Marty Young has a doctorate in Earth Sciences and several scientific papers to his name, but it is horror and writing horror fiction that really inspires him. He founded the Australian Horror Writers Association in 2002 to help the development of the horror genre and horror writers in Australia, and he has acted as the AHWA President since its inception in 2005. Young is also a horror writer, coeditor of the forthcoming Macabre anthology and has been an Aurealis Award judge and reviewer for ASif!
1. You’re currently the President of the Australian Horror Writers Association. What do you see as the benefits to Australian writers for becoming a member? What do you see as some of the achievements of the AHWA so far? And where does your passion for horror and promoting the genre in Australia come from?
Right now, the AHWA is focused on two main goals: the first is getting our members to interact more with one another, and the second is stepping up onto the global stage. Both have huge benefits for our members. In regards to the first, we now have the successful Crit groups, the Mentor Program, the Market Hive, and Sinister Reads. This means there’s a complete process available in the AHWA from that first draft right through to promoting your success. And working with other writers through this process means you each learn from one another, and get to enjoy one another’s success.
With the second goal, we’ve been talking with Ramsey Campbell and his replacement as Chair of the British Fantasy Society, Stephen Theaker, and we’re close to striking a deal with them that will benefit both our members and theirs. We’ll also be developing relationships with other writing organisations across the world in order to promote Aussie horror on that world stage. I think it’s important to look at the bigger picture.
The AHWA turns 5 this year, and that’s a massive achievement in itself. We now have more than 200 members, with more joining all the time. More people are putting up their hand to help out too, and that’s fantastic. As a volunteer organisation, you wouldn’t exist without volunteers. Another great success story is our magazine, Midnight Echo. We’ve had 3 issues thus far and all have been very favourably received. Issue 4, edited by Lee Battersby, is looking damn good too. That will be released in April/May this year.
My passion for horror and promoting the genre? I’ve enjoyed being spooked since I was a demented teenager, so it’s no real surprise to me that I’m neck deep in this genre. As for promoting it, well, that’s a two way street – there are so many good Aussie writers that deserve greater recognition, and the AHWA wants to help achieve that. But I also have to think about my own writing career; the AHWA opens up opportunities for everyone, myself included.
2. How would you describe and characterise the local horror scene right now? Who are you favourite writers and why?
The local horror scene, talent-wise, is in great shape; more Aussie writers made it through to the next round of the Stokers this year than ever before. But with Australian markets drying up (eg, Shadowed Realms, Borderlands, and Dark Animus are no more), or even filled up until the end of the year (ie, Aurealis), things are getting tougher for Aussie horror writers to get published at home. I guess the only plus to come from this is that we’re forced to look overseas to get published, which we should be doing anyway.
Probably my favourite Aussie writer at the moment would be Paul Haines – his ‘Wives’ novella was grim, tough, and fantastic, and his collection ‘Slice of Life’ has me rivited, too. Probably the fact he was born in NZ helps there, as well 🙂
3. You have some forthcoming works of your own. What can we expect from Marty Young in the near future? what are you currently working on?
I spent most of 2009 working on my novel with an editor in the States, and it’s now polished to a fine scheen. The editor has a lot of confidence in the thing and is determined to see it published. We’re about to start knocking on US Agents’ doors as I write this. I’m not sure it’s horror, but it does have moments of suspense and a bit of the supernatural to keep the demon in me satisfied. I’m really proud of it (the novel that is, not the demon).
Because my novel took up most of 2009, I only managed to finish 4 short stories last year (three of which have been published/accepted for publication – one in Festive Fear, another coming soon in the Masters of Horror anthology, and the third in Blade Red Press Dark Pages). Just recently, I have been working with a well-known writer in the US on developing my writing, and that has started to pay dividends. As a direct result, I now have a couple of deadlines to meet for professional markets, so fingers crossed 2010 will be a great year for me. All I need to do is actually write…
4. Which Australian writers or work would you like to see on the Hugo shortlists this year? What have you enjoyed reading?
Everyone I know! Especially the kids from the AHWA Crit group 1. Go guys!
Because I spent the year working on my novel, I read more novels than short stories. Actually, no, that’s not true. I hardly read anything last year. I’ve already read more this year than I did last year. That’s pretty sad. But I did enjoy ‘Wives’ by Paul Haines, ‘The Dead Path’ by Stephen M Irwin, ‘Shards’ by Shane Jiraiya Cummings, and I’m looking forward to ‘Slights’ by Kaaron Warren. Oh, and ‘Grants Pass’ is a very cool anthology, too.
5. Will you be at Aussiecon 4 in September? If so, what are you most looking forward to about it?
Heck yeah! That’s shaping up to be something spectacular! The AHWA is going to have a huge presence at the convention, and we’re also going to have a Masqurade Ball (Kyla Ward is putting in a whole lot of effort there – thanks Kyla!), so it’s going to be a blast. I’m looking forward to sitting down over a good dozen or so scotches and getting to know all the people I’ve been chatting to via emails over this past year or so. And hopefully, there will be a launch of some kind too….. It’s going to rock like a geologist 🙂