Firstly, I wanted to write about a murder on a film set and 1939 is the most glamorous year in the Golden Years of Hollywood. And, of course, I had to choose Gone With The Wind. For sheer breadth of drama, scandal and controversy, it’s a writer’s dream. After doing my research I had no idea why there weren’t several murders on the film set.
The best promotion for my work is the stories I publish in regular venues. I don’t use Twitter and Facebook much to promote my material. Oh, I may post an update or two when a book is new or on special, but that’s pretty much it. As frequent user of Facebook and Twitter, I don’t mind if authors do the same. I do mind people using retweet-bots to repeat the same message over and over, or if people retweet every damn other author’s promotional messages in the hope those authors will do the same for them.
Seriously, people, your Twitter and Facebook followers don’t change that much. If you say something to them once or twice, there is no reason to repeat it. They know you’re an author. If they’re interested in the sort of thing you write, they will try your fiction, on their terms. For the other people, the ones who don’t read what you write, you’ll just annoy the crap out of them.
So where do I promote?
- I don’t
- By writing more material
- By direct-targeting places where promoting is allowed, such as the Kindleboards forum and certain Twitter accounts that retweet promotions and freebies to people who have actually signed up to receive such promotion
- By having information about where people can find my fiction up on my blog, where people can look at it on their own terms, if they’re interested.
I am fascinated by ambivalence, ambiguity, halfway states, where you linger between, not quite one thing or another. Undine is all about being halfway between – human and magical creature, love and like, the thing and the reflection of the thing and so the Undine myth (which is not literally in the novel) is a metaphor for this.
I think all my books belong together, despite the genre crossing. They are really all about those halfway states, about what’s real and what’s pretend. In The Indigo Girls the girls go night surfing – this is very similar to the way Undine experiences power and her body. In Little Bird Ruby-Lee falls in maternal love with the baby she is babysitting, and then transfers these feelings onto the baby’s single father in a romantic way and then has to try and figure out what is real and what is part of her fantasy life. I don’t think I will ever tire of this theme
Well, the biggest change in Australia in the last two years is the loss of Borders and Angus & Robertson, the “middle” market, and at the same time many publishers are dropping their sales staff, instead having booksellers go to the website to select stock for their stores. I think as a result we are going to increasingly see a bigger divide – a lot more trashy trash, and some really interesting, experimental “literary” spec fic that works hard to catch a bookseller’s eye. Perhaps as a result of this, I think publishers are more focussed on “The Pitch” than on “The Talent” (though I don’t think a talented author will ever be overlooked). Still, it’s easier for publishers to sell books that can be summed up in a sentence, not just to customers, but to their own marketing departments, to booksellers, to reviewers, to overseas markets. It was really hard for me to sum up Only Ever Always in a sentence, and the exercise seemed artificial, nothing to do with marking art. It was actually the rights manager, Angela Namoi who crystallised it by describing it as ” a meditation on grief”. Of course the question I started out asking was where do stories come from? And Angela made me realise I had answered that question: “from lack, from absence, from loss. From the spaces between where the lost things dwell.”
What I learnt from my years working in newspapers and magazines was discipline, and an awareness of the market i.e. thinking about who would be reading my story and what it is they wanted from their reading experience
You need to be passionate about your subject, and absolutely committed to it, if you are going to be able to sustain a writing task that may take years and years to complete. I cannot write a novel unless I am completely obsessed with it, even to the point of dreaming about it. Passion is the driving force that makes me write.
That’s a hard one. I think it’s so much easier for everyone to organise now, to communicate, that the changes seem – and probably are – less pronounced. And I think some of these things would have happened without Aussiecon 4 anyway, but I’m really impressed with the development of some of our independent presses. The people running them are doing great but I’m also really impressed with how much it is allowing other creatives like Amanda Rainey and Dion Hamill to develop as well.