2020 Snapshot: Paul Collins

Paul has written many books for young adults. He has many strings to his bow. He’s been an agent, publisher, writer and editor. He is best known for his fantasy and science fiction titles in The Jelindel Chronicles and The Quentaris Chronicles. The Earthborn Wars trilogy was published by Tor in the US. Paul has been short-listed for many awards and has won the Peter McNamara, A Bertram Chandler, Aurealis and William Atheling awards. http://www.paulcollins.com.au

1. Tell us about your recent publications/projects?

James Gong: The Big Hit, was released in May. It pre-sold 2000 copies to book clubs. I’m now fighting the usual uphill battle promoting it. Not an easy task during a pandemic and bookshops have closed as are schools and libraries. Reviews have been great so far. Here are two:
https://losangzopa.wordpress.com/2020/03/29/james-gong-the-big-hit-paul-collins/ and http://dimswritestuff.blogspot.com/2020/06/review-james-gong-big-hit.html

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

Quite a few spring to mind. But I think selling Dragonlinks to Penguin rates highly among them. I’d sent the manuscript to every major publisher in the country, including Penguin, and had it bounced. Then the publisher at Penguin left and Laura Harris replaced her. So I figured, what the heck, it’s just like a new publisher when someone takes over. Lo and behold Laura liked it and took it. Dragonlinks remains my best selling book and is still in print. Three books in the series came after it. It sold Spanish rights. Another is when TOR (US) bought The Earthborn and The Skyborn, two YA novels. Again, I tried getting them published in Australia but had no luck. An American agent (Cherry Weiner) sold them to the first publisher she sent them to. Another memorable occasion is when I met a German girl who said she’d send Cyberskin out to German publishers when she returned home. Again, the first publisher she sent it to (Heyne Verlag) bought it. Sometimes you need to think outside the box. It really is a matter of recognising opportunities when you see them.

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

A fan couldn’t go past Sean McMullen’s very current (just written) Worldcon paper on NZ SF and fantasy. Fans can contact him for details via his website: http://www.seanmcmullen.net.au. My own MUP Encyclopaedia of Australian Science Fiction and Fantasy is somewhat out of date now, but still remains the most comprehensive book of its kind. Another is McMullen, Ikin and Blackford’s Strange Constellations.


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