2016 Snapshot: Suzanne J Willis

Interview by Tehani Wessely.

Suzanne is a Melbourne, Australia-based writer, a graduate of Clarion South and an Aurealis Awards finalist. Her stories have appeared or are forthcoming in anthologies by PS Publishing, Prime Books, Fablecroft Publishing and Fox Spirit Press, and in Fantasy Scroll Magazine, SQ Mag, Mythic Delirium, Capricious SF and the British Fantasy Society JournalSuzanne’s tales are inspired by fairytales, ghost stories and all things strange, and she can be found online at suzannejwillis.webs.com

You’ve had quite a few short stories published recently – are there any markets you were particularly pleased to crack?

Every sale is a buzz, but a recent highlight is Mythic Delirium, which is a publication that I have adored for some time now for its beautiful stories and breathtaking poetry.  I originally submitted my story “The Cartographer’s Price” to Clockwork Phoenix 5.  It wasn’t accepted for the anthology, but was offered publication in Mythic Delirium Issue 3.1 instead!  SQ Mag is another one I was particularly excited about, as it’s a wonderful Australian publication that showcases work from writers around the world.  The magazine had published a number of Australian writers that I admire and I’m chuffed that they published two of my stories in the last 12 months.

Do you have any plans for novel-length work in the future?

I’m currently working on a novel based on my short story Number 73 Glad Avenue that was published in FableCroft’s 2013 anthology One Small Step.  It’s in the early stages, but tells the tale of time-travelling party people, Mary and Charlie, who are collecting time from people in various eras across history.  Things become complicated when Freya joins them from the 1920s and it becomes apparent that all is not as simple as it seems (if time travel is ever simple!).  There are parties with the dead in graveyards, séances with charlatans, museums with ghastly and ghostly exhibits, and even a love story tucked away in quiet moments.

Can you tell us what are you working on at the moment that we might see in the next year or so?

I have a number of short stories due for publication over the next twelve months, including a tale of dinosaurs and lost cities in Rhonda Parrish’s D is for Dinosaur, the next in the Alphabet Anthology series, due out in 2017.  I’ve also recently received the title and my “letter” for the next anthology in that series and am beginning work on my tale for that one, which is due out in 2018.  Then there’s another couple of short stories in the works – one about a snowy owl who is also the season, Winter, and is desperately trying to reclaim her secret city, another about a city that has been taken over by song.  I’m a bit obsessed at the moment with cities and their secrets and histories, so there are a few stories yet that will cover those themes!

What Australian work have you loved recently?

Vigil, by the incomparable Angela Slatter – I began reading on a Saturday morning, and forgot everything else, including the housework and the writing I had planned to do, until I finished on Sunday afternoon!  The short stories of Angela Rega are amazing, with so much heart and depth of character (a recent favourite is The Return of Melusine)Another standout novel was Magrit by Lee Battersby, which was haunting and lovely and has stayed at the edges of my mind for many weeks now.

Which author (living or dead) would you most like to sit next to on a long plane trip and why?

Oscar Wilde.  He would be wildly more entertaining than the in-flight movies and would also be hilariously inappropriate.  Or Jeanette Winterson, simply to bask in the glow of her genius (that’s the fan-girl in me talking!).


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