G’day / Kia Ora.
Today I have the honour of hosting the seventh author showcases focusing on the awesome talent originating from Australia and New Zealand.
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 be posting their individual showcases at regular intervals over the coming weeks. 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!
Today I’m pleased to be chatting to Aussie author and SPFBPO9 semi-finalist, Delilah Waan.
1. Do you feel that being an Aussie / Kiwi (or residing there) influences your writing?
Definitely, though besides my very obvious decision to write in US English I couldn’t tell you what, exactly, those influences are.
(That said, I always reserve the right to deviate from US English if I find the spelling or usage particularly abhorrent. For example: “ax” and “gray” both had me grinding my teeth but I did succumb; I refuse to use “leaped” because “leapt” is just objectively better.)
By and large, the Australian and New Zealand (A/NZ) authors I generally see get discussed today are James Islington, Jay Kristoff, Tamsyn Muir, and Shelley Parker-Chan. But before them, there was a very rich history of A/NZ excellence in sci-fi and fantasy that perhaps is not as well known today as it once was.
Garth Nix, I think, is the main exception with his Abhorsen books. Trudi Canavan, too, sometimes gets a mention for her Black Magician Trilogy, though the prequel (The Magician’s Apprentice), the sequel trilogy (The Traitor Spy Trilogy) or her other epic fantasy trilogy (The Age of the Five) aren’t typically known.
Other A/NZ authors whose works I grew up with and never see discussed these days:
- Ian Irvine (The View from the Mirror, plus many others)
- Kate Forsyth (The Witches of Eileanan 6-book series)
- Cecilia Dart-Thornton (Bitterbynde Trilogy)
- Isobelle Carmody (The Obernewtyn Chronicles, Legendsong Saga)
- Sara Douglass (The Wayfarer Redemption 6-book series)
- Traci Harding (The Ancient Future & The Celestial Triad trilogies)
- Juliette Marillier (The Sevenwaters 6-book series)
And two current New Zealand authors whom deserve much more attention than they get:
- Helen Lowe (The Wall of Night series)
- Sascha Stronach (The Endsong series)
2. What are some of the challenges being located so far away from the rest of the world, do you have any tips for overcoming these?
You would think your geographical location doesn’t matter much in our post-COVID days, but it matters more than you’d think. Let’s start with the obvious:
Manufacturing. It is more expensive to produce and ship books. I’m already more fortunate than folks in NZ, since IngramSpark and KDP both have print facilities in Australia (based in Melbourne, I believe) but it’s considerably more expensive compared to US printing. If I was confident that I could move enough books, I would work directly with a printer (either local or based somewhere in China or Taiwan) but that leads me to the next problem…
Shipping. It is very expensive to ship to and from Australia. We do not have the amazing USPS service known as “media mail” that allows books to be shipped at a very low rate. The flat rate for local postage of a parcel is creeping up to $11 AUD. I’m not kidding when I say the shipping cost for me to send a single hardcover to the US, UK, or Canada costs more than the RRP of the hardcover itself. (I think I paid something like $45 AUD the last time I sent one out.)
Travel costs. I’d like to attend events like DragonCon or BristolCon, or Dragonsteel Con, but it’s not economically feasible. Flights alone would cost several thousand dollars; accommodation would add several hundred, if not another thousand. That leaves me with virtual meetups and discourse which brings me to…
Time zone differences. A sizeable portion of the indie SFF community is on Twitter and discourse there moves fast. The only time I have to write is early in the morning which means I have to be in bed early in the evening, right around when the UK is on their lunch break and the US is waking up. By the time I finish writing, the other side of the world is already in bed. On top of that, I just can’t be on social media constantly; if I was, I’d get no writing done. By the time I usually see a tweet, the conversation has moved on. This applies to livestreams too; they often clash with my writing time and—this above all else—NOTHING gets to interfere with writing time.
Unfortunately, I don’t have any real tips. These are hard constraints! Shipping, manufacturing, and travel aren’t going to get magically cheaper; time zones aren’t going to accommodate the demands of your schedule. You just have to do the best you can, pick modes of communication that rely less on immediacy (email newsletters and YouTube are what I prefer), and keep writing and publishing.
What has been really nice this year is discovering that there are quite a lot of us based in A/NZ, so I’m hoping that next year, we’ll be able to organise some A/NZ events, virtual or otherwise!
3. How do you go about establishing connections in the book community? (any tips / suggestions)
This sounds so silly because it’s so basic, but I think it’s just to remember to interact as a reader first and an author second. Join a community as a reader to talk about books and to talk to other members of the community as fellow readers, not like they’re all walking potential sales.
Don’t be that person who does drive-by self-promo drop-ins—nobody in the community will appreciate that. And don’t stretch yourself too thin across too many communities. If you’re in 20+ different Discords, Facebook groups, subreddits, etc, there’s no way you can keep up with all of them.
4. Do you have a favourite character to write? And conversely are there any of your characters that are the more of a struggle?
Elaram Issolm, probably. She’s just so damned fun to write!
Nheras Ilyn and Ylaen Imos are the hardest. They both present an image of themselves to the world that’s very different to who they actually are.
5. So aliens finally reveal themselves to us and your work is presented to them as an example of what humanity has to offer, what do you hope they will take away from this intergalactic exchange?
Oh, boy. I think they’d probably do a U-ie and leave, all while thinking: “You humans; you really are the root cause of all your own problems and your own worst enemies.”
…but hopefully they’d also leave with copies of my books on board because they find the writing fun and amusing enough that they’d rather read than go into stasis for hyperjumps. Or, y’know, terrible enough that they decide to do a live hate-read of it via ansible broadcast.
6. Tell us something about yourself that not many people know?
For someone who’s Aussie, I have very American tastes for comfort food which I blame on the time I spent living in NYC. If a restaurant has either mac’n’cheese or deep-fried mozzarella cheese sticks, I am compelled to order it.
7. What would you say is the best thing about being an author and the worst?
Seeing something that began as brain vomit turn into a book that people legitimately enjoy reading is hard to top. It feels like I’m doing magic. Not the Sandersonian kind; the older, magic-as-wonder kind. It also never stops feeling like the first time, every time.
The worst part is always whatever I’m currently doing. Outlining? The worst! Writing new prose? The worst! Revisions? The worst! Marketing and promo? The absolute worst!
(Okay, that last one is a lie because I’m actually having a lot of fun answering these questions!)
8. Any other Aussie / Kiwi creatives you’d like to give a shout out for? (let’s spread the love)
Gotta shout out my fellow A/NZ SPFBO9 authors!
- EC Greaves (Daughter of the Beast)
- Jessica McMinn (The Ruptured Sky)
- Sarah K. Balstrup (The Way of Unity)
- NC Koussis (The Sword of Mercy and Wrath)
- J.C. Rycroft (The Blood-Born Dragon)
There might be more of us but these are the ones I know without going through the full list of 300.
9. What’s your favourite quote or passage from one of your books?
Ummmmm…this one’s difficult without picking something that has spoilers. The best non-spoiler quote is probably from chapter 25 of Petition:
“That’s where you’re wrong, fish guts,” Nheras said. “Everyone has a price. Everyone. And in your case, I’m fairly certain I know what that price is.”
10. What can you say about your current project or what you are planning next?
I’m currently taking a break from writing while my beta readers are going through the last part of Supplicant, the sequel to Petition! While they’re working through the manuscript, I’m working on illustrations for my third bilingual children’s picture book.
It’s been both relaxing—since I’m thinking in images, not words, so it uses a different part of my brain—and stressful—since I am much better at writing than I am at drawing.
The plan is to be finished with the illustrations by the time my beta readers are done with Supplicant. That way, I can get the picture book off to its beta readers while I get into beta revisions on Supplicant.
Bonus: Lastly Vegemite* yes or no?
* An iconic dark salty spread that (most) Australians slap on toast for breakfast (NB explanation for the rest of the world)
I’m gonna be slaughtered for this, but hell to the no. Blech. Though if I’m forced to choose between OG Vegemite and Vegemite Cheesybite, I would reluctantly take the OG Vegemite.
Delilah Waan is a literal bookworm who alphabetically devours her way through the shelves at her local library.
Her preferred diet is fantasy epics—full of complex intrigue, morally ambiguous characters and tragic ends—though she does enjoy the occasional quippy, fast-paced action adventure. (Sappy romances, however, give her indigestion.)
When she’s not binge-reading the next doorstopper on her TBR or engaging in frantic theory crafting in between Brandon Sanderson and Will Wight book releases, she likes to spit bars in her best Angelica Schuyler impression and walk her cat.
You can find Delilah’s books at:
Delilah’s Website / Social media links: