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By Patrick (2006-10-18)
Q: Were there any perceived conventions of the scifi genre which you wanted to twist or break when you set out to write CROSSOVER and its sequel?
The 'android cliche', as Sandy calls it. She herself becomes a victim of these cliches in the series, because the cliches inform the Tanushan public's concept of what and who she is. She's either a murderous killing machine of pre-programmed malevolence, or she's an automaton incapable of true feeling... and even amongst those people who like her, there's that expectation that she should feel a desperate yearning to be human. Which Sandy thinks is pathetic, because to her mind, she's human already, just made of different stuff. The technology that created her is a convergence of the artificial with the organic -- artificial systems imitating organic systems so closely that it's very hard to tell the difference, either physically or philosophically. For Sandy, it's a struggle to be judged by who she is and what she does, and not by what she's made of.
Q: Given the choice, would you take a New York Times bestseller, or a Hugo Award? Why, exactly?
Either would be excellent of course... but the bestseller would be the most excellent. Awards are as much about luck as skill, and while there's some luck involved in selling well, I think sales are a more accurate reflection on general success as an author (though still imperfect, of course). Also, a Hugo would mean approval from the specific group of SF fans who attend Worldcons... which would be great, but I'm just as keen on appealing to the vast majority of people who don't attend Worldcons. Fandom is great, but should not be the final word on success or failure in the genre.
Q: Honestly, do you believe that the speculative fiction genre will ever come to be recognized as veritable literature?
Truth be told, in my opinion there has never been this many good books/series as we have right now, and yet there is still very little respect (not to say none) associated with the genre.
I guess the counter-question is 'respect from whom?' From literary elites... well, I don't know they get much respect these days from the general public either. In fact, most people out there have as little respect for any genre of books as another, because most people don't read. I don't think SF & Fantasy should fret too much because a small minority of self-proclaimed literary arbiters don't like us much. To use a purely business analogy, I think we should continue to grow our marketshare out into the untapped masses faster than our competition, thus capturing more total readers than them. At which point, who cares if some minority doesn't like us?
Q: Pyr Books are slowly but surely establishing themselves as a quality outfit in the publishing world. More and more, the Pyr logo is associated with quality products and great reading experiences. What differentiates Pyr Books from the other fantasy/scifi imprints out there?
That might be a question best aimed at Pyr Editor Lou Anders. But from what I've seen, I think Lou's figured that there's a certain class of books that were getting ignored by the big publishers -- well written, intelligent, and while certainly entertaining, perhaps not falling neatly into the clearly defined categories that mainstream publishing sometimes prefers. So I think a Pyr book is usually going to be something that pushes the genre in a slightly different direction than it's been before.
Q: There appears to be a budding fantasy/scifi scene in Australia. Recent years have seen the emergence of authors such as Sara Douglass, Jennifer Fallon, Fiona McIntosh. Why has it taken so long for Australian writers to get recognition abroad?
I'm not sure. I think maybe there's been a perception in the past that 'Commonwealth authors' write differently to what American audiences are accustomed to. But I think we're getting to that inevitable point where it doesn't make much difference where you come from, so long as you write a good story and prove you can sell.
Q: With the three Cassandra Kresnov novels already out Down Under, what projects are you currently working on? How long till those novels become available in North America and Europe?
I'm working on a fantasy series, the first novel of which has been renamed 'Sasha', and has been sold to Hachette Livre Australia. International distribution should follow, but we're not at that stage yet... so maybe two years before it's seen outside of Australia, maybe less. There's four books in the series, and they're a fairly unconventional fantasy series -- no magic, no elves, very heavy on character, realism, and the big issues of human civilisation (nationalism, religion, war, etc). I've been told it's pretty intense.
The rest of the Cassandra Kresnov series will be out in America shortly, and also (it now appears) the UK -- Breakaway in April 2007, and Killswitch sometime after that.
Q: Anything you wish to add?
Only that I've been thrilled at how well Crossover's been selling so far, and I hope it continues!
Interview by Patrick
Copyright - Patrick fantasyhotlist.blogspot.com