This collection is going to be a great representation of what I’m best known for writing: bittersweet stories. Whether writing sf, fantasy, steampunk, horror, or mainstream, I chose the genre to help me tell the best character development story. The setting, content and “voice” often differ vastly from story to story – I have written first person, third person, and in present or past tense – but in all my stories I tend to focus on the emotional resonance between characters, and their personal evolution.
It took me a long time to learn that the research techniques for both academic work and fiction are the same thing, seen from different angles: that I can use the same skill base but apply the results in a different fashion. The best fiction has a solid research base underneath it, and a background in the academic world does no harm at all in honing those technical skills.
One thing I will note is the rapid expansion of Creative Writing PhDs in the field. With so many of our best writers venturing into this sphere, SF has reached critical mass in this area. This unexpected incursion into academia will have an enormous impact in future years: I like the idea that SF is finally colonising the mainstream.
There was one film–Gabriel–where my review was so scathing that my editors elected not to publish it. Possibly because I described it as the worst film I’ve ever seen, and wasn’t exaggerating (it’s since been superseded by the second Transformers movie–what a piece of dogshit, eh?). I did briefly wonder if I’d overstepped the mark, but I recently re-read that review and was happy to stand by it. It wasn’t internet-comment-form ranting, it was a pretty considered piece, and that’s the difference I think. Wankers rant to get attention, overstating their case in order to appear funny or “outrageous” or whatever. I get bored with that pretty quickly, usually because I want some steak with my sizzle. You’ve got to bring some intelligence to the table, some discrimination in the way you target supposed flaws in various works of art, because otherwise you’re just going to be as interesting as phoning up a fax machine
After I wrote “Rosa and the Veil of Gold”, every idea I came up with sounded too familiar. I felt as though I really needed to leave the field fallow for a while. I cooked up the idea to do the Kimberley Freeman books for fun, with no idea how successful they would be. Like infinitely more successful than my spec fic novels. Infinitely. I have two small children and a job at University of Queensland. The truth is, when Kimberley Freeman started paying off my mortgage, I simply didn’t have time to write anything else. I took 2010 off to write a fantasy novel (straight-up epic fantasy), and have just got around to polishing it up in the last few months. I hope that it might come out in 2013.