Sunday, October 3, 2010

Angela Slatter Interview

Photo by David Pollitt 2010

Hi Angela, thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer a few question for us.

Scott: It looks like you are coming up for a really big year this year with not one but two single author short story collections! Will they have different focuses and if so, have you approached the writing for these collections differently?

Angela: Hi, Scott. Thanks for taking the time to chat! The Sourdough collection was one written as a whole project – i.e. as a collection of interlinked short stories designed to form a kind of mosaic novel. The Girl with No Hands and Other Tales is mostly reprints, with 3 new stories that haven’t been seen before. Because it’s mainly reprints, this one was not so much about the writing of the stories as about selecting which ones would go in the collection; trying to make sure they sat nicely against each other and nothing jarred too much! Although I’ve already had a couple of people saying “But why didn’t you include such-and-such!?” 

Scott: I know that you are also working on a novel. How does writing a novel vary from writing short stories? How do you see your two collections helping the development of your career as a writer?

Angela: The novel requires so much more planning for me, at least – every writer is different. Some people are pantsers, some are plotters. I can knock off a short story with much less of a plan – I can just have an idea, an image or a line in my head and then craft a tale from that. Personally, I need to think a whole lot more about a novel, I really need to plot and plan what I’m going to do and how everything relates. I think the Sourdough collection is the next step for me – the idea of it being a mosaic novel means it’s kind of a ‘cheat’ way for me to practise writing a ‘real’ novel.

Scott: What goals do you aspire towards as a writer? And what drives you to achieve them? What are you currently working on?

Angela: I guess I just want to tell a good story and write something beautiful. I was at a dinner with Jim Frenkel a couple of years ago and he made the comment that some writers are good storytellers, but crappy writers – and that hadn’t occurred to me before. I thought the two were (or should be!) inextricably linked. Apparently not. I would like to be able to do both with my writing, both tell a good story and write it beautifully.

Scott: Which Australian writers or work would you like to see on the Hugo shortlists this year? What have you enjoyed reading?

Angela: I always like to see Sean Williams and Karen Miller on lists! I really hope the next year sees some of the up and comers like Peter M Ball and Lisa L Hannett and Jason Fischer. I think we’re producing some really awesome new writers in Oz.

Scott: Can you tell us about a typical day of writing for you, ie how many hours/pages/words would you put out a day?

Angela: It really depends. The days a week when I work, I write at night – so I get home from work, have dinner and then sit down at the desk for 2 to four hours and write. The days I don’t go out to work, I will sit down about 9 or 10 in the morning and I tend to write in blocks of three or four hours. I also do write-club once a week with Peter M Ball, which is basically a four to six hour block of nothing but writing, drinking coffee and eating candy.

Scott: Who are your favourite 5 authors?

Angela: Ouch, only five? John Connolly, Angela Carter, Jeff VanderMeer, China MiƩville, Margo Lanagan.

Scott: What are you reading at the moment?

Angela: Svetlana Martynchik’s Max Frei: The Stranger; The World of Watches series by Sergey Lukyanenko; Catherynne M Valente’s The Orphan’s Tales.

Thank you for your time and good luck with your book.

Thank you! 

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