Your most recent work that most Australians in the Spec Fic scene would be familiar with is the crowd funded Kaleidoscope anthology which you have co-edited with Alisa Krasnostein . What do you or will you take away from this process?
It’s been wonderful working on this book with Alisa. I’ve learned a lot about how publishing works in Australia, and it’s exposed me to some Australian writers I might not have known about otherwise. It’s also been lovely to see how the bigger names in Australian speculative fiction will step in and offer support, whether by contributing stories to a small press anthology, or offering helpful advice. Australian speculative fiction seems to have a tight and supportive community, which is fantastic.
You've been nominated for a Pushcart prize for some of your poetry and you were also involved in an interview series for Stone Telling Magazine. I am finding that poetry and speculative fiction are mixing quite well (in that we have several poets/authors) down under and wondered what you sensed was the case in the circles you moved in?
I do think that speculative fiction and poetry mix very well. My first sale was a poem that Amal El-Mohtar bought for the wonderful magazine Goblin Fruit. Now I’ve bought a story from Amal for Kaleidoscope, which is a lovely role reversal. There are a lot of poets who also write fiction,and vice versa, and I think that strengthening one area of writing can strengthen others as well.
A podcaster, editor, author and poet - what projects do you have lined up for the future, or what creative work would you like to attempt that you haven't had the chance to yet?
Lined up in the future, I’m planning to co-edit a Year’s Best YA Science Fiction and Fantasy book with Alisa, and we’re hoping Kaleidoscope will do well enough that we can make a second volume. We work really well together, and we both love the way the first book came out. I’ll also continue my work with Strange Horizons, the Outer Alliance Podcast, and The Skiffy and Fanty Show.
I would love to narrate an audiobook, write a novel (one that works, as opposed to the many I have written that did not work!), edit a quartet of novellas or a collection of stories in a shared world, collaborate with another writer on something… I could go on…
What Australian works have you loved recently?
As everyone likely already knows, I am an Australian podcast addict. I continue to love Galactic Suburbia, Galactic Chat, The Writer & the Critic, Coode Street, and The Book Was Better. I suspect most people reading this will be familiar with the first four. The last one is a podcast where the hosts review novelizations of films, which are often fascinating and unintentionally hilarious.
As for fiction, I love too many things to name, so I’ll stick with three: I’ve been reading a lot for the Year’s Best YA from 2013, and I’ve discovered a lot of wonderful new-to-me authors. I really loved By Bone Light, by Juliet Marillier, which won the Aurealis Award for Best YA Short Fiction, and I also really enjoyed The Bone Chime Song and Other Stories by Joanne Anderton. I’m a big fan of Tansy Rayner Roberts and I’m very much looking forward to Drowned Vanilla, the second in her alter ego’s fluffy mystery series.
Aside from books and podcasts, Liz Argall is an Australian living in the US, and she does a wonderful web comic called Things Without Arms and Legs. And finally, thanks to The Skiffy and Fanty Show’s SF world tour, Ian Mond and Danny Oz have introduced me to Sons of Steel, which is a gritty dystopian rock opera from the 80s, and the very best movie we have ever watched for our Torture Cinema segment (which is where we watch terrible movies and review them).
Have recent changes in the publishing industry influenced the way you work? What do you think you will be publishing/writing/reading in five years from now?
I think ebooks are bigger now than ever before, and I expect they’ll be sticking around for a long time. This does change how I work because it means I am always thinking about how things will work for readers. I self published an ebook travel guide for Boston (which is where I live) last year, and it was really neat to see how accessible self-publishing has become. I think i’m a lot more likely to read self-published stuff now than I was a few years ago, too. As for what I’ll be reading/writing/publishing in five years, I have no idea. If you’d told me five years ago that I would have self-published a travel guide, become part of a really fun international podcasting community, and started editing anthologies with a small press in Australia, I’m not sure I would have believed you!
Julia Rios writes all sorts of things, hosts the Outer Alliance Podcast (celebrating QUILTBAG speculative fiction), and is one of the three fiction editors at Strange Horizons. Her fiction, articles, interviews, and poetry have appeared in Daily Science Fiction, Apex Magazine, Stone Telling,Jabberwocky, and several other places. She's half-Mexican, but her (fairly dreadful) French is better than her Spanish.
You can find out more about Julia here.
This interview was conducted as part of the 2014 Snapshot of Australian Speculative Fiction. We’ll be blogging interviews from 28 July to 10 August and collating the links at SF Signal. You can find other interviews in this series at the links below:
- Tsana Dolichva
- Stephanie Gunn
- Kathryn Linge
- Elanor Matton-Johnson
- David McDonald
- Helen Merrick
- Ben Payne
- Alex Pierce
- Tansy Rayner Roberts
- Helen Stubbs
- Katharine Stubbs
- Tehani Wessely
- Sean Wright
- Nick Evans