Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions for Spotlight Sunday. Our Australian Speculative Fiction group is growing and we are so excited to have you as one of our members.
Thanks for having me!
You have built yourself quite a library of novels, novellas, short stories and even a writer’s guide to fight scenes. How long did it take, before you published, to develop your skill as an author and write your first published work?
I don’t really know, to be honest. I’ve always written stories, so my whole life has been training. I used to do a lot of role-playing games too (Dungeons & Dragons, Shadowrun, Warhammer RPG, stuff like that) and I used to really enjoy GMing the games, so I got a lot of story practice from that too. And I’m still developing my skills now, I learn all the time.
Now that you are published, your list of works is quite considerable. Do you have a favourite of your work that you’d love to tell us more about?
The latest release is always the favourite! In all honesty, I love all my work for different reasons, and can’t pick between them. But the latest novel is DEVOURING DARK, a noir/crime/mystery/horror mash-up with slick gangsters, corrupt cops and a couple of supernatural assassins, all getting tangled up together in a really messy situation.
You’re described as an author of dark fantasy, horror and sci-fi. What drew you to this genre? Is it also a favourite of yours to read?
I love genre fiction. I read and write in all genres, but my reading is probably broader than my writing. I love a good western, for example, but so far I’ve only written one weird western short story. I do have plans for a weird western novel though.
Are you able to give us some insight on what to expect next from your writing desk?
My latest novel has recently gone out to my agent, so hopefully that will land with a good publisher soon. It’s a weird and disquieting folk horror tale set in a fictional American small town. Two girls go missing and a carnival comes to town. Or was it the other way around?
What kind of research do you do for your writing? I can only imagine with your genre choice how that google history looks…
Yeah, I think I’m probably on a few ASIO watch lists. I research whatever needs researching – a lot of the fun in fiction for me is learning new things in order to put them into my books. Sometimes I’ll decide to include something in a book just because I want to know more about it, because then I get to research it.
What has influenced you most as a writer?
Life. Everything. Existence itself is a constant source of inspiration.
What was the best money you ever spent on your writing career?
Probably the investments I’ve made to attend conventions and meet other writers and publishers as well as fans and readers. It’s incredibly valuable to get right inside the industry like that, you can learn so much.
Any advice you would give your past self or other writers just starting out?
For my past self, START SOONER! I faffed about for ages before I took a writing career seriously. For everyone else, start now. Just get into it. Read everything, write everything, don’t quit.
If someone was to write your biography, what would be the title and tagline?
Some Good From A Whisky-Soaked Swear Monkey
That title actually came up a long time ago in a twitter conversation and it kinda stuck, so I remember it! It’s also its own tagline.
Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
Shout loud about the books you love! All writer careers are built on enthusiastic word of mouth. If you didn’t enjoy something, forget about it. If you did enjoy something, tell everyone, post pictures, leave short reviews. All that stuff really helps.
Thank you Alan, for taking the time to answer our questions for Aussie Speculative Fiction.
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If you are an Australian writer of speculative fiction, join us here for an online Q&A with Alan Baxter on Wednesday 23rd January.
About Aussie Speculative Fiction: We are a community of Australian readers and writers of speculative fiction, particularly aimed at supporting Indie writers.
If you are a writer of Australian Speculative Fiction, join us here.