2020 Snapshot: Helen Lowe

Helen Lowe is a novelist, poet, and blogger, whose first novel, Thornspell (Knopf), was published to critical praise in 2008. The Heir of Night (The Wall Of Night Series, Book One) received several awards including the Gemmell Morningstar Award 2012, while The Gathering Of The Lost, was shortlisted for the Gemmell Legend Award in 2013. Daughter Of Blood (Book Three), is the most recently published and Helen is currently completing the final novel in the series. Her poetry and short fiction has also been published and anthologized in NZ and overseas. Helen posts regularly on her “…on Anything, Really” blog, monthly on the Supernatural Underground, and tweets @helenl0we

1. Tell us about your recent publications/projects?

I am currently writing the fourth and final novel in my The Wall Of Night series, with The Heir of NightThe Gathering of the Lost, and Daughter of Blood all preceding it. Novels are the “long form” in literary terms and WALL #4 (working title: The Chaos Gate) is proving proverbially long, but I can now see the end, even if it’s someway off still. As projects go, completing the series is fairly all consuming, but I am also a poet and haijin, so was delighted to have work included in number eight wire, the Fourth New Zealand Haiku Anthology, which covers the decade 2008-2018.

2. What has been the best publishing experience of your career so far?

I love working with Kate Nintzel, the lead editor for The Wall Of Night series, because she always groks the characters and the story, as well as supporting my writing process. I believe the publication of every book is special in its own way, but Daughter of Blood (WALL #3) felt pretty exciting because the US publisher gave the series a new jacket treatment and also organized a blog tour, which was a first for me. Having said that, writer friends contributed to and enabled a very cool book tour for The Gathering of the Lost (WALL #2) as well, a few years earlier. I had an actual, for real, realtime launch party for Gathering, too, in the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquakes, which felt pretty special in and of itself.

3. Which recent Australian/NZ work would you recommend to international fans interested in expanding their Antipodean spec fic knowledge? 

I think pretty much everyone has been talking about Elizabeth Knox’s The Absolute Book (Victoria University Press, 2019), but other exciting NZ specfic publications in the past year include the Tim Jones novella Where We Land (The Cuba Press, 2019), which is near-future dystopian fiction, centered on climate change and refugee migration. From a Shadow Grave (Paper Road Press, 2019) by Andi C Buchanan, is a paranormal novella which reimagines a real murder that took place in Wellington NZ in 1931. It was published to critical praise, made it to the NZ bestseller list when first published, and is a current finalist for the Sir Julius Vogel Award 2020 for Best Novella. A very recent publication, which is also garnering critical and reader praise is AJ Fitzwater’s The Voyages of Cinrak the Dapper (Queen of Swords Press, 2020.) I particularly like the tagline: Lesbian. Capybara. Pirate. Also dapper. I interviewed AJ Fitzwater very recently on the Supernatural Underground blog, for those interested in finding out moar.

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