Down Under Horror Interview
Welcome to the Chair of Chaos on the west coast of Australia. Yes, I owe you a 1000 apologies for being so damn lazy. Here is a packet of Tim Tams and a tinnie. Now, I've pulled my finger out of my ass, let's get this interview going.
Sorry, you're not comfortable? Well you are sat in the Chair of Chaos, not the Chair of Comfort. Yes, I know you've been sat here for months waiting for me. Would a lamington ease the pain?
From what part of this sunburnt country do you hail? And what is your modus operandi with the blood-soaked pen?
I grew up in Melbourne and now live in Canberra, via Sydney and Fiji.
I gave up using a blood-soaked pen a few months ago, due to advice from my doctor. Since then I’ve written my character-driven, ghostly, alternative-worldy, world-is-fucked-and-so-are-most-people-y fiction on the wall with antique paint I found in the basement of a demolished house, but I’m running out of room.
Imagine I am a filthy successful agent (I did say imagine) we are stepping into an elevator. Hit me with your top three elevator pitches for three pieces of your work.
Need somewhere to stay? There’s always room at the Angelsea, especially if you can’t sleep. No responsibility taken for ghostly possession or poorly-cooked breakfast
Into Bones Like Oil, Meerkat Press
Marvo the Magician creates a mist that keeps us from seeing the world as it really is. It works when he’s happy and entertained. Pray that he stays that way.
Weird old tools, strange tiny stories that will chill you to the bone.
Tool Tales (with Ellen Datlow), IFWG Press
From the isolation of endless horizons to the fascinating deadly creatures that crawl, slither and swim upon this land of sand and fire, what is your greatest Aussie horror?
Without a doubt, Blue-Bottle Jellyfish. The horror of arriving at the beach, armed with cold white wine, cheese, an umbrella for shade, large beach towel, two changes of clothes so no sandy bits on the way home, large handbag for keys, money (for Mr Whippy icecream), phone, sunscreen etc etc etc, and you get there and the beach is full of those blue bastards and you have to turn around and go home again. Hate them. And if you get stung, people are lining up to piss on you for the pain so no thanks.
Is there one thing you would have done differently in your writing career?
Quite seriously, the only thing I’d change would be to try to find community earlier. It took me about 15 years to actually start connecting with other writers, going to events and all that. I wish I’d done it sooner.
Where did you discover your love for all things that go bump in the night, or splat on the walls?
From a very young age I loved the scary stuff! I loved the spooky stories in the variety of magazines at my grandmother’s house, from Australasian Post to Family Circle, I could find the ghostly in all of them. I was always intrigued by scary noises, spooky happenings, weird behaviour and awful acts. If I was going to identify the origins of it, it might well be Australasian Post, the long defunct magazine.
Other than this ground breaking interview, what are you currently working on?
I WAS writing the great Australian novel but this has taken up so much of my time I had to give up all other writing.
Except for finishing a novella called The Deathplace set for a series from Crystal Lake publishing (to be in a book with Aaron Dries and JS Brukelaar).
And writing a story inspired by Lake George.
And working on edits for a crime novel.
What do you think is the biggest misconception about Australia and life on this island/continent?
That we come from Planet Earth.
Who are your favourite Aussie authors?
So many I could name! Cat Sparks, TR Napper, J. Ashley-Smith, Aaron Dries, Robert Hood, JS Brukelaar, Kirstyn McDermott, Angela Slatter, Lisa Hannet, Jason Nahrung and that is just off the top of my head. We are drowning in fucking brilliance, I tell you.
Ahem... reaches over table and takes packet of Tim Tams back.
Other than reading my work, what are your goals for 2022?
I’d love to travel a bit but I don’t that is really going to happen. I’m sad to be missing the US conventions I love so much, from Stokercon, to Readercon, to World Fantasy.
Oh, hang on, I just read your question properly. I guess I’ll be too busy reading your work to do anything at all. Thanks for ruining my productivity for the whole year. You suck.
Gives packet of Tim Tams back to Karron.
Where is one place in Australia where you haven’t been, but would love to go?
Port Arthur, Tasmania.