Stephanie Campisi is a Melbourne-based writer. Her work has appeared in magazines such as Fantasy Magazine, Sybil’s Garage, Voiceworks, and Shimmer, and anthologies including Polyphony 7(Wheatland Press) and Paper Cities (Senses Five Press).
1. You tend to be published in overseas publications more than locally. Is that a personal submissions preference or because you feel your work appeals to a niche market that’s not catered for locally?
It’s a little of both. I’ve found that overseas publications tend to accept electronic submissions, respond in a timely (or at least more timely) manner, and pay better than many of the local publications, so it’s no surprise that I don’t tend to submit to many publications here. While there is certainly some interesting material being published in Australia, there also tends to be a lot more diversity of content available with the overseas magazines, although is perhaps simply due to the sheer number of markets out there. I have an unfortunate tendency to write odd, niche stuff, and I’ve found that it’s more likely to find a suitable home overseas than it is in Australia, which I feel tends to be quite conservative in terms of its short fiction.
2. What projects are you currently working on? What can we expect from you in the near future?
My goodness, I feel as though I never stop. I’m currently working on a few novels, one of which is a dark fantasy novel about the Devil’s orchestra set here in Melbourne (the Devil lives in St Kilda, didn’t you know?), and one of which is a young adult novel about surveillance in schools. I have a few other longer pieces I’m considering, but their viability is a bit tentative right now. I am working on a novella called Above, which will be part of a novella double that I’m writing with Ben Peek and that will be published through 12th Planet Press later this year. Ben’s writing Below, which will accompany Above.
I have a few short stories coming out here and there over the next year or so, with forthcoming publications in Polyphony 7, Quantum Genre, Sprawl, and Scenes From the Second Storey. I also have two novels that I’m currently shopping about.
3. A lot of the work you write is hard to classify in hard genre terms. What appeals to you about slipstream or surrealism?
I write largely because I love to play with language, and I find that work with a surrealist or odd bent readily affords this. I enjoy writing about strange situations and events that seem disconnected from reality in some way, as well as working with skewed perspectives and from whimsical points of view. I don’t see this sort of writing as escapist, really, but as a signpost to encourage you to see the world a little differently. To look up every once in a while.
4. Which Australian writers or work would you like to see on the Hugo shortlists this year? What have you enjoyed reading?
I’ve actually read very little Australian fiction over the past year, and what I have read has not been speculative at all, so it might not be best to recommend for the Hugos (although David Malouf’s Ransom might, at a stretch, count). I am seeing a few names popping up with increasing frequency, though, and it looks as though many authors primarily known for their short stories are doing well at breaking into novels.
5. Will you be at Aussiecon 4 in September? If so, what are you most looking forward to about it?
I will be, actually. I have no idea what to expect really, having only been to one (very small) convention before, and from which I think the most important thing I took away was the fact that I’m woefully disfluent in all things Doctor Who. I’m looking forward to meeting in person the various authors, editors, and reviewers I only know online, as well as catching up with a few friends.