In Uncategorized on August 28, 2014 at 9:04 pm
Guest post at http://www.csfg.org.au
Something writers are often exhorted to do is “write what you know”. This doesn’t necessarily mean that your stories should reflect the literal truth of your lived experience, although they can. My first published story, “The Alchemical Automaton Blues” was basically a recounting of a real experience I had with some neighbours and their neglected dog, dressed up in fantasy drag. When I have kids in my stories, they tend to be my kids.
Writing what you know can also mean capturing some essential truth or belief, without presenting it in any context that corresponds to your lived experience. My story “The Navigator and the Sky” is about an old man using the last of his strength to help his granddaughter escape a wrathful god. The underlying truth of the story, for me, is the commitment that I believe parents should make to their kids.
But what about writing what you don’t know? There’s a fantastic talk at TED.com by Turkish novelistElif Shafak, in which she talks about the experience of being pigeonholed by her ethnicity, the expectation that she will write Turkish stories, an expectation which she rejects. She stresses the value – the imperative, even – of writers stepping outside of what she refers to as their “cultural ghettoes” and exploring alternative ways of seeing the world. If you only ever write about yourself and your own little patch of the world, she argues, what do you learn?
In Uncategorized on August 7, 2014 at 7:46 am
Stephanie Gunn interviewed me as part of the 2014 Snapshot of Australian Speculative Fiction. You can find my interview on Stephanie’s blog, alongside several others and links to a bazillion more on other interviewers’ blogs. Mine starts thusly:
1. Your first collection, Angel Dust, is due out from Ticonderoga Publications this year. How has it been putting together your first collection, and what can readers expect to see in it?
Erm, intermittent? Life has been getting in the way a bit for both Russell and I. I expect most of the stories will be drawn from my publications in places like Asimov’s, BCS and the Clockwork Phoenix anthologies. Russell’s picked one original story so far and he’s having a look at another four. So not sure yet what the final shape will be, or whether we’ll choose stories for a particular theme. One loose theme Russell’s suggested is ‘encounters with the other’, which broadly speaking can cover a lot of my stories. Another thread that runs through a lot (but far from all) of my stories is how men fail at being men – and the ways I’m afraid of failing as a man. Whether anyone wants to read an entire book about men failing, though, I have my doubts.
In Uncategorized on July 30, 2014 at 7:09 pm
My story “Red Dirt” is the ‘from the archives’ story featured in the current issue of Beneath Ceaseless Skies. Check it out here: