Interview by Helen Stubbs.
M.A. Dunham was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She eventually left her snowy climate for the much warmer and stranger land of Australia. She lives with her family and cat overlords on the sunny coast, and spends much of her free time reading, daydreaming and baking.
What are you working on at the moment? Also, please tell me about your work with Conflux?
I’m currently in the middle of finishing up the last parts of a book for my long-suffering editor. It’s a historical spy satire with a female spy, and I’m just so excited to be finishing it up, because I’m keen to get to the next one. In between that, I’m editing other people’s books and grants.
This is my second year volunteering for Conflux. I’m heading up pitching sessions, and I’m really excited at the number of interested parties this year. Cross my fingers, I’m going to have a few new faces to go with our well-known ones.
Tell me about your past work.
Previously, my writing has been solely fantasy-based. Even my mystery series I’m working on is with a real world magic twist. I’ve never been one to explore outside my interest, until I started writing my spy series. It’s been really fun in a different way, because I love using what is naturally part of a world’s makeup and using that against my protagonist, as to me, pressure from society, family, friends and so on are a normal part of anyone’s story. I can use that in my spy work as much as my fantasy.
Growing as a writer means pushing your own boundaries, making more mistakes and not being afraid to wade in there. Each story I’ve written has taught me new skills, and I just love the feeling it gives me at the end. It’s worth all the angst.
What do you plan to work on next?
I’m almost afraid to answer this, because I know I’m going to get questions! A synopsis for my second spy novel is top of the list, and after that I’m tossing up finishing a book I’ve been putting off for awhile, or writing the third in my Entwined series. The third is centered around two quite popular characters in the series, Hazel and Ariel, and I’m lucky people love what started as an experimental series, as it’s a timeline-jumping novella series.
What Australian work have you loved recently?
I’ve been taking my time reading Cranky Ladies of History, an incredible short story collection edited by Tehani Croft and Tansy Roberts. It’s one of those collections you don’t want to have end!
Which author (living or dead) would you most like to sit next to on a long plane trip and why?
Anne McCaffrey. She broke so many boundaries in the fantasy/sci-fi world for women, and is an incredible storyteller. She’s been a personal hero to me since seventh grade, when I picked up the Pern series, and was blown away. I think she was the first woman I’d ever scoured in the fantasy section that wasn’t a romance/erotica in disguise. The stories she could tell.