Lucy Sussex is a New Zealand born fantasy and science fiction author, editor and academic, who also write horror, crime and detective fiction. She has published multiple novels and short story collections, the most recent of which are Thief of Lives (Twelfth Plant Press) and Matilda Told Such Dreadful Lies (Ticonderoga Publications). Lucy has kindly agreed to answer my questions for Snapshot 2014.
1. What are you working on at present? If you can talk about it, that is.
I’m slowly getting through my to-do list. That means, so far this year: writing a Cthulhu story in the persona of a early twentieth-century sea captain; then another, about dolls, in Jane Austen style; a novelette and short story on the theme of heroines; revising a new edition of The Scarlet Rider for Ticonderoga; and a new edition of Ellen Davitt’s Force and Fraud (1865), the first murder mystery novel in Australia. Next is looking at a proposal for a non-fiction collection, a co-authored article, and the second half of a novel that needs writing. Not to mention the review of Viv Albertine’s memoir due tomorrow! I’m also expecting edits of my non-fiction Victorian Blockbuster, about Fergus Hume and the Mystery of a Hansom Cab soon.
2. Previously you have written both short and long fiction – what is it you like about working in the different formats?
Short fiction is sprinting. If you get on a roll, you can finish in several days. A long fiction is protracted and time-consuming, though rather more lucrative. Both have their different pleasures.
3. What do you have planned for your writing in the next 12 to 18 months? Do you plan a long way ahead or does your work develop more intuitively?
I want to finish the novel in the next year—but beyond that, no great plans. Something always comes along… I’m not so much a planner as someone to whom things happen serendipitously. Which makes it all the more fun.
4. What Australian works have you loved recently?
Tim Low’s Where Song Began is a terrific piece of science-writing, about the origins of Australian birds, and their influebce. Julie Szego’s The Tainted Trial of Farah Jama is true crime written with utter integrity and research brilliance, about contaminated DNA.
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?
Not particularly. The issue is, can people get their work out there, and can they expect remuneration for their efforts? With the first, it is much harder for newer writers. I don’t usually have problems, as I have enough experience of the market to know where the niche is. It would be lovely to be paid more, but we are all lucky we are not musicians, continually touring to pay the bills. What will I be doing 5 years from now? Well, I might very well be dead!