1. The final book in the Keys to the Kingdom series, Lord Sunday, has just been published. How does it feel to have such a long-running series completed? And what’s the feedback been like for the series as a whole?
My main feeling when I finished the book was relief, that I’d managed to get through the big story I wanted to tell, particularly as the books ended up being longer and more complicated than I’d originally planned. I’ve also been relieved in this last week because the reception to LORD SUNDAY has been fantastic, both in terms of sales and in reader responses, I’ve had lots of e-mails and Facebook comments, with 99% being very positive. So far the book is only out in Australia and NZ, it comes out in the US and UK next month, so I’m hoping the wider world responds as positively as the locals!
2. You’ve had short stories published in various venues in the last while – Baen’s Universe (online), and anthologies such as The New Space Opera 2 and Troll’s-Eye View. I’ve particularly enjoyed the Mister Fitz and Sir Hereward stories – about a knight-errant and his companion, a talking puppet. Surely there’s a story behind those characters! Do you have a preference for writing either short stories or novels?
I have a third Sir Hereward and Mister Fitz story coming out in SWORDS AND DARK MAGIC: THE NEW SWORDS AND SORCERY edited by Jonathan Strahan and Lou Anders, and another one in the works. I like the characters, but have no idea where they came from, except that my mother used to make puppets for us when I was a child, and I made a few myself. I’ve written a lot of short fiction in the last few years, for online magazines like JBU and Subterranean, but mostly for anthologies, like the recent DRAGON BOOK edited by Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois. I have stories coming out this year in ZOMBIES VS UNICORNS edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier; in SWORDS AND DARK MAGIC; and in LEGENDS OF AUSTRALIAN FANTASY edited by Jack Dann and Jonathan Strahan, this last is actually a novelette in my Old Kingdom universe. Plus there a few other short stories which may be late 2010 or 2011.
I like writing both novels and short fiction, I also write screenplays (though as yet none have been produced). I guess writing in different forms lets me flex different writing muscles. Also, some ideas or story beginnings just suit one form better than another, and if one is strong in my head and needs to come out, it will come out in whatever seems the best form, as a novel, shorter fiction, screenplay or whatever.
3. You’ve completed several book series, over the last fifteen or so years, as well as your short stories. What’s next for you?
I have a number of things in the works, several partly-completed novels and other projects. Most likely the next published novel will be A CONFUSION OF PRINCES, a YA SF space opera that shares a background with the game I co-developed, IMPERIAL GALAXY, which you can play at http://www.imperialgalaxy.com. That probably now won’t be out till 2011. I also have two more novels set in the Old Kingdom, and I am working on some secret stuff that I hope can soon be revealed. Plus a bunch of short fiction, and the afore-mentioned screenplays.
4. Do you read much within the Australian SFF scene? Who do you think are the Australian names to keep an eye out for over the next few years?
I don’t read as much in the genre as I once did, but I do try to keep up with what’s happening in Australian SF/F. While this list is by no means exhaustive, because there are so many people writing really interesting work, some of the “newer” Australian writers who I think will get noticed a lot more in the future include Cat Sparks, Deb Biancotti, Kaaron Warren, Jason Nahrung and Rjurik Davidson. But there are many more, and I also expect some long-established authors will do great new things, and there will be completely brand new authors who knock everyone’s socks off.
5. Finally, are you going to Aussiecon4? And if so, what are you most looking forward to?
I am intending to go to Aussiecon, though I’m still finalising some details to make sure I can get there. Like most big cons, what I look forward to most is simply catching up with my friends and peers in the SF world.