Happy dancing here in the shadow of Wendouree Tor with the word that both Salvage and Blood and Dust are finalists for the Aurealis Awards’ best horror novel of 2012, AND Kirstyn’s Perfections is also in the running! Yes, we’re going head to head!
This is my first short-listing in the AAs — The Darkness Within was highly commended in a year when there was no short-list — so it’s a hell of a thrill to have two, quite disparate titles listed.
The fourth book in the finalists’ list is by fellow Victorian Jason Franks, who I met earlier this year at Oz Horror Con. He’s very cool and very passionate about his craft, so I’m looking forward to tracking down his Bloody Waters — it’s his first novel, following some well-received graphic novels. Nice, eh?
Indeed, the Aurealis finalists make for an excellent recommended reading list.
Another thrill is to see other writers by my publishers Xoum and Twelfth Planet Press making an impression on the lists.
And check out the science fiction novel section — SIX titles in a category usually a bit light on, and offering a whole lot of variety.
Interesting, too, to see self-published works making the short-lists, and the number of multiple nominations — Margo Lanagan, Jonathan Strahan, Jo Anderton and Kaaron Warren in the thick of it, amongst others. Wow, it’s a quality field all over. Congratulations, y’all!
The awards will be presented in Sydney on May 18.
Aurealis Awards finalists 2012
FANTASY SHORT STORY
SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL
SCIENCE FICTION SHORT STORY
HORROR SHORT STORY
YOUNG ADULT NOVEL
YOUNG ADULT SHORT STORY
CHILDREN’S FICTION (told primarily through words)
CHILDREN’S FICTION (told primarily through pictures)
ILLUSTRATED BOOK/GRAPHIC NOVEL
When I’ve told people we’re moving to Ballarat, there are two comments that usually follow: ‘Why?’ and, ‘It’s cold, y’know. Like, freezing.’
To the latter, the simple answer is, y’know, coats. But the former is a bit more long winded, to do with property prices in Melbourne, and how Ballarat is as close as we could get to spitting distance of the big smoke, and how it’s got a uni and a writers’ centre and a literature festival (hey, it’s Victoria: what town doesn’t have a literature festival? or a market…), and so on. I liken it to being on the Sunshine Coast and working in Brissie, without the coast. Or the ranges, for that matter. Okay, so it’s got a train and it’s got two lanes of divided road with a respectable stretch of 110kmh in between, and it takes about same amount of time, traffic (an hour and a bit) and rail gods (90 minutes and a bit) allowing.
Ballarat’s a tidy town, brimming with neat cottages and such, and history oozing out its mine shafts. No river to speak of, but lots of culverts, and a very fine lake with swans. I’m told it has a very good Irish pub, obviously that friend’s first memory of a previous visit, and a very fine bakery, too — my friends have broad tastes, clearly. Plus — OMG — an absinthe bar!
Kirstyn and I are looking forward to exploring the place, and the surrounds — for instance, the Pyrenees wine district, which I’m told does a very drinkable shiraz, which is what I want in a wine region. Oh yes. AND we’ve spotted a cafe with a view of the cemetery from the al freso dining area — w00t!
By the end of February, we’ll be Ballaratians. Some might pronounce the former Ballah-ratt-e-ans, but I’m thinking of going for Bal-ah-ray-shuns. I guess Rats could also come up. B-Rat is just far too street. I’m stopping now.
So, a new address, our own patch of suburban dirt with a line already dotted out for a future chook pen, I believe. Excitements!
To go with the new house, new books (though the books came first, to be honest), one apiece: my outback vampire road-trippin’ blood-lettin’ romp, Blood and Dust, and Kirstyn’s dark tale of family secrets, an amazing game of make believe and how what you wish for can be a tad detrimental, Perfections. Both are available now in digital formats (all of ’em) thanks to the small but passionate team at Xoum.
There will be some kind of ceremony to mark the arrival of these two yarns into the wilds, but it’s been delayed by the move. One thing to be said for e-books — no packing!
You can’t get much more Christmassy than outback vampires spreading mayhem in a Monaro, can you? That’s what publisher Xoum thought, too, and they’re spreading some Blood and Dust at tinsel time, just to keep it real.
Blood and Dust is now available digitally, at Amazon, iBooks … all over the place.
Also out: Kirstyn’s Perfections, at the Xoum website and Amazon(and all the rest)!
Angela Slatter tagged me in this Next Big Thing writerly chain thing, in which we answer the questions below before sending the same queries off to five of our pals. Blood and Dust is my next ‘big’ thing, to be released soonish in digital format by Sydney publisher Xoum. Let’s get started.
2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
The story began more than 10 years ago in a role playing game I was running while living in Rockhampton. Add in my dissatisfaction with the watering down of vampire as monster and metaphor, plus my love of Australian stories, and this yarn finally emerged. It originally moved from the outback to the big smoke, back to the outback, so I’ve cut the yarn into two standalone novels. Blood and Dust happens mostly in rural, regional Queensland; The Big Smoke — still a work in progress, and uncontracted — happens primarily in Brisbane.
3) What genre does your book fall under?
Let’s call it a supernatural thriller in which bad things happen. Does that qualify as horror?
4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
I’ve not thought that far ahead, but it would be exciting to see so many opportunities for Aboriginal Aussie actors to go crazy! It’d be a multinational cast, too: Eastern Europeans, English, Asian-Australians, yobbos. The sequel brings in serious Western European and US action. Get me the casting agent, stat!
5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Bad things happen when an outback mechanic gets caught in the crossfire of an outlaw vampire motorcycle gang and a big city vampire gang.
6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Blood and Dust was sold to Xoum by my agent, Selwa Anthony.
7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
The first draft took probably more than a year to pull together. That was in the late 90s.
8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Based on hearsay, because I still haven’t read the sucker, maybe 13 Bullets or, in terms of nastiness and based on the disappointing movie version, 30 Days of Night.
I like to think of it as Anne Rice meets Mad Max.
9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
This is a little like Q2, but let’s run with it and say Bram Stoker. He’s the chap who crystallised my love of supernatural, Gothic literature with Dracula. You’ll find references to it, Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot and a few others besides, in Blood and Dust: little homages to the greats of vampire lit. How would vampires survive in the Sunshine State? This story is one answer.
10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
If this were a DVD, it’d have warnings on the cover for coarse language, violence, adult themes, drug references, sex. But, y’know, it’s got a big heart, too.
That’s it from me. I direct you to my five victims to find out about their Next Big Things!
Anywhere But Earth, Coeur de Lion’s door-stopping anthology of science fiction tales, is now available in digital format. It includes my space vampire story, ‘Messiah on the Rock’. You will notice Adam Browne’s spectacularly inventive novel with the massive title (short version: Pyrotechnicon) is also available.
Ticonderoga is shipping the Year’s Best Australian Dark Fantasy and Horror 2011, which includes my (vampire-free) fantasy short story ‘Wraiths, originally published in Winds of Change.
Sure, I’m biased, but these two titles offer very fine tastes of Australian speculative fiction, and I’m quite proud to be in both of them.