2014 Snapshot Archive: Garth Nix

First published at Katharine Stubbs’ blog.

cropped-snaphotlogo2014.pngGARTH NIX has been a full-time writer since 2001. He has worked as a literary agent, marketing consultant, book editor, book publicist, book sales representative, bookseller and as a part-time soldier in the Australian Army Reserve. Garth’s books include the award-winning fantasy novelsSabriel, Lirael and Abhorsen and the science fiction novels Shade’s Children and A Confusion of Princes. His fantasy novels for children include The Ragwitch; the six books of The Seventh Towersequence; The Keys to the Kingdom series; and the Troubletwisters books and Spirit Animals: Blood Ties (both with Sean Williams). His next book will be Clariel, a prequel set in the same world as Sabriel.

More than five million copies of Garth’s books have been sold around the world. His books have appeared on the bestseller lists of The New York Times, Publishers Weekly, The Guardian and The Australian, and his work has been translated into 40 languages.

Garth also produced the IF Award-winning and ACTAA-nominated short animated film The Missing Key, directed by Jonathan Nix; is a silent partner in the literary agency Curtis Brown (Australia); and is a co-founder of the online games developer Creative Enclave.

He lives in a Sydney beach suburb with his wife and two children. Find him online atwww.garthnix.com.

1. The fourth book in the Troubletwisters series, Missing, Presumed Evil (also known as simply The Missing), came out earlier this year. This is a series you write with fellow Australian author Sean Williams, and you spoke with us about it last Snapshot. What plans do you have for the series, and is the process of co-writing still the same?

The co-writing process has remained the same throughout the series. It works well, so there’s been no need to change! We’re currently weighing up various options with Troubletwisters. We might continue the series or we might start something new. We do enjoy writing together so hopefully that will continue.

2. The first book in the Old Kingdom/Abhorsen series, Sabriel, came out in 1995. Now Clariel, a fourth book which is said to be a prequel, is due out in October 2014. What has the journey been like, and what does the future look like for the series as a whole?

Clariel is a prequel, it takes place about 600 years before the events of Sabriel. It deals with the early life of the necromancer Chlorr, who appears in Lirael, and I’ve been thinking about writing it ever since I was writing Lirael, way back around 1999 or so. I just had other things I ended up writing first. It’s been interesting for me going back to the Old Kingdom. I had to re-read all my own books and the two novelettes set in that world (‘Nichoals Sayre and the Creature in the Case’ and ‘To Hold the Bridge”) to remind myself about numerous details. I am currently writing another Old Kingdom book, which takes place not long after the events of Abhorsen. I do have notes for numerous stories set in the world of Old Kingdom, but I have no idea when I’ll get to them, since I also have a great many ideas for other stories as well.

3. What books do you have planned for the future, and what can you tell us about them? Perhaps something like Newt’s Emerald? Or perhaps another YA space opera novel?

I have a collection of my short fiction, named after the lead story To Hold the Bridge. That will be out next year, as will a print version of Newt’s Emerald, which I will probably expand a bit. After that, there will be the next Old Kingdom novel. I already have the title, but we’re keeping it under wraps for now. And there’ll be something co-written with Sean. And a bunch of short fiction.

4. What Australian works have you loved recently?

I haven’t read much fantasy and SF works recently, by Australians or anyone else. I enjoyed Sean’s TWINMAKER and am looking forward to the sequel. The story collection KALEIDOSCOPE edited by Alisa Krasnostein, which I read in proof pages recently, has some really good stories in it and overall is a strong anthology. I also just finished an ARC of AFTERWORLDS by Scott Westerfeld, which I thoroughly enjoyed, not least for its portrayal of the (US) Young Adult publishing world. He also made me look up the “parsley massacre”.

5. 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 don’t think the changes in the industry have had much effect on the way I work. I’ve always worked with the philosophy “write what you want to and then figure out what to do with it”, and I’ve pretty much stuck with that. What has changed is the “figure out what to with it” part, because there are more options now in terms of self-publishing, but at the same time, some of the old avenues have shrunk or become uneconomic. As always, keeping informed and educated about the business always pays off, as does working with the best possible partners, particularly agents and publishers.

I’m not a great predictor of the future, but five years is not far away. I suspect I’ll still be reading the eclectic mix I read now, which includes all kinds of non-fiction and fiction, and pretty much all genres. In terms of writing, probably much the same as well, though I might finally get around to writing a contemporary thriller by then. Publishing may have changed more, these next few years are going to be pretty challenging for everyone in publishing, whether they are part of the legacy system or self-publishers. Nothing is likely to stay the same, however you’re published or publishing, and those who expect it will might be in for a shock. But there will opportunities as well as threats.


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