2020 Snapshot: Louise Zedda-Sampson

Louise Zedda-Sampson is a Melbourne-based writer, researcher and editor. Her short stories have appeared in anthologies and her non-fiction in journals and magazines. Louise works as a professional editor and edits for publishers and individual authors. When able, she organises and runs writers’ retreats.  You can visit Louise at: www.novelsolutions.com.au or on Twitter @I_say_meow.

  1. Tell us about your recent publications/projects?

2020 has been a bumper year for new experiences on the writing front. I’m currently reading submissions for my second anthology project Trickster’s Treats: Coming, Buried or Not! with Geneve Flynn for Things in the Well. In August I’ll be on the team judging flash fiction for the Australasian Horror Writers Association (AHWA) Robert N Stephenson Short Story Competition, so more submission reading. I really enjoy the short story form, for both reading and writing. Over the last twelve months, my short stories have been finding more homes, and the greatest writing successes would be making the longlist in the Australian Writers’ Centre’s Furious Fiction competition in March this year, and winning Writers Victoria’s daily 30-word writing challenge one day in April for a zombie story.

Recent spec fic publications have been in Antipodean SF Issue 250, Guilty Pleasures and Other Dark Delights, Infected 2: Tales to Read Alone, plus a few non-fic articles late last year. ‘Finding Your Tribe’, which talks about being part of and building community, appeared in the Writers Victoria magazine The Victorian Writer. My current writing project is short story development through an AHWA mentorship with Kaaron Warren, which is just going to be fantastic. She’s a wonderful human being and such a brilliant writer, and I feel really lucky.

I’ve also thrown my hat in the ring to help Marty Young and a bunch of other horror-lovin’ folk organise a horror convention, hopefully for 2021, and I’m a relatively new committee member of the Australian Speculative Fiction Foundation.

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

In the days before social distancing and lockdowns in Victoria, I’d run writers’ retreats, horror writer catch-ups and attend conventions. These are such great community-building things, and being involved in all of them has been fabulous. To replace this during lockdowns, to some extent, I’ve started a writing group where we catch up on Zoom every two weeks. Anything that helps connect writers and editors and publishing people so that everyone learns and grows is pretty much paramount for me, so I can’t single out a single ‘best’ community experience.

As far as publishing goes, working with Chris Mason over the Christmas period on the charity anthology Burning Love and Bleeding Hearts to raise funds to support bushfire victims was a massive highlight. It was my first anthology project, and I loved working on it and working with Chris. We received 200 submissions in four weeks, so it was pretty intense, especially as we chose to work with proofreaders and authors with various levels of experience to collate and edit 60 stories. I’m looking forward to recreating this experience with the current anthology.

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

There are so many talented Australasian authors. A great way to find new spec fic authors is to pick up an anthology or two in the sub-genre you like and read it! I’ve discovered some amazing authors by doing this and have then been pleasantly surprised—once I’ve googled—to find they have books out as well. We often rely on the authors we know to feed us new stories, but if we keep doing this, we miss the richness and diversity other Australian authors have to offer.

A great spread of Australian authors can be found on the Antipodean SF website, where you can read their short stories for free.  My current to-be-read list includes novels and collections by Matthew R Davis, Angela Slatter, Lee Murray, Kaaron Warren, Joseph Ashley Smith, Eugen Bacon, Jason Franks, Claire McKenna, Margo Lanagan, Rachel Nightingale, Aiki Flinthart, Alan Baxter, Andrew Cull and many others. If only there was more time to read!

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