2007 Snapshot Archive: Trent Jamieson

Interviewed by Ben Payne

First published at ASiF!

Trent Jamieson has had a number of successes during the last decade, including an Aurealis Award for his story “Slow and Ache”, and, last year, the publication of a collection of his short stories, Reserved for Traveling Shows. His first novel will be out next year.

1. Over the last decade, you’ve established yourself as one of the more consistently enjoyable local authors, regularly providing both stylistic adventure and genuine emotion. How do you feel your work has developed over the last ten years and what is the next step for you?

I’ve been thinking about this, as it relates to the authors I adore, this idea of development, and I’m not sure if you can chart it. Writers tend to change, their interests change, their techniques, but I don’t know if they actually develop.

But then again, I’d like to think my punctuation has gotten a little less interesting. Plot and endings have always been a weakness of mine, and I’ve never been that good at explaining things, I tend to think in images that quite often don’t lend themselves to explanation, but I think I’m getting better.

I’m focussing on longer works at the moment, and finding that I have more stamina for it than I suspected.

2. As part of the ROR writing group, you’ll be publishing your first novel in 2008 as part of The Lost Shimmaron series. Tell us a little about the book, and how you’ve found the experience of writing for children.

It’s a fast-paced race against the clock adventure story set in a frozen world filled with all sorts of monsters, and a giant iron crow. I loved writing it, having never written for children I was slightly terrified of the prospect, but it was an absolute buzz, I just hope it’s as fun to read as it was to write.

ROR is one of the most precious parts of my professional(and personal) writing life, the bit that doesn’t involve me just sitting in a room staring at a blank screen, and this book is part of that. It certainly got me out of my comfort zone and that’s a good thing.

3. You’ve been a part of the local scene for a while now. How has it changed in the last few years and how do you see the scene today?

It’s gotten faster, if that makes sense, back when I was wee nip, someone might write something in one of the zines, let’s say the Mentor (an excellent zine edited by Ron Clarke), and it might be three months to a year before there would be a response. Debates raged over years rather than the hours, days, weeks they do now, though they were no less passionate.

I could be wrong, I’m kinda peripheral to a lot of it, but the scene is as wonderful/terrible, as passionate, and as debate-filled as ever. There’s good stories, and bad ones, being written and published, people to argue over which ones they are, and friendships being made. And it’s certainly interesting, if that’s your scene. What more can you ask for?

4. Enough about you, Trent. Let’s share the love. What have you read in recent times that you’ve particularly enjoyed?

I really enjoyed Dark Space by Marianne De Pierres , and even more, seeing the dramatic and clever changes Marianne had made post ROR. It’s a deeply human space opera, that gets down and dirty, and really builds as it hurtles towards the end of the book. I’m eagerly awaiting book 2.

I just finished Falling Man by Don Delillo, while not as good as Underworld, it was still an amazing novel. Delillo’s one of those authors that you read for the sentences, they’re bloody incredible.

Also loved Jay Lake’s Trial of Flowers it was a beautiful, and slightly kinky, urban fantasy novel, that has me looking forward to his new novel Mainspring.

And I have to add Neal Asher’s Polity Agent to the list. He’s the most consistently entertaining action SF novelist going at the moment. If you like big ideas and explosions then he’s hard to beat.

5. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you’re given the opportunity to get it on with the fictional character you fancy most. Who’s it gonna be?

Elizabeth Bennet, of course.

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