Interview

I’m interviewed by Terry W Ervin II

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May 22, 2013

Terry Ervin is the author of books like Flank Hawk and Blood Sword. He was kind enough to invite me over to his site for an interview. I talk about books, horror, martial arts, collaboration, the Monkey TV show, what I’ve already written and what I’m working on now.

You can find the interview here. Hope you enjoy it.

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Dead Robots’ Society Podcast

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April 24, 2013

Pic DRS Dead Robots Society PodcastI got up a bit earlier than usual this morning to be a guest on the Dead Robots’ Society Podcast along with David Wood. We had a lot of fun, talked about genre fiction and horror especially. Of course, we were mostly talking up Dark Rite as that’s the new and current thing.

It’s a great podcast and we had a good laugh with hosts Justin Macumber and Paul Elard Cooley. The episode is up and available already, so go here to have a listen.

On that front, I was very happy today to see that Dark Rite is at number 42 in Horror Hot New Releases on Amazon, and number 17 in Occult Horror Hot New Releases. Thanks to everyone who had bought a copy – you people rock.

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Chuck Wendig on ThrillerCast

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December 17, 2012

thrillercastlogo2 Chuck Wendig on ThrillerCastIt’s been a while since I posted about a new episode of ThrillerCast, which is a bit slack of me really. In case you’re new here, ThrillerCast is the podcast I co-host with action/adventure author, David Wood. It’s all kinds of chat about anything thriller and genre fiction related, with stuff for readers and writers. In the latest episode, I have a chat with the potty-mouthed paragon of awesome penmonkey advice, Chuck Wendig. You can find the episode here.

In recent episodes, we’ve talked about all kinds of writer-related stuff and had great chats with the likes of Greig Beck, Thomas Greanias, Rich Steeves and many more. Have a stroll through the archives or, even better, subscribe via iTunes.

And if you’re a fan, please drop by iTunes to leave us a rating or review, and tell your friends. If you’re unsure, why not let our two existing iTunes reviews speak for themselves:

Thrillercast is seriously good writer talk. (Five-star review)

by Lynda Washington

David Wood is American writer of action adventure. Alan Baxter is an English writer of dark fantasy/horror with a pronounced Aussie accent. Both are serious students and practitioners of their art, and they share generously with the listener. I’m a serious student, too, though not a practitioner. My judgment is trustworthy. If you want to strengthen your understanding of writing and the writer’s place in publishing, listen to these guys. They are intelligent and focused. The sound quality is good. The episodes never seem to go on longer than they should. No downside.

Great Podcast! (Five-star review)

by GregD65

David and Alan produce an ejoyable, intelligent, and always entertaining look at writing thrillers. Writers and readers of others genres should give a lsiten as well since the advice, interviews, and banter cross genres easily. My only complaint — frequency!!! I need MORE ThrillerCast!!!

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The Intersection Between Gothic Horror and Urban Fantasy – S F Signal Mind Meld

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November 1, 2012

I’ve always enjoyed the frequent Mind Meld posts over at the S F Signal blog, so it was quite an honour to be asked to participate in one. The subject was The Intersection Between Gothic Horror and Urban Fantasy based on the theme of this year’s World Fantasy Convention: “Northern Gothic and Urban Fantasy”. We were asked to comment on the idea that Urban Fantasy now represents the new Gothic; that castles and haunted locations have been replaced by the Modern City. It seems that my ideas on the subject are in the minority compared to most of the respondents, but I think that’s largely due to differing ideas of just what urban fantasy is. I think the idea of urban fantasy as purely an extension of paranormal romance does an incredible disservice to the scope and variety of what makes up urban fantasy today.

Sure, there’s the stuff that draws on the paranormal romance model, but there’s so much more than that. Certainly, my own work has nothing to do with romance and everything to do with dark fantasy and horror in urban (and other) environments.

Anyway, the various responses still make for interesting reading. The people involved include Anton Strout, Carrie Cuinn, Carrie Vaughn, Damien Walters Grintalis, David Annandale, J.A. Pitts, Mindy Klasky, Nick Mamatas, Stina Leicht, Teresa Frohock and myself. You can find the post here.

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Industry IQ seminar: Going Indie: inside self-publishing – Saturday 22 September

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September 17, 2012

If you’re going to be around Brisbane this weekend and you have an interest in self-publishing, you should try to get along to this event. I’m very pleased to be presenting alongside Sally Collings and Graham Nunn, where we’ll be talking all about the ins and outs of self-publishing and chatting about our own publication journeys. Regular readers here will know that I’ve dabbled in a variety of forms of self-publishing, as well as being traditionally published. Some of my self-published work is now traditionally published, and other stuff I’m happy to keep publishing on my own. Hopefully I can give a decent overview of my experience and be useful to anyone who comes along.

As far as I can tell, we should have a good mix of fiction, poetry and non-fiction experience between us. As the blurb says:

Demystify the world of self-publishing with this seminar that examines the issues and process of self-publishing. Explore the process of making and selling books, editing and manuscript development, marketing and author platforms with these industry professionals who have taken the leap into self-publishing.

Here are all the details:

Going Indie: Inside Self-Publishing

Presented by Alan Baxter, Sally Collings, Graham Nunn

Date: Saturday September 22

Time: 11:00am – 1:00pm

Venue: Meeting Room 1.B, Ground Floor, State Library of Queensland, Cultural Centre, Stanley Place, South Brisbane

Price:

Full Price $50

Concession $45

QWC Members $30

QWC Member Concessions $27

Further details about the event and the presenters, and booking forms, can be found by clicking here.

I hope to see you there. I’ll be around a little bit before the event and sticking around for a little while afterwards, so do come and say hello.

EDIT: Venue corrected.

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Ellen Datlow – gatekeeper

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September 16, 2012

Ellen Datlow is one of the best editors in the business. I’ve got enormous respect for her, and the books she puts out are always excellent. I was also honoured that she gave one of my stories (Punishment Of The Sun from the Dead Red Heart anthology (Ticonderoga Publications)) an Honourable Mention in her latest Year’s Best. Someone pointed out this YouTube video to me, and I had to share it. It’s a fascinating one minute of film. Look at all those stacks of books! Look at all those Hugos! With science fiction “you can sneak in and corrupt them.” Brilliant. Enjoy.

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Tales From The Top Shelf interview

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August 8, 2012

years best fantasy and horror v1 web 200x300 Tales From The Top Shelf interviewTalie Helene has started a thing on her blog called Tales From The Top Shelf, an interview series looking at individual stories from The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy & Horror (Ticonderoga Publications), edited by Liz Gryzb and Talie Helene. Why? As Talie says:

…while you may correctly surmise that in the process of editing, I’ve read all the anthology stories over, and over, and over… there’s still a lot for me to learn about them! Because between what we bring as readers, and a writer’s intentions – that spooky space of story is mysterious and always open to interpretation.

I’m lucky enough to be first cab off the rank in this new series, talking about my story, The King’s Accord, which was reprinted in The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy & Horror 2010.

Talie asks some great questions, about the story itself and about the themes explored in the story, the nature of fantasy and horror as genres and much more. It’s a good piece – you can find the whole thing here. Check it out.

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Snapshotted

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June 4, 2012

The Aussie Spec Fic Snapshot has taken place three times over the past eight years. In 2005, Ben Peek spent a frantic week interviewing 43 people in the Australian spec fic scene, and since then, it’s grown every time, now taking a team of interviewers working together to accomplish. In the lead up to Continuum 8 in Melbourne, the team will be blogging interviews for Snapshot 2012.

Read all about where to find the Snapshots here. There are also links there to excellent memorial Snapshots of Paul Haines and Sara Douglass, to open this year’s series.

I’ve been Snapshotted myself, and you can find my interview here. Enjoy!

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Music in Post Marked: Piper’s Reach

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April 6, 2012

photo 2 copy 300x300 Music in Post Marked: Piper’s ReachI’m very pleased to present here an interview with Jodi Cleghorn and Adam Byatt. Jodi and Adam are embarking on a very interesting literary experiment. Post Marked: Piper’s Reach is “an ambitious organic narrative collaborative project”, with Jodi and Adam “traversing an odd path between old and new forms of communication, differing modalities of storytelling and mixed media, all played out in real and suspended time”. That’s a fancy way of saying that they’re producing a collaborative story through writing letters to each other.The project has at its heart a love of letter writing and music, with the letters posted in “real time”.

Post Marked: Piper’s Reach aims are to:

  • rediscover the love of letters (writing and receiving), and by extension, reintroduce readers to the form.
  • write a serial narrative in a non-traditional form.
  • write a serial which brings together the best of new and old technology to create a cross-platform merging
  • of digital and paper, instant and delayed gratification, music and prose.
  • work collaboratively.
  • utilise an organic narrative development process to as closely model a real exchange of letters and reveal between characters.
  • explore the different impacts real time and delayed gratification have on the process of writing, character and narrative development.
  • participate in a writing project which is fun and does not require massive investments of time in editing and redrafting, which slots between, and complement, exisiting writing projects and professional relationships.

The fictional setting for the project is described here:

In December 1992 Ella-Louise Wilson boarded the Greyhound Coach for Sydney leaving behind the small coastal town of Piper’s Reach and her best friend and soulmate, Jude Smith. After twenty years of silence, a letter arrives at Piper’s Reach reopening wounds that never really healed. When the past reaches into the future, is it worth risking a second chance?

So I had a chat with Jodi and Adam about the musical aspect of the endeavour and why certain songs were included:

Alan: What role does music have in your life and writing?

(AB) Music has always been in the background of whatever I was doing. I’m an occasional drummer and percussionist, currently learning to play guitar and bass, so I have a vested interest in music. Even if I abandoned playing an instrument, music would still form a significant part of my life. My Mum used to ask why I could remember song lyrics better than my History or Mathematics homework. I’m loving getting out to gigs again, hearing live music, playing it when I can. Otherwise, it’s me, a pair of headphones and blissful enjoyment.

(JC) Music is the essential white noise of my life. I play it in the car, when I write, when I cook… I even have it on in the shower (a habit acquired in adolescence). I don’t remember a time without music (apparently I could sing ABBA before I could talk). In my 20s I was a massive consumer of live music and a night club devotee.

(AB) My teenage years were characterised by heavy metal, and I’m still a lover of metal, but I love a wide variety of styles and genres of music. Some of these have crept into Jude’s letters. Some are ubiquitous, others more obscure. I listened avidly to the radio as a teenager, and hearing some of those songs again transports me back to that era.

(JC) Music is my ever-evolving companion: nurturing, soothing, inspiring an outlet for the best and worst in life. In some ways I feel my life is catalogued more by music, than the dusty photo albums in my bookcase. Ella-Louise and I share this. Visceral and primal, music is a limbic connection to thoughts, emotions and memories, and is middleman between myself and the stories queued for scribing.

(AB) I identify with the emotional impact music and can swing through a whole dynamic range of emotions while listening. I often use music to help set a mood or a scene when writing. Picking and choosing the ‘right’ music to write to can be tricky.  And I like to drop hints as to my preferences in music here and there. It captures the subconscious levels of our intellect and our emotions.

Alan: The characters use music throughout their correspondence, either referencing song lyrics to suggest the character’s emotional state or mention a song to convey a sense of their relationship. How does music add to the narrative and the characters’ relationship?

(JC) Writing, reading and music were the three staples of my life as a teenager, so it made sense to use music as one of the vehicles to explore a fictional relationship between two people who were best mates as teenagers.

(AB) Jude uses music as a bridge to link him to the past (the experiences he shared with Ella-Louise as a teenager) and to the present. Jude sees the broken Ella-Louise and remembers the girl he loved. There are songs he remembers from their past. But he is unsure of what to make of it now. J: When Adam included a reference to Dire Strait’s “Romeo & Juliet” he had me in tears. I’d never told Adam this was one of my teenage love anthems

(JC) The songs appearing in Jude’s letters heavily influence Ella-Louise’s thoughts, which in turn shape her decisions. I listened to “Don’t Give Up” on speed rotation for an entire cooking session, exploring how it made Ella-Louise feel and it became the soundtrack to her meltdown, but also dominated her climb out of it. The darkness and the redemption in the lyrics appealed to Ella-Louise, as much as they appealed to me.

(AB) Jude’s preference for songs from the past is perhaps an indication of his inability to grasp the present situation with Ella-Louise. Even though they have different musical tastes, the music they share amplifies their emotional connection. Some of the songs I’ve used in Jude’s letters reflect of how I understand Jude as a character but also how Jude wants to engage with Ella-Louise.

(JC)  Ella-Louise uses music as a mirror to her past, and later the changing dynamic of her relationship with Jude. The lyrics she shares are tiny glimpses inside her, but for every answer they illuminate, twice as many questions are spawned. For example, in her second letter she pulls lyrics from Birds of Tokyo’s “Wild at Heart.”  She writes:

As I walk to the water to cleanse off the blood on my hands
The weight of this crime leaves a stain in the sand
I hope new tides come to wash me clean for good

It is a forerunner to what is an epic meltdown for her and I’ve often wondered just what Jude makes of it all… these strange, ephemeral disclosures from the girl-woman he loved twenty years ago.

(AB) Some of my favourite songs from adolescence appear in the playlist, having knowingly incorporated them into Jude’s letters. Others, for example, U2’s Ultraviolet (Light My Way), I was listening to while writing and it gave me an idea that fed into the narrative. I’m a bit of a melancholic, which certainly comes through in my song choices.

I tend to think of music in this project as a soundtrack, much like a movie. It conveys another emotional dimension from the words the characters use. If the reader is familiar with the song referenced, I hope it’s played in their heads while they read it.

(JC) If not we drop a youtube clip at the end of the digital transcript, adding another layer and dimension to the letters.

Alan: Two songs appear in the first letter, Placebo’s “Pure Morning” and The Waterboys’ “Whole of the Moon”. Was it an intended inclusion and what was the impact of those two songs on the rest of the project?

(JC) When I sat to write the first letter I had my iPod on random and “Pure Morning” came on and it seemed fitting, the beauty and rawness of Placebo’s lyrics and the repetition of the line: “A friend in need’s a friend indeed”. Without planning it, I channelled the underpinning theme of Jude and Ella-Louise’s letters from the start.

(AB) I tapped into Ella-Louise’s love of music and the reference to Placebo, and found Jude had a different taste in music, but it captured his understanding of their past and their experiences. People speak of moments in their lives defined or characterised by a particular song; a shared, almost spiritual, experience.

(JC) The inclusion of The Whole of the Moon was deliberate. It came on the iPod while I was cooking dinner the day before I sat down to write the first letter. It seemed to me the perfect anthem for two young people who would eventually go their own ways without each other. And it set up an interesting contrast of personalities, of optimism and pessimism, light and darkness.

(AB) The Whole of the Moon is a song I remember from my youth and I reconnected with it when Ella-Louise mentioned it. It was from that point I saw music as another aspect to the characters’ relationship.

(JC) Those two songs set up the precedence of music being pivotal to the characters understanding of themselves and each other, adding an extra dimension not just to the letters but to the online delivery of the project.

***

I’m looking forward to following this collaboration. Find out more about it all here:

BLOG LINK

http://postmarkedpipersreach.wordpress.com

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

http://postmarkedpipersreach.wordpress.com/the-authors/

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ThrillerCast episode 36 – The Long and the Short of It with Angela Slatter

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January 26, 2012

ThrillerCast ThrillerCast episode 36   The Long and the Short of It with Angela SlatterThrillerCast is back for 2012. Fellow Gryphonwood Press author, David Wood, and myself are back crapping on again about all things reading, writing and publishing related, especially things relevant to genre fiction. Thrillers, action adventure, sci-fi and fantasy, crime – if it’s good stuff, we’ll crap on about it. And if it’s bad, we’re not afraid to go there either.

Episode 36 is live now and we have a great chat with short story expert and all around top lass, Angela Slatter. We talk about the highs and lows of various lengths of fiction and Angela gives some great advice.

Get a listen on here.

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Welcome

The website of author Alan Baxter

Alan Baxter, Author

Author of horror, dark fantasy & sci-fi. Kung Fu instructor. Personal Trainer. Motorcyclist. Dog lover. Gamer. Heavy metal fan. Britstralian. Misanthrope. Learn more about me and my work by clicking About Alan just below the header.

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