows: Jack Dann leading a crowd into a sing-a-long of “Undead Camels Ate Their Flesh”; accepting my award at Writers of the Future; but above all my favourite moment was when I heard about the sale of my first story (flash fiction) to Antipodean SF. I hope to never forget that feeling, and no matter what my successes have been since then, that was the beginning of this whole crazy journey.
If there is a local renaissance, it seems to be different in flavour to the fallout from the last Aussiecon. There aren’t a million small presses sprouting underfoot, and the handful of small-presses that are still around seem to be lifting their sights somewhat.
We’re no longer an antipodean silo of writing and publishing, given the wonders of e-books, and the boutique genre press has arrived in force. Instead of trying to do lots of books, they seem to produce small print runs of beautiful books.
The Aussies are still rating well in overseas awards and short-lists, and many of the authors who were prolific in small-press a few years ago are now selling novels to the big publishers. It certainly bodes well.