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Posts Tagged ‘Fantasy books’

Felicity makes the Final Three of the Text YA Fiction Competition

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on July 19, 2012

We’re doing a Squee! for Felicity, regular ROR blog reader and guest poster.

(See Fel’s post on using research to give authenticity to your writing. She talks about her time on the tall ship and a balloon ride).

Felicity (writing as Louise Curtis) entered her book Heart of Brass in the Text Young Adult Fiction Prize. She was delighted to hear she’d made the final three. While her book didn’t win, this is an excellent result and we’ll be keeping our fingers crossed for her!

Posted in Australian Spec Fic Scene, Editors, Literary Competitions, Nourish the Writer, Publishing Industry, Writing Opportunities | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Winner Paula Weston Book!

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on June 9, 2012

Paula says:

Thanks for all the great comments – there was some really interesting early reading material mentioned. I wish I had copies for all of you, but the winner is Braiden. Hope you enjoy Shadows. 🙂

Braiden if you email me I’ll pass your address along to the people at Text Publishing, who will send you a copy of Shadows.  rowena(at)corydaniells(dot)com

Posted in Australian Spec Fic Scene, Book Giveaway | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Supanova steampunk documentary!

Posted by richardharland on June 6, 2012

It’s a week and a half to the Sydney Supanova – the special big bash, Supanova’s tenth anniversary celebration. Not only stars of film and TV (more than I can list – check ’em out at http://www.supanova.com.au/guests/) but also two RORees as author guests – Marianne de Pierres and yours truly, Richard Harland! (the overseas author is Christopher Paolini, of Eragon fame)

For me, the most exciting bit will be the filming of a steampunk documentary. Michael Pryor and I will be doing a panel on all-you-ever-wanted-to-know about Steampunk, and filming will take place during and after the panel. Come in steampunk togs if you have any – or come anyway.

Here’s the official invite, open to anyone attending Supanova on the day –

“Would you like to appear in a Steampunk TV documentary? Simply, attend Michael Pryor and Richard Harland’s panel over the weekend at Supanova in Sydney. Filming will take place during the panel as well as an opportunity to be interviewed straight after the panel. So come dressed in your best outfit and tell us why you love Steampunk! Tell your friends and family to come along and make this event one to remember!

Keep checking this page for confirmation of which day and room this event will be held.
http://www.facebook.com/events/336659733073113/

We look forward to seeing you there.”

For any further information, please contact Trevor Howis at info@vinceroproductions.com

http://www.supanova.com.au/activities/calling-steampunks/

Posted in Australian Spec Fic Scene, Book Launches, Fantasy Genre, Genre TV Shows, Movie/TV Adaptations, SF Books, Steampunk, Uncategorized, Writing for Young Adults | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Paula Weston asks: Why aren’t YA books as respected as ‘adult’ books?

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on June 2, 2012

Today we have Brisbane based author, Paula Weston, whose debut YA fantasy Shadows has just been released from Text Publishing. Paula is going to talk about her passion, writing for Young Adults.

She raises the question why are YA (and children’s books) less respected than adult novels.

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

 

‘Young adult is a point of view, not a reading age.’

I don’t know who said it (or in what context) but I love that sentence. Not just because it justifies the amount of time I spend reading (and enjoying) young adult stories of all genres, but because it’s true.

To suggest – as a Times magazine columnist recently did – that adults should only read adult books and leave everything else to teenagers, is remarkably narrow minded. His justification? Because ‘books are one of our few chances to learn’. In other words, there is nothing of value in young adult stories.

In that case, why do we let our teenagers read them?

The idea that a young adult novel is somehow less well written, less intelligent, less engaging and less capable of moving a reader, is insulting to writers and readers alike. Sure, there are varying degrees of quality among young adult books, but that can said of novels in any section of a book store or library.

Yet young adult novels come under stronger criticism. And when you combine the words ‘paranormal’ and ‘young adult’, you’re almost guaranteed to be immediately dismissed as lightweight in many circles. (And yes, I know spec writers – adult and young adult alike – have faced this sort of discrimination for years.)

Like many writers whose books end up in the YA section, I didn’t set out to specifically write a young adult novel.

I’d had an idea bouncing around for a while for a paranormal story but I kept pushing it aside because I was working on a fantasy series. My agent (Lyn Tranter of Australian Literary Management) came very close to scoring a publishing deal on the latter, and when it fell through, I went through my usual round of self doubt, frustration and yes, a teeny bit of self pity. (At that point I’d written five full-length manuscripts, with my first rejection slip dated 1995.)

Once I dusted myself off, I knew I needed a break from the pressure I’d put myself under to land a publishing deal. I just wanted to write something for fun, and that increasingly insistent idea in the back of my mind was the perfect outlet.

So I started on a story just for me, not worrying about anyone would think. I wrote a few scenes, which became a few chapters, and suddenly I had half a novel. Characters had never come so easily and I’d never enjoyed writing so much. I sat down and fleshed out the plot in greater detail and realised I had a story that would take more than one book to tell (four in fact). My agent loved the idea, and those early chapters, and I suddenly had an exciting new project on my hands.

I chose the age of my characters based on what would work best from a narrative perspective and what I needed for plotting (Gaby, my narrative character is 19…or so she thinks.)

When the wonderful folk at Text Publishing offered me that long-awaited contract, they felt the Rephaim series was young adult. The team there really knows what its doing in the YA market, and I was more than happy with that call. My only concern was that my series not be marketed to children or younger teens, given the amount of violence and profanity it features.

I’m an eclectic reader – from literary to paranormal and everything in between – and I’ve consistently found some of my favourite writers on young adult shelves (Aussies Melina Marchetta and Markus Zusak, and US writer Maggie Stiefvater). Some of the best books I’ve read in the last 12 months have been YA (and written by Aussies), including Vikki Wakefield’s All I Ever Wanted, Leanne Hall’s This Is Shyness and Jane Higgins’ The Bridge (okay, Jane’s from New Zealand, but you get the picture).

And if you don’t think YA spec fic stories can’t be complex and rich with analogy and metaphor, check out Marianne de Pierre’s Night Creatures series or Veronica Roth’s Divergent series.

Certainly, some YA stories can have a lighter touch, particularly when it comes to dealing with sexual issues (compare the YA and adult paranormal novels of writers like Richelle Mead, Lilith Saintcrow and Kelly Armstrong), but others push the boundaries more than adult fiction.

I agree there are boundaries that should be respected when the primary target is teens. But more and more, young adult novels are crossing over to wider markets. Harry Potter – still referred to in some quarters as ‘children’s fiction’ – sparked that fire, and it shows no sign of burning out any time soon.

Absolutely, teens should own the YA section of book stores. But the rest of us shouldn’t have to feel like we’ve left our brains at the door when we want to read great stories that just happen to wear the YA label.

Paula has a copy of Shadows for one lucky commenter. Give-away question:  When you were growing up what YA novel (or writer) made a big impression on you?

Shadows: Book 1 of the Rephaim series (Text Publishing) is out 2 July

Posted in Australian Spec Fic Scene, Book Launches, Characterisation, Fantasy Genre, Genre Writing, Publishing Industry, Readers and Genre, Visiting Writer, Writing Craft, Writing for children, Writing for Young Adults | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 20 Comments »

Margo Reveals What it’s like inside a ROR Crit Week!

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on February 6, 2012

From Margo …

A Deepening ROR—a wRiters On the Rise workshop, from the inside

That's where we were circled in red

First there’s a bit of foreplay. Someone pipes up online: “When’s the next ROR?” Someone at the other end of the country: “I’ll have a novel draft ready by about January; how’s everyone else set?” And all the ROR-ettes speak up one by one, with their first or later drafts that are in synch, or the obligations or health issues or financial limitations or lacks of work-in-progress that’ll keep them away this time.

ROR meets roughly every 18 months to 2 years; I haven’t been able to get to the last couple of retreats but when this one was mooted, I decided that I had a chance, if I went hell for leather during November-December, of getting a super-rough first draft of my colonial NSW fantasy written for ROR’s perusal for the end of January workshop.

Tansy and Andrew scoped out Steele’s Island Accommodation; we discussed timing and settled on the weekdays 30 Jan-3 Feb, because the place is booked out with weddings most weekends.

All went quiet for a while. I dealt with Sea Hearts copyedits and proofs, wrote stories for Twelfth Planet Press, judged the Australian/Vogel’s Award, wound up my time on the Literature Board talked at the Brisbane Writers Festival, launched two other writers’ books, day-jobbed 3 days a week and, by the looks of the calendar, dined with a lot of different people. Clearly I didn’t scratch myself; there wouldn’t have been time.

On 1 November I started writing the draft of Formidable Energies. I registered with Nanowrimo, because I wanted some company, and besides, they have this neat graph that you can use to track your progress against the ideal path towards the 50K words. I like a neat graph, and I’d never make one for myself. Generally I’m not wordcount obsessive; this time, though, I definitely had to achieve a book’s worth.

It was lonely, exhilarating, hilarious, keeping up the pace, papering over the chasms in my research, blithely charging on, jumping in and out of the story, going from jam scene to jam scene and ignoring any bread-and-butter bits, but trying to keep it coherent enough for my ROR friends to be able to see what I was getting at, the nature of this beast.

I didn’t have the know-how, about Celtic gods, about Irish language, customs, culture and history—and only a 20-year-old history degree to help me with the convict ships, penal law and early colonial Sydney. I researched as I went just so I could picture enough setting in which to tell the tale. Perhaps this research was the most fun. I prowled around the State Library, requesting old travel books on Ireland and copying useful pages onto the iPad. I learned so much during that month—but most of all I learned what huge gaps existed in my knowledge, and the enormous job I might have on my hands if I ever went at the research properly.

And I knuckled down and wrote. Here’s my completed Nanowrimo graph, to give you the bare bones of the story of my month:

I was happy with that. I booked my ticket to Hobart. I wrote on for another 2 weeks into December, and managed a draft of 45K, which took the story from (what I imagined was the) beginning to (one possible) end. Manuscripts began to fly between email boxes. I did what pulling-together of the draft I could, wrote some explanatory/apologetic notes to cover the worst breaks, trailings-off and confused bits, took a deep breath and sent it off to my ROR-mates.

There was a flurry of communication as we sorted out accommodation moneys. Then came silence as we read each other’s drafts; that’s a lonely stage too, that one, keeping your opinions to yourself, addressing comments to an unresponsive screen, worrying that you haven’t quite captured what you felt about this character or that piece of plot logic, or that you haven’t phrased it helpfully. Weeks, it takes, reading five novels and assembling meaningful critiques.

Departure date loomed. I anguished a bit more over my reports, then saved them, printed them out for good measure and started packing.

The view up the estuary

Steele’s Island Accommodation: the perfect place for a writers’ workshop. Huge spaces for meeting and lounging in, more rooms and beds than we could fill, even with half our families along. Outside, a river-beach to stride along to the sea, a wooded hill across the water, waves and mountains in the distance, weather pouring across the sky. Only a few distant holidaymakers reminded us that there was a world beyond ROR. And the landscape showed that this was once an extremely popular place to feast on oysters. We kept to that tradition, at least.

Steeles Island Midden

But aak!, Formidable Energies was scheduled for the first critique session in the morning, and I hadn’t thought about it for six weeks—how would anyone’s comments make sense to me? So after the welcome dinner, deep into the first night and early in the morning I went over it again, reacquainting myself with its wild ambitions, its flights of fancy, its longueurs and its pathological avoidance of any form of action on the part of its main character.

Then on the Tuesday morning, all those weeks of solitary work suddenly blossomed into community, and made perfect sense. My story, which had seemed so stale and stuck, sketchy and hopeless, suddenly loosened, lightened and took flight on contact with the possibilities brought to it by my colleagues. From feeling as if I couldn’t progress without wearing amounts of research and tedious clunky plot-making, I went in the space of 2 hours to being excited about the many, many ways this story could go, the means by which I could get my main man moving, the significance I could bring to the powers plaguing him, both in Ireland and the new land. I saw the way forward; I saw several ways forward. I couldn’t wait to get back to the ms. and try out these ideas.

Just as good, if not so directly personally affecting, were the rest of the critique sessions. I would come out of the 2 x 2-hour sessions almost unable to think straight, I’d absorbed so much as I listened to Rowena, Richard, Dirk, Tansy and Maxine’s encounters with the same manuscripts. They’d responded so differently – or they’d felt the same, but phrased their response so differently, or come up with some completely ingenious solution. It was thoroughly absorbing to watch other RORers’ novels fly apart under each critiquer’s hands and then be brought back together in new ways.

Thank you so much, ROR-ettes, for the time and thought that went into your reports. Thanks for the privilege of reading and considering your works in progress. Thanks Tansy and Andrew for finding Steele’s Island, Dirk for the wonderful food, Daryl and David for radiating calmness, Steven for tourist-ing on our behalf, and Raeli and Mima for providing an understorey of questions, songs, sand-sweeping, fruit-eating and general play.

Posted in Australian Spec Fic Scene, Authors and Public Speaking, Book Launches, Dialogue, Editing and Revision, Genre Writing, Nourish the Writer, Plotting, Point of View, Research, Story Structure, World Buildng, Writing Craft, Writing Groups | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Double Book Launch

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on January 25, 2012

Anyone going to be in Tassie on Thursday 2nd of Feb?

We’re pleased to spread the news that Margo Lanagan will now be joining us on February 2nd for a launch of her new book, Sea Hearts. Margo and Tansy Rayner Roberts will share the evening, making it a very exciting double launch for us — don’t miss it!
Thursday February 2nd
5:30pm
The Hobart Bookshop*
Rowena Cory Daniells will launch Reign of Beasts by Tansy Rayner Roberts.
This is the final book in Rayner-Roberts’ The Creature Court trilogy.
Richard Harland will launch Margo Lanagan‘s Sea Hearts — an an extraordinary tale of desire and revenge, of loyalty, heartache and human weakness, and of the unforeseen consequences of all-consuming love.
 
So if you happen to be around, drop into the Hobart Bookshop and toast to Tansy and Margo’s new books!
*The Hobart Bookshop
22 Salamanca Square
Hobart Tasmania 7000
P 03 6223 1803 . F 03 6223 1804
hobooks@ozemail.com.au
www.hobartbookshop.com.au

Posted in Australian Spec Fic Scene, Authors and Public Speaking, Book Launches, Covers, Creativity, Fantasy Genre, Nourish the Writer, Promoting your Book, Publishers | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

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 »

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 »

Is Fantasy a bit of a Boy’s Club?

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on February 26, 2011

The Gender Divide – Does it exist in fantasy or is it our perception that it exists, that creates it?

I started last week answering interview questions from Marc at Fantasy Faction (see interview here). Marc introduces the interview with:

‘A few months ago I was in Waterstones and a book caught my attention… ‘The King’s Bastard’. There were thousands of books in the Fantasy/Sci-Fi section of that particular shop, but this one was in the ‘featured’ section and for some reason just jumped out at me. The name ‘King’s Bastard’ perhaps appealed to my darker side, the picture on the front cover of a rugged man with multiple weapons – obviously to be used for brutal combat, the power of the word; King! To me as a male fantasy fan this book simply said ‘pick me up‘. I picked up the book and gave it a read, the blurb was equally dark and I could tell that this book would feature everything I’d been looking for… Now being an e-book reader, I got home, jumped online and added the title to my ‘wish list’… It was only at this point that I noticed the name of the author; ‘Rowena Cory Daniells’. I did a double take at this point – Now, without injecting any sexism into this post (at least intentionally) I had presumed the book was written by a male.’

Please note, I’m not being critical of Marc, I’m taking about perception. It was my perception that most fantasy writers were female because in Australia, it is a bit of a girl’s club. Marc’s sixth question was:

‘Please excuse me for saying this – but after a recent topic in our forum entitled ‘Female Fantasy Authors’ we concluded there are very few of you out there. Even more so – there are less who write darker fantasy. Why do you think this is?’

This reminded me of a conversation I’d had a World  SF Con in Melbourne in August of 2010 with Kate Elliot. Kate has since gone on to comment on my ‘Why I’m featuring Female Fantasy Authors’ post. She said:

‘My feeling is that there is a gatekeeper issue that creates a sense of invisibility(of female fantasy authors)and of the sense that the female writers are secondary or irrelevant to the greater discussion. There are a ton of epic/heroic/fantasy review discussion blogs out there, and I think they’re fabulous, but they heavily skew male.’

Tansy Rayner Roberts brings up the point that: ‘The Nebula novel shortlist was just released and it features five female-authored novels (four of them fantasy) and one male-authored.’

So there are great books by female fantasy authors but are they being discussed on the blogs?  Lindsey from the US said: ‘most of the female fantasy writers I encounter are in other countries, mostly in Australia. I’d say that reflects in the readership, too.’  Remember it is all about perception. If female fantasy writers aren’t being talked about, then the readers won’t be aware of their books.

And Erica Hayes suggested that ‘in the US, there is a huge romance market, which includes a large slice of paranormal, urban fantasy, fantasy and sci-fi romance. The majority of ‘romance’ authors are female. So perhaps many female fantasy authors in the US are being published as ‘romance’, and are putting a higher romance content in their books — just because it’s a larger market and they have a greater likelihood of making a living.’ Since romance is one of the few genres where a mid list author can make a living, this is a valid point.  There seems to be a perception that we authors should be grateful just to be published and be willing to work a second job to support our families. But that is a topic for another post.

Glenda Larke says: ‘Re the gender divide, one part me really HATES saying this, but the advice I’d give to a woman starting out is: use a gender neutral pseudonym. Later on – when you have an established career – that’s the time to tell everyone you are a woman.’

When my first trilogy was published I chose to use Cory Daniells, because it was a non-gender specific name. If I’d continued to do this, Marc would not have been at all surprised by the author of the King Rolen’s Trilogy. He would have read the trilogy believing it to be written by a man. Would this have changed his perception of the book? Will Marc read it now with the subtext, this book was written by a woman, in his mind? Will he think, Gee, she really writes good fight scenes for a woman – rather than – Great fight scene! (Here’s hoping he likes the fight scenes. LOL).

Which brings me back to the original question. Is there a gender divide in the fantasy genre, or is the perception that there is a gender divide, the problem?

Update: Since writing this post I’ve done a series of interviews with creative people where I ask them about gender (as well as lots of other things). See here.

Posted in Australian Spec Fic Scene, Fantasy Genre, Gender Divive in Writing, Genre Writing, Nourish the Writer, Promoting your Book | Tagged: , , , , | 28 Comments »

Meet Rowena Cory Daniells …

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on January 11, 2011

Rowena Interviewed by Marianne. Watch out for the give-away question at the end.

Q: Tell us a bit about your current trilogy, King Rolen’s Kin? How is it different from your earlier T’En books?

 

KRK is a rollicking fantasy. You just jump on the magic carpet and it sweeps you away. I’ve had lots of people tell me they started reading one evening and didn’t stop until they were finished, and had to go to work the next day!

The T’En trilogy was about a clash of cultures. It explored trust and overcoming prejudice. The KRK trilogy is more of a traditional fantasy. A kingdom is in peril, there’s forbidden magic, the heir resents his twin who is more popular than him, there’s feisty princess who doesn’t want to be married off, and a prince who has been sent to serve the church because he’s cursed with forbidden magic. But it is really about friendship, trust and believing in yourself, so the core elements are similar in both trilogies even though the settings diverge.

Being a bit of a nerd I love inventing societies. I’m always reading about other cultures and collecting obscure bits of information. For instance, did you know that there is a New Guinea tribe where the women cut off a knuckle from a finger each time a family member dies. By the time the woman are very old they have a hardly any fingers left. I find this fascinating. And I don’t mean this in a frivolous way. Think what it says about love and sacrifice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Q: Heroic fantasy is enduringly popular. What role do you believe it plays in peoples reading lives? What attracts you to it as a writer?

Heroic fantasy presents us with a world as we would like it to be, as opposed to the world as it is. We live in a world where politicians make promises that aren’t core promises and terrorists kill people who are going about their daily lives, then run away and hide.

Faced with a reality where shades of grey abound, who wouldn’t love epic/heroic fantasy? The good guys set out to right a wrong. They might not be perfect but they try. They overcome obstacles and, in the end, they succeed so the world is a better place!

Q: Many people believe that publishing a first novel is the Holy Grail and that after that it all gets much easier. What would you say to them?

I belong to a couple of shared blogs, MGC and ROR. From hearing about the experiences of these other generous and talented writers, I know the publishing industry is an arbitrary reward system.

You can write a good book and jump through all the hoops to get published, then editors leave, lines get cancelled and bad covers kill sales which means all your work goes down the drain and you have to start all over again.

Really, you write because you love writing. If you don’t expect fame and fortune, you won’t be disappointed. Then when readers email you to say they enjoyed your books it’ll be a thrill!

 

Q: You won several awards for your debut adult fiction novel The Last T’En. What affect did that have on your career? What is your opinion of awards in general? Do they serve a purpose?

It’s always nice to win awards. It’s like this big hand reaching down out the sky, patting you on the head and saying, There, there. You really can write.

I know that the Children’s Book Council wins or short listings are great for sales. Libraries buy the CBC books, and they get used in classroom (which is the holy grail of children’s book sales), all this makes your publishers really happy. I don’t know that genre awards make a big difference to sales, which is really the bottom line for your publisher.

But it is really nice to win an award. In Australia we have the Aurealis Awards, which are peer awards. The entries in each speculative fiction sub genre is read by a panel of dedicated readers who agonise over their decisions. (I know because I’ve been involved in the process). The AAs have been going for fifteen years now and everyone in the genre knows about them. The wider community is less well informed, but then most reporters would not know what a Nebula or a Hugo is, and these US awards have been around for 44 and 71 years respectively. So I suppose it is evidence that SF still being ghettoised to a certain extent. The only other genre that cops more flack is romance, yet it is by far the largest selling genre.

Which brings us back to awards and sales. The readers decide what they like, but only if they can find the books. An award should help draw the reader to the book.

 

 

 

 

Q: Can you tell us in a little detail what future projects you have planned?

Currently, I’m working on The Outcast Chronicles. This is a family saga fantasy about a group of mystics, who are banished from their homeland. It follows four key individuals as they as they struggle with misplaced loyalties, over-riding ambition and hidden secrets which could destroy them. Some make desperate alliances only to suffer betrayal from those they trust, and some discover great personal strength in times of adversity.

As soon as I hand this trilogy to my publisher, I need to start on the new King Rolen’s Kin trilogy. I’ve had so many emails from readers wanting to know what happens next, that I’ve already started planning the next three books, while finishing the current series.

Q: You’ve been involved in many, many projects in the creative industries over the years; running countless workshops and pitching forums to help others. How do you know when to draw the line and say, I must have time for my own work? What advice would you give others about finding balance?

I’ve enjoyed all the projects I’ve worked on and, over the years, I’ve met lots of wonderful aspiring writers and lots of generous, inspiring professionals. Many of these aspiring writers have become published. Now that I’m working (I lecture on story, scripting, storyboards and animatics), as well as writing (and renovating the house), I’m struggling to squeeze in the time to complete the books I have under contract. Yet, I LOVE writing.

I think the best thing you can do, is realise that without writing (or what ever creative outlet is your passion) you won’t be a happy balanced human being. You need to be kind to yourself. Imagine that you are your best friend. If your BF was doing all the things you’ve been doing and running her/himself into the ground, what advice would you give them? Now, give that advice to yourself and take it.

There is no shame in looking after yourself. After all, a lot of people depend on you and you need your emotional and creative well to be replenished so that you have something left to give.

Q: What would you like to have achieved in ten years time?

Finish renovating the house. LOL. It’s a bit like painting the Sydney Harbour Bridge, by the time you finish at one end, the other end needs to be painted again.

Apart from that, I would love to be living quietly somewhere with my DH, and writing away, knowing that the books I write are all under contract and readers are looking forward to them.

In reality, I will probably be run ragged between my six children and their kids. But I like a challenge!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My give-away is a set of King Rolen’s Kin trilogy (If you already one or two of the books I’ll fill the gap with the missing book/s).

 

My question is: If you could take a holiday in an invented secondary world, where would you go and why?

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