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Interview: Thoraiya Dyer on Her GENIUS LOCI Story “The Grudge”


Genius Loci is a new anthology edited by Jaym Gates that is due out in September. It’s currently on Kickstarter, and features stories by authors like Seanan McGuire, Ken Liu,  and more. In a special series of interviews, I asked the authors a few questions about themselves and their stories.

About Genius Loci (via Jaym Gates):

The concept of ‘genius loci‘ is indeed an ancient one, found in nearly every human mythology. Guardian spirits. Divine presences. Demonic powers. Ghosts. In GENIUS LOCI, the emphasis is on the locale as much as it is on the spirit inhabiting it.

We have a huge anthology of 31 all-new fantasy and science fiction stories drawing on the rich tradition of place-as-person. Within the pages of GENIUS LOCI, the authors present stories of sentient deserts, beneficent forests, lonely shrubs, and protective planetary spirits.

Today, I talked to Thoraiya Dyer about her story “The Grudge”

An Australian science fiction and fantasy writer, Thoraiya’s passion for travel is diminished only by an unreasonable fear of sharks. Her short fiction has appeared recently in Clarkesworld, Apex, Cosmos, Nature and Redstone SF.

Winner of the 2011 Australian Ditmar Award for Best Novella/Novelette (“The Company Articles of Edward Teach”) and the 2010 and 2011 Aurealis Awards for Fantasy Short Story (“Yowie” and “Fruit of the Pipal Tree”), a collection of her original short fiction will be published by Twelfth Planet Press in 2013. To discover why pirates are better than robots, see

Kristin Centorcelli: Will you tell us a bit about your story in Genius Loci and what inspired you to write it?

Thoraiya Dyer: “The Grudge” is a story about building to block your brother’s view because he gave you the smaller piece of the inheritance. But also about looking through time at a place.

I love time-lapse footage of stars and plants growing, but imagine if you could get ten thousand years in the Middle East condensed into five minutes. That’s what I imagined when I imagined the Collision. That’s the tantalizing thing that the buildings overlook; that’s what constitutes an expensive view in the story-world.

KC: What do you like to see in a good story, and what authors or novels have influenced you the most in your work, and your life?

TD: Oh, I like to be uplifted or gutted. I like to think about things I’ve never thought about before. Probably my greatest influences when I started my first attempts at stories were Ursula LeGuin, Rudyard Kipling, Pat O’Shea and Michael Ende; lately I’ve sat down with Neal Stephenson, Nnedi Okorafor or Ann Leckie to think and Elizabeth Knox, Alexis Wright or Juliet Marillier to feel.

Ursula, decades later, still makes me think and feel!

KC: What would you say is the biggest challenge when writing short fiction?

TD: Keeping it short. Seriously, the number of 3999 word stories I have submitted to 4k word markets can only be overshadowed by the number of 7999 word stories I have submitted to 8k word markets. Every story world is huge and it is as painful every time choosing what to include as it must have been choosing stuff for the Voyager Golden Record!

KC: What do you enjoy most about reading, and writing, SFF?

TD: Anything can happen. Anything you can imagine. And if you want good things in the future, you have to imagine them now. Einstein said that imagination was more important than knowledge.

KC: What’s next for you?

TD: I’m drafting a novel about trolls in Miami. Friends who I ask for help keep making helpful suggestions like “make them stomp my old workplace into the ground!”

One or two workplaces might get stomped, haha.

Apart from that, I have a plethora of short stories appearing in a variety of US and Australian venues this year. See my website for links!

About Kristin Centorcelli (842 Articles)
Kristin Centorcelli is the Associate Editor at SF Signal, proprietor of My Bookish Ways, a reviewer for Library Journal and Publisher’s Weekly, and has also written for Crime Fiction Lover, Criminal Element, and Mystery Scene Magazine. She has been reviewing books since late 2010, in an effort to get through a rather immense personal library, while also discussing it with whoever will willingly sit still (and some that won’t).
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