A New Interview Concerning Perfections

One of the lovely things about having wonderful supportive writerly friends is that you can inflict your manuscripts upon them for beta reading and then, not only are they still your friend, but they are happy to interview you for their blog when said manuscript becomes an actual book.

So here is my dear friend and writing buddy, Ellen Gregory — whom, after all those sessions in the pub, I honestly thought would have had more than enough of me talking about Perfections asking me some very thoughtful questions. I try to answer in kind.

Perfections by Kirstyn McDermott



A Couple of Things Before We Move

For those who don’t know — and apologies to friends/family if this is the first you’ve heard; the whole House-Buying Adventure was a bit of a drama and finished all in a mad rush and we haven’t really said much to many people in case it Fell Through — we’re moving. To Ballarat. Exactly one week from now. Eeek. Jason has more to say about the house and the move here, if you’re interested. I’m sure there will be many more posts on the topic — he’s much better at blogging that sort of stuff than I am. Allow me just to say: Boxes. There are many. Here’s what our living room looks like right now:

Box Hell

And that’s just the tip of the boxy cardboardy iceberg.

But before I finish packing up the computer, here’s a couple of things I wanted to share in case — very likely — I’m not properly back online for a while.

First, the lovely Michael Keyton has interviewed me as part of “The Rack” series over on On Fiction Writing. I chat about influences, writing rules (or lack thereof), fairy tales and other sundry matters. It was a fun interview and there are a lot of great authors already in The Rack archives, including a bunch of recent Australian additions — Lisa Hannett, Kaaron Warren, Felicity Dowker, Alan Baxter and Angela Slatter to name a handful. Oh, and some guy called Jason Nahrung. He looks kinda cute.

Secondly, the NSW Writers Centre is hosting their Speculative Fiction Festival on 16 March 2013. Directed by the inimitable Kate Forsyth once again, the day will feature a wealth of Aussie spec fic authors, editors and publishers including Juliet Marillier, Ian Irvine, Marienne de Pierres, Alison Croggon, Richard Harland, Melina Marchetta, Lisa Hannett, Garth Nix, John Flanagan, Cat Sparks, Kim Wilkins, Sophie Masson, Russell Farr, Dionne Lister, Pamela Freeman, Belinda Murrell, Ben Chandler, Kate Forsyth,  Robert Hood, Jason Nahrung — there’s that guy again — Kirstyn McDermott, Angela Slatter and Dirk Strasser. You can download the program and book tickets here.

And finally, GenreCon13 has just been announced, with the first two guests being Anita Heiss and Chuck Wendig. I attended the inaugural GenreCon last year and had a blast, so I’m quite down-in-the-mouth about not being able to go this time around, due to being over in the UK for the whole of October in the lead up to World Fantasy Con. (Yes, it’s a terrible, terrible thing. I will graciously accept your condolences.) But if you won’t be in the UK for the whole of October, you should definitely look at making your way to Brisbane for GenreCon. It’s an exciting, inclusive and all round brilliant weekend for anyone interested in the nuts and bolts of genre writing and publishing.

GenreCon 2013

Okay, it’s back to the Battle of the Boxes for me. Now with added shredded cuticles and bruised biceps. Hmm, the next time I post here, it will be from my new house. In Ballarat. Which I will own. (The house, not Ballarat. Well not even the house, but My Name is on the title that The Bank currently holds.)

If I say it often enough, it must be true. Right? Right?


Oops, My Psychosis is Showing …

Oh, look! I have been interviewed by Angela Slatter and Lisa Hannett over in the Lair of the Evil Drs Brain. With marvellous illustrations by Kathleen Jennings to boot!

Answering their questions was such fun — the perfect mix of the thoughtful and the flippant — and the monthly Drs Brain interview series is definitely worth following. You can nab the feed from either Angela’s or Lisa’s blogs, both of which are great reads in their own right.

Now, anyone fancy a nice cup of hemlock herbal tea?

Lair of Evil Drs Brain


Her Words and Worlds (with Book Giveaway!)

Madigan Mine by Kirstyn McDermott

The wonderful and always eloquent Stephanie Gunn has embarked upon an ambitious personal project she calls Her Words and Worlds, wherein she chooses a female author and endeavours not only to read her entire published bibliography — in chronological order — but to write a lengthy and considered review of the body of work at the end of it all.  It’s a brilliant idea which I’m sure which lead to some fascinating overviews and I’m looking forward following her along on her journey.

And, of course, I was delighted and honoured when Stephanie chose me to be first cab off the rank.  She provides very insightful commentary about my work over the years, and I have to admit that the some of the questions she asked me in her follow-up interview really kicked my brain into a higher gear. It was a strange — but very rewarding — experience to be asked reflect upon my own work in such a way and make explicit a lot of ideas and intentions which have always enjoyed a fairly nebulous existence inside my head. Hmm, thoughtful writer is thoughtful.

To top it all off, Stephanie is giving away a copy of my debut novel, Madigan Mine, which I’ll be more than happy to personally sign for the lucky winner. For a chance to win, all you need to do is visit the Her Words and Worlds page and leave a comment. Entries close this Sunday, 7th August.

Here’s a quick taste of what Stephanie can do with a scalpel:

McDermott’s work tends towards the dark and the feminine.  Several themes wind their way through her body of work, including that of the seductress, of romantic obsession, of blood and sex and death.  Many pieces also deal with the nature of art and the artist; these pieces are arguably amongst the strongest of McDermott’s body of work and culminate (thus far) in her debut novel, Madigan Mine.

The next author up for dissection is the frightfully talented Angela Slatter. As a massive admirer of Angela’s short fiction, I await the new installment of Her Words and Worlds with a heightened sense of antici . . . pation.

Continuum, Quilts and Chronos Awards

I had a fantastic and satisfyingly exhausting time at Continuum 7 over the long weekend. The panels I saw were entertaining and engaging and Catherynne M. Valente was one of the most gracious and erudite and downright fun-to-be-around Guests of Honour a convention could hope to have. She was also a special guest on The Writer and the Critic podcast that Ian Mond and myself recorded live at the con — it will be available very soon; I just need to get some more sleep before finishing post-production — and one of my team-mates on the Great Debate. Which we won. Immortality for everyone! I also loved the enthusiastic, intelligent and impassioned discussions that took place during almost all of the panels I participated in — among panelists and audiences alike. It’s invigorating and inspiring to be in a room full of people so keen to discuss and debate and contribute. Possibly the highlight of the convention for me was the Dark Delights panel which explored the links between beauty and horror. Kyla Ward performed one of her poems with her usual aplomb and Talie Helene knocked everyone’s socks off with a stunning a cappella rendition of an old ghost ballad. (Talie’s working on an exciting new multi-media project … more details soon.)

Chronos Award 2011

Oh, and I won a very pretty Chronos Award for Madigan Mine! Karen Healey‘s Aurealis Award-winning novel, The Guardian of the Dead, was nominated in the same category and I was fortunate enough to meet and have dinner with Karen on the Sunday night. She’s witty and delightful and I’m looking forward to reading her new novel, The Shattering, which is due for release in July. (I was so very good and only purchased that one book at the convention — my To Be Read pile is already structurally unsound!)

The full list of 2011 Chronos Award winners are:

  • Best Long Fiction: Madigan Mine, Kirstyn McDermott (Pan MacMillan Australia)
  • Best Short Fiction: “Her Gallant Needs”, Paul Haines (Sprawl, Twelfth Planet Press)
  • Best Artwork: Australis Imaginarium cover, Shaun Tan (FableCroft Publishing)
  • Best Fan Writer: Alexandra Pierce
  • Best Fan Written Work: “Review: The Secret Feminist Cabal by Helen Merrick”, Alexandra Pierce
  • Best Fan Artwork: Continuum 6 Props, Rachel Holkner
  • Best Fan Publication: Live Boxcutters Doctor Who at AussieCon IV, Josh Kinal and John Richards
  • Best Achievement: Programming: AussieCon IV, Sue Ann Barber and Grant Watson

I should also remind you that the Conquilt fundraising auction is now up and running on eBay with some impressive early bidding. It’s an amazingly gorgeous quilt — after seeing it on display at Continuum, I’m half-tempted to bid on it myself. Honestly, the photos really don’t do it any justice at all.

I’m already very excited about attending Continuum 8 next year. Not only is the NatCon but it has Kelly Link and Alison Goodman as Guests of Honour. Huzzah!

Finally, on matters unrelated to Continuum, I was interviewed by the Adventures of a Bookonaut blog as part of an ongoing series featuring Australian spec fic authors. The questions were about authors and social media, and I had a lot of fun answering them. Next time you have a few minutes to spare, wander across and have a read. Sean’s blog is a treasure trove of news and reviews and other SF tidbits — well worth following!

Midnight Echo Interview

Scott Wilson interviewed me recently for Midnight Echo #5 which is due out towards the end of the year. I really enjoyed answering the questions for this one and I’m looking forward to seeing it in print. Midnight Echo is the official magazine of the Australian Horror Writers Association (AHWA) and well worth a look if the dark side of speculative fiction is your cup of warm blood.

I’ve just been informed that the AHWA has posted my Midnight Echo interview on their website in advance of print publication, so toddle over and have a gander. There is also a whole swag of interviews with some pretty amazing spec fic authors, including Trent Jamieson, Trudi Canavan, and Foz Meadows. There, that should take care of your afternoon. 🙂

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