Perfections and Madigan Mine go digital (redux)

Perfections and Madigan Mine by Kirstyn McDermott

It’s been a little while since ebooks of my novels Madigan Mine and Perfections have been available but the good folks at Twelfth Planet Press have now released them back into the wild. So if you haven’t yet snagged yourself a copy or if postage costs were putting you off the print book (I know, believe me, I know), then your time is now.

If you are one of the super-wonderful people who have read and enjoyed one or both of the novels already … first of all, THANK YOU, but second of all … can you do me a really big favour? Head on over to the relevant Amazon page from the links below and leave a quick review. It doesn’t have to be terribly long or terribly erudite and if you have already reviewed the book(s) somewhere else please feel free to copy that straight on over. On Amazon, books live and die by reviews and I’d love to see these two get their second wind. (And I hate asking for favours like this, which should tell you how very important it is.)

Digital versions can be purchased via the following links:

Buy Perfections at Twelfth Planet Press (epub and mobi)
Buy Perfections at Amazon (mobi)
Buy Perfections at Kobo (epub)

Buy Madigan Mine at Twelfth Planet Press (epub and mobi)
Buy Madigan Mine at Amazon (mobi)
Buy Madigan Mine at Kobo (epub)

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A Thoughtful Review of Madigan Mine

Madigan Mine by Kirstyn McDermottI don’t generally acknowledge or point out a lot of reviews of my work, both because it is generally considered a tad gauche to Respond To Criticism — especially if the criticism is bad — and because I think it places undue pressure on reviewers and critics — even if the criticism is good. Reviewers shouldn’t have to worry about the author looking over their shoulder, although I’m sure most of them have this possibility in their back of their minds when they’re talking about a work. I know I’ve been hyper-aware of it ever since I started The Writer and the Critic podcast. I try not to think about it while we’re recording — or else I would probably say nothing at all! — but I do have stabs of guilt afterwards if I’ve been particularly hard on a novel. Particularly if I know the author. It is a difficult line to tread but a necessary one. And authors need to be able to separate themselves from their work, an even more difficult task!

Anyway. The above tangent is by way of saying, I found this brilliant review of Madigan Mine the other day. (Or Google found it for me. Whatever.)  Tansy Rayner Roberts read my novel as part of the Australian Women Writers Challenge and — spoilers — she liked it very much. But what I loved about this review was this paragraph:

Kirstyn McDermott has done something very clever here, making a male character into the ‘haunted woman’ prototype often seen in gothic fiction.  She has also, in Madigan, created a marvellous monster who wreaks destruction as much when she is alive and human than when she is a ghost, or a figment, or an obsession, of the protagonist.

This echoes some things Tansy said about the book on a recent episode of Galactic Suburbia, and she remains the only reviewer I’ve come across who seemed to really get this particular aspect of Madigan Mine. Interestingly, I have had a couple of people comment in person that they found the protagonist, Alex, to be somewhat feminine — except that when these impressions are teased out through further discussion, they admit that, actually, they simply found him to be very passive. Which he absolutely is, deliberately so. An inversion of a traditional Gothic heroine archetype.

So, then, passive=feminine? Still?

This was one of the themes I was exploring in this book, which is why it tickled me no end to see Tansy talking about it. As well as a lot of other crunchy stuff about the horror genre in general and how it’s much more complex and variegated than it’s generally given credit for. It really made my day!

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Madigan Mine goes Deutsche!

I’ve just seen the cover that will grace the German edition of Madigan Mine and I’m very, very pleased with it indeed. I love the look on the woman’s face . . . she definitely says Madigan Sargood to me.  🙂

Interestingly, Piper, my German publisher, has changed the title to You Are Mine, but decided to leave it in English as shown. The interior text will, of course, be fully translated into German. The book will hit the shelves over there later this year in March 2012.  But enough from me.

Here, look at the pretty pretty:

You Are Mine by Kirstyn McDermott

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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.

My ‘Meet the Writer’ Interview at Read Horror

It’s been quiet around here lately, mainly because I’ve been a) wrestling with a new computer, and b) wrestling with my novel. More of the former this past week, unfortunately! But I am getting the words down and I expect a massive boost from Rabbit Hole this weekend. I’m not insane enough to set myself the 30,000 words target, but I am trying for 10,000 over three days — which is near warp speed for me considering my obsessive, stitch-in-time, edit-as-I-g0 process. I’ll report back next week on how I did. See, accountability!

In the meantime, here’s an interview I did for Michael Wilson for Read Horror. I enjoyed answering the questions, even though I did find the one asking why people should read my work to be a particular challenge. Obviously, I need to get better at the whole self-promotion thing. You know, being able to publicly acknowledge that my writing is actually good and that people might actually enjoy reading it. I’m pretty crap at that. Of course, “enjoy” is such a relative term . . .

Right, back to the words.

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!

Galactic Chats, Zombie Signings and Emerging Writers

Galactic Chat

While I was over in Perth at SwanCon, Alisa Krasnostein interviewed me for Galactic Chat, the sister podcast of Galactic Suburbia. The Chat podcast is an ongoing series of lengthy interviews with Australian authors and it’s well worth catching up on if you’re not already a regular listener. My interview is now available for downloading or streaming here. It runs for about half an hour wherein I talk about various writing-related matters including my novel, Madigan Mine, how writing a story can be likened to making a patchwork quilt, and why the imperfect truly is beautiful.

If you’re in Melbourne this weekend, get your zombie on and stumble along to Dymocks Southland on Saturday 28 May to celebrate International Zombie Awareness Month with author signings and a zombie shuffle! The timetable for the day will be:

11am-12 noon: Local horror authors Kirstyn McDermott (Madigan Mine) and Bob Franklin (Under Stones) will be signing copies of their books. Be afraid!

12 noon-1pm: Bestselling author James Phelan will be signing copies of his YA zombie novel Alone #1: Chasers (plus copies of his adult thrillers!).

1-2pm: ‘The Walking Dead’ Zombie Shuffle! Turn up to Dymocks Southland in full zombie costume for your chance to win a fantastic The Walking Dead prize-pack (courtesy of our friends at Madman Entertainment). Best costume wins, prizewinner announced 2pm.

Also in Melbourne, the Emerging Writers Festival starts tomorrow with a plethora of panels, conference, launches and other literary delights. I’ll be appearing on a panel next Tuesday evening to chat about speculative fiction with Alison Croggon, Paul Haines and Rjurik Davidson. Here’s the nitty-gritty:

Get Into Genre: Spec Fic
6:00 PM, Tuesday 31 May 2011
The Wheeler Centre — 176 Little Lonsdale Street

We all know genre rocks, right? For writers and lovers of fiction, Get Into Genre is an opportunity to hear from our sepculative fiction writers and industry professionals. Our panellists discuss how they got started in their writing field, and the challenges and opportunities of their writing forms. All sessions are interactive, so you can ask the questions you want answers to.