2007 Snapshot Archive: Kaaron Warren

Interviewed by Alisa Krasnostein

First published at ASiF!

Kaaron Warren is a multi-award winning short story writer with a penchant for the creepy. Her recent collection, The Grinding House is to be launched to an all new American audience later this year.

Q.1 In November, you are going to launch The Grinding House at World Fantasy Con. How do you think this new audience will receive it? What are you hoping will come out of the launch of your collection internationally?

The book will be called The Glass Woman in the States. I think they want to move away from the horror label a bit, sell it that way. I’m hoping my Australian voice translates well. I’ve had good responses to individual stories in the US and UK, which means they ‘get’ me, always a useful place to start! It will be odd, because Australian readers have read my stories for the last 14 years, whereas this is an audience mostly coming fresh. We’ll see how it works out! Best result from the collection in the US would be an agent and a book contract. A couple of book contracts; one for novel, one for the next short story collection.

Q.2 How has living in Fiji influenced and affected your writing? Are you writing more? Less? Do you think we will see a distinct “Fiji Period” to your work?

Everyone wants to know the answer to this one! I’m writing more, because the kids leave for the school bus at 7.10. That’s close to two extra hours a day, just there! Also, I have a full-time housekeeper. Yes, I do. She does our washing and our dishes and she irons our clothes. Incredible life, isn’t it?

There will most definitely be a Fiji Period! I’d have to walk around with blinkers for there not to be. Not everyone feels that way about living here; somebody said to me the other night, “It must be hard to come up with ideas here.” I was astonished. The city of Suva is an amazing place, full of bizarre shops, strange signs, taboo places, odd bars…fascinating. The environment is lush and dark. The mix of cultures, the politics, the coup…it’s all absolute gold for inspiration. Every time we drive along to coast to our favourite spot, the Tiki Bar (the one with the cannibal spa bath) I see more things to write about. Signs like “Men’s Jail and Dog Kennel”.

Q.3 What sort of goals do you set yourself? Are you aiming to fill another collection? Looking at expanding into novels? Do you have any interest in writing other genres?

I set specific project goals. Right now I’m working on two short stories and a novel. I set my own deadlines and work towards them. It can be hard to stay motivated, but luckily I really love the writing process and get great satisfaction out of it. I hate to mention my housekeeper again, but she’s a great motivator. I can’t sit around watching TV or playing computer games while she’s cleaning my house. I have to make the most of the time I’ve been given.

I like to think I write across a couple of genres. I like crime fiction, both the puzzle solving and feeling horror at the crime itself.

Q.4 Do you read much of the Aus spec fic scene? What’s the best thing you’ve read this year?

I don’t match your levels of readership, that’s for sure! I read the publications I’m in of course. I subscribe to Aurealis and keep an eye out for Dark Animus. It’s tricky here in Fiji, because postage costs are outrageous and the postal system very unreliable. I’m going to buy up big at Conflux; Russ Farr’s anthos to start with, Ben Peek’s books if they’re there, and lots, lots more.

My reading habits are odd here. No real library and bookshops which only carry remainders and can’t order stuff in. So it’s very random. I found Classic Murders of the North West at a book stall, and that has been fascinating for the insight it gives into the everyday lives of people living in the late 1800s, early 1900s in Brighton, England.

I’m reading Harriet the Spy to the kids. Ooh, I love that book! The kids keep saying, “That’s like you, Mum!” because Harriet, of course, wants to be a writer…

Q.5 And finally, if you had the chance to get it on with the fictional character you fancy most, who would it be?

Georgette Heyer’s William the Conquerer! He put his clothes on backwards just like I do sometimes.

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