A quick interview

Back in my old stomping ground, The Newcastle Herald published a very nice interview with me today about Madigan Mine and other writing-related matters. The questions were a lot of fun to answer and I’m pleased to see it’s made its way online as well. Not that my mum wouldn’t have gone out and scored herself a small plantation-worth of paper copies . . .

Kirstyn McDermott


Macabre Now Available for Pre-Order

Macabre: a journey though Australia's darkest fears

Very exciting news!

The landmark horror anthology, Macabre: A Journey through Australia’s Darkest Fears (edited by Angela Challis and Dr Marty Young) can now be ordered through Brimstone Press.

The anthology retails for $44.95 and will be available in stores in October/November, but Brimstone Press are offering Macabre for sale at $30 + postage. The anthology will be shipped from Brimstone in September.

Macabre is a snapshot of the fears that have gripped Australians for over 200 years: the isolation of the bush, monstrous fauna, supernatural terrors, violence, war, terrorism, alienation, cannibalism, and murder. From the very earliest colonial ghost stories through to grim tales of modern life, Macabre will take you on a journey through the terrifying heart of Australian horror.

Macabre includes a detailed essay on the history of Australian horror, an Australian horror fiction timeline, and 38 stories from three eras (classics, modern masters, and new era originals) – at a massive 672 pages, Macabre is, without doubt, the most significant anthology of Australian horror ever published.

Contributors in the Classics and Modern Masters sections include Henry Lawson, Marcus Clarke, Mary Fortune, Barbara Baynton, A. Bertram Chandler, Kaaron Warren, Terry Dowling, Robert Hood, Stephen Dedman, Rick Kennett, and Sean Williams.

The largest section, the New Era, includes original stories from Will Elliott, Stephen M. Irwin, Kirstyn McDermott, Richard Harland, Martin Livings, Shane Jiraiya Cummings, Kyla Ward, Paul Haines, David Conyers, and Bob Franklin (and many more!).

Macabre will be launched at Aussiecon 4, the World Science Fiction Convention, in Melbourne on the weekend of September 4-5 (exact details of the launch will be publicised when they become available). The editors and many of the contributors will be in attendance to sign copies at the launch.

13 Writing Tips from Chuck Palahniuk

These writing tips from Chuck Palahniuk are a couple of years old now, but good advice doesn’t come with a Use By Date. My favourite is number seven:

Let yourself be with Not Knowing. This bit of advice comes through a hundred famous people, through Tom Spanbauer to me and now, you. The longer you can allow a story to take shape, the better that final shape will be. Don’t rush or force the ending of a story or book. All you have to know is the next scene, or the next few scenes. You don’t have to know every moment up to the end, in fact, if you do it’ll be boring as hell to execute.

Because that’s pretty much how I write.  Even when I think I know the end, that’s not always the place I end up once a story is finished. For me, writing is an exploration — of characters, of ideas, of situations — and the best part about the process is the uncertainty. The sense of feeling my way into a story, and back out of it again. The surprises and the revelations to be discovered as I go along. It can also be scary, like being adrift on an ocean at night without a compass, or even stars. You just have to listen, and feel, and trust that you’re heading in the right direction — or that the direction in which you’re heading will eventually lead you to the right place. Because it usually does.

Sometimes I just needed to be reminded that this is how it works, that this is how it’s meant to work. So, thanks Chuck, for the timely poke in the ribs.

Australian Speculative Fiction Blog Carnival!

Over at HorrorScope, the fantabulous Talie Helene has compiled the Australian Speculative Fiction Blog Carnival for July. More scrumptious links than you can click a link-clicking thing at!



Because I am easily distracted by shiny things, here is Madigan Mine put through Wordle:

Madigan Mine Wordle

Wordle is an online procrastination tool app that generates “word clouds” from text that you provide. Okay, off to do some real work now.

Open for Submissions

Attention, writerly types! Two exciting new Australian small press anthologies have been announced in the past week with an open call for submissions. Time to get busy and start subbing.

After the Rain (FableCroft Publishing)

FableCroft Publishing seeks original speculative fiction stories between 2000-10000 words on the theme “After the Rain”. The interpretation of the phrase is multi-faceted and may be literal or figurative, but stories must contain some speculative element – science fiction, fantasy and horror, and all sub-strands of these, are welcome.

The After the Rain anthology is intended for adult readers, but the editor is not looking for overt erotica or gratuitous violence that does not advance the story in some way.

Submissions are open to Australian citizens or residents and close October 31, 2010.

Further information and guidelines can be found here.

Dead Red Heart (Ticonderoga Publications)

We all know about vampires, drinking blood, banished by garlic, killed by sunlight or a stake through the heart.

We all know about Australia, the land down under: sand, beaches and lots of sunlight. That splash of red you see could be a world renowned shiraz, or tomato sauce on a meat pie.

Dead Red Heart will be an anthology of Australian vampire stories, showing vampires in Australian settings. It could be the beach, the outback, suburbs or cities. It could be historical or contemporary.

The editor is looking for stories that capture the essence of vampirism and the essence of Australia. Submissions close 1st December, 2010.

Further information and guidelines can be found here.

Another lovely review

Madigan Mine by Kirstyn McDermott

Nyssa Pascoe over at A Writer Goes on a Journey reviewed Madigan Mine and gave it five star ratings across the board. This sort of thing will keep me smiling all week:

Madigan Mine is a dark, gripping novel of obsession – of character, plot, and a possession of the reader. Kirstyn McDermott’s liquid silk writing flows with an elegance reminiscent of classic noir. It’s gorgeous and rich atmosphere draws you in completely.

I’m also working on getting some signings done in Adelaide, Brisbane and Sydney during August and September. More info once I lock in the details.