Friday 26th April / posted by Rhian Todhunter
A VERY BUSY GUY
Literary prize-winner Guy Salvidge is a busy man.
With two stories being published this year, a sequel underway, and plans to start a crime novel in the near future – writer in residence at the Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers’ Centre, Guy Salvidge joins me to treat us to a live reading and look at his busy schedule.
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After many, many hours of editing over the past couple of weeks, I’ve managed to get the ms. of Yellowcake Summer up to what I call ‘Second Draft’ status. This means that I’ve cut out nearly 15,000 words of the original 90,000 word long ms., hopefully losing nothing in the process. Now the novel goes off to beta readers and the publisher, IP, and I have a well-earned rest for the next 20 hours until I start back at work for 2013!
In case you don’t know, this new novel is the sequel to Yellowcake Springs, which was published by Glass House Books in 2011 and was shortlisted for the prestigious Norma K Hemming Award in 2012. Yellowcake Summer is a direct sequel but there won’t be a third volume (even though Yellowcake Winter would make a great title, don’t you think?). Nope, it’s a duology or a pair or whatever you call a two book series
I had a lot of fun writing Yellowcake Summer and I imagine it’ll be a fun read too. I can’t wait for you to read it!
Last summer (’11/’12) I started working on the sequel to Yellowcake Springs, entitled Yellowcake Summer. As usual I managed to get the thing half done in the six weeks I had available to me, so now the task is to finish it, or at least the first draft, over the current summer holidays (’12/’13). I’m actually about 2/3 of the way through now, having made a good start over the past couple of weeks. I’m up to about 60,000 words currently and I’d say that the first draft will be in the vicinity of 90,000 words. That means I’ll be writing about 30,000 words in January. Wish me luck!
Incidentally, even though Yellowcake Summer is a sequel, I’m determined NOT to end up with a Yellowcake Trilogy. It’s my intention for it to be a two book series, but then again, I hadn’t planned on writing a sequel at all…
What’s the book about? Well, readers of Yellowcake Springs will recall that at book’s end, our surviving protagonists Sylvia and Rion were in precarious circumstances – one incarcerated and the other leading a hand to mouth existence. In Yellowcake Summer, Sylvia is released from custody on the condition that she perform an important role for the Australian government, Rion finds himself conscripted into the Civilian Police Force and sent to a place he knows only too well, and Jeremy Peters (a minor character from Yellowcake Springs) struggles to manage a disintegrating personal life and a security situation in the town of Yellowcake Springs that is rapidly getting out of control. Again the town of Yellowcake Springs will be the centrepoint of the novel, but not exclusively: we explore more of the ruined ‘Belt and the sprawling northern suburbs metropolis of Quindalup as well. And of course there’s more about Controlled Dreaming State, Controlled Waking State, David Baron and Misanthropos.
Yellowcake Summer will be finished and hopefully published later in 2013. I’ll be looking for beta readers before then though, so if you want a free digital copy to sink your teeth into, then you need but ask.
NOTE: the image above is taken from the following url, and the artist is a Goran D. Fine picture it is too:
I’ve been asked by several writers (specifically Martin Livings, Lee Battersby and Andrez Bergen) to participate in the ‘Next Big Thing’ Q&A. It’s my turn to post my responses, and I hereby decree that the writers who will follow me next week are Katie Stewart, Anthony Panegyres and Eliza-Jane Henry-Jones.
So here are my responses…
1) What is the working title of your next book?
Yellowcake Summer. This is the sequel to Yellowcake Springs. Don’t worry, there won’t be a Yellowcake Autumn or Winter. Duologies are so uncool that I’ve decided to produce one just to be un-hip.
2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
Well, I wrote Yellowcake Springs and really it was supposed to be done there, but the characters in that book stubbornly refused to leave me alone, hence the need to detail their further adventures.
3) What genre does your book fall under?
It’s dystopian science fiction or speculative fiction. Think 1984 or Martian Time-Slip.
4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Yellowcake Summer is a dark, dystopian tale of a nightmare vision of Western Australia’s future.
6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Well, neither. The first book is published by Interactive Publications and hopefully the second will be too. I don’t have an agent though.
7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
It’s only half done and I aim to have it completed in the upcoming summer break of Dec ’12/Jan /’13. I can write a novel in two summers normally, which involves about twelve weeks of actual writing.
8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Philip K. Dick’s Martian Time-Slip is probably the major point of comparison, I think.
9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I’ve always had a morbid fascination with nuclear war, so there’s that. A novel called Brother in the Land by Robert Swindells really inspired me to write this kind of thing, but there are other books of similar quality too.
10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
It may not be the only novel set in the Wheatbelt of Western Australia, but I bet that it (and its prequel) are the only post-apocalyptic novels set in this area!
Below are the details for the imminent (and eminent) KSP Speculative Fiction Group Minicon, to be held at the KSP Writers Centre in Greenmount next Sunday, the 9th of September. You live in Perth and you like speculative fiction? Then the Minicon is the only place for you to be next Sunday. I’ll be helping out on the day and moderating one of the panels, and I’ll also be selling copies of Yellowcake Springs. Lee Battersby will be launching his novel The Corpse Rat King, plus there will be plenty of other cool authors to go around. See you there.
The 2012 KSP Speculative Fiction Writers Group Minicon
Panellists include :
Local Writers: Lee Battersby, Amelia Beamer, Hal Colebatch, Cathy Cupitt, Stephen Dedman, Joanna Fay, Satima Flavell, Sonia Helbig, Elaine Kemp, Pete Kempshall, David Kitson, Martin Livings, Dave Luckett, Juliet Marillier, Ian Nichols, Anthony Panegyres, Carol Ryles, Guy Salvidge, JB Thomas.
When: Sunday, 9 September, 2012 9.30am-4.30pm
Where: Katherine’s Place, 11 Old York Road, Greenmount (Turn into the first driveway after you turn in from the highway and park at the back)
Cost: $15, or $10 if you book in advance. Leave a comment at http://kspminicon.blogspot.com.au/ if you want to do this.
Lunch: A decent meal and tea and coffee will be available for a gold coin donation or you can BYO – there are no eateries in the vicinity.
Discussion Panels: Meeting Room
10:00 Breaking the Rules
“Look, that’s why there’s rules, understand? So that you think before you break ‘em.” – Terry Pratchett
Sometimes the ‘rules of writing’ need to be broken. But what are they and how and when do you get away with breaking them? And what do you need to be aware of before you do? All the best writers are renowned for breaking rules and new writers are crucified for it, yet there are times when we all need to cross that line.
1100: Is the Internet the New Slush Pile
Google the question: “is the internet the new slush pile?” and the wisdom of the masses will tell you that since mid 2011, there has been a grass-roots change in the world of publishing. The inference given in hundreds of articles unearthed by such a search is that you should no longer submit to slush piles while trying to get noticed. There’s a new wave of authors who publish their material directly to the Internet in the hope that their book will attract the attention of publishers and agents. But what does this method of gaining attention achieve and will it replace the tradition of slush pile Monday’s? For that matter, with so many new writers self-publishing, is there a need to be picked up at all? Or is it a path to self-destruction of the writer’s rights?
Book Launch, The Corpse Rat King by award winning author Lee Battersby (Angry Robot Books)
Lee Battersby is the author of the novels The Corpse-Rat King (Angry Robot, 2012) and Marching Dead (Angry Robot, 2013) as well as over 70 stories in Australia, the US and Europe, with appearances in markets as Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror, Year’s Best Australian SF & F, and Writers of the Future. A collection of his work, entitled Through Soft Air has been published by Prime Books. He’s taught at Clarion South and developed and delivered a six-week Writing the SF Short Story course for the Australian Writers Marketplace. His work has been praised for its consistent attention to voice and narrative muscle, and has resulted in a number of awards including the Aurealis, Australian Shadows and Australia SF ‘Ditmar’ gongs.
He lives in Western Australia, with his wife, writer Lyn Battersby and an increasingly weird mob of kids. He is sadly obsessed with Lego, Nottingham Forest football club, dinosaurs, the Goon Show and Daleks. He’s been a stand-up comic, tennis coach, cartoonist, poet, and tax officer in previous times, and he currently works as the Arts Co-ordinator for a local council, where he gets to play with artists all day. All in all, life is pretty good.
For more about Lee see: http://www.davidmcdonaldspage.com/2012/06/2012-aussie-snapshot-lee-battersby/
1:00 Critting and Crowd-Sourced Editing
Should writers have their manuscripts criticised by a broad audience of their fellow writers? What value does it add to your work? Can you lose your ideas by letting others see your manuscript before the editor does? How about crowd-sourcing of editing? Is it possible to let others perform the work for you while reading early revisions of your manuscript? And how do you even take advantage of such services? Should they be avoided completely?
2:00 Building Characters without Cardboard
In online reviews, a common complaint against many recent authors, especially those who choose to self-publish, is that their characters seem two-dimensional or otherwise lack depth. So what does the aspiring author need to consider in their writing so that their characters seem more real to the reader? And how do they achieve it? Are characters planned or imagined? And what are the pitfalls that many new writer, and even experienced ones, fall into? And how do you write convincing characters from the other gender?
3:00 Has Erotica Become Just another Mainstream Sub-Genre
With Fifty Shades of Grey now the fastest selling book ever, it’s difficult to ignore the part that erotica has played in this series’ success. Writers thinking of including sexually explicit content in their novels are often confused by the terms ‘erotica’ and ‘pornography’. How should a modern writer approach this situation? How to avoid mistakes? Should erotica feature in a serious novel at all?
Kaffeeklatsch Schedule (Library)
1PM – 1:30PM Joanna Fay: Publishing with a small press overseas
Joanna’s Daughter of Hope, the first novel in her epic fantasy sequence The Siaris Quartet, has recently been published as an e-book by Musa Publishing, a relatively new e-press in the USA. From the comfort of her lounge room in the Perth hills, Joanna has taken an intensive ‘high learning curve’ this year on the road to publication, while coming to grips with both the potential and pitfalls of online promotion.
2PM – 2:30PM David Kitson: Self Publishing – A complete end to end guide for anyone planning on doing it themselves
David’s self-published novel, Turing Evolved, broke into the top 20 Science Fiction book list on Amazon.com and is now rated at four-and-a-half stars with one hundred and fifty customer reviews. Learn about David’s experiences with editing, uploading, customer feedback and eventual contact and representation by a literary agent.
3PM – 3:30PM Juliet Marillier: Theme to be announced
Juliet is a New Zealand-born writer who now lives in WA. Her historical fantasy novels for adult and young adult readers include the popular Sevenwaters series and the Bridei Chronicles. Juliet’s books have won many awards including the American Library Association’s Alex Award, the Prix Imaginales and the Aurealis Award. Her lifelong love of folklore, fairy tales and mythology is a major influence on her writing. Juliet has two books out this year: Shadowfell, first instalment in a fantasy series for young adults (available now) and adult fantasy Flame of Sevenwaters, to be published in November.
And don’t forget that there will be books by our panellists and other guests for sale all day. Take advantage of their presence and get your purchases signed!
Start over here at Alisa Krasnostein’s blog for links to dozens and dozens of interviews with various people in the Australian speculative fiction scene. There should be over 100 by June 8th, and they make for interesting reading. Alisa interviews yours truly here. There’s even some tributes to two recently deceased members of this community, Paul Haines and Sara Douglass. Haines’ piece on the end of his writing career is a must read.
Some very exciting news: the shortlist for the Norma K Hemming Award is out and Yellowcake Springs is one of the nine novels chosen. The Award is for a work of speculative fiction published in Australia that addresses themes of race, class, gender, sexuality and/or disability, so I guess it’s the literary spec-fic award to the Aurealis’ popular award. It’s an awesome shortlist and I’m stoked on a number of levels to be on it. For a start, I’m on the same page with the late, great Sara Douglass – probably Australia’s most popular and successful fantasy author of the last 15 years. There’s there’s the fact that I’m the only male on the shortlist. Does this mean anything? I guess I don’t know, but I’m pleased that my work is considered as transcending gender boundaries (and there’s a bit of gender bending in Yellowcake Springs). And lastly, look at the publishers: HarperCollins dominates this list with 5/9 titles, and the other three aside from my own are from established small presses Ticonderoga, Twelfth Planet and Scribe. That leaves little old IP punching well above its weight, and little old me chuffed to rate a mention.
Here’s the full shortlist:
Black Glass novel by Meg Mundell published by Scribe Publications (Brunswick VIC)
Bluegrass Symphony collection by Lisa L Hannett published by Ticonderoga Publications (Perth, WA)
The Devil’s Diadem novel by Sara Douglass (1957 – 2011) published by HarperCollins
Eona novel by Alison Goodman published by HarperCollins
Hindsight novel by A A Bell published by HarperCollins
Nightsiders novel by Sue Isle published by Twelfth Planet Press (Perth, WA)
Road to the Soul novel by Kim Falconer published by HarperCollins
The Shattered City novel by Tansy Rayner Roberts published by HarperCollins
Yellowcake Springs novel by Guy Salvidge published by Interactive Publications
The winner of the 2012 Norma K Hemming Award will be announced at Continuum 8, this year’s National SF Convention, to be held in Melbourne on the weekend of June 8-11.
To celebrate Swancon 2012, I’m offering the digital version of my first novel, The Kingdom of Four Rivers, absolutely free. No catches. I’ll be at Swancon on Good Friday to try to spruik my second novel, Yellowcake Springs. Enjoy. Erm, now that Swancon is long finished you can enjoy it for $2 from Amazon.
I’m lucky enough to have been asked to attend a number of events over the course of 2012. I’ll add to this list as other opportunities arise, but it looks like 2012 might be a fun year.
2nd March – IP’s Summer Gala Weekend, part one, at the Kookaburra Café at Paddington in Brisbane from 7pm. This is an event to meet IP authors, hear them read from their work, and I presume generally to have a good time. You need to book with IP if you want to attend this. Email them at email@example.com for more information.
4th March, IP’s Summer Gala Weekend, part two. Gala Performance at the Performance Studio, 4MBS Classic-FM, 384 Old Cleveland Road, Coorparoo, Brisbane at 2pm. Free event, with refreshments, but bookings are essential.
16th April, 2012 Write-a-Rama at the Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers’ Centre in Greenmount, Western Australia. I have been asked to present a workshop for young writers (aged 10-15), entitled “The Nuts and Bolts of Writing.”
More details here: http://kspf.iinet.net.au/write-a-rama.html
22nd September, Avon Valley Writers’ Festival in Northam, Western Australia. I will be presenting a workshop at the Northam library on this day as part of the festival. More info on this a little later in the year.
I set myself a target of writing 50,000 words on my new novel, Yellowcake Summer, in six weeks over the summer of ’11/’12. Happily, I’ve managed to achieve this target with six days to spare. My plan is to write the second half of the novel throughout 2012, if possible, then get it edited and beautiful and ready to look for a publisher in 2013. Sounds good? I had a lot of fun writing this, and I hope you’ll enjoy reading it, too.