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Friday, September 20, 2013

Yallfest Interview with Sean Williams

Sean Williams was born in the dry, flat lands of South Australia, where he still lives with his wife and family. He has been called many things in his time, including "the premier Australian speculative fiction writer of the age", the "Emperor of Sci-Fi", and the "King of Chameleons" for the diversity of his output. That award-winning output includes over thirty-five novels for readers all ages, seventy-plus short stories across numerous genres, the odd published poem, and even a sci-fi musical. 

On the sci-fi front, he is best-known internationally for award-winning space opera series and novels set in the Star Wars universe, many co-written with fellow-Adelaidean Shane Dix. These include the Astropolis, Evergence, Orphans, and Geodesica series, and the computer game tie-in The Force Unleashed--the first such adaptation ever to debut at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. A series for young readers, The Fixers, pitted an increasingly lost protagonist against zombies, cyborgs, and vampires across numerous universes. His most recent releases in the Star Wars universe are The Old Republic: Fatal Alliance and The Force Unleashed 2.

His fantasy novels--inspired by the landscapes of his childhood--occupy a unique niche in Australian publishing. These include the Books of the Change (The Stone Mage & the Sea, The Sky Warden & the Sun, and The Storm Weaver & the Sand) and the Books of the Cataclysm (The Crooked Letter--the first fantasy novel to win both the Aurealis and Ditmar Awards--The Blood Debt, The Hanging Mountains, and The Devoured Earth). His most recent entries in this world include the Broken Land series (The Changeling, The Dust Devils, and The Scarecrow) and novellas in two anthologies, The Dragon Book and Legends of Australian Fantasy.

Sean’s stories have been gathered in five collections, including New Adventures in Sci-Fi, Light Bodies Falling and Magic Dirt: the Best of Sean Williams. He still lives with his family in South Australia, where his poem “Reflections on Water” forms the text for the new Adelaide Zoo’s welcoming soundscape. He takes an active role in writing-related organisations and writer advocacy groups, sitting on the committees of The Big Book Club Inc, the Adelaide Writers’ Week Advisory Committee, and the premier international representational body of speculative fiction writers, SFWA.

When he’s not writing or in meetings, he likes to cook and DJ, but never at the same time.

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Interview:

What one thing do you need to have when you write?
The right music. And chocolate as a reward when I finish.

Describe your book in 5 words
Jump meets Uglies. But different.

What is the hardest line to write- the first or the last?
The first line is often the hardest to write, but I like a good challenge. The line I like writing the least is the last because it means I have a whole load of rewriting ahead of me.

Best writing tip you ever received?
Give up. If you can do that, you’ll be happier and probably better off as a result. If you can’t, then you know writing is exactly the right thing for you!

Tell us 5 random facts about yourself.
1) I live in Adelaide, South Australia, a place that’s home to about a million other people but somehow feels like a small town, which is why I love it.
2) I still think music from the 1980s is cool.
3) My stepson has situs invertus, which means his heart is on the wrong side of his body. That’s not really about me, but it is pretty random.
4) I’m a huge fan of Doctor Who.
5) I’m minding a pair of green tree frogs, Skipper and Jumpy, for a young friend while she’s overseas with her family. You can see pictures of them on my Facebook page.

Where's your favorite place to write?
In my study, a lovely upstairs nook containing all my favorite book-related things, but I’ve trained myself to write anywhere as long as I have my headphones and some music. I quite like writing in hotels, probably because someone else does all the household chores.

What are you working on now?
Crashland, the sequel to Twinmaker.

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