I’ve always loved writing fiction. Even though my career involved constant academic writing, novels and stories were always there in the background, folders of written and typed manuscripts and then computer files. I secretly thought of myself as a fiction writer – I just had to wait for the time to come to emerge from my scholarly disguise.
Well now is the time to pull those babies out and give them a good wipe-over. A couple of completed romantic novels from the eighties are lurking about, along with a very serious literary project from the early 1990s, BACKEDDY. It’s a good book and I still love it but its complicated structure and weird time frame is giving a lot of trouble every time I try a new edit.
There are short stories which deserve a spin, even though everyone says the form is dead in the water. Commercial publishers won’t touch them unless you are a Big Name. Well too bad, because these days you can publish them anyway and maybe somebody will want to read them and maybe they won’t. Readers’ choice.
A collection based on my experiences in Central Australia in the late sixties to the eighties was originally called ALICE BLOODY SPRINGS. Editing the stories and writing some new ones resulted in a new title RADIANT SANDS. It is in final edit at the beginning of 2017 and should be out soon. I pitched it to Text in Melbourne, which I think is the best publishing house in Australia at the moment. Michael Hayward has steered Text in fabulous directions. I love their republication of long-out-of-print works, like that of Randolph Stow. I waited the required three months and received the short “No thanks” email. So it will go Indie. I put one story, Dust Storm, up on Kindle as a “teaser”. It’s a pity that the book won’t be published by a mainstream Australian publisher as these are genuinely Australian stories based on real experiences in the desert zones, at a time which will never return. But it just takes too long going the trad route and maybe it’s too late now for stories like this to be considered commercially viable.
Another collection of somewhat weird stories is close to completion. REVOLUTIONARY BABY covers a range of situations and culminates in a novella about a middle aged Australian woman who goes to Thailand for cosmetic surgery.
I like the novella length. A recent project is SUBURBAN GIGOLO which will also be published as an e-book in early 2017.
There will be paperback versions available, hopefully to be ordered through this website. The commercial aspect is still in development but it should be possible to order using Paypal through the Blackwing Press tab above, as well as on a new Blackwing Press website, when the paperbacks come out.
And there is more in development, across several genres. I know this is considered fatal, a writer is supposed to write just one kind of story with one style of cover or readers will get too confused. I hope not.
I love the writing process, and am learning all the time, especially given the change in prose structure, tone and narrative style now current. Sometimes with something I wrote twenty years ago it reads more like a nineteenth century author, Henry James or George Eliot. Writing with short sentences, no similes or metaphors, snappy dialogue, showing not telling, forgetting the backstories, eliminating the weather reports …. it’s still English but not as a Literature major learnt it all those years ago.
And learning about independent publishing has been a huge challenge.I’ll be writing a lot more about this in my forthcoming posts.