2020 Snapshot: Claire Fitzpatrick

Claire Fitzpatrick is a visual artist, performance artist, and award-winning author of speculative fiction and non-fiction. Called ‘Australia’s Queen Of Body Horror’ and ‘Australia’s Body Horror Specialist,’ she enjoys writing about anatomy and the darker side of humanity. Her collection Metamorphosis from IFWG Publishing, was hailed as ‘simply heroic,’ ‘graphic, disturbing, honest,’ and ‘nothing short of a masterpiece.’ She lives with her fiance, the spray-paint artist Misery Ink Design, and their weird goblin kids somewhere in Queensland. She and Misery collaborate on The Asylum Diaries, a magazine dedicated to HP Lovecraft and body horror. Claire is currently working on a gory dark fantasy novella about shapeshifters while simultaneously wondering what the hell she’s doing with her life. Do you know? Let her know through interpretive dance. Visit her at www.clairefitzpatrick.net

  1. Tell us about your recent publications/projects?

My most recent non-fiction publication is an article in Aurealis #131 titled ‘What Can We Learn from Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s ‘Good Omens’?’ The book remains a beloved story by many, reflective of its longevity. My article is about the reasons why the story remains relevant and the lessons we continue to learn from it that we can use in our everyday lives. There are four main conclusions I drew from the book. They are:

  • We don’t always have to always form relationships with others who share our point of view. It’s healthy to surround ourselves with others who challenge our ideas and opinions.
  • We don’t need to take sides in conflicts if they’re unnecessary and add no real value to our lives.
  • It’s ok to be afraid of things we don’t always understand, as it allows us to retain our sense of wonder.
  • Things aren’t always black and white; it’s the grey area that matters most in that it gives us breathing space to learn and explore new ideas and concepts to allow us to continuously develop and grow. Because that’s what being human is all about.

I hope people will read my article and be interested in the book!

I have two upcoming short fiction publications and an essay on the Snowtown murders in a non-fiction book. I’ve also been writing a novella about shapeshifters for about three years now, and I can’t quite finish the first draft. I can see the ending in the horizon, but there are so many things in the way that it’s all blurry. I’m not quite sure how to get there. One day!

Finally, I’m writing a paranormal short story about a screaming skull based on ‘The Prelude’, a poem by William Wordsworth, and also inspired by Whepstead, a large heritage-listed chamferboard house in the area of which I used to live (and some of my family still do). I’ve always been fascinated with the house, as it was one of the first houses built in the area when it was initially settled. It’s also been many things – most notable its itineration as a private convalescence hospital from 1943 to 1973 – including a restaurant, a seminary, a boarding school, and a hall used to hold extravagant dinner parties for foreign dignitaries, government officials, and military officers. It’s incredibly interesting and has many ghost stories attached! I’m actually more interested in a houses’ architecture as opposed to whether it’s haunted or not. Because all horror writers are interested in architecture, right?

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

I actually think writing for Aurealis has been the best publishing experience of my career. While I won a Shadows award for my self-published non-fiction anthology The Body Horror Book (2016), and I am incredibly humbled and appreciative of everyone who has read and/or reviewed my collection Metamorphosis (2019) from IFWG Publishing, having a steady string of publications from the same magazine has been really stabilizing. I get along with the non-fiction editor quite well, and he generally lets me write about whatever I want. There’s also little or no editing to be done anymore, so it proves to me how far I’ve come with my writing and editing ability.

However, I actually think seeing Metamorphosis book in the library trumps everything, overall. I think if teenage Claire saw it while browsing through the shelves she’d be pretty excited. Or maybe not? Teenage Claire read a lot of fantasy and post-apocalyptic books, and hardly ever read short stories!

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

‘Mary Shelley Makes A Monster’, a poem by Octavia Cade. It was published in 2015, but I believe her book ‘The Stone Wētā’ came out recently, and if it’s as good as her poem, then I’m sure it’s pretty damn great.

I also have to recommend ‘Mongrels’ by Stephen Graham Jones. Yes, he’s American, but the book came out in 2016, and it’s so unexpectedly good!. Just pretend he holds dual citizenship! It’s so horrifyingly human. Like, if Holden Caulfield lived with a family of werewolves, this is what he’d write. I’d love to see it turned into a movie. I awkwardly had a short Twitter interaction with Stephen, and it was super embarrassing. I was fangirling real hard, and did the whole ‘oh, I’m an author, too’, as though that mattered! Basically, teenage Claire in the body of a twenty-nine-year-old Claire. What an idiot!

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