Lara Morgan grew up in the hills of Perth, Western Australia. She has worked in the arts, at a newspaper and, once, a car wash but all pale in comparison to being a writer which allows her to work in her pyjamas. She is the author of the Twins of Saranthium fantasy trilogy and the young adult series, The Rosie Black Chronicles and usually lives in Geraldton, WA with her husband – unless she’s somewhere else.
1. You are currently completing book 3 of a wonderful YA sf trilogy, The Rosie Black Chronicles. For those who haven’t come across the books yet, could you tell us a bit about the series?
It’s dystopian series set 500 years in the future in Australia and centred around the life of sixteen year old Rosie Black and her battles against a powerful corporation called Helios. Rosie’s mother is dead, killed by an incurable disease named the MalX, and her father has never recovered from her loss. Rosie’s only other family is her Aunt Essie, a tough ex-soldier who is now a spaceship pilot. When Helios comes into Rosie’s life she must join forces with a boy named Pip, who she’s not sure she can trust, and a mysterious man named Riley who seems to have myriad hidden agendas. Together they must face up to the might of a corporation who will kill anyone who stands in their path to global domination. To bring them down, Rosie must fight to discover the truth behind the terrible secrets they hide and along the way discover love, loss and betrayal.
2. This is not your first venture into speculative fiction – you also have a fantasy series, the Twins of Saranthium, which is sadly out of print in English (but not in Germany!). Have you always wanted to write speculative fiction?
I think I’ve just always wanted to write! I’ve been scribbling stories since I was a kid – including some truly appalling poetry in my teens – and not all has been speculative but a lot of it has. I grew up on fairy tales and supernatural myths and legends. My favourite books were the Narnia series, Tolkien and the classic Brothers Grimm, plus I also read a lot of fantasy and sci fi now, it’s what I love. The upshot of this is whatever I write mostly tends to go towards the speculative, I can’t help it. I love exploring life on a grander scale and speculative fiction allows that.
3. So, apart from the fact that you have a baby due very soon, what can we expect from Lara Morgan in the next year? Is your next project sf or fantasy?
Book 3 of the Rosie Black series, Dark Star is due out in November and, yes I do have a baby coming very, very soon so writing wise I think things will have to slow down for a while after that! But I am still committed to finishing my Twins of Saranthium series. Book 3, Redemption, is still in production and despite not having an English language outlet for it at the moment I do still want to finish the Twins story, maybe release it as an ebook as I regularly have people asking when it will be out. I do have plenty of ideas for more books – and yes they are mostly speculative, maybe urban fantasy – but I can’t say anymore as it’s too early to share.
4. What Australian works have you loved recently?
Rhiannon Hart’s Blood Song, Marianne de Pierres Burn Bright series and Margo Lanagan’s Tender Morsels are all books I’ve loved. You can see a theme there can’t you?? All of them are speculative and written by women – though the sex of the author wasn’t a conscious choice. I’ve also been reading a bit of Kate Morton. I love a mystery and her grand houses with a past books are ones I really enjoy. Then there’s Kirsten Tranter’s The Legacy which reminded me of The Great Gatsby and American writer Donna Tartt, just beautifully written and compelling. I’m hoping to read her new one, A Common Loss, when I get time.
5. Two years on from Aussiecon 4, what do you think are some of the biggest changes to the Australian Spec Fic scene?
Hard to say living in the back of beyond as I do as I don’t make it to many conventions or get together unfortunately, but I think having the world convention here at that time has helped boost the profile of Australian writers and writing more here and overseas. Though it’s a very tough market at the moment to get anything published speculative fiction still does appear to be thriving and growing. A lot of it is driven by the increasing popularity – and sales margins – of the YA market. It’s one of the biggest right now and I’ve noticed an increase in previously purely contemporary fiction writers publishing speculative fiction YA. For example, Tara Moss who was known for her adult crime fiction put out her Pandora English series, which is YA gothic and she’s only one of many crossing over here and internationally. I think here in Australia, just like the rest of the world, speculative fiction as a whole is becoming more mainstream driven by the success of Twilight and its movies, The Hunger Games, and the successful adaptation to TV of series such as Game of Thrones. We can only hope that an Australian writer’s series is the next big thing in movies or TV!