Australian Speculative Fiction (ASF) is all about showcasing Australian and New Zealander authors. One of the many projects currently under way is the Drowned Earth Novella series—a series of eight novellas written by different authors all set in the same scenario – a flooded Australia.
To get to know these amazing authors they have been kind enough to answer some questions.
Third off the rank is author Nick Marone.
What can you tell us about your Novella?
My novella, entitled Fire Over Troubled Water, is set in the New South Wales South Coast region. All the towns and villages along that stretch of coast are now below sea level, lost forever. Communities survive on islands, some better than others. It is in this situation that the protagonist, Baz, is searching for his daughter and grandchildren, whom he hasn’t seen since losing contact with them during the Rise. He will stop at nothing to find them and be united with them again.
What drew you to submitting your pitch in the first place?
I liked the fact that it was a series to be set in Australia. I’ve found Australia as a setting to be a bit under-represented in science fiction, so I thought it would be interesting to explore a “what if” scenario in my own backyard. To make the deal even better, there would be not just one, but eight different stories all dealing with a flooded Australia.
Opportunities like this are fantastic to really flex your writing muscles and collaborate alongside other fantastic authors. Is the collaboration that is necessary for a project such as Drowned Earth something that you have ever participated in before?
I have never collaborated with another author before, let alone seven others. I’ve found the enthusiasm of my fellow writers refreshing, and I love the way we assist and motivate each other, despite living many kilometres apart.
Describe your writing style…
I’m definitely a plotter, though probably not in the absolute sense. I like having a clear direction in where I want my writing to go, and I write brief outlines for each chapter and/or scene, but I won’t write outlines for all chapters before starting a project. This allows me to have some flexibility in story development. I also find that I sometimes do not write chronologically—for example, I may write half a story and then go to the end and work backwards to meet in the middle. Subsequent drafts of manuscripts may see additional chapters or scenes slipped in throughout the story.
What kind of research do you do for your writing? How’s that google history looking…
So far, some of the things I’ve researched include flood maps for the NSW South Coast, the effects of saltwater on vegetation and soil, the climate effects of a higher sea level, the construction and operation of sailing vessels, and the usefulness of blackbutt timber. Of course, there are more topics I’ve researched, and the list grows every day.
What has influenced you most as a writer?
Definitely reading the masters in my chosen genre, and also my love of history and psychology.
Any advice you would give your past self or other writers just starting out?
For now, here are four points of advice that I’ve found helpful:
- Read, read, read, and don’t stop writing; as a writer, you need to be a voracious reader. The craft of writing is something you should never stop studying, and the best way to do it is to study others and put your new skills and knowledge into practice.
- Try to hone your short story skills. If you can tell a great story in fewer words, then those powerful skills will help you write longer projects.
- Don’t be afraid to submit your work for publication—you never know what the outcome may be. That’s how I got contracted to write Fire Over Troubled Water.
- Rejection letters are a fact of life for writers. What is a writer without rejection letters? Look at Point Three again.
Where can we learn more about you or follow you on social media?
Readers can follow me on Facebook, Goodreads and my website–great place to learn more about me and my other projects.