2020 Snapshot: Lois Murphy

Lois Murphy’s first novel Soonwon the 2015 Tasmanian Premier’s Award for Best Unpublished Novel. It went on to win an Aurelius Award for Best Horror Novel, and was shortlisted for the Colin Roderick Literary Award.

1. Tell us about your recent publications/projects?

My next book is a children’s ghost story. It was due to come out for Halloween this year, but unfortunately Corona virus has held things up a bit, so it’s been delayed until March next year. It’s a story for 10 – 12 year olds, about a boy whose family moves into a dubious old house and the only allies he finds are ones he doesn’t want. It’s essentially a story about reluctance, the antithesis of Harry Potter. Working title is ‘Life Lesson #1: Never Have a Séance in a Haunted House.’ I really enjoyed the characters and their refusal to cooperate, and I’ve always loved ghosts, so I’ve ended up starting work on a sequel, instead of the adult novel I had in mind.

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

I think probably the best experience of publishing for me has been the response of readers. I’m not a limelight personality, and I find any kind of public appearance or interview excruciating, so for me, just having people tell me how much they enjoyed the book, particularly the characters, is the best result, by far the most positive experience of publishing. I was pretty thrilled to have the film rights optioned too.

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

I’m a bit behind in recent publications, I’m ashamed to say, so the two books I would recommend are a little ‘old’ in publishing terms. But the recent(ish) books I would definitely recommend to international fans looking to experience excellent Australian spec writing are Jane Rawson’s From the Wreck, which I just loved for its inventiveness and humour, and fantastic characters, and also Robbie Arnott’s Flames, which I thought was absolutely stunning. Both of these writers weave magic so believably into life, they are incredibly imaginative. I’ve recommended them to a number of people, and as yet everyone’s been blown away. You’ve got to love books that take life as we know it and add a whole new take on reality.


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