Tag Archives: Alison Goodman

From Fantasy to Felony and Fangs…

I’ll be dashing straight from work to the airport to fly off to Melbourne on Friday the 12th of April for a Sisters in Crime Event, where I’ll catch up with Alison Goodman and Narrelle Harris (aka the Daggy Vamp). We’ll be talking about writing across genres. After all, as readers we don’t stick to one genre, why should our creativity be restricted to one genre?

And we even got a nice write up in the print media! (The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald)


Narrelle M Harris will interrogate two fellow authors – and herself! – about why they’ve turned from fantasy to crime to explore Melbourne’s underworld and other-worldly…


WS-Rough-front-207x300Narrelle M Harris writes both crime and fantasy. She is the author of two frequently hilarious crime vampire novels set in Melbourne: The Opposite of Life and its sequel, Walking Shadows, published last year by Clan Destine Press. Both feature daggy Glen Waverly resident, Gary Hooper, who might be Melbourne’s (or maybe the world’s) least impressive vampire and his geekgirl librarian friend Lissa.

Narrelle also writes in the business sector. She created the Melbourne Literary iPhone app in association with Sutro Media.


a_new_kind_of_death_ebook_cover_finalAlison Goodman has received world-wide recognition for her fantasy books Eon and Eona which have been sold into 18 countries, and translated into 11 languages. Her first crime novel, A New Kind of Death, previously published in the USA as Killing the Rabbit, is now available to an Australian audience, thanks to Clan Destine Press. It’s a dark and wickedly adult comic thriller with just a touch of speculative intrigue and was highly recommended in Sisters in Crime’s Davitt Awards.

Alison was a D.J. O’Hearn Memorial Fellow at Melbourne University, holds a Master of Arts, and has taught creative writing at postgraduate level. She is currently working on a new fiction series.


Fantasy writer R C Daniells has also turned her hand to crime – with a paranormal twist in The PoF Wraparound ResizedPrice of Fame (Clan Destine Press). At its centre is documentary maker Antonia Carlyle who uncovers dark secrets in St Kilda when she researches the cult ’80s band, The Tough Romantics, and its doomed singer Genevieve James. The iconic band’s rise to international fame, she discovers, had as much to do with its cutting edge sound as its history of tragedy, betrayal and murder…

In her spare time, Rowena has devoted five years to studying each of these martial arts – Tae Kwon Do, Aikido and Iaido, the art of the Samurai Sword.


If you’d like to attend, here’s the info:

The Rising Sun Hotel, cnr Raglan St & Eastern Rd, South Melbourne (no lift). Mel Ref: 57, H2.Try 1, 55, 112 or St Kilda Road trams. Free on-street parking after 6pm.

$10 (members/concession )/$15 (non-members). Dinner upstairs from 6.30pm. Men or ‘brothers-in-law’ welcome. No bookings necessary. 10% for members from the Sun Bookshop bookstall.

Info: Carmel Shute on 0412 569 356 or go to www.sistersincrime.org.au


Filed under Australian Artists, Conferences and Conventions, Dark Urban Fantasy, Paranormal_Crime, Promoting Friend's Books, Thrillers and Crime, Thrillers and Mysteries

Back from Brisbane Supanova

Well, I’m back from Supanova and I’ve almost had a chance to catch my breath after working all day.

So many wonderful costumes, so many enthusiastic genre fans. Here we are in Artist’s Alley: Joe Abercrombie, Alison Goodman who had just launched her new book with ClanDestine Press, and Lindy Cameron her publisher and me.

Kudos to the hardworking team at Supanova. It is amazing how busy it gets, how long the queues are, how much noise there is and yet no one has a meltdown. In fact you see grown-ups jumping up and down in excitement.

I caught up with so many readers. A special Hi goes out to Meghan, who started a book club and got all her friends to read my King Rolen’s Kin trilogy. Thank you!


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Filed under Australian Writers, Conferences and Conventions, Conventions, Female Fantasy Authors, Paranormal_Crime, Readers, Thrillers and Mysteries, Writing Groups

Drive-by Post about Supanova

Here I am with Lindy Cameron from ClanDestine Press at Supanova, Brisbane. We’re in Artists’ Alley, where all the cool people are.

I’m looking forward to catching up with lots of readers today. Already caught up with people I’d met at Supanova in Brisbane and Sydney. Wow, some people are dedicated, travelling interstate. And you should see the costumes!

Alison Goodman’s new book will be launched in the Wrestling  Ring with John Birmingham. Get a ‘lucky door prize’ ticket. If your number comes up you’ll be given the first signed copy of her book for free!

Here’s a list of the Supanova Movie, TV and Author guests if you’re thinking of coming…

Fiona McIntosh
Rumplegeist, The Percheron, The Valisar

Billy West
Ren and Stimpy, Futurama

Paul Mason
The Soldier Legacy

Juliet Marillier
The ‘Seven Waters’ Trilogy

Tom Felton
Harry Potter, Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Kathleen Zuelch
Tex in Red Vs Blue

Masakazu Morita
Bleach, Tidus in FFX, Pegasus Seiya

Nelsan Ellis
Lafayette Reynolds from True Blood

Billy Tan
Uncanny X-Men, New Avengers, Shadowland

Alfred Enoch
Dean Thomas in the Harry Potter films

Felicia Day
The Guild, Dollhouse, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Chris Rankin
Percy Weasley in the Harry Potter films

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Filed under Australian Writers, Book Giveaway, Conferences and Conventions, Conventions, Female Fantasy Authors, Movies & TV Shows

Come along to Supanova Brisbane 2013

This weekend I’ll be attending SUPANOVA along with the team from ClanDestine Press.


Last weekend we all rocked up to Genre Con and had a ball. I discovered Narrelle Harris, author of Walking Shadows, is even funnier in real life. Lindy Cameron (award winning author) is the power-house behind #CDPBooks.


ClanDestine Press will be launching best selling author, Alison Goodman’s new book in the Wrestling Ring , with John Birmingham. Great cover!

The #CDPBooks stall will be in Artists Alley (where all the cool people are) so look for us there.

Here I am at the last Supanova, hanging out with Isobelle Carmody and the Dark Lord.

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Filed under Australian Artists, Australian Writers, Conferences and Conventions, Fandom, Female Fantasy Authors, Fun Stuff, Publishing Industry, Readers, The Writing Fraternity

Meet Cheryl Morgan…

The first interview of 2012  Ta Da!

I have been featuring fantastic female fantasy authors (see disclaimer) but this has morphed into interesting people in the speculative fiction world. Today I’ve invited the talented Cheryl Morgan to drop by.


Q: I found collating material for this interview very challenging. You have done so much in the spec fic genre that I didn’t know where to start. So I went for the chronological approach.

In 1995 you produced the first issue of Emerald City, an Ezine containing reviews of books, movies and conventions and interviews. Between 1995 and 2006 when Emerald City ceased publication, you released 134 issues, most of which you wrote yourself. It’s great that the files of all of Emerald City’s issues are still available. So much work! This Ezine received several Hugo Award nominations and won Best Fanzine in 2004.  The ‘zine turned semi-pro and was nominated for best Semiprozine, while you were nominated for Best Fan Writer in 2006. If you could go back, knowing what you know now, and give yourself some advice before you started the first issue of Emerald City what would it be?

I think you have overdone the awards there. Emerald City ceased publication in 2006. My second Hugo win was in 2009, so for work published in 2008. That clearly can’t refer to Emerald City. There are probably other nominations for Best Fan Writer that don’t refer to the ‘zine either.

As to your question, I’d suggest that I spent more time reading reviews by people like John Clute and Gary K. Wolfe before trying to write my own. One of the interesting things about working online is that your early work is all out there for everyone to see for ever more.

Q: In an post on John Scalzi’s blog you said ‘Back when I first started getting nominations there was a huge upset about it and I was accused of, you guessed it, not being fannish enough. Apparently the fact that I published Emerald City electronically rather than on paper meant that it wasn’t a proper fanzine, and the fact that I wrote mainly book reviews meant that I was too serious about SF to be a proper fan.’ Publishing electronically back in 1995 was really cutting edge. How did you come to do this?

It was just circumstances really. I had recently moved from the UK to Australia for work, and I wanted my friends back in the UK to be able to read my fanzine. I had also just met a wonderful man called Kevin Standlee, and I wanted to send the ‘zine to him and his friends in California. The only way I could afford to do that was to publish electronically.

Q: I noticed in your photos on your twitter profile you have a Glenda Larke book and an Alison Goodman book. (I’ve interviewed both of these authors for this series). What is it about their writing that appeals to you?

I loved Alison’s last book, The Two Pearls of Wisdom (aka Eon). What attracted me about it was the accurate and sympathetic portrayal of a trans woman. That’s rare in any book, and in a book aimed at the YA market is very rare indeed. I was lucky enough to meet Alison at the recent Melbourne Worldcon and thank her for the book. She’s a lovely person. I’m now reading the new one, The Necklace of the Gods (aka Eona), and enjoying it too.

I’ve known Glenda for a long time and we are good friends, despite the vast geographic distance between us. She’s a great writer who tackles all sorts of serious themes in a very intelligent way. I have no doubt that she’d be getting awards if she were a man.

Q: You seem to be a very dedicated SF fan, driven to discuss and dissect the genre. I’ve always loved the genre, even way back when I didn’t know what the word genre meant. Discovering SF Fandom when was 18 meant discovering people who talked about the things I was interested in. (All my life before this I had been the weird one). When and how did you discover the genre and fandom?

I’ve been reading SF&F for as long as I can remember. I read Dan Dare and X-Men comics as a kid. I’m old enough to have seen the first ever episode of Doctor Who (and was promptly banned from watching it by my parents because it gave me nightmares). I first read Lord of the Rings when I was about 13. It is in my DNA.

As to fandom, I was involved a lot in Dungeons & Dragons fandom as a student, but when I started my first job one of my bosses found out about my hobby and suggested I try attending an SF convention. His name was Martin Hoare, and he introduced me to his best mate, a fellow called Dave Langford. It was all downhill from there.

Q: You are the person behind Wizard’s Tower Press, which releases mainly digitally, making out-of-print works available. You also published the magazine, Salon Futura. What led you to go into publishing?  

US immigration. As described on my blog, I have effectively been banned from visiting the USA. This means it is difficult for me to see all of my friends, and in particular Kevin. The only simple way I can get back there is to create a business that requires me to visit SF conventions, and will allow me to apply for a business visa. Hence I created Wizard’s Tower, which is a publishing company.

Q: The first issue of Salon Futura was launched that the World Science Fiction Convention in September 2010. That would have been the Melbourne World Con. As someone who lives in Bath in the UK that was a long way to go to launch Salon Futura. This is a ‘new online non-fiction magazine devoted to the discussion of science fiction, fantasy and related literature.’ What led you to produce Salon Futura?

As a small press, it is very hard to sell books, because you have to get them in front of people without being annoying and spammy. The obvious thing to do is to start a magazine. And I needed to do something different, so I thought I would try doing a literary review magazine, somewhere you would get serious discussion rather than just reviews and fan squee. Sadly that didn’t work to well.

Q: You also have an ebook store that provides a sales outlet for other small presses like Australia’s Twelfth Planet Press. Is that part of the same grand plan?

Not entirely. The store came about initially because I needed to be able to sell Wizard’s Tower books, but it was obvious to me that, even with Salon Futura as a marketing vehicle, people would be unlikely to come to a store that sold so few books. So I asked a few other independent publishers if they would like me to sell their books, and things have grown from there. We now have seventeen publishers represented, including ourselves, and more are being added. I’m particularly pleased to be able to bring Australian books to a wider market.

I have also become convinced that it is necessary for the health of the publishing industry for there to be competition to Amazon. Charlie Stross blogged recently about how Amazon controls 80% of the world-wide market for ebooks. That’s an astonishing level of market dominance. It doesn’t matter too much when there are plenty of alternatives in the form of bricks-and-mortar stores selling paper books, but as Jonathan Strahan and Alisa Krasnostein found out recently the viability of such stores is very much in doubt. In a few years time we could be facing a world in which most towns have no bookstore, and Amazon has a substantial majority of the market for online sales of both paper books and ebooks. Short of a technology shift that outflanks their existing systems, or government regulation, it is hard to see how they can be challenged.

This is particularly worrisome for the many mid-list authors who see ebook editions of their backlists as a good way to supplement their income. Amazon royalties right now are quite generous, but once they have consolidated their domination of the market there’s no reason to believe that they won’t start to reduce those. Right now I can give independent authors a much better deal than Amazon. I ran the numbers for a self-published book by a friend of mine – Paintwork by Tim Maughan, which recently received high praise from Cory Doctorow Tim gets 39% more money if people buy from me than if they buy from Amazon, but most people still buy his book from Amazon because they like to stick with a brand they know. It is all very scary.

Q: You are the non-fiction editor for Clarkesworld from Wyrm Publishing. One of the stories, Spar won a Nebula, the magazine has won two Hugos and was nominated for a World fantasy Award. As an editor of non-fiction what do you look for in an article?

For Clarkesworld what I looked for is what my boss, Neil Clarke, wanted. We have specific guidelines on the website. That’s very different from what I looked for with Salon Futura.

More broadly, of course, I look for the same things other editors want: good, clear prose; the ability to explain complex ideas in an understandable manner; having something interesting to say.

I should note that I have retired from Clarkesworld. December was my last issue. The job of non-fiction editor is being taken over by Jason Heller, who wrote one of the most interesting articles I bought during my tenure there: a history of science-fiction themed rock albums. I’m sure he’ll do a great job.

Q: Your discussions page on Salon Futura looks interesting. Running a Small Press, YA Science Fiction and Cross Genre Crime Novels to name just a few. It must take a lot of time to set up these discussions and edit them. You must have a huge network of contacts of people in the genre. We’ve just lost Anne McCaffrey and I noticed on the lists that people reacted as if they’d lost a friend. Are there people who met through Emerald City almost 20 years ago that you are still in contact with?

Oh Goddess yes! The thing I value most about having run Emerald City is all of the friends I have made. I knew Neil Gaiman and Kim Newman from way back before any of us was famous, but since Emerald City I have met wonderful writers and editors such as – no, I won’t start making a list, as it would go on forever – just dozens and dozens of really talented people. And many, many wonderful fans as well.

Q: You have your own video channel on You Tube, Video Mewsings. There are readings by China Mieville and Cory Doctorow among others. This is a great way for people to catch up with events that they wouldn’t otherwise get a chance to see. Have you found that the writers you are videoing are happy to be involved?

Mostly, yes. And of course I always ask. I’m not very good at video though. It requires skills that I don’t have, and ideally equipment that I can’t afford. I should probably stick to podcasting.

Q: You have been involved in the SF and F Translation Awards. (See an interview with Cheryl here). I’ve been involved with the setting up one national award and the running of another. It’s a big commitment. I see the awards are just finding their feet and working out what process is most efficient. In the interview you say:  ‘I think that the Internet is doing a wonderful job in promoting connections between SF&F communities around the world. You can see from the increasingly international nature of the Hugo and World Fantasy Award ballots that something very exciting is happening. Lavie Tidhar and Charles Tan, with the World SF blog, are doing a superb job in making our world smaller and more connected.’  Truly the web has brought the world together. I’ve been following the Occupy Wall Street movement on twitter. But there is still the language barrier. What do you hope to see the SF&F Translation Awards achieve in the future?

I’d like to see some of the writers that the awards spotlight getting recognition from major publishers. Writing talent isn’t by any means restricted to the English-speaking world. There must be some amazing authors out there, and if the awards can help them get translated, and then bring them to attention of major publishers, then I will be very pleased.

Q: There have been a series of posts by female bloggers on the topic of MenCallMeThings, about males who use the anonymity of the internet to abuse female writers to shut them up. John Scalzi discusses it here in a post titled the Sort of Crap I don’t Get. On September 1st you wrote a post called Bowing Out. You sound like you are feeling burned out. This is a great pity as you have done so much for the genre over the years. What will you be doing to recharge your batteries and restore your inner self?

No, I’m not burned out, just frustrated. Winning Hugos is a wonderful experience, and I’m very honoured to have one, let alone four. However, the more prestigious an award, the more people will snipe at you for winning. You always expect a bit of nonsense from fandom, but of late I’ve been seeing a number of professionals in the industry suggesting that the Hugos are fixed. I think that’s really disgraceful behaviour, and there’s absolutely no evidence for it. Sadly the recent debacle with the British Fantasy Awards will only make people more willing to believe such accusations.

I think awards are a very valuable way of generating interest in good books, and I’d love to continue to be involved in promoting things like the Hugos and the translation awards. But because I have won Hugos that will lead people to say that I have only done so because I’m part of the in-group that fixes the results. So I have to step aside and let other people do the public stuff. I’m working just as hard on others things, I can assure you, and indeed working behind the scenes where I can.

Q: On November 20th it was the thirteenth annual Transgender Remembrance Day, you wrote a post called Transgender Day of Remembrance.  This was how I found you (again) and what led me in a round-about way to ask for an interview. You say: ‘globally the average lifespan of a trans person is just 23 years.’ I had no idea. (For a long post on the topic see here). As someone who has lived on both sides of the fence and could ‘pass’ you say: ‘All that changed when I won my first Hugo. Suddenly I had a public profile, and got talked about. The first person to out me publicly was not a trans-hater, or even someone who disliked me, but a left-wing activist I had thought of as a friend who presumably thought I had a moral duty to be out.’ It sounds like you have been through a great deal. Have you considered writing the story of your life, or a fictionalised story amalgamating your experiences with friends’ experiences?

Good grief no! There are far too many trans women’s biographies in the world already. There is nothing I have done that is in any way unusual, and my life has been nowhere near as successful or interesting as, say, Jan Morris, April Ashley, Caroline Cossey or Calpernia Addams.

It is also the case that the public focuses far too much on the negative aspects of trans people lives. It is about time we stopped being known for being “tragic” and started being known for being talented and doing good things. There are plenty of amazing people who can fulfil that requirement better than I can.

Q: I was prompted to start this series of interviews because there seems to be a perception in the US and the UK that fantasy is a bit of a boy’s club. Do you think there’s a difference in the way males and females write fantasy? (Looking at your post on YA writers, perhaps I should rephrase the question to include them as well!).

Well it all depends on who you ask and what they mean by “fantasy”. If you ask many male fantasy fans to name a few women fantasy writers they won’t be able to because they never read, or even notice, books by women. Yet if you look along the shelves in the SF&F section of a bookstore in the US or UK almost every book you see by a woman will be classifiable as “fantasy” in some way or another.

Fantasy is a category that women writers are being forced into because the major publishers assume that no one will buy SF by a woman. Obviously people like George Martin and Joe Abercrombie do very well in fantasy too, especially that small subset of fantasy that features rough-hewn, Conan-like heroes who slaughter their enemies with great enthusiasm. But in the US and UK fantasy is seen as very much women’s writing.

On average, males and females do write about different subjects because society forces them into very different roles. That doesn’t mean that all men write one way and all women write another way, nor does it mean that men can’t write books that appeal to women, or vice versa. All of this “one or the other” stuff is nonsense. No one knows that better than trans people.

The problem is that major publishers these days have no interest in books that will only sell well, they only care about books that will be huge best sellers. To get that they try to cut out anything that they think might mark a book out as unusual, everything has to be aimed at the central peak of the distribution curve. And that leads of obsessive concentration on gender “norms”.

Q: Following on from that, does the gender of the writer change your expectations when you pick up their book?

Given the way that major publishers behave, there is a natural expectation that a book by a woman will be focussed on “women’s issues” (for which read “romance”) and a book by men will be focussed on “men’s issues” (for which read “killing people”). Thankfully very many writers manage to confound expectations.

Also, of course, independent presses don’t have the same idiotic obsessions, which is one of many reasons why I love them.

Q: And here’s the fun question. If you could book a trip on a time machine, where and when would you go, and why?

I’ve always fancied visiting the ancient Romans. They seem so similar to us in many ways, and yet fascinatingly different.

But the thing I’d really like to do is learn more about the ancient civilizations of Africa. We know so much about the history of Europe, of China, India and Japan, even of the Aztecs and Incas. But we know almost nothing about the great empires of Africa: Meroë, Songhai, Zimbabwe and so on. When England was embroiled in the Wars of the Roses, Timbuktu was the biggest, wealthiest city in the world. So much of that has been lost, apparently forever. A time machine could help bring it back.


Follow Cheryl on Twitter. @CherylMorgan

Follow Salon Futura @SalonFutura

Follow Wizard’s Tower Press @WTPress


Filed under Awards, creativity, E-Zines, Gender Issues, Genre, Indy Press, Readers, Reviewers

Back from Sydney Supanova

This time last week I was sitting at the Dymock’s store at Supanova surrounded by wonderful costumes and fellow writers trying desperately to talk. I have my voice back, but I’m still suffering with the ‘flu. Can’t hear properly and it’s been almost a week since I flew home. Here I am with my amazing pull-up behind me. Clint Langley‘s artwork came up really well. Made people stop and take a second look

Was wonderful to catch up with Marianne de Pierres, Alison Goodman, Kate Forsyth and Jennifer Fallon. Also met up with Kevin J Anderson and Rebecca Moesta, who I’d met at the Brisbane Writers Festival a couple of years ago. It is nice to get away with fellow writers and talk shop, everything from career moves and publishing industry to writing craft. Although I didn’t do much talking. Very frustrating. Here we are all lined up for the obligatory photo with the storm troopers!

You couldn’t be bored. There were comic artists, manga artists and lots of amazing costumes. People who’d bought the KRK trilogy at other Supanovas came by to chat.

One girl told me, I bought your books in Melbourne. You said they’d keep me up all night and I thought you were just saying that, but they did. I finished all three in three days!

I wonder if she got any sleep.

The nice thing about Supanova is that when I was growing up there were hardly any TV shows with a spec fic theme, Lost in Space, I Dream of Jeanie and Bewitched spring to mind. It wasn’t until Star Wars in 1977 that the genre I loved started to become mainstream. Back in those days there was definitely a sense of them and us. We were the fans and everyone else thought we were crazy. Now, every second TV show has elements of paranormal/SF and no one thinks anything of it. So a pop culture event like Supanova can attract crowds of between 10 to 25 thousand. People turn up in costume and they feel like they fit right in.

Thinking of wearing a costume to Supanova? Here’s some inspiration.


Had to miss the Perth Supanova, my work load, the ‘flu and the cost made it impossible, but I’m looking forward to the more Supanovas in future. Maybe I’ll see you there.


Filed under Australian Writers, Comics/Graphic Novels, Conventions, Female Fantasy Authors, Fun Stuff, Genre, Inspiring Art, Nourish the Writer, Readers, The World in all its Absurdity, The Writing Fraternity

Winner Alison Goodman Give-away

Alison says:

Thanks to everyone who dropped by the interview and answered the giveaway question.
I really enjoyed the variety of mythical creatures chosen and the reasons that ranged from toasting one’s enemies to eternal resurrection. In the end, though, it is the image of the many-headed Hydra talking amongst itself that won the day. Congratulations to arun!


arun can email me a postage address at info(at)alisongoodman(dot)com(dot)au

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Filed under Australian Writers, Book Giveaway, Fantasy books, Fun Stuff, Genre, Promoting Friend's Books

Meet Alison Goodman …

As the next of my series featuring fantastic female fantasy authors (see disclaimer) I’ve invited the award winning, multi-talented Alison Goodman to drop by.

Watch out for the give-away question at the end of the interview.

photo by naced.com.au

Q: Your first book published was Singing the Dogstar Blues (Great title). It won an Aurealis Award for Best YA novel, was listed as notable book in two other awards and was shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award. This is a time travel, science fiction story, which must have been a lot of fun to write. Are you tempted to go back into the Dogstar world and write more books with this premise?

I’ve already been back! I wrote a follow up short story called “The Real Thing” for Firebirds Rising, an anthology of original Science Fiction and Fantasy. I’ve always had the idea of returning to the Dogstar world at some point, so I wrote the short story as a kind of bridge between the first book, and what may, one day, become the second book in a series.

Q: Your latest book Eona will be released in April 2011. (A sample chapter is provided on this page). Looking at the covers on your website, they are all brilliant. You must be over the moon! (I think I have serious cover envy, here).  This new series is written for the adult market. Did you find writing for adults gave you more freedom?

Yes, I’ve been incredibly lucky with my covers and had some great artists working on them.

EON has been published around the world as both adult fiction and young adult fiction (YA) without a word of the novel being changed, so it is dead square in what is called the “crossover” market. I specifically wrote EON to be a crossover novel, and with that came decisions about how I explored some of the hot-points like sexuality and violence. I suppose my rule of thumb is to always write what is necessary for the story and then see if anyone yells foul! Then make decisions from there. I have pushed the sexuality and violence envelopes more in EONA, the sequel, because the storyline is about power and its abuse, and about awakening sexuality. However, as I wrote both novels, I was always aware that I have some younger readers and so strived to layer the novels so that if a reader does not have the world experience to understand some of the more adult themes, then they can read the books as rollicking good adventure stories.

Q: EONA is the sequel to The Two Pearls of Wisdom/EON, (depending on where you live). How do publishers come up with such disparate names?

My original titles for the books were EON and EONA. However, my UK and Australian publishers decided to market the book for a mainstream adult market and felt that these two titles were too fantasy genre specific, so they asked me to re-title. I came up with The Two Pearls of Wisdom and The Necklace of the Gods, which I think work well as titles for the novels, but confused some readers as they thought these were other books in the EON/EONA series. Now only my UK adult fiction publisher is going to release the sequel as The Necklace of the Gods. My Australian publishers have decided to return to the EON and EONA pairing, and recently re-released The Two Pearls of Wisdom as EON. Phew! No wonder some of my fans are a bit confused.

Q: About book one you say: ‘It has won awards, sold into 16 countries, but the clincher is the scene that brings together a young girl masquerading as a boy, a woman dressed as a man, and a eunuch taking a testosterone tea supplement’ Wow, with a scene like that I think I’ll have to rush out and buy a copy. Have you ever been tempted to write satire (as opposed to say, fantasy with a touch of humour)?

Believe it or not, that scene is actually a straight dramatic scene, albeit with a cast of very singular characters!

I’ve never been tempted to write a full-on satirical novel, although there are elements of comedy in my first two books. Singing the Dogstar Blues is a comedy thriller, and I think of Killing the Rabbit as a black comedy. Mind you, it is my own brand of very black comedy that, alas, is a hereditary weirdness passed through my mother’s side. Also, I did once write a spec episode of the TV comedy The Games with the wonderful Bryan Dawe (one half of the John Clarke and Bryan Dawe political satire team). We had a ball writing together and, although the episode was never made, I learned so much about the grammar of television and the rhythms of satire comedy.

Q: You have a page dedicated to research on your web site.  You say: ‘Alongside my reading, I also do empirical research to help me fully create my world using vivid sensory detail. That can mean anything from going to a local Tai Chi class, cooking a new Chinese dish, or travelling all the way to Japan to walk through the temples and gardens.’ You really went to Japan and walked through temple gardens. Was this the first time you’d been to Asia? Did it change the way you viewed Japanese culture and/or the way you approached the book?

My first contact with Japanese culture came through my Japanese aunt. She married into our family and brought tantalising glimpses of the Japanese culture into my very anglo existence, particularly through her wonderful food and conventions of hospitality. My research trip was the first time I had been in Japan for any length of time and it certainly impacted on my novels in terms of sensory description and the way space is used for living and working.

Q: Your adult crime/thriller Killing the Rabbit was shortlisted for the Davitt Award. (I note there was a slight SF element in this story). Are your publishers happy with you writing across age groups and genres, or do you they try and shoe-horn you into one genre? Following on from that, will you be writing more crime/thrillers?

So far my publishers haven’t mentioned any problem with me changing genre, probably because three of my four books have been published under a YA banner, which is considered a genre in itself. Also, my crime novel was picked-up by a different publishing house, so there was a separation of my adult crime fiction from my other genre work. My YA publishers would probably prefer that I settle into a genre and stay there, but I’m too restless for that. I go where the story goes, whether it be fantasy, crime, SF or whatever. When I’m developing a story, I like to mash genres together and play with the conventions; see if I can sneak in some surprises that mess around with the structures as well as story and character expectations. I particularly like the thriller form, so yes, I will be returning to it. In fact, my next project is going to be a thriller/urban fantasy duology (you heard it first here!).

Q: You said you returned to the Dogstar world in Firebirds Rising. Are you keen on the short story medium or do you find it difficult to keep within the word limit?

I studied Professional Writing at university and most of my training was in crafting the literary short story, so short is where I started. Writing short fiction is a great discipline – it teaches essential skills such as economy, layering of meaning and careful word choice – and I am always grateful for the excellent foundation I received from my teachers including the great Gerald Murnane. However, now that I have written four novels, I find the short story a bit unsatisfying to write. I enjoy building worlds and complex characters and that is not really the domain of the short story. Having said that, I do still write short stories, they are just quite a bit longer than they used to be.

Q: I was prompted to start this series of interviews because there seems to be a perception in the US and the UK that fantasy is a bit of a boy’s club. Do you think there’s a difference in the way males and females write fantasy?

My gut says that there are just as many female authors writing fantasy as there are male, and that the perception of it being a boy’s club is bit out of date – perhaps a remnant of when publishing was a boy’s club and it was hard for women to get published in any genre.

As to whether there are differences in the way males and females write fantasy – that’s a toughie. I don’t think I’ve read a big enough cross-section of fantasy novels to make any kind of useful judgment about gender. In the end, though, if a writer is doing their job, the core of a novel should be touching on the universal questions that we all face, regardless of gender.

Q: Following on from that, does the gender of the writer change your expectations when you pick up their book?

I think my expectations of a book are more centered on the genre rather than the gender of the author. Also, I prefer to read a first person point of view, so when I pick up a book, I am looking for a genre that I like – fantasy, thriller, crime, SF – and the intimacy of that first person point of view.

Q: And here’s the fun question. If you could book a trip on a time machine, where and when would you go, and why?

A round trip – first I’d like to go back to Shakespeare’s England (with a plague vaccination, if possible) to find out who wrote the plays, and hang out with poet, playwright and spy, Christopher Marlowe. After that, I’d go on to the Regency period in London, with a gender change on the way because the Regency men had all the fun. After a bit of phaeton racing and louche behaviour, I’d journey on to the mid- 1920’s, as a woman again, with a bob and my Charleston dancing shoes. I’d finish up in the early 1960’s in the USA, first to check out the grassy knoll and book depository, and then a quick jump to Woodstock, in flared jeans, a halter-top and a flower in my hair.

Giveaway question for a signed copy the Australian edition of EONA: If you were a mythical creature, what would you be and why?

Alison’s website: www.alisongoodman.com.au

See Alison on a video interview.

Follow Alison on Twitter:  alisongoodman


Filed under Australian Writers, Book Giveaway, Characterisation, creativity, Dark Urban Fantasy, Fantasy books, Female Fantasy Authors, Genre, Inspiring Art, Nourish the Writer, The Writing Fraternity