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Archive for the ‘Awards’ Category

Aurealis Award night

Posted by richardharland on May 13, 2012

I had to tear myself away from revision work on the latest novel (I’m really in the flow!) to go to the Aurealis Awards last night – but so glad I did! The turnout was amazing – people from every state, a who’s who of spec fic in Australia. I’ve never seen an Awards night better attended by authors and publishers. It was so great to catch up with friends!

Our own Margo on the left there, Kate Forsyth in the middle and Kaaron Warren on the right.
The venue is the old Independent Theatre in North Sydney, with its spectacular ceiling. Not sure if it’ll come out in this photo-

That’s when people were filing in, and Rob Hood’s first bit of video was showing on the screen. (The first time video clips were used was in the Brisbane Aurealis Award nights, if I remember.)
ROR was fairly quiet in the awards list this year – hey, we gotta be fair, we did so amazingly well last year. Trent received an Honourable Mention for best Horror Novel, which in this particular year meant one of the 2 best Aus horror novels published. (Especially honourable when he wasn’t even supposed to appear in that category!) Tansy went up along with Alisa Krasnostein and Alex Pierce to collect the Peter Macnamara award for major contribution to the growth of Aus spec fic in any form … in this case, the form of their feminist spec fiction podcast, Galactic Suburbia (check it out if you haven’t already!) Here’s the presentation –

Alisa on the left, Tansy in centre, Alex sort of hidden behind Tehani Wessely. Tehani not only presented that award but was official judge-wrangler for the awards in general.

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Posted in Australian Spec Fic Scene, Authors and Public Speaking, Awards, Uncategorized | Tagged: , | 4 Comments »

Congratulations to the ROR Aurealis Award Finalists 2011

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on March 23, 2012

First of all a big congratulations to everyone who made the final lists for the 2011 Aurealis Awards. Having worked on the awards for 5 years I know what goes on behind the scenes and I want to thank the team who organise the awards and the panels who read the entries, and agonise over the final lists, all of them volunteers!

Celebrating our ROR 2011 Aurealis Awards – Finalists

FANTASY NOVEL

The Shattered City by Tansy Rayner Roberts (HarperVoyager)

FANTASY SHORT STORY

“The Proving of Smollett Standforth” by Margo Lanagan (Ghosts by Gaslight, HarperVoyager)

“Into the Clouds on High” by Margo Lanagan (Yellowcake, Allen & Unwin)

 

HORROR NOVEL

NO SHORTLIST OR WINNING NOVEL – TWO HONORABLE MENTION:

The Business of Death by Trent Jamieson (Hachette)

 

HORROR SHORT STORY

“Mulberry Boys” by Margo Lanagan (Blood and Other Cravings, Tor)

 

YOUNG ADULT SHORT STORY

“The Patrician” by Tansy Rayner Roberts (Love and Romanpunk, Twelfth Planet Press)

COLLECTION

Love and Romanpunk by Tansy Rayner Roberts (Twelfth Planet Press)

 

 Best of luck to everyone on the awards night. For more infor see here.

Posted in Australian Spec Fic Scene, Awards, Fantasy Genre | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Raring to ROR…

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on January 18, 2012

As some of you might know our ROR writing group gets together every 12 – 18 months to critique our books in progress.

Back in 2001 at the first ROR we read Margo Lanagan’s Black Juice anthology and wept over Singing my Sister Down, which went on to win a World Fantasy Award. That was also the year we read Maxine Mc Arthur’s Less than Human, which went on to win the Aurealis Award for SF in 2004.

Since then there have been many RORs, and critiqued many books. Some of these books have been shelved or are still waiting to be completed and others  have been published, some of have won awards or been shortlisted for awards. (This reminds me I must update our success page. There’s been more sales since then. My bad).

For those of you who are interested, I’ve blogged about how to set up your own ROR group and how we critique. There are eight of us, but due to life, family and deadlines we don’t get to every ROR. (I’ve done them all so far, but I’m a bit of a ROR groupie. I even maintain this site in my spare time. All very sad, really).

Our next ROR is coming up in a couple of weeks. Having a deadline to get a book written for is a great motivator. We’re all madly reading each other’s WIPs (Works-in-progress), writing reports and planning to run away and be full time writers for a week!

There will be one book launch and possibly two, stay tuned!

From the Steele's Island web page. Link below.

This time we’re going to Tassie to Steele’s Island. Looks perfect for a bunch of nerdy writers!

So I’d like to raise a glass of cyber champagne to:

My writing friends, ROR ten years* on and still going strong!

* We couldn’t squeeze in a ROR last year in 2011, which would have been exactly 10 years, so this 2012 ROR is our official 10 year birthday bash.

Posted in Australian Spec Fic Scene, Awards, Book Launches, Creativity, Editing and Revision, Genre Writing, Nourish the Writer, Plotting, Writing Craft, Writing goals, Writing Groups | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Alisa wins World Fantasy Award!

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on October 31, 2011

Alisa was interviewed here recently because we were really excited about her nomination for a World Fantasy Award. Well, the big news is SHE WON!

Here’s the Link. Scroll down to Non-Professional Award (meaning they edit for love, rather than being paid by a publishing house).

Special Award—Non-professional
Winner: Alisa Krasnostein, for Twelfth Planet Press

And here’s the winners’ speeches. Alisa comes on at about the 36 minute mark.

Right now Alisa is over at the World Fantasy Awards probably knocking back the chapagne! go Alisa!

Posted in Australian Spec Fic Scene, Awards, Editors, Fantasy Genre, Indy Press, Publishing Industry, Writing Craft | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Congratulations Alisa Krasnostien and Twelfth Planet Press!

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on September 7, 2011

This post is also cross-posted to my blog.

Alisa Krasnostein is an environmental engineer by day, and runs indie publishing house Twelfth Planet Press by night. She is also Executive Editor at the review website Aussie Specfic in Focus! and part of the Galactic Suburbia Podcast Team. In her spare time she is a critic, reader, reviewer, runner, environmentalist, knitter, quilter and puppy lover.

Q: First let me say mega congratulations on being a finalist in the World Fantasy Awards (courtesy LOCUS) in the Special Award Non-Professional section for your work with Twelfth Planet Press.  I imagine you’ve been popping champagne ever since you found out. Did you have any inkling this was coming?

Thank you! My nomination was totally unexpected and took me completely by surprise.  I’m very excited because I was already planning on attending World Fantasy Con in San Diego.

 

Q: I was involved in Indy Press in the late 70s early 80s so I know how much work and money goes into this. If you’d had any idea that you’d be ‘working longer hours on the press than my day job and I still don’t have enough time in the week to get to everything that needs to be done.’  – (See full interview on Bibliophile Stalker) – would you have jumped in with as much enthusiasm?

Interesting question. I’m not afraid of hard work. I definitely lean towards the workaholic. I think also, being an engineer has trained me to get absorbed and focused on the task at hand. And the amount of time I work and the amount of work I create for myself is definitely self-inflicted. And I hear I can dial it back at any point in time if I want! I love indie press more now that when I first jumped in and I respect and appreciate the people who contribute to the scene even more so now that I know how much work and dedication and talent goes into everything that gets published. And I also believe that we are limited only by the passion, time, commitment and hard work that we put in. So. No pressure. And no regrets.

Q: And following on from that, if you could go back and give yourself advice about starting Twelfth Planet Press, what would that advice be?

The number one thing I regret is not taking my business more seriously from the start. My advice would be to set up my small press as a small business from the beginning and not rely on a box of receipts or a papertrail for forensic auditing later. I set the financial and business side up several years in and that was most definitely one of the most painful things to sort out. There’s so much more to writing and editing and publishing than the creative side and I would advise myself, and anyone jumping in (both at the publishing and the writing ends), to get a basic handle on accounting, legalese to read and understand contracts and basic business advice (like if you need an ABN and how to structure your business – will you be a sole trader or a company and what does that mean anyway?) .

Q: You did a post for Hoyden About Town on The Invisibility of Women in Science Fiction. It’s obviously a subject you feel strongly about.  Is Twelfth Planet Press seeking to address this issue with affirmative action?

Not in any formal or mandated way. Overall, I don’t have a gender imbalance issue at Twelfth Planet Press – I buy what I like and the best stories that are submitted to me. And funnily enough, that gender breakdown is different to the general norm (though that’s not true of my novella series).

The Twelve Planets – twelve four-story original collections by twelve different Australian female writers – is a project that came from a place of realising, at the time of idea conception, how few female Australian writers had been collected. That’s changed during the time of project development. But the Twelve Planets remains a project that will release over two years close to 50 new short stories written by women. And that’s something that I’m really proud to be doing.

Q: Twelfth Planet Press has had some remarkable wins for a new, small Indy Press. There were six finalistings in the Aurealis Awards this year. Two finalistings on the Australian Shadows Award. And Tansy Rayner Roberts’ novella Siren Beat won the WSFA Small Press Award for 2010. This novella was part of a series of back-to-back novellas that Twelfth Planet Press released.  It’s notoriously hard, from a writer’s point of view, to sell a novella to a publisher. Why did TPP start producing BtB novellas?

Thanks, I was particularly pleased with our Aurealis Awards shortlistings this year coming after seven shortlistings last year. It feels like validation for some of the choices that I’ve made particularly in terms of the direction I’ve taken. And the win from the WSFA was just unbelievably exciting. I’m so proud of the work that Tansy Rayner Roberts is producing at the moment.

I really wanted to have a product to sell at a particular price point, around the $10 to $15 mark. That was really the place that I started at for the novella doubles. I personally love the novella length, especially for science fiction and I loved the idea of paying homage to the Ace Doubles. I especially loved the idea of pairing two totally unrelated works and throwing them into a package like many of the Ace Doubles did. From a gambling sense, if you love one and not so much the other, that’s not a bad deal for $12. And from a publisher’s point of view I like the idea of perhaps enticing readers to find new or unknown to them writers or be exposed to a new genre by buying a double for one of the stories and getting the other one as a bonus. If I make the pairs right!

Q: An editor once said to me, I can’t tell you want I want, but I’ll know when I see it. This is incredibly frustrating to a writer. Can you tell us what you want?

Only that I’ll know when I see it. Sorry! But yeah, we look for what we aren’t expecting, what is outside of what everyone else is writing, that breaks new ground and feels fresh, that stands out from the pack. What I want is the project that stands out cause it’s not like all the other books on the shelf. I specifically look firstly for really solid writing – writing that is unpretentious and doesn’t get in the way of the story. And then I want to be emotionally or intellectually moved or changed by the work. I look for stories that demand my attention and then hold it. I look for stories that tell me something I didn’t know before – about myself, or about society or humanity. I look for a rewarding reading experience. So. Not much.

I’m very busy and I deliberately choose to read submissions when I’m in a bad mood and whilst doing something else. I want what I’m reading to demand attention, to demand I put everything down and just read it to the end.

Q:  A finalist placing in the World Fantasy Awards has to raise the profile of Twelfth Planet Press. Where would you like to see TPP in five years time?

I’d like to see us with wider distribution in brick and mortar bookshops all over the place (long live the bookshop!) and being in a position to pay pro rates for writing, art, design and layout. I’d like to see us pushing genre boundaries and continuing to publish top quality fiction by writers at the top of our field that inspires, engages and entertains.

Q: On a personal note, where would you like to see yourself being career-wise in five years time?

I’d like to be working full time for Twelfth Planet Press.

 

Follow Alisa on Twitter  @Krasnostein

Hear the podcasts on Galactic Suburbia

Hear the TPP Podcasts.

Catch up with Alisa on Linked in

Catch up on FaceBook

Drop by the ASIF Website.

Posted in Australian Spec Fic Scene, Awards, Editors, Fantasy Genre, Genre Writing, Indy Press, Publishers, Publishing Industry, Writing Craft | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Paul Mannering: How did I get here?

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on June 11, 2011

For the first time ever, Angry Robot opened its doors to independent submissions. New Zealand based Paul Mannering – along with thousands of other hopeful writers – submitted the first five chapters of his SF/Zombie-horror manuscript Tankbread.

A long-time member of Vision, Paul has since been asked to submit the whole MS.

Today he talks about the journey up to this point.

 

As a writer I always thought that the worst thing in the world was a rejection letter from an editor. Now I realise that the rejections are nothing. It’s the responses that give you a reason to hope that will kill you inside.

In the first weekend of June I got a response from Angry Robot Books requesting the full manuscript for my novel Tankbread because they liked what they had read of my submitted sample. Less than 48 hours later I won a SFFANZ Sir Julius Vogel Award for Brokensea’s third season of Doctor Who audio dramas.

My immediate reaction to this second Cool Things That Sometimes Happen To Writers was to find perspective in the wisdom of Douglas Adams: “No one likes a smart arse”.

These days it feels like the chances of being published by a real international publishing house are on par with dying in a plane crash. And then being eaten by a Uruguayan rugby team. So I’m not planning any book-tour destinations yet.

As David Byrne and Talking Heads once asked, “How did I get here?”

Tankbread came to me in as a complete concept one day while walking home from work. I saw the opening scene, and heard the opening lines in my head. The post-apocalyptic diner. The cooked dog on a plate. The Asian across the table tearing chunks out of the girl’s neck.

From there I fleshed out the first act. The story progressed slowly as I took breaks to write other things, short stories and audio dramas.

The Sir Julius Vogel award winning 3rd season of BrokenSea’s Doctor Who was written in a frenzy of creativity and stress after the main script writer for our previous two seasons quit after delaying us for months. We had very little time to put something together and I work best under pressure.

The first three chapters of Tankbread were written in two drafts. I hate re-writing anything. My best ideas come to me in the first rush of discovery. The rest is editing.

I finished the story in February 2011, during the dark weeks following the Christchurch earthquake when we were off work and felt like we were living in our own localised apocalypse.

From initial concept to completion took four years.

Early on I posted the first chapter, pre-edits and re-writes to a couple of writing lists for critique. It got plenty of feedback and it was all good advice. Vision Writers members suggested it fell a little flat after the opening scene. So I kept working on it, adding a new scene that helped expand the universe of the story. The story took me on its own journey. What I ended up with was a character driven post-zombie-apocalypse story with lots of pulp-horror adventure. Of all the critique groups I’ve worked with over the years, Vision and Writing and Publishing (both Yahoo groups) have provided the most consistent critiques.

Once I finished the first draft I started seriously editing it. I got other people to read it and I put it down for a month and then came back to it and edited again. This process fixed all kinds of errors. Then near the end of March the sample went off to Angry Robot. I edited it again while they were considering the first 15,000 words.

Stories reach a point where they are good enough. From here I’ll re-write and make changes only based on editorial feedback.

As David Byrne and Talking Heads once asked, ‘How did I get here?’

  1. Write every day write a shopping list, a to-do list, a poem, an email, a blog, a short story a chapter a character bio. Write on a PC or Mac, a tablet, a napkin, in the sand. Write in ink, pencil, crayon, blood, condensation. Write in tongues, write non-fiction, write porn, write revenge, lust, passion, action, descriptive passages, dialogue. Write screenplays, radio-scripts, first person, third person, second person, write under a pseudonym. Write at a desk, in your car, upside down, in bed. Write in your head if you have to.

 

  1. There is no such thing as writers block. If you have no idea where your current project is going – go back to the point where you knew where it was going and start writing from there. If that doesn’t work for you – see point 1.

 

  1. Love Rejection but Don’t Luuurve Rejection. Rejection is part of writing. Every writer get’s rejected. Usually by incompetent morons who couldn’t edit a tombstone inscription! At least that’s our immediate and emotional reaction. We hate rejection. If you learn to accept rejection, you lose a lot of the fear that comes with not writing and submitting to markets. When rejection comes with good advice – treasure it. Remember the editor is rejecting the work – not you as a person. The flip side to that is that your mum, partner or writing group are probably praising you, not your writing. Blanket praise should be regarded with suspicion.

 

  1. Read critically. Read everything. Read it for the usual reasons you read things (to be entertained, informed, aroused, incensed, or just because there’s nothing on the telly). When you come to a bit in a book you really enjoy – read it critically. Why does that passage or line or dialogue strike you? On the flip-side of that – when you read something that sucks – think about how it could have been written better. A lot of crap does get published, and it sells. It’s not about writing Shakespeare or Theroux. It is about writing something good enough to achieve the purpose it is intended before. Mostly (and no writer will ever admit this) the purpose is to make the writer very rich and smug at cocktail parties.

 

These simple approaches to writing are what got me to where I am today. Always learning, always practising and always having fun with exploring new ideas and enjoying other people’s great stories.

 

Catch up with Paul here.

 

 

Posted in Australian Spec Fic Scene, Awards, Characterisation, Collaborating, Editing and Revision, Fantasy Genre, Genre TV Shows, Movie/TV Adaptations, Nourish the Writer, Publishers, Publishing Industry, Visiting Writer, Writing Craft, Writing Groups | Tagged: , , , , | 6 Comments »

Aurealis Award Wins for ROR Writers!

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on May 21, 2011

First of all, it must be said that being a finalist in these awards is an achievement. Congrats to all the finalists. Secondly, I’d like to congratulate everyone who won in their sections.

But, since this is the ROR blog, I’m going to do a WOOT for the team.

Winner of the Young Adult Short Story Aurealis Award:

Margo Lanagan ‘A Thousand Flowers’ published in ‘Zombies Vs Unicorns’, by Allen & Unwin.

Winner Horror Short Story Aurealis Awards:

Richard Harland ‘The Fear’, which appeared in ‘Macabre: A Journey through Australia’s Darkest Fears’, published by Brimstone Press.

Winner Fantasy Novel Aurealis Awards:

Tansy Rayner Roberts ‘Power and Majesty’, published by Voyager, (Harper Collins).

Winner Science Fiction Novel Aurealis Awards:

Marienne de Pierres  ‘Transformation Space’ published by Orbit (Hachette).

Break out the cyber champers!

Posted in Australian Spec Fic Scene, Awards, Genre Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Countdown to the Aurealis Awards 2011!

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on May 20, 2011

Well, it’s that time of year again. And this year the Aurealis Awards will be held in Sydney. Harper Collins Voyager is sponsoring the awards. Kudos to the new AA management team, SpecFaction for pulling it all together. A national award like this with a different panel for each section, and a different panel for both the novels length and short stories is a major taks to organise.

This year the RORees have books and short stories in several section.

Young Adult Short Story

Dirk Flinthart has a story in this section. Goodluck with ‘One Story, No Refunds’ which appeared in ‘Shiny’ #6, from Twelfth Planet Press.

I’d wish Dirk all the luck inthe world, but this is where it gets tricky because Margo Langan has a story in the same section. ‘A Thousand Flowers’ published in ‘Zombies Vs Unicorns’, by Allen & Unwin.

Then to make matters even more complicated, Tansy Rayner Roberts has a story which she co-wrote with Kaia Landelius in this section. ‘Nine Times’ appeared in ‘Worlds Next Door’, published by Fablecroft Publishing.

Horror Short Story

Richard Harland’s story ‘The Fear’, which appeared in ‘Macabre: A Journey through Australia’s Darkest Fears’, published by Brimstone Press.

Horror Novel

Here we have Trent Jamieson with the first book of his ‘Death Works’ trilogy, ‘Death Most Definite’, published by Orbit (Hachette).

Fantasy Novel

Here Trent’s book ‘Death Most Definite’ appears again, along with book one of Tansy’s Creature Court trilogy, ‘Power and Majesty’, published by Voyager, (Harper Collins).

Science Fiction Short Story

Tansy does it again, with her short story ‘Relentless Adaptions’, which appeared in ‘Sprawl’, published by Twelfth Planet Press.

Science Fiction Novel

Marienne de Pierres’ books from her ‘Sentients of Orion’ series, ‘Mirror Space’ and ‘Transformation Space’ publsihed by Orbit (Hachette).

So, here’s wishing the RORees best of luck on Saturday night. TAnd while we’re at it the ROR team would like to wish all the finalists* the best of luck and congratulate them all for making it into the final 5 or less.

We’ll keep you posted. Tansy is going to be a presenter, so I’m sure she’ll be tweeting from the audience.

*For those of you who would like to view the complet list of finalist see here.

Posted in Australian Spec Fic Scene, Awards, Fantasy Genre | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

RORees appear on the Aurealis Awards Final Lists

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on March 26, 2011

Well, it’s that time of year again and the finalists for the Aurealis Awards have been announced.  (See here for the Press Release with the full list).

But for now I’m going to do the  Happy Dance for my fellow RORees.

In the Young Adult Short Story Section, we have Dirk Flinthart with his story One Story, No Refunds (Shiny#6, Twelfth Planet Press)  . And this is where it gets interesting, because Margo’s story A Thousand Flowers (Zombies Vs Unicorns, Allen and Unwin) is also nominated in the same section. And that’s not all, Tansy Rayner Roberts’ story Nine Times (Co-written with Kaia Landelius, published in Worlds Next Door, Fablecroft Publishing) is also a finalist in the same section. All I can say is what a line up!

In the Horror Short Story Section, Richard Harland’s, The Fear (Macabre: A Journey Through Australia’s Darkest Fears, Brimstone Press) is a finalist.

The we come to the Horror Novel Section where Trent’s Death Most Definite (Orbit, Hachette) is a finalist. And just to prove how versatile Trent is, his book is also a finalist in the Fantasy Novel Section! Along with Tansy Rayner Roberts’ Power and Majesty (Harper Voyager, Harper Collins).

 

Then we come to the Science Fiction Short Story Section where Tansy’s Relentless Adaptions (Sprawl, Twelfth Planet Press) is a finalist.

And finally we come to Science Fiction Novel Section. Here Marianne de Pierres has two books, Mirror Space and Transformation Space (Orbit, Hachette). These are the last two books of the Sentients of Orion series.

So I’m doing the Happy Dance for Richard, Dirk, Margo, Trent, Tansy and Marianne. It’s an honour for my fellow RORees to be finalists and fingers crossed on the big night in May!

Posted in Australian Spec Fic Scene, Awards | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Dynamic Double Novella from Twelfth Planet Press

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on January 29, 2011

Following on from the Washington Association Small Press Short Fiction Award for Siren Beat, by Tansy Rayner Roberts, Twelfth Planet Press (TPP) have released Above and Below, available here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today we have the Dynamic Duo of Ben Peek and Stephanie Campisi to talk about the writing process behind these linked novellas. (Watch out for the give-away at the end).

A city has fallen from the sky.

 

Above , the alphabetic first half of Twelfth Planet Press’s latest release, focuses on Devian Lell, a window cleaner. Living in one of the many the floating cities that form Loft, he is drawn into the political turmoil that erupts when Dirt sends a diplomat to negotiate the trade of minerals that keep their cities afloat. Below, the alphabetical second half, features Eli Kurran, a security guard mourning the death of his wife to the toxicity of Dirt. Blackmailed by his former employer, he is forced to provide security for a diplomat from Loft, a woman three times his age, and easily the oldest living person ever to come to Dirt.

Above, written by Stephanie Campisi and Below, written by Ben Peek, is designed to be read in any order, to be read twice, in fact, and is a novel that will challenge your certainty of who, in Loft and in Dirt, is right.

Speaking together, the authors claim that the idea to write the book together was Campisi’s. “Alisa Krasnostein, the publisher of Twelfth Planet Press, was looking for proposals for her double press line,” Campisi says from her apartment in Melbourne. Currently working as a freelance writer, she has a reputation for quirky, beautifully written short fiction, and will feature in Twelve Planets, a series of twelve short story collections promoting female authors in Australia by Twelfth Planet Press. “I asked if Ben watched to pitch something with me and we came up with the idea of Above/Below pretty much on the spot. When we emailed Alisa, all we had was the title and the idea of a city falling from the sky, but it didn’t take long to go from there.”

Ben Peek

Peek agrees that the start was very organic. “We divided the two halves of the book on the strength of our prose,” he explains from the outskirts of Sydney. Splitting his time between teaching and writing, Peek is the author of a pair of critically acclaimed novels. “Out of the pair of us, Steph has the more beautiful, elegant writing, and so she ended up with Loft, a city that is essentially full of refined and cultured people. That left me with Below, the ugly, dirty secret. That kind of suits me, y’know? So I stripped back my style, left it lean and sparse, and wrote about a culture of people who really don’t have very long to live and whose life is dominated by death.

“After we had worked that out, the pair of us pretty much went off and wrote our piece, with no real hassle.”

“He’s lying terribly,” Campisi interjects over skype. “I must have gotten sixty emails in the first week from him, each with a new idea, each changing the previous, altering his plot and his world. I really had no idea what he was doing. They would appear at odd hours, too. I took to turning my phone off at night, just so I could sleep.”

“I would get emails about fruit,” Peek admits. “I got a text messages about the economy. That was about the time I started thinking of how I could blow her city up.”

Steph and Jono

“I was busy trying to work in air strikes at that stage. The quicker I destroyed him and took over his land, the better!” Campisi laughs. “No, seriously, we set up a google wave and left notes for a while before writing our pieces. We would send emails to each other every now and then, explaining a character we had created from each others city, or an event that we were working in as important history, but that was about it.”

“We actually made the decision early on not to worry too much about what the other was writing at the start,” Peek explains. “Well, I made the decision. The way I write involves a lot of editing, with me going back and forth and shifting and fixing and trashing. Nothing really stays the same after a while. Steph, though, she works a little differently, with her first drafts being much more polished and to the point than mine, so it was really a better deal to just get out of each others way and come back once we had finished.”

“When that happened, we actually found we had done a lot of things that just meshed really well,” Campisi continues. “Our two protagonists had a lot of similarities that allowed the two books to resonate throughout, and when the rewrites began, I tweaked little bits here and there to make it stronger. Devian’s wife, for example, had a much larger presence in Above after I had read Ben’s.”

“Yeah, I remember going back and altering a lot of descriptions after I read Above,” Peek adds. “Tiny things that most people probably won’t notice, I suspect, but I thought they made the two parts to mesh better. I also made my world a little dirtier. There is a moment in Above where Devian meets the diplomat, Dhormi, and Devian comments on how filthy he was. I realised that I had not allowed for that to be part of Below. I didn’t really think of crusted nails, skin with dirt lodged in the lines and wrinkles, but after I read Steph’s I thought it was pretty cool, so I went back. It was hard to do, though, because no one sits around and thinks that they’re a filthy. I worked with a guy once who had the worse body odor I had ever smelt, but he was fine with it because to him it was very natural. He was pretty cut when management spoke to him about it. So finding the right balance for that was hard, but I think I managed to strike it well enough―though it is a much stronger and more striking moment in Above, something I didn’t want to detract from.”

After they had done that, Alisa Krasnostein took the two pieces and began editing. “She did a fine job,” Campisi says. “From the outset she was really concerned with the quality of the book and did not want to put out something bad. It’s her brand, so she watches it keenly. When what we gave her meant that we would put out something inferior in the first deadline, she wasn’t afraid to push it back and push us. It was very important that the three of us stood behind the work.”

“Very much so,” Peek agrees. “While Above/Below has come out in the double press line, we want it to be considered as a novel, not just two novellas joined together. The double press format is really neat and allows for you to do something really quite different if you put the time and effort into it, and that’s what we did. We deliberately aimed to create a co-written novel that was co-written in a very different way, avoiding that style that emerges when two authors mesh their words together. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, and some authors do it very well, but we were allowed to do something different in terms of co-writing for Above/Below and we embraced that idea.”

“The final product is something we’re all proud of,” Campisi adds. “Everything meshes so well together, it has little Easter eggs buried in it, and on top of that, it is a cute book, with beautifully designed covers by Amanda Rainey.”

“Yeah, we cannot give Rainey enough credit for what she does,” Peek says. “She will probably go down as a bit of a forgotten champion for the look of the book, which is a shame because without her, I don’t think it would be the object of desire that it is.”

Above/Below is available now from the Twelfth Planet store, where it can be purchased in either its paper form or an electronic from. In conjunction with the ROR site, the authors have organised a competition that will give a book away to one reader. All you have to do is write, in five hundred words or less, what your hobby would be if you lived in a city that floated in the sky. The best idea wins a copy of Above/Below.

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