2020 Snapshot: Jo Spurrier

Jo Spurrier was born in 1980 and has a Bachelor of Science, but turned to writing because people tend to get upset when scientists make things up. She lives in Adelaide with her husband, two young sons and a formerly feral cat, and spends a lot of time playing with cars and trains… although she still occasionally daydreams about snow.

Jo’s first novel, Winter Be My Shield, was shortlisted for the 2012 Aurealis Award for best fantasy novel. A Curse of Ash and Embers, book 1 of Tales of the Blackbone Witches, was shortlisted for the 2018 Aurealis Award for best young adult fantasy novel.

1. Tell us about your recent publications/projects?

Most recently I’ve been working on my YA series, Tales of The Blackbone Witches. The books follow the story of Elodie, an apprentice witch, and her teacher, Aleida Blackbone. Elodie is a teenaged girl sent away from home to work as a maid, only to find herself working for and then apprenticed to Aleida, a powerful but wounded young witch. Aleida was the pupil and protégé of the formidable Gyssha Blackbone before rebelling and destroying her, with far-reaching consequences. Now, Elodie strives alongside Aleida as the Blackbone witches attempt to deal with Gyssha’s dark deeds coming home to roost. There are two books out now, A Curse of Ash and Embers,  Daughter of Lies and Ruin.

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

My best and most memorable experience in publishing involves the birth of my eldest son. The final manuscript for my third novel North Star Guide Me Home, was due when I was nine months pregnant, and I was determined to have it finished and delivered before my baby came. I emailed the file in to HarperVoyager just before close of business on a Monday, several weeks before my due date, only to go into labour that evening! The next day, Rochelle from HC replied to say she’d received the manuscript and would try to get the proofs to me before the baby came — I was able to send her a photo of my son and say, ‘Sorry, too late!’.

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

I don’t have as much time for reading as I’d like, with two small children at home, but I’ve just picked up Will Kostakis’ Monuments and can’t wait to get stuck in. It’s come highly recommended and billed as a unique adventure and a quirky urban fantasy filled with diversity and representation.

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