We had a whole lot of fun with this episode and even managed to introduce a new segment or two!
Veronica has the pleasure of interviewing special guest Kevin Klehr (who was also kind enough to record an exclusive reading from one of his books), and we enjoy a rabbit hole chat about the role of romance in both science fiction and fantasy.
There's also author cameos, book reviews and a valiant attempt at perfecting our end of show tagline... but you'll need to be the judge of our performance!
What Country do you write on? / Who are the Traditional Owners of the land where you live/work?
I'm on the land of the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation. I know this as my husband and I produced a music-based program for Koori Radio (a Sydney Indigenous community station). It was called The Rhythm Divine and ran weekly for eleven years. We had the pleasure of interviewing many local legends in music, art and politics.
Do you write for yourself or for a particular audience?
I worked out most of my readers are women. I've learnt recently I can further categorise my readers as older women and older gay men. I keep that in mind with my projects.
Although, a friend who has introduced my latest book to his freelance workplace, claims that the millennials (a large chunk of this company) love it. They even quote the funnier lines to each other. That was nice to hear.
Are there any secrets hidden in your writing?
All but two of my books have places or characters in common, even if the stories are unrelated. A few have intersecting moments.
For example, there is a scene in Drama Queens and Devilish Schemeswhere, true to its fantasy genre, Adam and his angel pal, Guy, are suddenly in a dreamlike version of Buenos Aires with the Casa Rosada (the Pink Palace) behind a horde of tango dancers. One of the dancers has a blonde curl on his forehead.
In Nate’s Last Tango, Nate is in Buenos Aires and sees a vision of Elliot, his dead curly-haired boyfriend, dancing the tango with a man.
I’ve just signed a contract with NineStar Press for The Midnight Man, which features the cast of the Nate and Cameron books as secondary characters at a time when Elliot was still alive.
What’s the best response you’ve ever had to your writing?
In my first novel, there is a secondary character I mentioned earlier, Guy, the angel. When the book came out, every reader and blogger loved him. Someone described him as the emotional lynchpin of the story and another reviewer said they’ve put in a request to have Guy as their guardian angel.
I was already well into the sequel and I didn’t put Guy in it. Some serious rewrites followed.
As a writer, are you a plotter or a pantser or somewhere in between?
My first editor made me re-imagine most of my first novel. So, I outlined, combining chapters and creating new ones.
My second novel is told in first person by four characters. It was the sequel, so I didn’t want to switch to third person and have it out of kilter with the first. Not all the characters are aware of the full story, so I plotted carefully so each cliff hanger was left for the next narrator to continue the story in the next chapter.
That’s why I became a plotter for several more books.
Social Media Centralwas the first novel I half-panstered because I kept rewriting my outline. It was my first dystopian tale, and I wasn’t confident with that genre. That’s why I kept second-guessing myself.
A random character decided she would stay, taking a more dominant role, and because it felt right, it changed the motives of a major character for the rest of the book.
Another scene was cut when yet another extra wanted a co-starring role. If I kept that scene, it would have muddied the ending.
How much research is involved in your writing?
With the exception of one work in progress, my research comes from life. Which is why I don’t read my books after they’re published. I come to terms with things I’ve experienced while I write, so there’s no need to revisit them. But those factors of my life are heavily disguised, while some scenes depict actual events.
I also jot down lines my friends say in my notebook, especially if they are funny or philosophical. And as I have two or three WiPs going at one time, I know which line will fit which book.
One of WiPs is a celebration of the nineties, my first decade with my now husband, Warren. I call that decade our courting years, as we met halfway through 1990.
To help encapsulate the Oxford Street and dance party scene, I’ve gone through pages of The Sydney Star Observer from that decade. It’s helped spark my own memories which are making my scenes of clubbing, authentic. So, there’s a lot to be said about sparking your grey matter to feel like it’s still experiencing the past.