2020 Snapshot: Kathryn Hore

Kathryn is a Melbourne based writer of speculative and thriller fiction with a taste for blending dark genres in twisting ways, occasionally throwing in a dash of romance for good measure. Her short fiction has been published in anthologies and magazines, including Aurealis, Midnight Echo and The Crime Factory, recent anthologies such as Transcendent (Transmundane Press) and Beautiful Lies Painful Truths (Left Hand Press), and also in “Best Of” collections such as the Australasian Horror Writers Association’s Dead of Night.

Her debut novel, The Wildcard, is due out from IFWG Publishing in early 2021 and you can find Kathryn via her website www.letmedigress.com or on the usual social media haunts of Facebook/Twitter/Instagram as @kahmelb  

  1. Tell us about your recent publications/projects?

It’s been about ten years since I started submitting short stories to publishers and getting serious about my writing, writing with an aim for publication as opposed to just writing for myself.

Last year, almost 10 years exactly since my first professional short story publication, I signed my first book contract with IFWG Australia, for The Wildcard. It’s a dark thriller due out in early 2021, set among a subculture of card players who bet anything they can think of – favours, information, secrets, even coffee. We’re just heading into the editorial process now and I’m very much looking forward to this new experience as a debut novelist.

In the meantime, I’ve been working on a couple of new novel-length projects. A Spec Fic urban decay manuscript set in a crumbling near-future city on the verge of post-literacy, and a quirky mystery set in an academic library overnight with poisoned books and obsessive librarians.

But my main WIP has been redrafting a Spec Fic Western, which is set, of all things, twenty years after a viral pandemic decimates the world. The early drafts of this were written a handful of years ago, so I swear this isn’t a COVID novel, but it has been a strange experience redrafting it during the coronavirus lockdowns. I’m currently in the middle of working through feedback from my agent and am aiming to have it ready for her to start getting it out there next year.

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

Writing can be so solitary that I’ve found it essential to develop contacts and networks and friendships with other writers, editors and publishing people, in order to share experiences, thoughts and support. I’ve had some fantastic experiences with my writing community, having made some great friends through participation in groups like the Australasian Horror Writers Association (AHWA), attending meet ups and events and going on writing retreats with them.

It can be a long time between drinks when you’re a writer. Because I’ve been focussing entirely on novel-length manuscripts for a couple of years, my last short story publication was in 2018, which feels like forever ago now. Being able to connect with other writers, editors and publishers, and keeping involved with the SF community though things like judging the Shadows Awards, is a great support during those long periods where, as a writer, you’re focussing on the work and not necessarily singing out successes.

I also love my writing groups. I’ve been a part of several over the years with friends made while studying Professional Writing & Editing at RMIT, or through the AHWA, or through Writers Vic workshops. Those writing groups are great for polishing work and brainstorming ideas, or just chatting about writing with others who ‘get’ it.

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

This has to be the hardest question to answer, because there are so many fantastic writers and books out there in the Australian/NZ spec fic world. I’ve judged the short fiction category of the Australasian Shadows Awards for the last couple of years and some of the writers whose work still sticks with me from that includes people like Kaaron Warren, Joanne Anderton, Alan Baxter, Lee Murray, Matthew R Davies, Piper Mejia, Kyla Lee Ward, Lee Battersby, JS Bruekelaar, J Ashley Smith, and so many others. This is just off the top of my head, so I know I’ll have missed many excellent names.

I love small and independent presses too, as they often publish really exciting works, so I’m always looking out to see what’s being released from the likes of IFWG, or Ticonderoga Publications, or places like Meerkat Press which publish several Australian & New Zealand authors.

Some books I’ve recently read and admired include Kaaron Warren’s The Grief Hole, Alan Baxter’s Crow Shine collection, the anthology Burning Love and Bleeding Hearts, Jason Franks’ Faerie Apocalypse and Melissa Ferguson’s The Shining Wall. There’s so much out there to choose from – the spec fic community in Australia/NZ is very strong and producing so much excellent writing.

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