Archive for December, 2011

Sparks: Kirstyn McDermott

I chose Kirstyn McDermott’s “She Said”, from Scenes From the Second Storey, as the best horror fiction published in Australia last year and gave it an Australian Shadows Award. She has an incredibly liquid way of writing about nightmarish things. She’s one of the best writers of tactile fiction I know. Here, she talks about another brilliant story, “Frostbitten”.

“It’s hard for me to pinpoint the first sparks from which any particular story took light. I tend to view the conception part of my creative process as something akin to walking through a junkyard. I pick up odd and interesting bits and pieces along the way and shove them into my pockets for later use. Sometimes I lose them. Sometimes I never do figure out what to do with a particular piece. But sometimes I’ll reach into my pocket and realise that two or three bits of junk that I’ve been carrying around for ages actually fit together. And then I still have to sit down and try to figure out the rest of their story as I write it.

Occasionally, though, there is a distinct spark to which I can point and say, “Look. That thing, there. That’s where this came from.”

“Frostbitten” (published by Ticonderoga Publications in More Scary Kisses) was one such story. The central image came from the tail end of a dream, what little I could snatch into consciousness when I awoke one morning. Two naked women, stuck together and pulling slowly away from each other, their skin tearing red and raw as they did so. It was such a striking image, but not one that came bundled with any particular feelings of horror or revulsion. The women, I knew, loved each other and were in that situation because they loved each other. The rest of the dream was lost but the image, and the sense of love and sacrifice that accompanied it, remained with me for the rest of the day. By late afternoon, I knew who the women were and had their story almost entire in my head. Two days later, it was finished – the fastest I have ever written a story from conception to completion.

If only they all came that easily . . .”

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The Grinding House

Very thrilled to announce that 40kPublishing have produced an e-version of my Ditmar-award winning novella “The Grinding House”.  Here’s the launch blog post from them.

This novella began when I found out I had Spurs in my heels.  Researching that completely freaked me out. Bone, growing in tendrils. I had the image of the bones fusing smoothly, and that idea made me feel claustrophobic.

I recognise certain influences when I read it back now. There is a moment where a character says, “Don’t blame you,” and this comes from a man who was seen around Canberran city streets a decade or so ago. He was very tall, disheveled, with broken glasses taped together and pants too short for him. He clutched piles of papers; his poetry. He tried to sell but no one would buy. I never saw anyone be cruel to him. It was always, “No, thank you,” and a quick walk away from him. He always said, “I don’t blame you,” and this is what broke my heart. I bought a poem once. Purely out of pity. It wasn’t very good.


The cover is gorgeous:



John DeNardo at SF Signal has a giveaway!

A lot of their books look and sound amazing. I’ll be purchasing some for my new Kindle, that’s for sure.

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