Interview by Rivqa Rafael.
S. G. Larner is a denizen of sunny Brisbane, Australia, where she wrangles three children, studies a Master of Information Science, works in an academic library, and complains about the heat. She tends to explore the dark underbelly of the world in her short fiction and poetry, in genres ranging from literary to science fiction and dark fantasy. Her artwork ranges from realism to fantastical. Recently she’s started exploring combining her poetry with original musical compositions.
Her work has been published by Apex, Aurealis, the Australian Poetry Journal, Fablecroft, SQ Mag, Tincture Journal, and Tiny Owl Workshop, among others. In her non-existent spare time she’s training to become a ninja, and runs a school library. She occasionally tweets as @StaceySarasvati and can be found at Forego Reality.
You’re currently working on a Master of Information Science, majoring in Library and Information Practice – how has that affected your writing, beyond taking away time for it? Do you feel like you’re seeing things from another angle?
In the beginning, studying was a means to an end for me, a way to get my family out of the low-income mire; I had always intended to keep writing through my degree. What I didn’t anticipate was how much I’d enjoy studying again and how much the content would interest me. I definitely think it’s affected a lot of the ways I approach my writing and vice versa: I think I have an advantage over a lot of the other students because my writing activities have naturally led to a lot of the professional practice that we’re encouraged to do as librarians. But librarians have a real sense of end-user needs, which I think writers, because we are so protective of our “creative imperative”, sometimes lose sight of. I started writing a blog post of things writers could learn from librarians but I never finished it because busy. Librarians are hardcore!
I still find myself torn between my identity as a writer and my forming identity as a librarian (or information professional). And the lack of publications this year is very painful!
A lot of your recent work is poetry, both audio and print. Do you have a different process for composing a poem for audio, or does the decision to record happen after a poem is written?
Hmmm, the first audio poem I recorded solo was composed in my head with a general sense of the musical accompaniment along with the words. That was “Collector”, and the rest of the audio poems have been me putting music to pre-existing poems I’d never considered would become audio poems. I will probably work through a backlog of poems I think would suit the musical format and then once that’s done will turn to composing audio poems like I did “Collector”. I love the creative process of audio poems but I do need a good block of uninterrupted quiet time to get them done, hence the lack of anything recently!
You work in so many different forms – prose, poetry and visual art. What can we expect to see next from you?
I’m very much hoping to get my fantasy novella out in the near future, as well as a couple of short stories I am hoping will sell soon (one fantasy, the other sci-fi and very much inspired by my degree!). There is an audio poem almost complete, but I’m having a bit of a problem with one of the layers I recorded (i.e. I don’t like it) so need to find some time to fix that. But it would be really nice to get something visual out soon… even if I just pop it up on my blog.
What Australian work have you loved recently?
I adored Deb Kalin’s Cherry Crow Children collection from Twelfth Planet Press. I tend to read a lot of the same authors so it was beautiful to find a new (to me) voice with so much to offer. I’ve also been reading some children’s and YA books because of my librarian persona and I loved A Single Stone by Meg McKinlay, and Figgy in the World by Tamsin Janu. Figgy is one of those children’s books that hits you right in the feels, I can’t wait for my daughter to read it. I’m looking forward to reading Vigil by Angela Slatter as well, I loved the short story it’s based on.
Which author (living or dead) would you most like to sit next to on a long plane trip and why?
I always feel like I’m bad at these questions! It would totally depend on my mood. Am I in a social mood? Am I likely to be overcome by fangirl idiocy? I’m going to go with Mary Shelley, though, because I think it would be fascinating to find out her account of her life and the writing of Frankenstein, and you know, is it true about Lord Byron and all that.