2020 Snapshot: Amanda J Spedding

Amanda J Spedding is a professional editor and award-winning author and graphic novelist. She has twice won the Australian Shadows Award (short fiction; written work in a graphic novel), and was an Aurealis Award finalist in 2019. Amanda has a love of mythos, and a penchant for writing beauty into the macabre. Between client editing, she is writing her first novel, a dystopian/portal fantasy that is way too much fun.

She is the owner of Phoenix Editing, the editor-in-chief at Cohesion Press, and a pitch consultant for Blur Studios.

Amanda lives in Sydney with her sarcastically-gifted husband and two very cool kids. And cats. She has cats. And a rabbit. We don’t talk about the rabbit. Where’s her damn coffee?

1. Tell us about your recent publications/projects?

My last short story publication was in 2018 – “Child of the Emptyness” in Grimdark Magazine. I’m ridiculously proud of this story, as it also earned a finalist berth in the Aurealis Awards for best fantasy story. I’m currently about to hit the second draft of my first novel, which I’m also ridiculously excited about. A dystopian/apocalyptic/portal dark fantasy with generous amounts of horror thrown into the mix as we follow two very broken trying to survive a very broken world. It has gods and monsters and necromancy. There’s no working title apart from ‘The Novel’ because I suck at titling stories.

On the editing front, it would be SNAFU: Medivac, a charity anthology for US horror writer and all-round good guy, James A Moore, put out through Cohesion Press. It’s a rollicking read with some of the best authors working in the field: Alan Baxter, Charles R Rutledge, Kirsten Cross, Greig Beck and Evan Dickens, to name a few. 

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

Ooh, that’s a tough one. Grimdark Magazine were amazing to work with, very professional, but I’ve a soft spot for my graphic novel – The Road to Golgotha. The amount of work that went into shifting it from a short story (published in Midnight Echo) into a script format was a massively steep learning curve, but I loved every minute of it. Having artwork accompanying your words and characters is really something else. Also had the added bonus of it winning the Australian Shadows Award for written work in a graphic novel.

Sitting the other side of the desk a moment. As the editor-in-chief of Cohesion Press, one of the publishing highlights has been working with authors whose stories were picked up by director Tim Miller (Deadpool, Terminator: Dark Fate), for the Netflix series Love, Death & Robots (for both season one and the upcoming season two). It’s been brilliant seeing how that side of the industry works, and that Tim not only appreciates the work you do, but trusts your judgement and ability to collate anthologies he enjoys… took me a while to get my head around that!

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

I’ll try and keep this short because there’s amazing work coming out of Australia and New Zealand, there’s such a wealth of talent here. I can’t stop recommending Devin Madson’s We Ride the Storm (Orbit). It’s such beautifully written, gritty, snarky fantasy tale that blends political machinations, intrigue, and clash of cultures that resonates due the fallibility of its main characters. On the indie front, Belinda Crawford’s sci-fi novel Cold Between Stars. This is an emotional thriller ride that will have your heart racing. When you’re the only one awoken from stasis and your ship is being eaten by a mysterious fug, and you have to save everyone from being jettisoned into the void, every second counts. Loved this tale.

Also check out works from Sam Hawke, Alicia Wanstall-Burke, and Lee Murray. Antipodean ladies kicking genre’s arse.

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