Liz Grzyb was born in the middle of a thunderstorm in Perth, Western Australia. She is the editor of acclaimed paranormal romance anthologies Scary Kisses and More Scary Kisses, the website Ticon4.com and co-editor of the paranormal noir anthology Damnation & Dames. Liz is also the Fantasy editor for the Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror anthologies from Ticonderoga Publications. Upcoming projects include Dreaming of Djinn, an Arabian Nights-inspired speculative fiction anthology.
1. This year sees you and Talie Helene producing your second Best Australian Fantasy and Horror anthology for Ticonderoga Publications (congratulations on the Aurealis Awards shortlisting for Volume 1!). Could you tell us a little about the impetus behind the project and what it’s like working on this sort of collection?
At Worldcon Russell and I were talking about the idea, and how fun it would be as a tribute to the Datlow and Windling Years’ Bests. I don’t read a lot of horror, so we needed to find a joint editor. Talie was a great choice, as she’s got a thorough background in the horror genre in Australia and we work well together.
I’ve found the Year’s Best a really interesting process to read for: quite different to the way I read for original anthologies. To start with, only reprinting stories means the choice becomes immediately more difficult – most stories are of a pretty good standard because they’ve already gone through the slushing and editing process! In the end, the pieces Talie and I choose have to jump through a lot of other hoops as well as being a great tale – we try to not include too many stories from any one anthology, from any one author, and we like to have a range which reflects the breadth of each genre. Then we argue about whether a particular story “belongs” in Horror or Fantasy … and there is a lot of Australian writing in the past couple of years which really straddles both genres. Lots of fun!
2. It’s only in the past couple of years you started working on print projects at Ticonderoga – what made you decide to pull on the editorial boots and work on your own books?
The biggest impetus really, was that I’ve been a reader for a very long time … and watching Russell putting books together seemed such an interesting process. I’ve been an editor of sorts for longer than I’d like to admit, as I put together a couple of fanzines when I was a navel-gazing (novel-gazing?) teenager. I’ve also been involved in ticonderogaonline.com and the Ticonderoga Publications releases for quite a few years. The actual moment though, was when I was having dinner with Russell, Shane Jiraiya Cummings and Angela Challis and we were throwing around ideas for a paranormal romance anthology. I put out the call for stories for Scary Kisses the next day.
3. I’m hoping the Best Australian Fantasy and Horror series is going to continue, but can you tell us about any other projects you’re thinking about for the future?
We certainly hope so! We’ve been working hard on the YBAF&H recently, but I’ve also got a call out for Orientalist stories for an Arabian Nights-inspired anthology, scheduled for release next year. After that I’m not sure. I might go in a completely opposite direction and do something hard SF.
4. What Australian works have you loved recently?
As you can guess, I’ve been reading a lot of anthologies and short stories in the past couple of years. The Brains of Angela Slatter and Lisa L Hannett are coming up with some amazing stuff which really flicks my switch. I can’t wait to readMidnight & Moonshine to see what’s next for them. Cat Sparks and Deborah Biancotti are also writing fantastic stories which never miss a beat, as are many others.
My preferred reading for relaxation though, is still the novel. In the past couple of years I really enjoyed Trent Jamieson’s Death Works trilogy, and I adore all of Juliet Marillier’s writing. I devoured Nicole Murphy’s Dream of Asarlai series voraciously. Tara Moss’ young adult series is also a lot of fun, and Marianne de Pierres/Delacourt can do no wrong in any genre!
5. Two years on from Aussiecon 4, what do you think are some of the biggest changes to the Australian Spec Fic scene?
Worldcon seemed to simultaneously energise and drain people. I think a lot of people were inspired to get new projects off the ground, but in essence, I’m not sure a lot has changed apart from giving us a bit more of a feeling that Australia isn’t quite as isolated as we feel like we are sometimes.