2014 Snapshot Archive: Kaaron Warren

First published at Helen Stubbs’ blog.

Bram Stoker Nominee and Shirley Jackson Award winner Kaaron Warren has lived in Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra and Fiji. She’s sold many short stories, three novels (the multi-award-winning Slights, Walking the Tree and Mistification) and four short story collections. Through Splintered Walls, won a Canberra Critic’s Circle Award for Fiction, an ACT Writers’ and Publisher’s Award, two Ditmar Awards, two Australian Shadows Awards and a Shirley Jackson Award. Her story “Air, Water and the Grove” won the Aurealis Award for Best SF Short Story and will appear in Paula Guran’s Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror. Her latest collection is The Gate Theory.

You can find her at http://kaaronwarren.wordpress.com/ and she Tweets @KaaronWarren

The Gate Theory

What are you working on at the moment?

I’ve always got a few things on the go. At the moment, it’s finishing a novel set in a Time Ball Tower and beginning the next one, a crime and ghost story about the art of Old Parliament House. I’m also writing a story about an obsessive doll collector and finishing one about Catherine Helen Spence.

Your most recent collection was “The Gate Theory” published by Cohesion Press in 2013. The blurb is compelling.

We’re all in pain. We try to keep the gates closed by falling in love, travelling, avoiding responsibility, getting drunk, taking drugs… anything to lose ourselves. But the dull ache remains in each of us.

These stories are about the gates opening.

Can you tell us more about the stories in this collection and your motivation to explore the theme of pain?

Pain is a counter-balance to happiness. Physical pain is of course vital to survival, and I think that perhaps emotional pain is as well. It alerts is to the fact we’re in the wrong place, with the wrong person, or that we have made a mistake. It tells us to run, to get out, to change things.

The title The Gate Theory comes from the gate theory of pain, twisted to my own needs.

All five stories are reprints, gathered together because I felt they built a sense of the loneliness of loss and failure. Of people on the verge of breakdown or of change. And of people coming to understand the pain of the lives they lead. 

Congratulations on your role as editor for the next issue of Midnight Echo. The theme is Sinister and submissions are open until 31st October 2014. What are you looking forward to about working in this role for the Australian Horror Writers Association?

I’m looking forward to hearing new, strong, original voices in the slush pile as well as hopefully stories from some of my favourite Australian and New Zealand writers. It’s the chance for me to create a ‘best of’ of my own. We’re looking at poetry as well and already I’ve seen some great work.

I love the team that puts this together, especially Cassie Britland, who is a brick.

What Australian works have you loved recently?

I can’t go past the Aurealis Award short list for short story collections:

  • The  Bone  Chime  Song  and  Other  Stories by  Joanne  Anderton  (FableCroft  Publishing)
  • Asymmetry by  Thoraiya  Dyer  (Twelfth  Planet  Press)
  • Caution:  Contains  Small  Parts by  Kirstyn  McDermott  (Twelfth  Planet  Press)
  • The  Bride  Price by  Cat  Sparks  (Ticonderoga  Publications)
  • The  Year  of  Ancient  Ghosts by  Kim  Wilkins  (Ticonderoga  Publicatio

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 think that at the moment it is tougher to sell a novel, but easier to sell short stories and novellas. I see a renaissance for the novella, which is a wonderful thing both as writer and reader. It’s a perfect combination of all the good things of the novel and the short story, and I think more markets are opening up to the idea.

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