2007 Snapshot Archive: Kyla Ward

Interviewed by Tansy Rayner Roberts

First published at ASiF!

Kyla Ward is one third of ‘Edwina Grey’, whose novel Prismatic won an Aurealis Award for best horror novel last year. She also runs the Tabula Rasa website with David Carroll:http://www.tabula-rasa.info

Q1- what’s changed for you since the 2005 Snapshot? (http://www.tabula-rasa.info/Snapshot/KylaWard.html)

In the 2005 Snapshot, I said I needed to write more and get more work out there. Oddly enough, this has not changed, even though I have written a fair bit and had it published. As actual changes go, the most significant is that there is now a novel (co-author) in my credits. It is not one of the novels I mentioned in ’05 – they are both still manuscripts. But the great charm of the writing game is its unpredictability, yes? Maybe? I am delusional?

I am also quite chuffed to have had an article printed in a magazine (Art Monthly Australia) that could readily be found in a newsagents, as opposed to only in speciality shops or only in the USA.

Apart from that, a few more scars, a few more bad habits. You know the drill.

Q2 – What are the best and worst things about writing under a shared pseudonym like Edwina Grey? Would you do it again?

Ah, Prismatic. Looking back, the whole takes on a hallucinatory quality. Did it happen as I remember? Did the three of us really put together a hundred thousand word novel together in two months, and did someone actually publish the thing?

Appears so. There’s a copy sitting not two feet away. Looking at me.

For me, the best thing about the collaboration was the companionship. Normally, writing is a very solitary experience: not while you’re actually in the throes, then you have all the company your fevered mind can produce. But when you come out of it and that’s Saturday gone, or it’s after dinner on a Wednesday and time to go in and sit at your desk again, it can seem very isolated. But with Prismatic, there was the constant “have you finished your chapter and can I see?”, “oh, that’s interesting, I can riff that in my next chapter” and “if he’s doing the malformed orgy, I’d better get on with the brain eating”. It really was a terrific spur.

The worst thing quite possibly was the pseudonym. Don’t get me wrong, I like Edwina Grey: she’s a fine writer and a very interesting person. But sometimes I think of people who once knew me passing by the bookshelf, never once imagining that I am there, and I get upset. I try not to. I mean, I know perfectly well they wouldn’t care.

Q3 – What are your follow up writing plans after Prismatic? Where do you plan to be in two year’s time?

With Lothian now relegated to children’s books, there will be no direct follow-up to Prismatic. Although the pop-up book, I can see the potential… I started a new solo novel shortly after – a dark urban fantasy kind of thing. In two years time I sincerely hope to have completed it. It would be nice to find a home for one or other of the extant beasties as well. preferably the one that’s the first in a trilogy. In short, in two years time I aim to be a professional, with all desirable accoutrements. As for planning, well. Did I say something about unpredictability?

Q4 – Do you read much in the Aus spec fic scene? What’s the best thing you’ve read this year?

I generally manage enough to fill out a Ditmar nomination form. This year, things have been confused by the fact I was a judge in the Australian Horror Writers Association short and flash fiction contest. Looking at it one way, I have read a whole lot of Australian speculative fiction this year, more than usual. Looking at it another… well, it’s cured me of my intermittent urge to edit. The best out of that lot will be available to be read in Dark Animus and Shadowed Realms in the foreseeable future.

But the best piece of writing I have encountered thus far this year had nothing to do with it. Ben Peek’s twenty-six lies / one truth is almost seductively readable and too bizarre for words.

Q5 – and finally, if you had the chance to get it on with the fictional character you fancy most, who would it be?

John Blaylock from The Hunger has a certain appeal, especially in the film. Maybe I just like a man who ages well.

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