My second novel, Perfections, was originally published in the dying days of 2012 by a fledging digital publisher and was made available only as an ebook. Surprisingly for me — as books published in the dying days of years are easily overlooked for awards — it still managed to pick up a couple of significant honours: the Aurealis Award for Best Horror Novel and the Australian Shadows Award for Best Novel. It also received some wonderful reviews at the time, for which I remain exceedingly grateful. But for various reasons — catch me in a bar sometime and ply me with gin and tonics — it seemed to slide beneath the notice of most readers and earlier this year the rights quietly reverted to me and it was withdrawn from sale by the publisher. I was, also quietly, very sad.
Look, I’ll be honest: I hated this book for a long time. During the bulk of the writing process, which is not entirely unusual for me, but afterwards as well. I joke with friends that it’s the book that tried to kill me, but it’s only half a joke and, to be fair, I tried to kill it just as ruthlessly. For a long time, it felt like Perfections was refusing to be the book I wanted to write. Willfully refusing. I wanted to write a dark, nightmarish tale full of blood and murder and magical mayhem and Perfections wanted to be this girlie story about sisters and relationships and love and sacrifice. Which, of course, couldn’t be real horror. Because girlie stuff.
Want to experience a severe sense of self-dislocation? Try being a feminist and having all that crap running through your head on a daily basis. It makes you finally sit down and interrogate yourself about matters of gender and genre and skewed cultural values, about how you love and will defend to the death unapologetically female horror fiction, and about exactly why it is you seem unable to apply these same principles to your own work. It makes you grow the hell up. I’m a better feminist because of Perfections.
(Want to experience an even more severe sense of self-dislocation? Try writing the last 18,000 words of your novel in one nightmarish week, taking off only three nights to sleep during that time, and then have beta readers tell you that they cannot tell the difference between those words and the rest of the book. It makes you reconsider all the things you think about yourself as a writer and your stupid, slow, careful process. It makes you grow the hell up. I’m a better writer because of Perfections.)
In any case, Perfections IS a dark, nightmarish tale full of blood and murder and magical mayhem and it is ALSO an unashamedly female story, about sisters and mothers and the strange, powerful, twisted relationships that can sometimes be wrought within families. AND it is a damned good horror novel, if I do say so myself. :-)
So we’ve come to terms at last, the novel and myself, and I can finally say that I truly am proud of it. Which is why I’m so excited that Twelfth Planet Press will be republishing Perfections and bringing it into print for the very first time. You don’t know how many people I’ve had over the past 18 months beg to know when a “real” version of the book was going to be available. Or maybe you do. Maybe you’re even one of them! If so, you’ll be delighted to hear that it is available for pre-order right now via the Twelfth Planet Press website — the new ebook will be available soon as well.
We are also launching Perfections this weekend at Continuum X in Melbourne, along with the latest installment in the Twelve Planets series, The Secret Lives of Books by Rosaleen Love. If you’ll be at the convention, we’d love you to come along:
Date: Sunday, 9 June 2014
Time: 11.00am – 11.30am
Venue: Continuum X : Carnival of Lost Souls
InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto
495 Collins St, Melbourne
Finally, I’d like to thank Alisa Krasnostein and all the team at Twelfth Planet from the bottom of my heart for their genuinely amazing efforts in getting Perfections to print so quickly. Seriously, I approached Alisa on 19 April about the possibility of publishing Perfections and here we are, less than two months later, the book all set to go out into the world with a gorgeous new cover by Amanda Rainey. Astonishing speed — Alisa has some dark magical abilities of her own when it comes to squeezing every last drop of time out of the day.
And now for some requisite blurbage:
Two sisters. One wish. Unimaginable consequences.
Not all fairy tales are for children.
Antoinette and Jacqueline have little in common beyond a mutual antipathy for their paranoid, domineering mother, a bond which has united them since childhood. In the aftermath of a savage betrayal, Antoinette lands on her sister’s doorstep bearing a suitcase and a broken heart.
But Jacqueline, the ambitious would-be manager of a trendy Melbourne art gallery, has her own problems – chasing down a delinquent painter in the sweltering heat of a Brisbane summer. Abandoned, armed with a bottle of vodka and her own grief-spun desires, Antoinette weaves a dark and desperate magic that can never, ever be undone.
Their lives swiftly unravelling, the two sisters find themselves drawn into a tangle of lies, manipulations and the most terrible of family secrets.
‘Perfections sings from the page.
It is dark, compelling and monstrously beautiful.’.
Alison Goodman, New York Times bestselling author of Eon and Eona
‘Kirstyn McDermott’s prose is darkly magical, insidious and insistent. Once her words get under your skin, they are there to stay.’.
Angela Slatter, British Fantasy Award-winning author of Sourdough and Other Stories
‘Perfections is a sharp, creepy and deeply discomfiting novel full of awkward truths and raw emotions.’
Tansy Rayner Roberts, author of the Creature Court Trilogy and Love and Romanpunk.