Tag Archives: Clan Destine Press

The Next Big Thing

You may have seen the blog chain winding its links around the Australian writing community lately. Tansy Rayner Roberts tagged me (read her contribution here) and here is my effort at answering the standard questions. I actually have two concurrent projects (actually, three, but the third involves short stories, so I thought I’d leave them out of it) so it got a bit complicated. Apparently, complicated and way too busy is my thing. Free time is anathema to me.

What is the working title of your next book?

I have a couple of projects going simultaneously at the moment, which is madness, I know. Believe me. They’re not even the only two projects I’m developing.

One project is the third Gary/Lissa vampire novel, with the working title of Beyond Redemption. The new project is being developed under the title Kitty and Cadaver.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Kitty and Cadaver came about basically because I love books in which rock and roll saves the world from monsters. There aren’t nearly enough of them, so I decided to write one.

Beyond Redemption is the third in a trilogy and will finish the Gary and Lissa’s story.

What genre does your book fall under?

Both of them are urban fantasy books. Well, I suppose Kitty and Cadaver is urban fantasy come rock opera.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

For Gary and Lissa, I’ve been thinking lately that Toby Truslove (Outland, Laid, The Strange Calls) would make a good Gary, if he chubbed up a bit. For Lissa, an actress named Maya Stange (Garage Days) has a great look.  (Actually, I think they’re both older than the characters, but they fit with my ideas of the characters.) Magda Szubanski was always the model for the vampire queen Magdalene, of course.

I haven’t got that far with the characters for Kitty and Cadaver yet.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

I will cheat by writing very long sentences.

Beyond Redemption: Gary is at the end of his tether, then he gets an idea that is either completely brilliant or completely stupid, particularly in light of the latest ructions in the vampire community and the return of Lissa’s mother.

Kitty and Cadaver: The surviving members of the rock band with a mission to save the world from monsters stumble across the zombie apocalypse in Melbourne, but need to find a new lead singer with a magic voice before they can confront the undead as well as their own demons.

Maya Stange
Maya Stange

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Beyond Redemption will come out with Clan Destine Press. I don’t know what will happen yet with Kitty and Cadaver. I’ll be approaching an agent when I have a completed manuscript ready to go, but Clan Destine has expressed interest in that as well.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

I’m still working on them both, but first drafts usually take me 12 to 18 months, since I write them outside my day job hours. I’m hoping to go down to three days a week in day job hours in 2013, so maybe I’ll get these ones done more quickly for a change.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Obviously Beyond Redemption is on a line with the other vampire novels, The Opposite of Life and Walking Shadows.  Comic, non-romance urban vampire books in general, I suppose.

Kitty and Cadaver will be a bit like other rock ‘n’ roll saves the world books: Scott Westerfeld’s Peeps and The Last Days, and Emma Bull’s The War for the Oaks come to mind. (If anyone has recommendations for other books along these lines, I’d love to hear about them!)

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

For Kitty and Cadaver Rock ‘n’ Rooooooooollllllllll!!

More helpfully: I’d been noodling about writing lyrics (and a bit of music, but it’s been a long time since I played an instrument) to stretch myself and I loved doing it. I last wrote songs for some Blake’s 7 filk about thirty years ago, though I’ve dabbled a bit in the interim. But I loved doing it so much that I wanted to do a story that used music a lot more.  Music, magic, monsters: a perfect combination, surely?

What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

Music will be an integral part of Kitty and Cadaver, and I’m working with my niece, who is a musician, on developing songs that will be used in the stories. So it’ll be a multimedia bonanza!! Woooot!

Read other Next Big Thing entries in the blog chain!

Behold: The cover of Walking Shadows!

cover by Daryl Lindquist

The cover for Walking Shadows was unveiled officially at Supanova on Saturday 14 April! Isn’t it glorious? It’s still being finalised and polished, particularly the back cover, but this is it! The Melbourne Arts Centre spire! A new vampire character! Undead shenanigans!

I’ve just sent off the latest draft, and if there are no significant edits to come, and if things keep to schedule, you can look forward to this sequel to The Opposite of Life coming out in June 2012.


That noise you hear is me, squeaking excitedly.

Here’s a little about the story!

Walking Shadows

Lissa Wilson’s world turned upside-down a year ago. People she cared about – one she could have loved – were murdered. By vampires. They tried to kill her, too.

On the plus side, she made a new friend. Gary Hooper might be Melbourne’s (or maybe the world’s) least impressive vampire, but he may be her best friend, ever.

Without meaning to, he changed her and he taught her the value of her life.

Knowing Lissa has changed Gary, too, even though he’s not really sure what it means. It doesn’t mean that Gary doesn’t have secrets, though. Secrets that might end their friendship, if Lissa ever learned about the services he provides the undead community.

And what’s an ordinary geekgirl librarian to do when hardcore vampire killers begin killing off Melbourne’s vampire population, and her undead bestie is on the hit list? Should she throw herself in mortal danger, despite having no battle skills, let alone supernatural strength?

Lissa risks everything to protect someone who should be perfectly capable of protecting himself. And Gary finds that the ways he’s changing might make him more human – if they don’t get him killed.

Everyone has secrets; everyone gets trapped by their history. How many can learn how to change? How many will live long enough to try?

Look out for Walking Shadows in June 2012!

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April news: Supanova, GoodReads competition, May talks

I’m a busy little chickadee over the next few months. Well, I’ve been a busy little chickadee all year, but I frequently forget to let anyone know what I’m doing. So, for the novelty of it, I thought I might post about what I’m up to!

Supanova Melbourne

I will be appearing with my Clan Destine peeps at Supanova on Saturday 14th April. We will be holding a panel, Fangs, Felines and Fantasy at 11:20am, but I’ll be hanging about the Clan Destine booth a lot of the day too. (For the Outland fans, John Richards and Adam Richard will be there, talking about their show at 1:40pm, and signing copies of the DVD, now on sale.)

Get the Supanova event guide.

Showtime competition on GoodReads

Australians: You have until 16 April (Monday) to enter the GoodReads competition to win a copy of Showtime!

Canadians, Americans and Brits: You have until May 16 to win a copy of Showtime from GoodReads!

May talks

Well, it doesn’t really, but I will be speaking at various events during the month of May.

Tuesday 22 May 2012: Coburg Library – Growing Up Reading, 7pm

Cnr Victoria and Louisa Streets, Coburg 3058

“Author Narrelle Harris, a passionate and voracious reader, is an enthusiastic Friend of the National Year of Reading. Narrelle will share what reading meant to her as a child growing up in a house full of books and how it shaped her love of reading as an adult. Come and share your experience of reading, your favourite books and what they have meant to you. Be prepared for an inspirational celebration of the joy of reading.

Bookings: (03) 9353 4000

31 May 2012, 9pm: Emerging Writers Festival

I’ll be doing a Ghost Story reading at the Emerging Writers Festival this May. Stay tuned for confirmation of date, time and venue. And I’d better write something…

Other things are happening in June, July and August, so check out my Events page for details.

Review: Scarlet Stiletto The Second Cut (AWW Challenge #1)

Late last year I signed up for the Australian Women Writers Challenge for the Natoinal Year of Reading 2012. This is my first book and first review for the challenge!

I picked up Scarlet Stiletto The Second Cut at last year’s SheKilda convention. It contains a selection of prize-winning entries from Sisters In Crime‘s Scarlet Stiletto awards. It turns out to be a terrific collection of crime writing from twenty new (or newish) women writers in the genre.

Some of the stories are less polished than others. I initially thought The Key Suspect was too straightforward (and not gruesome enough) for my tastes, until I realised that the author, Jane Blechyden’s story had taken out  the 2007 Young Writer’s Award when she was only 10.  This wasn’t even her first writing prize. Clearly, Ms Blechyden has a great future ahead of her.

Badge designed by Book’dout (Shelleyrae)

On the whole, the writing from these women is assured and full of deft observations and intriguing darkness. The narrator is sometimes the investigator, sometimes a witness, sometimes a killer. Each has a distinct voice and many stories incorporate unique elements of women’s lives into the character and even plot. Motherhood, the role of carer, and sexual and domestic abuse all inform the writing. Some stories are incredibly funny, others are poignant or chilling. Contemporary, historical and futuristic; urban and rural – it’s a smorgasbord of styles and settings.

Each of the 22 stories is enjoyable, but the following tales were the standouts for me.

Smoke by Aoife Clifford. I’m a sucker for a combination of crime stories and the Labor party. Move over, Shane Maloney. Aoife Clifford is gunning for your spot.

Persia Bloom by Amanda Wrangles. Amanda sent me this story to read a year or so ago, and I was just as impressed on re-reading it. Funny, fresh and uncomfortable, this story of a hairdresser with psychic skills and a need to solve her clients’ unhappiness is full of surprises.

Cold Comfort by Sarah Evans. Evans has just the right lightness of touch for this macabare and hilarious story of a woman helping her grandfather out of an awkard situation.

Poppies by Kylie Fox. This one is a poem which begins with embroidery and ends with someone stitched up. It’s melancholic and moving with just the right touch of acidity to be thoroughly satisfying.

Undeceive by Evelyn Tsitas. Another prose poem, this one reads like a series of moving images, very visual and again, a satisfying story of getting even. Tsitas’s science fiction crime story, Xenos, is also excellent and unexpected. I’d love to read more in this universe.

Death World by Eleanor Marney. This story and Marney’s other, Tallow, are both standouts. In Death World, a heavily pregnant profiler is persuaded to work on one more set of unsolved murders before her baby is born. In Tallow, a woman writes to her twins to explain a shocking truth about their family. Both stories are superbly crafted with strong, engaging protagonists.

These are my highlights in a book filled to the brim with gory goodness. Several of the writers have gone on to become published novelists too, so you can’t fault the award’s eye for talent.

Scarlet Stiletto The Second Cut is published by Clan Destine Press. You can get the book from them directly. The Book House also sells the paperback, and you can get Scarlet Stiletto – The Second Cut for Kindle from Amazon.com.