Tell us a bit about yourself
I’m a mum and a teacher and I live in sunny Australia.
Have you always wanted to become an author?
Kinda. I read A LOT as a kid, like obsessively so. I went to art school because I thought visual arts was my thing. I tried writing on and off, but could never get to the end of anything. I’d do short pieces for school, friends or boyfriends that had an impact, so I knew I could put words together in a way that could impact on some people, but with art you can make a bunch of small things that make up an exhibition, writing is putting one word after another, making a cohesive whole for 100 000 words or more. I also did what a lot of aspiring authors do and expected it all to be brilliant first go.
What was your inspiration for your current book/series?
I’ve got two books out so here goes:
Not My Fantasy: I was reading LOTS of PNR, as Buffy was a big popular culture moment for me and was wanting to recapture some of that. Instead I found a lot of very sexy stuff, but in some parts of the genre, it can be very formulaic. I wrote this book as an attempt to play with the tropes in a bit of a knowing way, have a bit of a chuckle about some elements, but hopefully not in a mean spirited way, because I wouldn’t have read a lot of it if I didn’t have a real love for the genre.
My ideal reader for this is someone similar, who still loves PNR, though apparently its ‘dead’, but wants something fresh.
The Bottom Rung: I started writing this in a previous incarnation 15 years ago, but its transitioned nicely into a RH book. I teach Humanities, so the different ways different groups alienate and disempower others is of great interest to me. The book is about something not especially sexy: structural inequality and prejudice BUT I try to tell the story from the perspective of a very determined, bloody minded young woman who’s ready to take on the world to change it. I grew up in the 80s, so being Gen X I am quite apathetic about change, but increasingly I have become aware of the flawed, but real change people can have. This book was an attempt to look at that, how good intentions aren’t enough, that you need to understand the structures around you to change them. TL:DR: girl power, god-like female superheroes coming out of extremes of poverty and changing the world
What are you working on now?
Doing the final beta edits to Bottom Rung, getting the second book to both books ready for publication (they have been written and just need to be beta-ed and edited). I’ve got a high heat wolf RH book on the backburner, a prequel for NMF mostly done, a sweeping fantasy romance to finalise, a RH sequel to NMF and hopefully a spin off where one of the MC’s autistic son takes centre stage in a final NMF book.
Do you have any quirks while writing?
Not really. I like to listen to Spotify, but if I was all rock star and needed quiet or lots of time to focus, I wouldn’t be able to do it! I have to be flexible and write when I can.
What are your hopes for the future?
To make enough to cover costs. When I made a lot of artwork, it was a real drain on our finances. I’m old enough to want it to be at least cost neutral now.
For people to get what I do. People keep saying my stuff is quite different. Here’s hoping there’s a place for that, as there’s been a lot of people who go out there and don’t write to market and are never heard again…
Do you have any advice for new authors about the publishing world?
I am still new to this so it seems to be disingenuous to be handing out advice. It’s all the same stuff everyone says and that’s read, read, read. Reading a lot of the same genre, you’ll start to internalise the tropes, language, clichés, character arcs etc and you start to see behind the curtain into the inner workings of a particular genre of writing. You don’t have to do what everyone else does to be successful, but you need to know why they are doing it, to reject it. I started writing because I was so frustrated with Laurell K Hamilton’s stuff. There was so much I liked and so much I hated. I started trying to write the antithesis of her stuff and ended up with these bloodless, aimless characters with surreal storylines and worlds. I seriously wrote millions of words until I realised this was just not gonna work!
Do you have anything to say to your readers?
You are only a very small group, but the feedback I’ve been getting through reviews told me what I needed to know, that people got what I was trying to do and appreciated it. So thanks. A lot of writing self help groups/books would tell you to absolutely not do what I have done, and that’s go off on my own tangent, but even if I only ever attain extremely niche author status, I’m pleased there’s some people in my corner, egging me on.