Donna Maree Hanson is a Canberra-based author of fantasy, science fiction, horror, and paranormal romance. She has had about 20 short stories published in various small press and ezines. In January 2013, her first longer work, Rayessa & the Space Pirates, was published with Harlequin Escape digital publishers. Occasionally, Donna writes reviews and articles and beta reads for some published author friends.
Thank you very much for asking me to be a part of this.
You’ve just have just signed a contract with Momentum for a dark fantasy series, Dragon Wine. Can you tell us a bit about this book?
I’m very excited about Dragon Wine as it’s been a book I’ve been working on since 2005. In those days I entered it into the Varuna Manuscript Development Awards that Varuna did with Harper Collins and it was long listed the first time. I’d only written 25,000 words at the time and then had to write more. Alas it didn’t get short listed, but I did enter again and wrote more to do that and then again, until I had to whole thing written. In the end I did make the short list but not the final cut and I won a longlines fellowship for it.
So Momentum (Pan Macmillan’s digital imprint) have acquired Dragon Wine, which my agent coined as post-apocalyptic dragons. It’s a dark fantasy with a science fiction setting on a nasty world where human kind is near its end and just about everyone is pretty nasty except for the few who want to save the world and make it a better place. Mixed in with that is some alien inventions, subterranean cities, lost technology (including alien technology). Salinda is the main character and she caries this sort of magical gift, the cadre, which is knowledge and power handed down from moon fall. As the story develops, it become apparent why it’s called a cadre.
Momentum are releasing Dragon Wine as a series, the first being Shatterwing in September, followed by Skywatcher in October. There is more but that depends on the reception for these first two.
Considering I also have paranormal romance out under my pen name on 1 August, Dragon Wine is by comparison a little unromantic, I believe.
You’ve also had quite a few short stories published. Do you see yourself more as a short story writer or a novelist?
I love the short story form but I’ve always been a novelist first. It takes a lot longer to write and sell novels. Lately it’s been hard to sell short stories and I find that depresses my desire to write them. On the other hand I have been selling a number of novels. I have four novels out this year, ranging in length from 55,000 to over 80,000 words. I’m no longer taking a day off a week to write so the pressure is on and short stories, while I love them and have ideas for them are just taking a back burner.
What are you working on now? What can readers expect to see from you next?
Mmm…well I’m working on another paranormal romance, then another, then a steampunk YA sequel to Ruby Heart, which my agent is currently sending around to publishers. I will have to do more work on the Dragon Wine series. I have the next instalment written, but it needs polishing. I also have another YA fantasy that just missed out on a print deal and I’m thinking I might bring the whole trilogy out next year as a self-published/indie published thing as the last round of submission hell was 16 months and it ended up be a no and well I’m a bit over the waiting, waiting and then nothing. The market is tough right now in traditional publishing and while I’ve been a good girl these last 12 years towing the traditional publishing line, I realise that the world has changed around me. That’s why I’m embracing digital publishing because I write stories for people to read and this way they are getting an audience.
My first publication, Rayessa and the Space Pirates, a ya, sci fi action-adventure romance is still selling. Not famously or anything but it’s being bought and hopefully read. BTW I’ve just had the sequel accepted for publication so that will be out next year.
What Australian works have you loved recently?
I’ve read some fab Australian stuff this year. The Lascar’s Dagger by Glenda Larke. OMG, Glenda has really, really kicked butt with this. I read this and think the world building is awesome, the scope of her ideas has knocked me over. The Thief’s Magic by Trudi Canavan. Again I’m intrigued to see where Trudi takes us on this one. I’ve also read and love,Untamed by Anna Cowan, which is a Regency romance but with a difference and local Canberran, JT Clay with her Single Girl’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse, which was fab. I also very much enjoyed Amanda Bridgeman’s Aurora Darwin.
Have recent changes in the publishing industry influenced the way you work? What do you think you will be publishing/writing/reading in five years from now?
I’m not sure the changes in the industry have changed the way I work, except to give me a new momentum and focus. I’ve had to change my long held values about following the traditional publishing route. I’ve seen how the print book market has let some writers down. Not their fault if the book shops fail and there is no one to sell the books for people to buy. There’s is an adjustment going on and that is going to continue for a while I think. Digital publishing gives both publishers and writers more freedom. It’s getting down to publishers having to offer something different to both writers and readers to keep them. I’m very much interested in the digital experiment. I believe there will be print books in five years, but also a lot of digital content that ‘s cheaper and more readily available.