Interviewed by Helen Stubbs.
Jason Nahrung grew up on a Queensland cattle property and now lives in Ballarat with his wife, the writer Kirstyn McDermott. He has an MA in creative writing and is undertaking a PhD in creative writing with a focus on climate change. His fiction is invariably darkly themed, perhaps reflecting his passion for classic B-grade horror films and ’80s goth rock. His most recent long fiction is the Gothic tale Salvage (Twelfth Planet Press) and 2015’s outback vampire duology Blood and Dust and The Big Smoke (Clan Destine Press). He lurks online at www.jasonnahrung.com.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m enjoying the process of writing mosaic fiction exploring a near-future Brisbane trying to cope with climate change, as part of a PhD in creative writing through The University of Queensland. The mosaic involves about a dozen autonomous but interconnected short stories. It’s fascinating to see how the research into the stories is feeding off and into the research into the exegesis. It’s also a lot of fun, and a bit of work, adapting the stories as they play off and affect each other.
When you look back on yourself starting out as a proto-writer, are there any tips you would give past-you?
One of the best things I ever did to educate myself as a writer was the Year of the Novel, and then the Year of the Edit, programs at Queensland Writers Centre. I was fortunate to have brilliant tutors in Kim Wilkins and Veny Armanno. Until then, I had been a fairly ignorant writer, just letting stories happen fairly organically without much thought about technique.
Can you tell me about a piece of work coming up for publication?
My fantasy short story “Eremon No More” is coming out in PS Publishing’s Dreaming in the Dark anthology, edited by Jack Dann. Jack is a wonderful editor; he fosters new talent and gets the absolute most out of a story. The volume will be an exemplary showcase of Australian talent and I’m damn chuffed to have made the cut
What Australian work have you loved recently?
I’ve finished the first two books of Glenda Larke’s The Forsaken Land trilogy, but sadly the last one is on the to-be-read shelf waiting for a window in my PhD work (it could be some time). I love Larke’s work, both in terms of her exceptional cultural world building and her politics. I recommend her standalone Havenstar and The Aware as two standouts in her quite accomplished canon.
Which author (living or dead) would you most like to sit next to on a long plane trip and why?
I’d prefer to have the row to myself, to be honest, but I wouldn’t mind over the dinner service to ask Bram Stoker just what he was thinking with Dracula’s daytime scene in London; I could also maybe point at my vampire novels and say, “Look, see what you’ve done? This is all, well, mostly, your fault.”
Haha! Nice one.
Check out Jason’s website at www.jasonnahrung.com.