2016 Snapshot: Andrea K Höst

Interview by Tehani Wessely.

akhAndrea K Höst is a Swedish-born Australian writer currently living in Sydney.  She spares time between gaming and admiring the weeds in her garden to write the kind of books she likes to read: SFF stories that aim for a ‘zero difference‘ approach to matters of gender, race or sexuality – while adventuring in fantastical worlds.  In between this she has a day job, a demanding cat, and avoids Sydney traffic.  Somehow she has managed to publish over a dozen novels, including an alien invasion located in Sydney, an alt-Earth where people give their allegiance to actively-involved gods, and quite an excessive number of fantasies involving powerful female mages.  She is best-known for The Touchstone Trilogy, where a genre-savvy teen gets writer’s cramp because psychic space ninjas.

Goodreads tells me you have more than one book series underway right now – what is the appeal of working in multiple worlds like that?
Swapping from one world to another functions as a ‘refresh’ for me – giving me time to gain some distance on a work and look at it with new eyes.  Or, it can give me a chance to forget half the details and have to make them up all over again.  I always have a dozen books I want to write, and usually it’s a matter of picking which one I most want to put out next.
Embarking on two actual series is new to me.  Usually I write a stand-alone novel, and then maybe a sequel, but the Trifold Age series has a major plot arc that goes over five books (along with some side-stories), and The Singularity Game is entirely open-ended, with at least three novels roughly mapped out, with a great deal of scope for more.  One series is daunting enough – two and…well, I feel sorry for the more impatient of my readers.
SnugShipsmYou’ve been self-publishing for several years and I wonder if you could tell us a bit about your process for this? What happens next after you type “The End” on a manuscript?
It varies a little from book to book.  I do a lot of rewriting as I go along, and produce a fairly clean first draft.  I also generally have cover art ordered and a near-final cover prepared long before the book is ready. [My covers motivate me, and I like to use them as desktop wallpaper as I write.]
Once the first draft is done I usually:
– Send to beta(s).
– Edit for any beta feedback.
– Send to editor (light copy editing plus structural comments).
– Edit any editor feedback.
– Prepare trade paperback and final cover (I do the cover design myself, usually after commissioning artwork).
– Upload the TPB.
– Prepare ebook versions for the various different vendors.
– Send an announcement to my mailing list.
– Put an announcement on my blog.
– Maybe do a Goodreads giveaway.
I don’t do a lot of other promotion.  It’s not fun for me, so I’m content to write and publish, and let my audience grow slowly.
Can you tell us what are you working on at the moment that we might see in the next year or so?
Earlier this year I published The Sleeping Life (a mage-focused fantasy, and sequel to Stained Glass Monsters) and I just a couple of weeks ago finished the first draft of The Towers, the Moon (which was intended to be three short stories in between The Pyramids of London and Tangleways in the Trifold Age series, but turned into one short story, one novelette and one novella).  It’s off with the editor, and the awesome @likhain is currently working on the cover art.
While it’s ‘away’, I’m working on a side-project.  Once TT,tM is published, I’ll plunge into Snug Ship, which is the first in a series involving ‘true’ virtual reality (none of this big headset and nausea nonsense).  Thus I will be able to call my game-playing ‘research’ and fantasise about claiming it all back on taxes.
SleepingLifeMediumWhat Australian work have you loved recently?
Most recently I’ve been catching up on Platinum Grit, a long-running and delightfully weird comic by Trudy Cooper (also known for the very very NSFW Oglaf).  I first bought an issue of Platinum Grit in a comic shop what must be twenty years ago now…
Which author (living or dead) would you most like to sit next to on a long plane trip and why?
I’m miserable company on long plane trips, and would far rather not sit next to anyone. 😀  If it was a short plane trip, then it would be a choice between Diana Wynne Jones, who I would completely be unable to talk to because I would be awed and probably just sneak mortified glances at her and go all shades of red – or (perhaps more sensibly) someone I’ve at least spoken to over the internet and could chat to, like Sherwood Smith or Rachel Neumeier, both of whom have been awesomely supportive of me (and write kickass novels).
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