Interview by Helen Stubbs.
Maria Lewis got her start covering police rounds in a newsroom as a teenager and has been working as a professional journalist for the past 10 years. Her work has appeared in the New York Post, Empire Magazine, WHO Weekly, Huffington Post, The Sunday Telegraph, Spook Magazine, Junkee, Daily Life, Penthouse, RendezView, CollegeHumor, News.com.au and SBS, to name but a few.
As a pop culture commentator she has appeared on SBS, ABC, Nine and many more, discussing everything from film feminism to queer representation on television. She is the producer and host of the Eff Yeah Film & Feminism podcast, which looks at feminism within the pop culture sphere.
Based in Sydney, she currently works on news program The Feed which airs on SBS 2 weeknights at 7.30pm.
Who’s Afraid? is her debut novel and was released in Australia in January, 2016 through Hachette Australia and worldwide in July, 2016 from Piatkus/Little Brown Books. The sequel is also scheduled to hit bookshelves on January 17, 2017.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m currently editing the fourth book in the Who’s Afraid? series – tentatively titled Who’s Still Really, Super Afraid Last Summer? *cough* – while on the UK book tour for the first novel. So between the dates and events through England, Ireland and Scotland and the travelling, I’m about half way through tidying up the manuscript so it resembles something readable.
Who’s Afraid? is an urban fantasy tale similar to the works of Charlaine Harris, Patricia Briggs, Anne Bishop, Keri Arthur – bad-ass ladies of that ilk. It follows the story of 22-year-old Tommi Grayson who learns she’s part a descendant of a powerful, Maori werewolf pack and that she too has those terrifying abilities come full moon.
Essentially it was looking at the idea of duality and how you learn to live with the monster inside yourself when that monster is literally a monster. I also had short story published as part of Harper Collins’ anthology of surfing stories – Hot Stuff: Surfing Love – which was about a girl gang preparing to take on one of Australia’s most dangerous surf breaks.
Can you tell me about a piece of work coming up for publication?
I’ve got two pieces coming out soon: I contributed a tale to Doing It! – an anthology of sex positive stories edited by Karen Pickering and published by the University Of Queensland Press in August. Then my second full-length novel and sophomore effort in the Who’s Afraid? series – Who’s Afraid Too? – is released in Australia and New Zealand on January 17, 2017. All the hard work on that bad boy is done and dusted with the proofs away at the printers, so now it’s just a matter of prepping some cool stuff to do when the book drops.
What Australian work have you loved recently?
It’s not a novel per say, but I think the work Ryan Griffen has done on Cleverman is pretty fucking extraordinary to be honest and deserving of a lot more credit than it’s getting in Australia at the moment. The series has been acclaimed and acknowledged on an international level and the second season is greenlit, but locally I don’t think there has been a series as original or ambitious as Cleverman since, well, ever.
Which author (living or dead) would you most like to sit next to on a long plane trip and why?
I think my answer would change depending on the day you asked me, but Maya Angelou or Nora Ephron at the moment.