Tag Archives: interview

Q&As from the Scar Tissue Launch

Narrelle M Harris Q&A

I recently held an online launch for my collection Scar Tissue and Other Stories. Part of the launch involved me answering questions, so I thought I’d share that Q&A here for anyone who missed it!

George asked: Will there be a third book for Gary and Lissa?

Yes there will! Once I’ve finished editing my latest Duo Ex Machina novella (which is being serialised on my Patreon) I’ll be writing the third book in the Vampires of Melbourne series!

Question as an image

The working title is “Beyond Redemption” and when it’s done, Clan Destine Press will be re-releasing The Opposite of Life (which is out of print, but I have the rights back for it now) and Walking Shadows with a matching set of covers!

Scar Tissue contains a story set after the end of Walking Shadows: “Bad Night at Bite Club”.

Margaret asked: Will there be more adventures in Australia for Holmes and Watson?

The Holmes and Watson from The Adventure of the Colonial Boy appear in the Scar Tissue story “The Beekeeper’s Children”. I would like to write a short story collection for them, but as a project that is at the back of the queue for now.

I am considering writing a modern Australian alternative universe series for them in my Patreon when the Duo Ex Machina novellas are finished next year, riffing off my short story from The Baker Street Irregulars: The Game is Afoot where are a pair of Aussie hipsters running, solving mysteries while they run a cafe called The Sign of Four. Does that count?

Sally F asked me if I ever put people I dislike into my books and then killed them off. 🙂

I never put people I dislike into my books. If I don’t like them, I don’t want to spend more time with them in my head if I can avoid it!

Instead, I put people I like into my books – sometimes just as a set of background characters, sometimes in minor roles, sometimes in more prominent roles. I do sometimes kill them off too, but usually I give them warning and make sure they’re okay with it.

My out of print Witch Honour and Witch Faith books have lead characters inspired by two close friends. (Sylvia and Leenan become their own people, but they have real people roots!)

A friend I worked with at World Vision was a dead body in The Opposite of Life. (She gave Enthusiastic Consent for that :D) Gary the Vampire is kind of based on every nice geekboy I’ve ever known.

Other people have been in the background (walking their dog on the beach; laughing together at a far table in a cafe; that sort of thing).

Maybe I should make it a Patreon Reward – to become a character in a story I’m writing.

Sally F also asked “Do you think you are on ASIO’s watch list from researching anything odd for your stories?”

My running joke is that ASIO keeps two lists: one of dodgy individuals with criminal leanings and writers. When they get a ping about someone researching murder, how to hide the bodies, explosives, detailed building layouts and schematics for aeroplanes and trains, they first check to see if the Googler is on the Author list (and maybe bookmark to see what novel results a year down the track).

I’ll be very disappointed if I’m not on the ASIO Writers to Watch For list purely on the strength of my research for crimes for Sherlock Holmes stories.

You know who is stalking me though? Google ads. And some of the ads that come up for me on the strength of writing some of my stories is HILARIOUS.

KRin asked “Has a story idea ever stopped you in your tracks and you had to write it down then and there?

The answer is “all the bloody time”. My phone is full of ideas and bits of prose and dialogue I’ve emailed to myself, and I always carry a notebook (or three) into which I scribble down ideas.

Because of course the time when I am most likely to come up with an interesting new concept or resolve a plot problem or think of some really sparky dialogue is when I’m walking or in the shower or in bed, rather than in front of the computer. So I leap up, scribble things down and hope it’s still legible when I got to type it up.

Robin asked “How do you dream up your characters?”

My characters come from a variety of sources, but a lot just seem to manifest themselves. I’m sure they spring from somewhere that I just haven’t worked out how to articulate.

Some of course are inspired by fictional characters, and very directly too – my versions of Holmes and Watson are obviously derived from Arthur Conan Doyle and have elements of the Granada Holmes & Watson too – but I’m often writing romances with them, so I try to work from the source material that I then extrapolate from to create the Victorian-era men in love, or the modern-era versions.

A few are inspired by people I know personally, though there it’s more that I might be inspired by a facet or two, rather than inserting them wholesale (see my answer to Sally’s question about putting people I know into my books.)

Some are inspired by other fictional characters I’ve liked (me and Lois McMaster Bujold both cherry picked some personalities from Blake’s 7).

Often, however, the concept that I want to explore in a story readily suggests the personality type that will be involved to help tell it, and the other kinds of characters they need around them to create balance, conflict and drama. The characters evolve within that context, so I may begin with particular “types” but then they grow.

When I was writing Kitty and Cadaver, I initially plotted about half of it then only sketched out the rest. I had to write the first half before completing the plotting – because I had to get to know everyone better before I knew how they’d respond to all their troubles. Once I knew who they were, it was easy to plot the rest of the book with each of them behaving in character.

KRin asked “What is your favourite colour?”

…which should be an easy one but it turns out, no. I will not make this easy.

I suppose the short answer might be ‘red’ but I like it in combination with black. and jade green. But I love that brilliant peacock blue too. Also rich purples.

I’m not a huge fan of yellows and oranges in my clothing because they make me look jaundiced, but a glorious buttercup yellow or bright burnt orange? Gorgeous.

I should have gone with the answer Janet MacLeod once gave: “My favourite colour is shiny!”

Robert asked “What’s your favourite story in the collection? Why?”

This could be like the ‘what’s your favourite colour’ question, or possibly make me howl DON’T MAKE ME CHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSE.

I mean, I loved getting back to Gary the vampire for “Bad Night at Bite Club”, and it’s primed me for getting to work on the 3rd of the Vampires of Melbourne series. It made me happy to write Ravenfall‘s James and Gabriel again in “Shadow at my Shoulder” – I’d really like to write another novel with them some time.

I think of the long stories, maybe “The Beekeeper’s Children” is my favourite – Holmes and Watson (from The Adventure of the Colonial Boy) in a loving relationship, in retirement in Sussex – but Sherlock is off in danger, John is caring for the bees (and reading the oblique love notes Sherlock has left for him) and also caring for two young men who are negotiating love as well as trauma.

Of the super short stories I have a soft spot for “Long Live the King” because I feel Richard III has been given a rough deal by history, but my favourite is “Plot Bunny” because of the juxtaposition between the sweet little toy bunny and its murderous intent.

But otherwise, don’t make me choose – they are all my favourite.

Scar Tissue and Other Stories is available in paperback and ebook directly from the publisher, Clan Destine Press, as well as the usual online sellers: Amazon, Kobo, Booktopia etc.

Quintette of Questions: Julie Bozza

Julie Bozza asked Fletch and Albert (two of the three main characters in her about to be re-released novel) to help her answer today’s questions.

1. What’s the name of your latest book – and how hard was it to pick a title?


Fletch: The Definitive Albert J. Sterne, because it’s all about Albert and how he’s determined to be the absolutely best Albert he can. Though, for most of the book, he’s more of a work-in-progress than he realises!

Julie: The title seemed very obvious to me, very early on, and it’s stuck ever since. I thought about “quintessential” as an alternative, but “definitive” seemed more Albert-ish to me. So that was that!

Albert: {glares grumpily at nothing in particular}

2. If you could choose anyone from any time period, who would you cast as the leads in your latest book?

Julie: I almost always cast my main characters, because I write by creating the film of the story in my mind’s eye. I need those visuals in three dimensions in order for it all to come alive. I don’t usually share the actual names, though, as I like to leave readers free to imagine their own film of the story – if you see what I mean. But let’s throw caution to the winds here! Over to you guys.

Fletch: Given my Irish-American background, I think a young Gabriel Byrne would be perfect.

Albert: {crosses his arms and looks mulish}

Fletch: {pointedly} Despite a certain lack of cooperation from others {/pointedly}, Julie and I are determined to answer this in honour of the late, loveable Miguel Ferrer, who she always envisaged as Albert.

Julie: How can it be two years already since he died? … Miguel was no stranger to forensics and law enforcement roles, featuring in Twin Peaks, Crossing Jordan, and NCIS: Los Angeles, among other films and TV series.

As for John Garrett, the third main character, I couldn’t go past Brian Dennehy who was disturbingly good as John Wayne Gacy in the TV film To Catch a Killer. My Garrett isn’t Gacy, I should add, but the fact that Gacy existed helped me feel confident that I wasn’t entirely making it all up to suit myself.

3. What five words best describe your story?

Albert: An unwarranted invasion of privacy.

Fletch: {much laughter} Poor Albert … {sobers up} All right, I think: love, horror, determination, diligence … love.

Albert: You’re repeating yourself.

Fletch: There was a lot of love.

Julie: Love. Identity. Friendship. Anger. Passion. Peace.

Albert: That’s six words, as you’re well aware.

Julie: There’s over 226,000 words in this novel, so five just isn’t enough to cover it!

4. Who is your favourite fictional team/couple?

Fletch: Well, us, of course. Me and Albert.

Julie: Same for me, right now! Albert and Fletch.

Albert: Song Ci.

Fletch: … Who?

Albert: A Chinese judge and forensic medical scientist who worked in the thirteenth century. He wrote a book titled Collected Cases of Injustice Rectified.

Fletch: Now who’s not answering the questions exactly? He was real? And what about his team or his partner?

Albert: Some of us prefer to work alone.

5. What song reflects a theme, character, relationship or scene in your book?

Fletch: The song that always makes me think of Albert is “I Am a Rock” by Simon and Garfunkel. It’s very beautiful, and very passionate – and very very sad.

{silence for long moments}

{Albert briefly reaches a hand, as if he might touch Fletcher’s arm in reassurance}

Albert: Lawrence Durrell wrote, “But that is what islands are for; they are places where different destinies can meet and intersect in the full isolation of time.”

{Fletch reaches to grasp Albert’s hand, and his smile is quietly brimming over with peace}

Fletch: Damn, I love you.

{fade to black}

About The Definitive Albert J Sterne

An obnoxiously immovable object is partnered with an undeniably irresistible force – in pursuit of a cruelly imperturbable serial killer.

Albert Sterne, forensics expert with the FBI, is so obnoxious on the surface that no one bothers digging deeper. When he’s sent to Colorado to investigate the work of a serial killer, he encounters Special Agent Fletcher Ash and they end up reluctantly joining forces to unravel the case. It’s only a matter of duty, though; it can’t be more, because Albert doesn’t do friendship – and he certainly doesn’t do love!

This well-respected novel was Runner Up (equal third) in the Best LGBT Mystery/Thriller category of the Rainbow Awards 2011. It is now being re-released, after first being published in two volumes by Manifold Press. The original novel and companion anthology have been stitched back together into one long tale.

Buy The Definitive Albert J Sterne

About Julie Bozza

Julie Bozza

Julie Bozza is an Aussie-English hybrid empowered by writing, fuelled by espresso, calmed by knitting, overexcited by photography, and madly in love with Amy Adams and John Keats.

Social media links:

Quintette of Questions: Karen J CarLisle

Today I’m asking five questions of:

Karen J Carlisle!

1. What’s the name of your latest book – and how did you choose the title?

My latest book is The Department of Curiosities. This is the first book in a new steampunk adventure series. It’s set in the same alternative history world as my first series, but has a lighter feel.

I always had a fascination for Victorian curiosity cabinets, especially the ‘scientific’ ones. Back in 2012, I wondered what would happen if new scientific inventions were locked away in a similar fashion, then the title popped into my head. And then I wondered ‘what if’ they were locked away ‘for the good of the Empire’? ‘The Department’ sounds like a clandestine Victorian agency.

2. If you could choose anyone from any time period, who would you cast as the leads in your latest book?

… 2 days later…

This is such a difficult question. There are so many factors. I decided to stick with actors:

Tillie is a newcomer, Sir Avery is handsome, cheeky and prefers to be known for his achievements, not his birthright. Harrow likes to hide in the shadows, and the General has presence…

My final decisions:

  • Tillie Meriwether: Eleanor Stankiewicz (young and upcoming Australian actor. Okay, so she’s also a friend… )
  • Sir Avery Allington: Henry Cavill
  • Harrow: A young Alan Cumming.
  • The General: Ian McKellen/ an older Lawrence Oliver

3. What five words best describe your story?

Steampunk. Adventure. Intrigue. Betrayal. Friendship.

4. Who is your favourite fictional couple or team?

The Doctor and Donna (Doctor Who):Theirs is a meeting of minds: education and street smarts. They complement each other, bring out the best in each other. There’s no sex involved. The relationship is like soul mates or close siblings/cousins. And there’s witty banter.

5. What song reflects a theme, character, relationship or scene in your book?

Well… um… (not meant to be a shameless plug, but…) The Gadgeteer was written specifically for my alternate steampunk world. Words: Karen J Carlisle/ Music: Richard Ryall. Performed by the Littmus Steampunk Band.

The Department of Curiosities series revolves around the acquisition (or lack thereof) of mechanicals (or gadgets). On one side there’s Queen Victoria who feels all mechanicals should be controlled, for the Good of the Empire. The Department of Curiosities is charged with collecting, archiving and preventing the illegal importation of mechanicals. Many feel mechanicals should be accessible by all, for the benefit of all. And the Gadgeteers are lobbying (by whatever means) to be able to freely sell mechanicals (for their own profit).

You can hear a sample here: https://karenjcarlisle.com/product/song-the-gadgeteer/

About The Department of Curiosities

The Department of Curiosities: a steampunk tale of adventure, a heroine, mad scientists, traitors and secrets. All for the good of the Empire.

Miss Matilda Meriwether has a secret. Actually, she has several. One of them has shaped her adult life. Another now controls it.

Her Majesty Queen Victoria has control of the Empire. She is the Empire, and creator of its secrets.

Sir Avery works for The Department of Curiosities – the keepers of secrets – especially if they are useful to the Empire.

When Tillie finds herself in the employment of The Department of Curiosities, she realises this is the perfect opportunity to uncover the truth she has been searching for.

But the Queen has other plans for her.

About Karen J Carlisle

Karen J Carlisle is a writer and illustrator of speculative fiction – steampunk, Victorian mystery and fantasy.

She graduated in 1986, from Queensland Institute of Technology, with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Optometry, and lives in Adelaide with her family and the ghost of her ancient Devon Rex cat.

Karen first fell in love with science fiction when she saw Doctor Who, as a four-year old. This was reinforced when, at the age of twelve, she saw her first Star Destroyer. She started various other long-term affairs with fantasy fiction, (tabletop) role-playing, gardening, historical re-creation and steampunk – in that order.

She has had articles published in Australian Realms Roleplaying Magazine and her short story, An Eye for Detail, was short-listed by the Australian Literature Review in their 2013 Murder/Mystery Short Story Competition. Her short stories have featured in the 2016 Adelaide Fringe exhibition, ‘A Trail of Tales’, and the ‘Where’s Holmes?’ and ‘Deadsteam’ anthologies.

She writes full-time and can often be found plotting fantastical, piratical or airship adventures, and co-writing the occasional musical ditty.

Karen has always loved dark chocolate and rarely refuses a cup of tea.

She is not keen on the South Australian summers.m

Pre-order The Department of Curiosities

Quintette of Questions: Elise Clarke

Answering five questions for me today is:

Elise Clarke

1. What’s the name of your latest book – and how did you choose the title?

My Lady Original. It’s in a series but luckily the editor picked it for me.

2. If you could choose anyone from any time period, who would you cast as the leads in your latest book?

Ooh: Santiago Cabrera for Jack (see him as Aramis) and someone like Isabella Bird, the Victorian explorer, for Hermione – she had to be slightly batty to manage what she did, very talented and with a mind of her own.  I love the anime book of her.

Hermione and Jack

3. What five words best describe your story?

Prince Charming fights fairy tales.

4. Who is your favourite fictional couple or team?

Jane Eyre and Mr Rochester; she’s so much stronger/worthier than he is, and he loves her for it.  He’s made some terrible mistakes in life but he gives her the chance to have a better life of her own, and he always has her back.  You can really see them loving each other forever.

5. What song should be the theme of your book?

Super Trouper by Abba – completely the wrong period but a brilliant, upbeat song about someone who seems to have everything (Jack) but needs someone slightly mad (Hermione) to bounce in so he’ll be “shining like the sun”.  It’s also pretty much guaranteed that Hermione would “be changing everything”!

About My Lady Original

Jack, Lord Darenth is London’s favourite paragon, staggeringly handsome, always fashionable, and unshakeably single. But when The Conqueror, a smash–hit novel casts him as a thinly veiled, lovelorn Prince Charming searching for the perfect match, all of society loses their collective heads – and their hearts – and pandemonium breaks all over Jack’s well–ordered life. 

Lady Hermione thinks Lord Darenth is handsome enough, when she bothers to think about him at all. For her, he is but the best friend of her own dear friend Sandy, the man she is considering for a husband. But when the sequel to The Conqueror is published featuring her as a drippy Cinderella heroine to Darenth’s hero, she is galvanised into action. Ignoring the book doesn’t work, so it’s best to proceed as if it doesn’t matter. Until life starts imitating art, and suddenly the possibility of a love story in truth becomes all too real…

About Elise Clarke

Elise Clarke is a history fanatic with a weakness for tall, handsome men, humour and the non-traditional.  She lives in England with her family.

Follow Elise at www.eliseclarke.com

Buy My Lady Original