Its 2024 and the Showcase you didn’t know you needed is back!
The idea came to me whilst seeing so many of the book community gathering at recent conventions in the US and UK. And once my FOMO had subsided, I got to thinking about who might be gathered together if we had similar conventions closer to home. Pending the master planning required to arrange a massive convention, I thought the next best thing might be to run an Australian & New Zealand author showcase. So, I sent out the call, with the only prerequisite for participating being the author had to have been born in either country or currently live there.
I’m thrilled to say that a huge number of authors have reached out to me, and I will continue to post their individual showcases at regular intervals. So hopefully you will enjoy these interactions with some very talented people. Please be sure to check out their work, sign up to their newsletters and follow them on their social media of choice. I make no apologies for any damage inflicted to your TBR’s!
Showcase No 19 finds me chatting with debutant Aussie author Joshua Walker
- Do you feel that being an Aussie / Kiwi (or residing there) influences your writing?
Definitely! Although I like to play with elements of my family heritage (Lebanese/French/Mediterranean), I am an avid enjoyer of Australian summer. Something I’ve never really seen captured in words is the dense, humid summers we experience here, which can be sometimes truly burdensome to bear, and other times, incredibly refreshing, serene and enjoyable. These ‘types’ of summer are something that always tend to feature in my writing in some way, as opposed to the traditional fantasy winter setting. However, my novella, The Rest to the Gods actually does feature a very wintery setting, so stay tuned for that when it comes out on January 9th!
- What are some of the challenges being located so far away from the rest of the world, do have any tips for overcoming these?
Shipping costs are a bugger – particularly for book buying! I used to love Book Depository for this reason (RIP). When I do launch physical copies of my novel, An Exile of Water & Gold in 2024, I’ll probably need to keep it print-on-demand only, until I’ve got enough of a buffer to allow me to keep author copies and send them out to people.
- How do you go about establishing connections in the book community? (any tips / suggestions)
I’ve been really lucky so far with this. In real life, I’m definitely a melancholic, and find it hard to be outgoing (although those that know me well would say I’m the opposite). But I’ve found that being your genuine self, saying hi, and showing people a great deal of support and respect online is the best thing. The results of this have been fruitful — I recently piloted a Discord channel for upcoming authors with my friend and fellow author Scott Palmer (definitely be on the look out for him in the coming year!) and that has been an immense gift, both for my socialisation, as well as a way to build a community between people who all share the same passion with the vigour that I do. The group is called The Break-Ins and includes so many cool peeps: Scott Palmer, Rob Leigh, Kaden Love, Louise Holland, Isaac Hill, Sam Paisley, Bryan Wilson, Calum Lott, Andrew Watson and Adrian M Gibson.
- Do you have a favourite character to write? And conversely are there any of your characters that are the more of a struggle?
I can answer the second part of this question in regards to races and cultures in my world. On the continent of Q’ara, there are two main races interacting: the Aobians, who are the traditional custodians of the land; and the humans, who have come from other places and settled there. It’s been interesting to discover that on the whole, the Aobian characters are harder to write, even though they don’t present so differently to humans at first glance. As a white Australian, I am always trying to keep the Australian story front of mind, and am a passionate endorser of the Aboriginal people and the land that is truly theirs, which has given me the life I have been blessed to live here.
My favourite character on the other hand, is the human Queen, Esme, who is thrown into the role after the death of her father. She is snarky, able to think twenty steps ahead of everyone else, and embraces a very controversial picture of leadership. I can’t wait for people to read her part in the story in An Exile of Water & Gold.
In the novella, my favourite character would have to be Nischia, whose origin story is told over the course of the book. She’s an incredible character that grows into herself, but is always consistent, strong, and driven by integrity. Different aspects to her were inspired by all the powerful women in my life. She also features in the full novel as a side character!
- So aliens finally reveal themselves to us and your work is presented to them as example of what humanity has to offer, what do you hope they will take away from this intergalactic exchange?
That the search for true happiness is better found rooted in the great secret of joy. Our lives are not dictated or predestined towards any particular end — we all have the free will and autonomous capacity to choose our paths. In times of darkness, there can often still be joy, even if happiness is nowhere to be found.
- Tell us something about yourself that not many people know?
In other circles, a lot of people might know this, but I am an avid guitarist and singer, and have released lots of music over the years – both in bands and as a solo musician. Music has always been just like the air I breathe. I’m a big metalhead, love pop punk, and have a secret guilty inclination towards country. I’m also an avid homebrewer and love everything to do with brewing, fermentation, and craft beer!
- What would you say is the best thing about being an author and the worst?
The best thing: telling the stories I wish I could experience as a reader, and getting them into the hands of others.
The worst thing: managing my time between a full time teaching job, family, and the writing itself. But what I will say is, setting small goals and having set time aside to write where possible is really helpful. I used the online app called Pacemaker to help me visualise and break down the novel into chunks. It also gave me an end date, which is a big motivator for me.
- Any other Aussie / Kiwi creatives you’d like to give a shout out for? (let’s spread the love)
My friend Louise Holland, from Adelaide, AUS just released her novel Spark of the Divine in November, and I hope everyone checks it out! Australia and NZ have so much talent on offer right now in the SFF space and it’s really exciting. Some names to check out that come to mind are: Mark Timmony, Delilah Waan, LR Schulz, NC Koussis, SK Putt and EC Greaves.
- What’s your favourite quote or passage from one of your books?
“Never let it be said that fierceness will not yield you the respect you deserve.” – Nischia, The Rest to the Gods
- What can you say about your current project or what you are planning next?
I am prepared to make 2024 my year! You can sign up to my mailing list now ahead of January 9th, when The Rest to the Gods will be released as a free e-book to anyone who signs up. My hope is for the novella to whet everyone’s appetite for the full length. I’ll be debuting An Exile of Water & Gold somewhere between June and September. Keep your eyes peeled for Cover Reveals and more closer to the time!
Bonus Question: Lastly Vegemite* yes or no?
The answer is yes, always yes, resounding yeses for days. A decent pat of butter on a warm slice of white, thick-cut toast are the best accompaniments for it. And don’t forget a hot cup of Yorkshire Gold tea.
* An iconic dark salty spread that (most) Australians slap on toast for breakfast (NB explanation for the rest of the world)
Photo credit: Sam Rebbechi (@samuelrebbechi on Instagram)
Joshua Walker is a fantasy author from Melbourne, Australia. He currently works as a primary school English teacher, and likes to read, brew beer, and hang out with his wife and BFD (Big Fluffy Dog) in his free time. His upcoming series, The Song of the Sleepers, begins in
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