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Episode 19

Episode 19 is here and it's huge... Join hosts Veronica and Darren for an absolutely jam packed show including industry and book news, discussions about space operas and how historical definitions don't always hold water. We have an electrifying interview with the amazing E.J. Dawson and an exclusive world premier sneak preview chapter reading from a coming soon blockbuster,  Behind the Veil, a gothic noir set in 1920s Los Angeles at the rise of occultism.


What Country do you write on? 

The traditional land owners are the Dja Dja Wurrung

When did you first admit that you were a writer?

When I was young a drew picture books about a young princess that didn’t need a prince, I wrote a novel at sixteen about a girl able to break a prophecy’s mandate that she had to choose between two fates, and so I’m always writing stories about the strength within

What was your favourite book as a child?

There was never one book that sung to me any more than others, but I was always drawn to the Dark is Rising series my mother read aloud to us as children.

What inspired you to write/this book/these books?

Doctors told me I might not be able to have children, and I wondered what I was supposed to do with my life, to give it meaning, if that wasn’t on the cards for me. I got serious about writing, about actually publishing and turning a vague hobby into a career.

Do you write for yourself or for a particular audience?

I write for my muse. We definitely have a style of young women out to make their world their own, no matter what that world throws at them. In that I think I serve myself, but I also think there is a very large audience looking for strong characters, not necessarily strong women.

Is there anything specifically Australian about your book/books?

I always try to throw in a little something into all my books that’s Australian, though its not always possible in scifi and fantasy.

Are there any secrets hidden in your writing?

When are there NOT? I have a habit of making all my characters name mean their purpose on the book, I love red herrings, and little things that are there for my own amusement.

Why do you think listeners should read your book/s?

I think “should” is a really strong word to use, and when I’m asked that I ask it of myself too, and what I want is a diversion. A place to run away from the world for a little while. Its what I put in my stories, they’re often fast paced, twist and turn, making them exciting to write, and to read. My favourite compliment of Queen of Spades two has been that the reader didn’t see the ending coming.

Is there a message in your book/books/writing? / What’s the main message you’d like readers to take away after reading your book/books?

That they can do the things that they’re scared of, that with every problem comes a solution, sometimes its not the one you envisioned or wanted but it is a solution all the same.

Who is your most or least favourite character to write?

I’m writing a neurodiverse script at the moment and as someone diagnosed with Asperger’s its very challenging to try and differentiate what is writing that needs improving, and what is writing that’s true to my self. But its very healing too, I both love and hate it at the moment.

What’s the best response you’ve ever had to your writing?

A text from someone at 2am stating they’d just finished my book and hated me for the cliffhanger. I’m a bit of a sucker for a good cliffhanger.

What genre/s do you write in?

Scifi fantasy with a splash of paranormal.

What genre/s do you mostly read?

Scifi fantasy with a hefty dose of paranormal

As a writer, are you a plotter or a pantser or somewhere in between?

I’ve been a proud punster for many years but after a few books began having very soggy middles I turned to Save the Cat writes a Novel to help eliminate that from my writing, so now I do plan, the key plot points and theme, to get the pacing right, but it doesn’t always stick to the initial plot I envisage and that’s OK.

How much research is involved in your writing?

Lots! I would hate for someone to be distracted by something inaccurate. I once watched several hours of youtube to make sure I understood the way avalanches worked. I’m currently reading news on new hacking techniques for a scifi book. I don’t want people to get distracted by blatantly wrong information, even if its fiction. It still has to have the element of being believable.

What’s your writing routine – if you have one?

Put on the music I need to write/block out everything else, get discord running with a timed sprint, and just jump right into it. Writing consistently is like exercise, you have to do it as often as you can.

Where do you write?

At my desk, I have the greatest access to information, the right music, and so on, but there are a lot of distractions too, which is why I use timed sprints to help get the words down.

What’s your favourite writing food and drink?

Glass of wine and chips, but I usually have a huge water bottle there too

Who helped you most when you were starting out?

Knowing that I would make mistakes, that not everyone would like my work, and acknowledging that I wasn’t here to make everyone happy. I was here to write books that for a time would steal someone’s reality.

What’s the most useful writing advice you’ve been given?

Neil Gaimen’s advice about one word in front of the other being that easy, and that hard comes to mind – it’s the truest advice out of much that isn’t

What’s your writing goal for the next twelve months?

I’m hoping to have a publication date for both my novels with Literary Wanderlust, an agent for this scifi space opera, and to have hard copies of my self published scifi

What inspired your book cover/s?

The images were things that resonated within me, I spent hours searching for the right images for Queen of Spades trilogy, and for Behind the Veil. The cover designer added her own flare but I wanted a woman on the cover, because these stories were about the women.

Who would you most like to read your book as an audiobook?

Tough question! There was a voice actor who did some work for me and he sounded like Julian Sands. Just a beautiful voice, I’d love to get him to read Behind the Veil. As for Queen of Spades, I don’t know, its pretty close to my heart but I’d definitely want that one read by a woman.

What words of advice would you give an aspiring author?

There is no one way to do this, no one piece of advice works completely for everyone, and no one way to publishing or success. Trust your gut, go with the decision that is true to you, while acknowledging you can make mistakes too. This isn’t always easy, but it is always worth it.

Any final words for potential readers or writers? 

Reach out. Everyone on their own writing journeys have advice and guidance, we’ve been there too, through highs and lows. Don’t sit in the uncertainty and fear of taking that first step, because there is nothing more a writer would love to do than demonstrate the best path is the one you forge yourself.

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