Tuesday Toot – Lisa L Hannett

Tuesday Toot is a semi-regular feature here at The Word. An invite-only series of short posts where writers, editors, booksellers and other creatives have been asked to share their stuff and toot their own horn. It’s hard to be seen in the digital morass and hopefully this occasional segment will help some of the quality stuff out there get noticed. It should all be things that readers of The Word will find edifying.

Today, it’s Lisa L Hannett.

Bluegrass SymphonyWho is Lisa?

Lisa L Hannett hails from Ottawa, Canada but now lives in Adelaide, South Australia — city of churches, bizarre murders and pie floaters. Her short stories have been published in venues including Clarkesworld Magazine, Fantasy Magazine, Weird Tales, ChiZine, Midnight Echo, Shimmer, Electric Velocipede, Tesseracts 14, and Ann & Jeff VanderMeer’s Steampunk II: Steampunk Reloaded, among other places. Her work has appeared on Locus’s Recommended Reading List 2009, Tangent Online’s Recommended Reading List 2010, and has been published in the Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2010. The February Dragon, co-authored with Angela Slatter, won the ‘Best Fantasy’ Aurealis Award in 2010. Lisa is a graduate of Clarion South.

Her first collection, Bluegrass Symphony, was published by Ticonderoga Publications in 2011. Midnight and Moonshine, a second collection co-authored with Angela Slatter, will be published in 2012.

What are you tooting about?

I recently wrote a short piece on the Weird West in fiction for www.suvudu.com, in which I was also given the chance to talk about my first book, Bluegrass Symphony – and it goes a little something like this:

Bluegrass Symphony is a collection of twelve dark fantasy stories, set in a territory riddled with dangers. People in the wilds of Alabaska, Two Squaw, Plantain, and Tapekwa Counties may not follow the law as we know it, but their towns are far from lawless. Justice and honour come from smoking guns — and nothing is missed by the mysterious Reverends’ eyes. This is a land of great magic, great risks. Shapeshifting is both a bootlegger’s skill and a twig-wife’s cruel punishment. Desperate deals are brokered between rough woodsmen and Minotaurs, Fae creatures and midwives, soul-smoking Mayors and Pegasus-riding delivery girls, Sheriffs and highwaymen — for safety, as well as selfishness. But as Ann VanderMeer points out in the book’s introduction, “These stories are about more than people just trying to get something from one another. These stories are about power and redemption, transformation, and sacrifice.” Everyone in the Weird West is the agent of their own fate — but in Bluegrass Symphony the line between defeat and salvation is often as thin as the soil under a wolfboy’s spurs.
What other people have been saying about it:

Publishers Weekly wrote: “Hannett’s first collection shows off her fondness for lush imagery, unsettling concepts, indirect prose, and multilayered plots…a collection for fans of weirdness, wonder, and oft-disturbing twists.”

Robert Shearman says: “Lisa L Hannett’s collection plays like a country music album composed in the darker places of imagination, the little corners that you don’t want to look in as you tap-tap your foot to the catchy beat. Coolly beautiful, then coldly brutal, this is one of the most unnerving debuts in years.”

Kirstyn McDermott says: “Take a scruff of minotaur hair and a handful of mermaid scales, mix them with mothdust and the bloody feathers of a murdered oracle, and you might get a taste of the strange and dream-soaked magic that Lisa Hannett conjures with this remarkable debut collection. Bluegrass Symphony introduces a rare and original voice whose stories linger, dark and luscious and bold as tarnished brass, long after you have finished reading them.”

You can buy a copy of Bluegrass Symphony at www.indiebooksonline.com (or Book Depository, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online retailers).

What’s in store for Lisa:

Midnight and Moonshine, co-authored with Angela Slatter, will be published in November 2012 (Ticonderoga Publications).

Midnight and Moonshine traces the origins of the icy and dangerous Fae and explores their interactions over the centuries with the Laveaux and Beaufort families. Driven from their realm, the Fae come to America with Viking raiders in the 10th century; when the Vikings discover the nature of their stowaways, they desert them in the new land. Left to their own devices the Fae worm their way through history, largely keeping apart from humanity, but occasionally making connections that come to have long-term effects in America’s alternative Deep South.

I have also recently received a grant from Arts SA to write the first book in a dark fantasy trilogy, The Familiar. So for the next 8 months, I’ll be writing a novel I’ve been planning for ages, which is all about witches and shapeshifting and lunatics… You know, all the usual things!

Finally, Simon Marshall-Jones gave me the greatest Christmas present ever this year: on Christmas day, he bought Smoke Billows, Soot Falls for Spectral Press’s gorgeous chapbook series. Simon describes the story as “beautifully bleak and spookily haunting” and promises that “it’s a belter of a tale!” Keep an eye out for it in 2014!

You can find Lisa online at http://lisahannett.com and on Twitter @LisaLHannett.

[You’ll remember I was recently crowing about just how brilliant Bluegrass Symphony is. And it really is, so get yourselves a copy. I’m also a big fan of Angela Slatter’s work, so the thought of a co-authored collection coming out soon is very exciting. – Alan]

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