Alex Dally MacFarlane lives in London, where she is pursuing a MA in Ancient History. When not researching ancient gender and narratives, she writes stories, found in Clarkesworld Magazine, Strange Horizons, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Shimmer and the anthologies The Mammoth Book of Steampunk and The Other Half of the Sky. Poetry can be found in Stone Telling, Goblin Fruit, The Moment of Change and Here, We Cross. She is the editor of Aliens: Recent Encounters, out in June 2013 from Prime Books, and The Mammoth Book of SF Stories by Women, due out in late 2014.
Kristin Centorcelli: Alex, will you tell us a bit about yourself and your background? Have you always wanted to be a writer?
About the Series:
Last month I kicked off a new series for SF Signal, interviewing and in some cases introducing fellow SFF authors from Australia and New Zealand. The format is one interview per month, with no more than five questions per interview, focusing on “who the author is” and “what she/he does” in writing terms. Although with well-known SFF friends such as today’s guest, Juliet Marillier, the focus may tilt slightly more toward what the author is currently doing.
Juliet seemed like a great person to have as my guest, not just because she is well known outside Australia-New Zealand, but because she is both a New Zealander and an Australian – but onward to the interview to find out just how that works!
Allow me to introduce Juliet Marillier:
Juliet Marillier’s historical fantasy novels for adults and young adults, including the popular Sevenwaters series, have been translated into many languages and have won a number of awards including the Aurealis, the American Library Association’s Alex Award, the Sir Julius Vogel Award and the Prix Imaginales. Her lifelong love of folklore, fairy tales and mythology is a major influence on her writing. Juliet is currently working on the Shadowfell series, a story of tyranny and rebellion set in a magical version of ancient Scotland. When not busy writing, she tends to a small pack of waifs and strays. In addition to this interview, you may find out more on Juliet’s website http://www.julietmarillier.com; she also blogs monthly on http://www.writerunboxed.com.
An Interview With Juliet Marillier
Helen: Juliet, you’re a New Zealander by birth and upbringing, but have lived in Australia for a long time, and your writing draws deeply on Celtic mythology and legend – are these three distinct traditions or do you find they overlap?
Juliet: The overlap, for me, is that I was born and brought up in Dunedin, which is one of the most Scottish places outside Scotland itself. Scots settlers brought their traditions with them. As a child I was surrounded by Celtic music, stories and culture, from the Burns Club to the pipe band competitions to the shop where you could have kilts made in your clan tartan – mine is Scott. I think Scots immigrants must have loved Dunedin for its physical similarity to their homeland – hills, forests, sea and islands. And freezing winters!
I have been planning this series with John DeNardo for some time—taking the opportunity to boost the signal for friends and fellow SFF authors from Australia and New Zealand, with a short interview format focusing on “who they are” and “what they do” in writing terms. Some of my guests will be names that are known to SF Signal readers already; others though, I hope may be new. I will be doing one interview a month, so the format may evolve over time, but initially I’ll be asking each author five questions, which I hope will give you a little of the Antipodean flavour. I am calling the series “Fun with Friends” because that will be the initial focus, although I hope and intend to spread the net wider as the series progresses.
Since I am a New Zealand author, I felt my first guest should be an Australian. Given SF Signal is a US-based blog, I also thought: who better than an Australian author that originally hailed from the United States—which led me straight to Kim Falconer. I hope you enjoy this brief insight into her writing life.
Allow me to introduce Kim Falconer:
Kim Falconer writes speculative fiction novels set in the worlds of Earth and Gaela. Her latest release is Journey by Night, the third book in the Quantum Encryption series. The second-in-series, Road to the Soul, was recently shortlisted for the Norma K Hemming award for excellence in the exploration of issues of race, gender, sexuality, class and disability.
Currently, Kim is working on a novella coming out in 2012 and a whole new series set in a very different world. In addition to this interview, you may find out more at kimfalconer.com or her blog The 11th House.
An Interview With Kim Falconer
Helen: Kim, You’re known as an Australian author, but I understand were originally a Californian. Are there overlaps between your writing and geographic journeys?
Kim: Hi Helen! Thank you for inviting me here to SF Signal! Continue reading
Gail Z. Martin, author of The Fallen Kings Cycle series (The Sworn and The Dread), unveils her sneak peek of Ice Forged, Book One in The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga, coming from Orbit Books in 2013.
Gail is giving everyone a first look at the cover art for Ice Forged, as well as book excerpts, author Q&A and more as part of her Hawthorn Moon Online Sneak Peek Event. She’s got exclusive goodies spread out across more than a dozen partner sites, and you can find out about it all on Gail’s site.
Here’s what we asked Gail:
Q: What are some things you learned from writing fantasy?
A: One thing I’ve learned is a definite respect for the hardships which our ancestors endured—plague, famine, lack of clean water, lack of indoor plumbing and central heat, high mortality rates from curable conditions, etc. At the same time, I’m intrigued by how much joy they were still able to take from life through family and friends, small comforts and conveniences, celebrations and holidays, and good food when there was food to be had.
Robert Jackson Bennett‘s 2010 debut Mr. Shivers won the Shirley Jackson award as well as the Sydney J. Bounds Newcomer Award. His second novel, The Company Man, is the winner of the Edgar Award and the recipient of a Special Citation of Excellence from the Philip K. Dick Award. His third novel, The Troupe, is available now. He lives in Austin with his wife and son. He can be found on Twitter at @robertjbennett.
Science fiction and fantasy is one of the hardest genres to write well in. Seriously.
You probably wouldn’t think it from reading what people write about the genre itself: according to some, our prose is stilted, our characters weak, our sequels interminable, and our plots flimsy. I disagree with a lot of these – like anything, anywhere, of any kind, this all depends on where you look – but none of these acknowledge the real pitfall inherent in any science fiction or fantasy novel: cool ideas.
In episode 128 of the SF Signal Podcast, Patrick Hester sits down to chat with Helen Lowe, award winning author of dozens of short stories and the new novel, The Heir of Night.
About Helen Lowe:
Helen Lowe is a novelist, poet, and interviewer. She has twice won the Sir Julius Vogel Award for achievement in SFF, for Thornspell (Knopf) in 2009 and The Heir of Night (The Wall of Night Book One) in 2011 and is currently the writer-in-residence at the University of Canterbury. Helen posts every day on her Helen Lowe on Anything, Really blog. on the 1st of every month on the Supernatural Underground and occasionally here on SF Signal. You can also follow her on Twitter: @helenl0we.