Snapshot 2016: C.S. Pacat

pacatC.S. Pacat is the author of the best-selling Captive Prince trilogy. Born in Australia and educated at the University of Melbourne, she has since lived in a number of cities, including Tokyo and Perugia. She currently resides and writes in Melbourne.

Her first series began its life as an original-fiction web serial, which attracted viral attention before being acquired by Penguin USA. The Captive Prince trilogy went on to become a USA Today bestseller after being published to commercial success and critical acclaim.

How has your life changed since the Captive Prince trilogy was published internationally with Penguin Random House last year?

The biggest change and the biggest privilege is that my books are now books, by which I mean they are now part of the wider conversation about books and literature.

Another change is perhaps purely psychological. Like many aspiring writers, I struggled with feelings of legitimacy, or with having the audacity to call myself a writer before publication. In fact we are all writers from the moment that we pick up a pen but the phase or writing before selling your first book requires this enormous effort of the self – of self confidence and self belief – in the face of uncertainty. Having relief from the uncertainty has been the lifting of a surprising weight. I think I didn’t know how heavy it was until it was gone.

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Glass Slipper Scandal – now an ebook!

Glass Slipper coverGlass Slipper Scandal, the first of my novelettes about Castle Charming and its community of angry broken princes, runaway princesses, peppy scandal-hungry newspaper reporters and loyal, world-weary guards, is now available as an ebook across various platforms!

Charming is a kingdom where fairy tales come true, which has been bad news for its troubled royal family, but good news for the gutter press that thrives on the scandals and gossip provided by their teenage Princes Gone Wild. Kai is a rookie reporter at the Charming Herald. Dennis is a new Royal Hound, charged with protecting the self-destructive princes from disaster.

Disaster arrives in a pumpkin coach… The story of the century will be wearing glass slippers… and Castle Charming will never be the same again.

You can find it at the following ebook retailers (and please send me the link if you find it somewhere I haven’t listed!):
Kindle store (US)
Kindle store (AUS)
iBooks
Kobo

You can also listen to the story for free on the Sheep Might Fly podcast, where it first appeared. All supporters of my Patreon campaign also have access to download the story as a bonus reward.
glass slipper quotes

Snapshot 2016: John Richards

jackie woodburneJohn Richards was co-creator/writer of the acclaimed 2012 ABC1 comedy series Outland (“Sensational writing, a great ensemble, and universal themes of love, loss, and friendship… a hit…” – The Weekend Australian) which became an international cult hit, playing in Germany, New Zealand, Sweden, Canada and the USA.

In 2013 he had two plays running simultaneously in separate countries – Songs For Europe, a drama about the Eurovision Song Contest, played to rave reviews and packed houses at the Melbourne Fringe Festival, while the short work Found was featured as part of the London Design Festival.

In 2014 he became head writer on Night Terrace, a digital comedy series funded directly through a subscription model, which stars Jackie Woodburne (Neighbours) and a stellar guest cast including Alan Brough, Cal Wilson, Francis Greenslade, Chris Taylor, Collette Mann and John Clarke.

He has been featured on ABC TV’s Big Ideas (hosted by Waleed Aly), created sketch comedy for ABC television and BBC radio and written for publications including Encore, Mumbrella, Cult and DNA and text books Media Reloaded (Cambridge University Press), Queers Dig Time Lords (Mad Norwegian) and Whose Doctor? (Ford Publishing).

He was also part of the Boxcutters and Splendid Chaps podcasts, has presented lectures for the Australian Centre for the Moving Image and was once nominated for a fraction of a Hugo Award.

Night Terrace! I love this SF comedy audio series, and the second season was released this year after another successful crowdfunding campaign. What did you do differently with this new season, to build on what you learned from Night Terrace: year one?

We approached it a bit more as a season, I think, than as eight separate stories. So there was a stronger thread through the adventures, although that might be something only we would notice! The biggest thing was just knowing those characters and how they sounded, which made it easier to write for them. We also asked Jackie what she would like from a second season and she said “I’d love to be a villain” so we wrote that for her! And she was AMAZING. The calibre of the season 1 cast made it easy to get such amazing guests for season 2. When we were recording the credits I started laughing at how random they seemed when put together. “Starring someone from Neighbours, someone from Prisoner, someone from Doctor Who… and John Clarke”. Collette Mann played a character who didn’t even have a name!

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Sheep Might Fly: Unmagical Boy Story Part 5

Flying Sheep Show NotesNew episode update!

“Unmagical Boy Story” is a 13-part sequel to “Fake Geek Girl,” and is original to this podcast.

One magical university, divided between the Colleges of the Real and Unreal. One pub. One indie band. A lot of drunk witches on a Friday night. One shattered friendship, due to be repaired. One Practical Mythology paper which really has to be finished by Monday… Oh, and trolls. Let’s see who survives Friday night drinks!

unmagical boy 3

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Snapshot 2016: Kathleen Jennings

kjennings-june-2016Kathleen Jennings is an illustrator and writer in Brisbane. She was raised on books on a cattle property in western Queensland, and practiced as a translator, lawyer, illustrator and writer before working out that was probably a few careers too many. Her art is on the cover of (and sometimes inside) books from publishers including Tor.com, Small Beer Press, Subterranean, Tartarus, Fablecroft and Ticonderoga, while her stories and comics have been included in publications such as Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet and the Candlewick collections Steampunk! and Monstrous Affections. She has received several Ditmar awards for her art, fanart and writing, and is a three-time finalist for the World Fantasy Award for art. She can be found online at tanaudel.wordpress.com and as @tanaudel at all the usual locations.

This has been your Year Of No Day Job, allowing you to mostly focus on your art and writing. What have you been up to, and has it been everything you hoped?

I’ve been back at uni, beginning an MPhil in Creative Writing! It’s an illustrated project and I’m getting to explore the beautiful side of Australian Gothic literature. It’s also giving me a needed structure to the year! So far I’ve been concentrating on getting my feet under me after a long break from academia, but I have quite a few projects in the works and coming out – and of course I have to wait for the publishers to announce them.

The art is more visible, of course, but I am writing. There’s the novella, and a few weightier manuscripts in progress, as well as a growing pile of ‘orrible first drafts of picture books. When the pile begins to topple I will reach in at random and pick one to develop.

And then this six week trip to the USA, England, Iceland and Norway, which wasn’t a holiday, and which has given me so many new themes and textures and stories.

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Snapshot 2016: Charlotte Nash

Portrait of Author Charlotte Nash

Portrait of Author Charlotte Nash

Charlotte Nash is an Australian writer with degrees in engineering and medicine. Her short stories have been nominated for the Aurealis and Ditmar awards, and have been published in Every Day Fiction, Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, Dimension6, Dreaming of Djinn, Use Only as Directed, and Phantazein. In addition, she is a best-selling author of rural medical romance novels, most recently The Horseman. She confesses a special love for motorbikes, heavy machinery and mock cream donuts, and isn’t sure which is more dangerous. charlottenash.net

The Horseman is the latest of your contemporary rural romance novels, and you just had a big release month! Tell us about your book, and why it’s striking such a chord with readers around Australia.

Peta Woodward, a Melbourne emergency doctor is injured on a cathartic solo trek through the High Country, and is most reluctantly rescued by a local horseman, Craig Munroe. While Peta heals, she becomes involved in his small hometown, which is in the grip of a crime spree, and the dramas surrounding the return of Craig’s nemesis who wants to be the next parliamentary member for the area. The story follows Peta and Craig’s romance, unlikely friendships, the catching of the theives and a new era for the town.

Without speaking directly for readers, the feedback I have had is that readers connect with the High Country setting, the themes of natural horsemanship and the life-and-death drama through the story. For me, the story comes from a place deeply connected to my horse-filled childhood, where the horses meant more to me than people. Perhaps that shows somehow! I also think that the High Country itself resonates with many readers because narratives like The Man From Snowy River and The Silver Brumby are so in the public conscience.

Meanwhile, your SF interests are currently directed into a creative writing PhD. Given your interest in a variety of genres, what was it about SF that made you choose it for this project, and what’s exciting you right now about your PhD-in-progress?

SF is my native genre. I had a particular project in mind for the PhD (a time-travel story with alternate history, Edison vs Tesla, and a die-hard style building lock-down). I also wanted to study craft techniques in some of my favourite sci-fi thrillers for the exegetical component, so the choice was easy. SF gives you the ultimate flexibility to play with the real world, to blend it and reshape it, and make metaphors and references and be unapologetic. Right now I’m most excited by being able to write action taking place in an altered Victorian setting, and pulling apart works by Michael Crichton, Neal Stephenson and Andy Weir as to how they handle their technical world-building. It’s really challenging, but I’m determined to come out the other side a better writer and with a good story.

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Snapshot 2016: Ben Peek

authorphotoBen Peek is the Sydney based author of Leviathan’s Blood, The Godless, Black Sheep, Above/Below, Twenty-Six Lies/One Truth, and the collection, Dead Americans and Other Stories. You can find him on twitter at twitter.com/nosubstance and at www.theurbansprawlproject.com

Since the last Snapshot, you have had two novels of a fantasy trilogy released from Tor – The Godless and Leviathan’s Blood. How has the experience been of working with a major UK publisher as an Australian author, as compared to with your previous novels?

All my books but Above/Below have been done in a different time zone – the UK, US, and Canada – so I’ve kept that strange sense of everything happening while I am asleep, and the first hours of the morning being for responding to email. But after that, everything has been a bit different.

Primarily, it’s the size of it. Pan Macmillan have all these people who do promotion, edits, line edits, covers, marketing, and so on and so forth, and there’s a very real sense of a book being taken away from you to be worked on by those people. I don’t mean that in a bad way, I should add. Saying that a book is being ‘taken’ away sounds bad, but honestly, line editing, marketing, and all of that can be taken by whoever wants that particular pain. But my other books were independent presses, and you’re often working with the same person through all of those parts, and there’s a sense of it always being with you, from beginning to end. In some ways, you feel as if you have a little more control, but it’s mostly an illusion created by being targeted at a smaller audience, I think. Yet, at the same time, there is a very real sense of a book being out of your control with a larger publisher, that you have little say over who sees it, hears about it, reviews it, and so forth. In some ways, it’s good, in some bad.

Being Australian hasn’t really meant anything, I am afraid. It’s biggest detraction, as always, is simply distance.

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Snapshot 2016: Rivqa Rafael

2016-07-19 21.35.24-14Rivqa Rafael is a writer and editor based in Sydney. She started writing speculative fiction well before earning degrees in science and writing, although they have probably helped. Her previous gig as subeditor and reviews editor for Cosmos magazine likewise fueled her imagination. Her short stories have appeared in Hear Me Roar (Ticonderoga Publications), The Never Never Land (CSFG Publishing), and Defying Doomsday (Twelfth Planet Press). When she’s not working, she’s most likely child-wrangling, playing video games, or practising her Brazilian Jiujitsu moves. She can be found at rivqa.net and on Twitter as @enoughsnark.

This has been a great year for you professionally, with your first pro short story sale. Tell me about your story for Defying Doomsday – “Two Somebodies Go Hunting”.

I was honoured and humbled to be included in Defying Doomsday, which is themed around one of the most important trope inversions I can think of. The “Two Somebodies” are Lex, whose chronic pain is due to a childhood injury, and Jeff, who’s autistic; they head out into the desert in a post-pandemic world to find meat for their family.

Thematically, I wanted to examine the differing needs of people with chronic illness and pain in the broader context of disability activism. Although this was something I’d had in the back of my mind, it was well articulated on Tumblr with a commentary on X-Men, which unpacked Rogue and Storm’s conflicting perspectives on curing superpowers, and the idea for the story grew from there.

From a craft perspective, I wanted to write a relatively small story – in the sense that there are really only the two characters on stage and the plot is a classic archetype. Nothing flashy, no cheap tricks, just two siblings who need to work together, and work to understand each other. It was very gratifying to have editors Holly and Tsana, as they really got what I was trying to do… so hopefully it succeeded!

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Snapshot 2016: Grant Watson

Grant Watson is an Australian award winning playwright and critic. In 2010, he received the Perth Theatre Trust Guild Equity Award for Best New Play for his political drama Cry Havoc. He is a two-time recipient of the William Atheling Jr Award for science fiction criticism and review, including one for his ongoing column “The Bad Film Diaries” in Australian science fiction journal Borderlands. He blogs about media and science fiction films at The Angriest & FictionMachine.

 

1. You have a book coming out soon from Twelfth Planet Press! What do we have to look forward to with Something New Can Come Into This World?, and what does the title actually mean?

Something New Can Come Into This World collects the first year’s worth of essays from Fictionmachine, which is a website where I post essays about movies. Since the age of about seven I have been fascinated by how movies are made, and some years ago I realised that knowing *how* one was produced often answered the question of *why* certain elements of them were good and bad. The essays combine “making-of” information with criticism in a hopefully entertaining fashion. The essays are all still online for free as well – the book is for people who don’t feel comfortable reading 80,000 words of criticism and filmmaking stories off a computer monitor or smartphone.

 

The title comes from one of the essays – each essay uses a line of dialogue from the film as its title. The longest essay in the book is based around Andrew Stanton’s John Carter, and it was one with which I was particularly happy. It’s a new book, so “Something New…” seemed to have an appropriate ring to it.

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