2010 Snapshot Archive: Tehani Wessely

First published at Alexandra Pierce’s LiveJournal.

Tehani has been active in the Aussie spec fic scene since 2001. She is currently focussed on editing an anthology for 9-13 year olds (Worlds Next Door, due out mid-2010) and enjoying her growing family!

1. You’re currently working on an anthology of speculative fiction for children, which I think is really exciting. Do you think this is an untapped market? And how is the anthology itself shaping up, in terms of themes and ideas?

I’m not sure it’s untapped, but I certainly think it’s under-represented in the present publishing climate. As a Teacher Librarian, I’m always looking for ways to snag kids into reading (and as a fan and producer of it, particularly reading speculative fiction!). Very often, kids will tell you that books are too long, or too hard, so I wanted to produce something that was accessible to readers in that hard-to-catch age bracket, where they’re growing out of reading. Hopefully, the range and length of stories will be appealing to these kids, as will the package as a whole, while at the same time still be filling for a “good” reader as well!

The anthology has come together beautifully. I’m delighted with the mix of new and established authors who contributed, and the variety of stories I received. There’s everything from horror to humour, and wizards and monsters and moon-kids (and space dogs). With such an assortment, there’s bound to be something for everyone! Additionally, there stories are just entertaining, but there’s some really meaningful messages contained in them (well, perhaps not in ALL of them, but that’s okay too!), which should strike a chord with readers of all ages.

2. In the past you were an integral part of the Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine cooperative, which has a remarkably good track record of consistently producing six issues a year. What was it like to work with the cooperative? What did you learn about the Aussie scene from your time with ASIM?

I’ll always consider my time with ASIM to be one of the best and most productive periods of my life. Without ASIM, I certainly wouldn’t being able to do what I’m doing now – I wouldn’t know the fans, authors, artists, publishers, editors and reviewers in the Australian and International scene who I love to work with, many of whom I count as friends as well. I think ASIM did some great things for not only the Australian scene, but for many international writers and illustrators as well. I look at bookstore shelves (both physical and virtual!) today and see a great many names who were published by ASIM over the years – some of these were already established authors when ASIM first saw them, but a goodly number got some very early publications in the pages of the little magazine that could, and I’m so proud and privileged to have been a part of that.

Part of what made ASIM great was the collective itself. The founding members worked so hard, ofttimes outside their comfort zones, learning new skills and creating opportunities where none existed before. It’s amazing what can happen when people work together towards a common goal in this community. From her humble beginnings, ASIM is now consistently publishing quality fiction and being recognised for this.

3. Do you see yourself working in the publishing scene more in the future? Do you have big ideas for projects you’d like to get done?

I can’t see myself NOT working in the spec fic publishing scene in some capacity or another! It’s been such a big part of my life for so many years now (longer than my husband or kids!) that I can’t imagine not being involved in some way. I’m not sure how that will manifest in the future, but I’m really looking forward to more challenges! I do have another project cooking that I hope to have at Aussiecon4, but I’ve not yet announced it 🙂

4. Aussiecon4 is coming up, and there’s been a lot of buzz about nominating Australians for the Hugos. Which Australian writers or work would you like to see on the Hugo shortlists this year?

I would love to see Peter M Ball on multiple Hugos ballots this year – in such a short time he’s published such a lot of quality work in so many publications, not the least being Horn (eligible for the Novella category), and various short stories in international publications. It would be great to have an Aussie on the John Campbell ballot for Aussiecon4, and Peter is my pick. It would also be fantastic to see Jonathan Strahan recognised for his short form editing work (no more being a bridesmaid…) and to see some Aussie fan writing (like, dare I say, Alisa Krasnostein’s!) on the ballot too.

5. I know you’re going to be at Aussiecon4; what are you most looking forward to about it?

Believe it or not, I’m most looking forward to catching up with friends! We’re such a scattered bunch throughout Australia, and conventions are one of the only times in the year where people I communicate with online all the time are all together in the same place. It’s the most marvellous opportunity for like-minded conversations, and for so many days! I’m also very excited about meeting some international visitors who I only know from the online world – great opportunity for new friendships, and also professional networking. It’s going to be great!

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