About Me

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

My books

My first novel, The Dagger of Dresnia (Book 1 of The Talismans) is published by Satalyte - it's available from their website as well as from Amazon.com and other online outlets. Book 2, The Cloak of Challiver, is in preparation. I also have a short story, La Belle Dame, in print - see Mythic Resonance below.

The Dagger of Dresnia

Buy The Dagger of Dresnia

The Dagger of Dresnia, Book 1 of The Talismans Trilogy, is available in paperback and e-book from Amazon.com and from the publisher, Satalyte Publications - click on the cover to visit their online shop. The paperback can also be found in selected bookstores in Australia.

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.

Prefer hard copy?

There are still a few paperback copies of Mythic Resonance available, too. Contact me (there's a contact form on my website) if you'd like a copy - $20 including postage within Australia.

Your books and theses!

As both writer and editor, I specialise in historical and high or epic fantasy. If you have a fantasy manuscript in preparation, don't waste money on editing too early. Instead, let me help with a mini-assessment of your work, based on careful reading of your synopsis and first 20 pages. Then, when you've worked on the manuscript in line with our discussions, I will be happy to do a full edit before you send it off into the big wide world. I am also an experienced academic editor, and am available to edit theses, journal submissions and other academic papers. For more about my editing work, CLICK HERE

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Places I've lived: Manchester, UK

Places I've lived: Manchester, UK

Places I've lived: Gippsland, Australia

Places I've lived: Gippsland, Australia

Places I've lived: Geelong, Australia

Places I've lived: Geelong,  Australia

Places I've lived: Tamworth, NSW

Places I've lived: Tamworth, NSW

Places I've Lived - Sydney

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

Places I've lived: Auckland, NZ

Places I've lived: Auckland, NZ

Places I've Lived: Mount Gambier

Places I've Lived: Mount Gambier
Blue Lake

Places I've lived: Adelaide, SA

Places I've lived: Adelaide, SA

Places I've Lived: Perth by Day

Places I've Lived: Perth by Day
From Kings Park

Places I've lived: High View, WV

Places I've lived: High View, WV

Places I've lived: Lynton, Devon, UK

Places I've lived: Lynton, Devon, UK

Places I've lived: Braemar, Scotland

Places I've lived: Braemar, Scotland

Places I've lived: Barre, MA, USA

Places I've lived: Barre, MA, USA

Places I've Lived: Perth by Night

Places I've Lived: Perth by Night
From Kings Park

Inner Peace Blog

Inner Peace Blog
Awarded by Joanna Fay. Click on the image to visit her lovely website!

Versatile Blogger Award

Versatile Blogger Award
Awarded by Kim Falconer. Click on the pic to check out her Quantum Astrology blog!

Fabulous Blog Award

Fabulous Blog Award
Awarded by Kathryn Warner. Click on the pic to check out her Edward II blog!

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Monday, 9 February 2009

Lady of contrasts: an interview with Carol Ryles

Another interview today: this time with Carol Ryles; writer, nurse, mother, scholar, trekker, crit buddy extraordinaire and one of the most modest people I know. Carol, like my last guest, Sarah Parker, is a member of the Katharine Susannah Prichard Speculative Fiction Group. She is studying for a PhD in creative writing at the University of Western Australia, and we can expect to see a novel or three at the end of all her hard work. Meantime, you will find her short stories in a variety of publications both in Oz and elsewhere.

Q1. Carol, you're a person who has successfully undertaken many different projects, both personally and professionally, during your adult life. You have been writing for some ten or fifteen years now. At what point did you decide to start taking your writing seriously rather than regarding it as "just a hobby"?

A1. I began to take writing seriously when I decided to switch from journal writing to fiction writing in 1997. However, back then, my children were aged three, five and eight, I'd just moved from Brisbane to Perth, and my writing time was very limited. Then in 2000, when my youngest started school, I decided I wanted to study, so the next 8 years were spent studying part time for an English BA with honours. At the time, it was frustrating because at most I could only manage to finish four stories a year even though I messed around writing a lot more. But now I've finished my BA, I can say it was all worth it. I think much more deeply about what I'm writing these days and, now I have a scholarship to keep me going through my PhD in creative writing, I have no excuse not to devote a full five days a week to writing.

Q2. You're obviously an adventurous person, being keen on sports such as cave diving and trekking. Do you find this kind of edgy contact with nature inspires or informs your writing in any way?

A2. During my recent trip on the Routeburn Track in NZ, I took a writing journal with me. In the end, I wrote very little, because all I wanted to do was walk, enjoy and gaze (or perhaps meditate) for hours at the scenery. I'd love to set a story in wilderness like I saw on the Routeburn. Even though Peter Jackson has already done that, I did manage to see at least one place that didn't remind me of LOTR :) When I look back on my scuba diving journals (1980s), I find lots of descriptions of what I saw, but what really makes me relive it all are the pages and pages dedicated to the times I found myself in potential trouble, such as being surrounded by reef sharks, or nearly running out of air on the seabed in a strong current, or nearly getting dynamited in the South China Sea. It's then that I'm reminded how it feels to be running on adrenaline when only moments before I'd been at peace with the world, and how, in wild places, there's a very fine line separating safety from danger. That boundary is a place I've been exploring a lot in my fiction of late. So I guess, it's not so much the places themselves that have inspired the stuff I'm writing now, but the ways in which those places made me feel.

Q3. It's possible to track your writing career since 1998, when you were highly commended in the first Katharine Susannah Prichard Speculative Fiction competition. Since then, you've gone from strength to strength, more shortlistings and highly commendeds and then winning the KSP competition in 2004. You were given an honourable mention in the Aurealis Award and shortlisted for the Australian Shadow Awards in 2006, and in 2007 you completed an honours degree in English. Then in 2008 you not only started working towards a PhD but you were also accepted for the Clarion West "bootcamp" in Seattle, USA. Of all these endeavours, which has held the most meaning and sense of achievement for you?

A3. All of them surprised the hell out of me, especially the KSP award in 1998 because that was my first serious attempt at writing SF. I can't say which endeavour has held the most meaning, because they all mean different things. But right now Clarion West holds a special place because it was something I'd wanted to do since I first heard about it 10 years ago. It was also the first time I'd left my family to fend for themselves, though they're mostly grown up now, but it was great to see they coped. Also, I was terrified I wouldn't be able to deliver a story every week only to have each one pulled to pieces. In the end I amazed myself by doing just that. The one thing I loved about writing under Clarion conditions is that, not only do your writing strengths shine, but so do your weaknesses. As a result, you spend an entire six weeks figuring out the hows, whys and wherefores. Now I'm home again, I look back on the whole experience as a huge privilege that taught me more than I could have ever learned tapping away at a keyboard on my own. It gave me confidence to keep going and try new things. Plus Seattle is a lovely city, with a generous and vibrant SF community. I came home full of new ideas, new ambitions, my batteries recharged and ready to start my PhD.

Q4. You've had many short stories published both here and overseas. Are you particularly proud of, or do you feel especially attached to, any one of them?

A4. For the amount of time that's elapsed since I started writing fiction, I haven't really published a huge number of stories: a couple in Eidolon, a couple with CSFG, one with Ticonderoga Online, another with Fables & Reflections and three or four in ezines such as AntiSF. I've written a whole stack more, but I haven't bothered sending them out anywhere because I don't like them enough for that. That's probably a defeatist attitude, but I could always see my early stories were flawed and couldn't figure out how to fix them. Again, Clarion has done a lot to help me in that area. Of all my stories, I think my favourite is "The Bridal Bier" (Eidolon 1 Anthology), which I wrote during a uni study break when I hadn't written any fiction for months and it felt wonderful letting the muse take over. It was actually a fictional rewriting of an essay I was working on and I loved the way my unconscious self reinterpreted what my conscious self was trying to make sense of. I'm also proud of my Clarion stories, which I plan to bring up to scratch before sending out this year. I wrote them during the equivalent of a major panic and, though they've yet to prove themselves, they've taught me a lot about myself as well as about my writing.

Q5. What are your goals for the next decade, and what most motivates you to achieve them?

A5. My writing goals for the next decade are to write every day, finish my novel, turn it into a trilogy, keep writing and submitting short stories and not give up. My trekking goals include a lot of kilometres in wild places with mountains, forests, mud and rain. And definitely no sharks.

No sharks, and no dynamite either, Carol. We want to read that trilogy:-)

You can find a link To Carol's LJ in my blogroll.

4 comments:

Marilyn Z. Tomlins said...

Satima --

Good interview.
Marilyn

Satima Flavell said...

Your turn next:-)

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