Author and Scriptwriter

'Among the most important writers of contemporary British horror.' -Ramsey Campbell

Friday, 11 September 2015

The Lowdown with... Angela Slatter

Specialising in dark fantasy and horror, Angela Slatter is the author of The Girl with No
Hands and Other Tales
, Sourdough and Other Stories, The Bitterwood Bible and Other Recountings, and Black-Winged Angels, as well as Midnight and Moonshine and The Female Factory (both with Lisa L. Hannett). She has won five Aurealis Awards, been a finalist for the World Fantasy Award twice and the Norma K. Hemming Award once, and is the first Australian to win a British Fantasy Award. Her work features regularly in Australian, US and UK Best Of anthologies. She has an MA and a PhD in Creative Writing, was awarded an inaugural Queensland Writers Fellowship, and is a graduate of Clarion South 2009 and the Tin House Summer Writers Workshop 2006. Her debut novel Vigil (the first in Verity Fassbinder urban fantasy trilogy) will be launched in 2016 by Jo Fletcher Books. Angela blogs here about shiny things that catch her eye and also tweets.

1. Tell us three things about yourself.
1. I will be fifty in two years and I am less than pleased about that as aging is interfering with my plans to be immortal.
2. I regret not having been able to meet Angela Carter.
3. When we were little and my sister would annoy me, I’d tell her she wasn’t my real sister, but that she was a changeling child left by the trolls.

2. What was the first thing you had published?
I think it was “The Little Match Girl” in Shimmer in2006, but my first sale was to Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet: “The Juniper Tree”.

3. Which piece of writing are you proudest of?

Argh! I think at this stage it’s probably The Bitterwood Bible and Other Recountings. I’m very proud of Sourdough and Other Stories (both have been shortlisted for World Fantasy Awards), but I think in Bitterwood you can see my development as a writer. I like to think I can see myself getting better with everything I write, and I’m very proud of the way Bitterwood hangs together and of the characters I’ve peopled the book with.

4. …and which makes you cringe?
That would be telling! Not necessarily cringe-worthy, but some of my earlier stories have show less signs of ruthless editing and so there are a lot of repetitions in tales like “Pressina’s Daughters”. But I don’t believe in do-overs, so I won’t re-write them when they get reprinted because I think your early work needs to stand as a sign of where you started − and your later work can be viewed as an improvement/development.

5. What’s a normal writing day like?
After my husband leaves for work at 8.30am, I start my work day. I go through emails first and deal with them. I try to make sure I’ve posted something on my website every few days to keep it active, whether it be news or interviews with other writers, or progress on a project. Then I check the to-do list and see what’s the most pressing. I generally work on two or three major fiction projects at a time, so I can swap one out if I get bored and work on something else to keep my mind engaged. I try make sure even my procrastination is productive! I break for lunch about 1 and make sure I have a full hour in front of bad tv programs just to give my brain a break from whatever I’ve been concentrating on, then I go back to it as soon as the hour is up. I work through until about 4.30 or 5pm (whenever I start writing drivel) and then start to think about what’s for dinner. Sometimes I’ll do a couple of extra hours of writing after dinner, but I try not to, just so I have some time to read and refill the creative well.

6. Which piece of writing should someone who’s never read you before pick up first?
Aaaaaaah, that’s always difficult as I think “Read the newest thing!” But probably start with The Girl With No Hands and Other Tales or Sourdough and Other Stories as they were my first collections. They’re very different, but a good place to start and see the kind of thing I do.

7. What are you working on now?
I’m working on: Corpselight, the sequel to my debut novel, Vigil (which comes out next year from Jo Fletcher Books); The Witch’s Scale, a novella for Spectral Press; Flight, a story book with illustrator Kathleen Jennings (being published by Tiny Owl Workshop); Genevieve and the Dragon, a kids’ book, again with Kathleen Jennings; editing The Tallow-Wife and Other Tales, which is the third book in the Sourdough Cycle; a series of graphic novels of the Sourdough stories (again with Kathleen Jennings!); a novel called Scandalous Lady Detective, which follows on from my novella, Ripper (in Steve Jones’ Horrorology anthology); I’m plotting out two gothic novels, Morwood and Blackwater; and I’m negotiating two reprint collections, one in the US and one in the UK.

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