Cherie Mitchell is a prolific New Zealand writer with several published books to her name including Dearest Alice, A Pleasant Family Home, Thompson’s Arcade, and The Ticket. She enjoys travel and new experiences and has lived in Australia (twice) and China. She hasn’t ruled out living in another country once again because she likes surprises. She is currently based in Christchurch and spends her days at her desk, watching overfed ducks clamber out of the stream in front of her house while constructing stories about ghostly or macabre happenings and mysterious haunted houses.
- Tell us about your recent publications/projects?
I’ve just today uploaded my final manuscript of Dearest Alice to Amazon, a quiet horror / speculative mystery involving a group of bitchy / damaged / or unsettled women friends, the obligatory haunted old house in the country, and a couple of plot twists.
I love writing books that explore the complexities of female relationships, that bring in a psychological study or two, and that entwine around fantasy aspects to take the reader away from their staid everyday reality. Plus I really, really like ghosts.
Before Dearest Alice, there was Thompson’s Arcade, a macabre Victorian horror about a deluded freak show owner who will stop at nothing to retain his reputation as the greatest showman in London. Lots of fun to write!
Another new release this year was A Pleasant Family Home, which is also based in a haunted rural property and started off as a spoof before it developed into something more.
- What has been the best publishing or SF community experience of your career so far?
That’s easy. Did I ever tell you about the time I went to America for the weekend (flying out from Christchurch, New Zealand)?
I entered a competition that required the writer to complete an online novel – start to finish, chapter by chapter. I wrote a tale about the citizens of a fictional bay, added a healthy dose of Kiwi sarcasm, and typed The End. A few weeks later, I received an email to say that I was a finalist and my prize included an all-expenses paid return trip to Portland, Oregon to attend the prize-giving event – leaving on a Thursday and returning just 4 days later on a Sunday.
Hmmmm. 25 hours of travel each way to spend just two full days on the ground? Travelling on a shitty, cramped, economy Virgin flight? To a place I knew nothing about, to meet people who had only corresponded with me via email?
Of course I said yes! I have the engraved glass trophy on my bookcase to prove it.
- Which recent Australian/NZ work would you recommend to international fans interested in expanding their Antipodean spec fic knowledge?
I love works written by local authors. That unique way with words, that pinch of wit, that weird way of spelling words that has many American readers irate and keen to demonstrate their advantaged knowledge of the English language in blistering online reviews …
I enjoy the psychological aspects of Kaaron Warren’s novels – Into Bones Like Oil (great title!) is well worth a read and I plan on reading more of her books.