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I am a writer, editor, reviewer and dance teacher based in Perth, Western Australia.

My books

The first two novels of my trilogy, The Talismans, are not available as e-books at present, but I expect to get them back online shortly. However, I do have paperbacks of The Dagger of Dresnia at the low price of $25 including postage within Australia. I also have a short story, 'La Belle Dame', in print - see Mythic Resonance below. The best way to contact me is via Facebook!

Buy The Talismans

The first two books of The Talismans trilogy were published by Satalyte Publications, which, sadly, has gone out of business. I hope to see my books back on Amazon under a new publisher in the near future.

The Dagger of Dresnia

The Dagger of Dresnia
Want a copy? Contact me at satimafn(at)gmail.com

The Cloak of Challiver

The Cloak of Challiver
Available again as an ebook soon!

Mythic Resonance

Buy Mythic Resonance

Mythic Resonance is an excellent anthology that includes my short story 'La Belle Dame', together with great stories from Alan Baxter, Donna Maree Hanson, Sue Burstynski, Nike Sulway and nine more fantastic authors! Just $US3.99 from Amazon. Got a Kindle? Check out Mythic Resonance.

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Places I've lived: Manchester, UK

Places I've lived: Manchester, UK

Places I've lived: Gippsland, Australia

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Places I've lived: Geelong,  Australia

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Places I've lived: Tamworth, NSW

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Places I've Lived - Sydney
Sydney Conservatorium - my old school

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Places I've lived: Auckland, NZ

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Places I've Lived: Mount Gambier
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Places I've lived: Adelaide, SA

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Places I've lived: High View, WV

Places I've lived: Lynton, Devon, UK

Places I've lived: Lynton, Devon, UK

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Places I've lived: Braemar, Scotland

Places I've lived: Barre, MA, USA

Places I've lived: Barre, MA, USA

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Places I've Lived: Perth by Night
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Saturday, 31 January 2009

Interview meme: my turn to bowl

Friends, I'd like you to meet Lee Battersby, one of Australia's most highly regarded writers of short stories in the field of speculative fiction. But there's much more to Lee than that. Read on to find out for yourselves.

Q1. Lee, When I first met you, back in about 2002, you had just received recognition in the Writers of the Future contest. Since then, you've had many more short stories published, including your collection "Through Soft Air"; you've been a tutor at Clarion South and you've written one or two novels as well. Of all your achievements since WOTF, which one stands out for you?

A1. Probably being invited to tutor at Clarion South. Most of the things I've done as a writer have been at the small press level, but Clarion was the first (and to date, only) time I was really ranked amongst the big boys by someone, which I think was a massive show of faith by the organisers. I'd like to think I didn't let them down, but, to me, if you look at the names of tutors over the years I do stand out like a sore thumb as the "Who?" guy amongst them. My entire career seems to have been a case of stepping above my station on one occasion and then working my arse off not to have that step be a one-off. To date, that Clarion appearance is my biggest step, and my biggest one-off.

Q2. Which of your own stories do you love the best?

A2. I don't have a favourite. Once the stories are written and published, they're yesterday's news. I don't have a huge amount of reprints because I rarely look backwards. It's more important to be working on the next thing, the new project, than to think about what I've already done. (As Michael Keaton said about playing Batman: I don't want to find myself at a car show in twenty years, still in the suit, with a kid on my knee, saying "Is that your Mom? Tell her to meet me after the show.")

I have several stories that stand out, because of awards, or because they're good to use at readings so I use them more than once, but there's no real star of the litter. I'd much rather hear that a reader has a particular favourite than have one myself.

Q3. Your wife Lyn is also a writer of no mean repute. Which one of Lyn's stories do you love the best?

A3. Ah, see, now this is easier :) Lyn's best story is called 'A Whisper In The House of Angels'- to date, it's unpublished, because it's a very hard sell: it's subtle, disturbing, and gives the reader very little in the way of sure footing. It just needs the right editor, and when it finds publication, it's going to win everything. Of her published stuff, I have a real soft spot for 'Of Woman Born', in Daikaju II. It's very short, only 600 words or so, but it's everything Lyn is capable of: feminine, mature, imaginative, unique, all the elements that make up a Lyn Battersby story, plus it manages to be more than a little twisted and giggle-inducingly funny into the bargain. I think it's been sadly ignored, and vastly underrated.

Q4. You've made it clear on many occasions that traditional fantasy is not your favourite genre. What do you think of some of the current crop of writers, such as Margo Lanagan, who are putting new, darker spins on some of the old tropes?

A4 Actually, I'm not a fan of Lanagan's writing. I find it contrived and soulless. I'm also aware that I'm in a tiny minority on this issue. I am going to raise issue with your statement, though: the thing is, I am a fan of traditional fantasy. What drives me to such public distraction is the sheer amount of bad trad-fantasy we see served up to us. It's precisely because I love the good stuff that I rail against the Eddings' and Brooks' of the genre. Despite all his flaws, Tolkein's work was incredible, as was Dunsany's, and Stephen Donaldson's original Thomas Covenant trilogy was amazing. It's just that trad-fantasy seems to be the logical extension of Sturgeon's Law, and nobody seems to say "Stop! The good stuff is over here!"

I also don't see the usurpation of standard fantasy tropes as a new thing, although I'm a fan of writers such as Mieville and KJ Bishop who are spinning it out in new directions. You don't have to go too far back to see Tim Powers doing wonderful things within 'standard' settings (witness 'Anubis Gate' and 'Drawing Of The Dark') and you can go back even further to writers like Wolfe, Vance, Moorcock, Le Guin and Poul Anderson to see some astonishingly wonderful 'non-traditional' fantasy stories.

It's writers like these who point out how well you can do epic fantasy (Trad-fantasy, high fantasy, call it what you like), which makes it all the more annoying to me to see readers settling for the latest instalment in whichever pale 'Witches Guild of the Wheel of Shannara' Tolkein-shadow you care to name.

Q5. And finally, what are your ambitions for the next five years, both personally and writing-wise?

A5. I'm 38 years old. I want to be supporting my family through my writing by the time I turn 45. I want to make a concerted effort to move away from the short story/small press/horror story niche I seem to have been tarred with, and move into a wider publishing base-- novels, more in the line of guys like Chuck Palahniuk and Jonathon Lethem, who are writing genre, to all intents and purposes, but who seem to have avoided being hemmed in by the label. If I get a chance to write another screenplay, or work outside my current boundaries, I'll be eager to do so. I didn't start out wanting to be an SF writer: I wanted to be a writer, non-specific, one thereof. I've become distracted, rather, since I started selling-- small press SF is a bit of a honey trap, psychologically. I really want to go back to my original, pure desire-- to write, and publish, whatever I choose, without thought of genre, or form, or purpose. I love writing poetry, and comedy sketches, and plays, and screenplays, and short stories, and cartoons. And I've published all of them over the years. That's what I want.

Of course, what I'd like to do is really push towards achieving a significant artistic and commercial impact over an extended period of time. People like Spike Milligan, David Bowie, Stephen Fry, Alice Cooper, and David Hockney are my template: multi- form artists who can move from medium to medium as the need arises. It's a very British way of thinking, to me- defining the artist by themself, rather than what they produce. Nobody over there tells Stephen Fry he can't write a novel because he's an actor, but over here we tend to look down on people who try to cross boundaries, as if they should be glad to work in one form. I'd like to break past that.

Either that, or I'd like to dress up as a bat and fight criminals. I'm still undecided.

Thanks to Lee Battersby for that thoughtful interview.

9 comments:

Jo said...

Trouble is, for me, I haven't a clue who Lee Battersby is. Interesting interview though.

Satima Flavell said...

That's the idea, Jo, to introduce people to each other. It would be fun to interview you, too if you're up for it! Your sinlaw Mike would be another interesting subject. Everyone has something interesting to share, don't you think?

Sara said...

Excellent interview, great questions, interesting answers from Lee. Well done!

Jo said...

Not sure everyone has something interesting to say. I do agree Mike would be interesting to interview. You should ask him if he will do so. He has an email addy on his site.

As for me, I'm up for it, not sure I would have anything to say that would interest anyone else.

Satima Flavell said...

I'm sure Sara (woof!) will agree with me that everyone has a story! I'd love to hear a bit of yours, Jo, so hear are some questions:

Q1. What made you and Matt decide to move from the UK to Canada? Was it a good move for you?

Q2. What other countries have you visited or lved in? Are there any more that you really long to see?

Q3. I know you're an avid reader. Can you pick two contrasting books that you've enjoyed recently and tell us a bit about them and why you liked them?

Q4.Bowling is another of your hobbies, isn't it? What made you take it up? Have you been doing it for very long? If not, did you play another sport, and if so what was it?

Q5. It's apparent that you love food and are an amazing cook. have you a favourite recips to share with us?

Jo, you can post your answers here or on your own blog or e-mail them to me. If you'd like a photo included other than the one on your blog, send that to me too:-) Otherwise I'll just grab your blog pic.

Jo said...

I have emailed you my answers as you will know by now. I have also posted the interview on my blog for Monday.

Sara said...

Do you interview dogs if they respond in words, not woofs?

Satima Flavell said...

Jo, I didn't get that email, so I've just been to your blog and copied the post. I'll put it up here later today, all being well.

Sara, I would very much like to interview a talking dog, or even a dog whose owner can translate dogspeak, or dogs speaking on behalf of their owners or even the owners themselves. Talk it over with your owner and take your pick:-)

Jo said...

If you didn't get my email Satima, email me and we will see if I have the right addy.

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