Christopher Green was born in the United States. After moving to Australia at the age of 20, he attended Clarion South in 2007 and has been published in Dreaming Again, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and The Tangled Bank: Love, Wonder and Evolution. His work has won an Aurealis Award and been shortlisted for the Australian Shadows Award. When he isn’t writing, he’s thinking about writing, unless he’s talking to his wife, at which point he is most certainly listening to what she has to say. Honest. He maintains a blog here.
1. You have a story, “Darwin’s Daughter,” in the recently-released anthology The Tangled Bank, which marks the 150th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species. It’s a dark story, I must say, although not without hope. What inspired you to write it? And what caught your eye about the theme of the anthology in the first place?
Darwin is one of those men who you hear about before you actually “learn” about him. I can clearly remember being nine or ten and finding out that someone else (Alfred Russel Wallace) had a hand in the “single best idea anyone has ever had”. That’s always fascinated me. Who was this man, and how did he feel about the shadow Darwin cast? Questions like that always get me thinking, so I decided I wanted to write a story where Wallace was happy to be out of the limelight…
As far as The Tangled Bank anthology catching my eye, it was just too different not to. I loved the challenge of writing something to so specific and demanding a theme. I thought about that anthology so much that I’d have days where everything was evolution, and other days where nothing was. I’ve since recovered.
2. 2007 saw you attend, and survive, Clarion South. What was that like, as an experience? Was it as overwhelming as it’s always sounded? (Well, it sounds overwhelming to me, anyway.)
Clarion South is a crucible. It strips all the nonsense that other people call “real life” away and says to you, “Fine, then. You want to write? Let’s see what you got.” And write you do, for the next six weeks, and if you stop it’s because you’re reading something someone else in that prison paradise wrote a couple of days prior. It was an amazing experience that I don’t go a day without remembering fondly. If it was overwhelming, it was overwhelming by design. If you want to show people they can fly, sometimes you have to toss them off a few cliffs, I guess.
3. You have several short stories in forthcoming anthologies and issues of magazines. What other plans do you have up your sleeve? Are you one of those writers who always has ideas swimming in the head, or does imagination let you take a break sometimes?
I’m writing the dreaded First Novel at the moment, the completion of which is a goal that’s always eluded me. I “write” every day, although to me that means critiquing colleagues’ stories, editing my own work, or hell, even re-submitting stories that have been rejected elsewhere. As far as the ideas are concerned, they know their place in all this. Usually, they want out of my head just as badly as I do.
In light of all that, though, I don’t mind taking the odd break. Taking two or three days off between the end of one story and the beginning of the next is an excellent way of making sure your stories don’t start bleeding together.
4. With Aussiecon4 coming up this September, there’s been a bit of buzz about nominating Australians for the Hugo awards. Which Australians would you like to see nominated this year?
I admit to not having caught up with all the new works the spec fic scene has produced, of late, but if Paul Haines (come on, the man tied with himself for an Aurealis Award, for Pete’s sake) and Peter M. Ball (possibly the most with-it, professionally minded writer friend I know) aren’t both on the ballot, it’ll be a crime against nature.
5. Finally, will you be attending Aussiecon4? If you are, what are you most looking forward to?
I’ll certainly be there. It’ll be my first Convention, so I have no idea what to expect. I’m looking forward to finding that oft mention yet still ethereal bar where editors line up and wait patiently for me to buy them drinks, but the highlight for me will be seeing so many members of my Clarion hive mind. Can’t wait!