2014 Snapshot – Joanne Anderton


Joanne Anderton lives in Sydney with her husband and too many pets. By day she is a mild-mannered marketing coordinator for an Australian book distributor, by night she writes science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Her short story collection, The Bone Chime Song and Other Stories, won the Aurealis Award for Best Collection, and the Australian Shadows Award for Best Collected Work. She has published The Veiled Worlds Trilogy: Debris, Suited, and Guardian. She has been shortlisted for multiple awards, and won the 2012 Ditmar for Best New Talent. You can find her online at joanneanderton.com

1. In a recent interview with Donna Hansen you mentioned that you’re currently working on a young adult science-fantasy novel titled The Bone Gardens. What else can you tell us about it?

DebrisIt feels like I’ve been working on this book forever, but I know that’s actually because Guardian happened in the middle of it! Luckily I’m still in love with this book, and very very happy to ramble on about it.

Yes, it’s young adult and it’s definitely science-fantasy. It’s heavily influenced by the movies of Studio Ghibli, Princess Mononoke and Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind in particular. It’s set in a desert world of dwindling resources, where different cultures are coming into conflict as a result, and our main characters are caught in the middle. It’s got magical flying gardens made of bone, genetic experiments, mutated sandstorm monsters, and even a little romance.

It started life as a short story, “Flowers in the Shadow of the Garden” which was originally published in an anthology called Hope but took on a whole life of its own.

Oh, and it’s nearly done… O.o

2. At Melbourne’s Continuum convention just passed last June, you had the book launch for Guardian, the final book in your Veiled Worlds trilogy. Would you like to tell us about the journey, and how it feels for the series to be wrapped up and out in the world?

GuardianThe Veiled Worlds has been a journey full of ups and downs. Debris was my debut novel, so it was thrilling and terrifying to see it out in the world. I’d always wanted to be a ‘writer’ and being a writer meant I had to Publish A Book. And Debris was it. Talk about pressure! Nowadays I have very a different opinion about what being a ‘writer’ means, and I value the experience of writing a lot more than just the idea of the end product. Because the journey of ‘being a writer’ doesn’t end with BOOK. That’s just one of the many steps.

That being said, knowing there are people out there who have read my books and enjoyed them is quite possibly the best thing ever.

As we all know the Veiled Worlds struggled along the way there, but I was lucky enough to be rescued by Tehani and Fablecroft publishing so that Guardian could see the light of day. I can’t say enough just how grateful I am to her, particularly for all the hard work she put in to make it the best book it could be. And also, have you seen that cover? It’s such a beautiful package!

In the end, I think wrapping up the series like this feels a little bittersweet. It’s great to have it done. And it’s great to know that anyone who read the first two books and enjoyed them can now read the ending. I’m a completist, and this kind of thing is important to me! But the journey was not without its share of struggles. And boy, was it one hell of a learning experience. See, ups and downs.

3. Now I know I just said that you’ve only just launched the final book in your trilogy, but already we’re hungry for more. Do you have any plans for another trilogy and would you like to tell us about it?

Ha, too many plans not enough time. There’s The Bone Gardens and it’s sequel (currently unwritten, but titled The Fiery Skies and NEXT on the agenda!). I have another series involving dragons, the Aussie outback, and the royal flying doctor’s service in the works too. Written the first book of three or maybe four. It’s only rough at this stage. Something else that could be a series of stories or maybe a book? Who knows? It’s post-apocalyptic and heaps of fun to write.

What I don’t have is time! TIME! (I should probably remove Spelunky from my computer. Less video games more writing. Probably…)

4. What Australian works have you loved recently?

I was lucky enough to beta-read Alan Baxter’s new series, starting with Bound (out now from Voyager! Go forth and read!) and thoroughly enjoyed all three books. Dark, urban fantasy with great characters, Alan’s books are very entertaining!

I also read and really enjoyed one of the winners of Seizure’s Viva La Novella competition — The Other Shore by HSuitedoa Pham. A story of a young girl in Vietnam, who becomes physic after a brush with death, and ends up working for the government communing with the dead from the war. A unique idea with an original voice.

5. Have recent changes in the publishing industry influenced the way you work? What do you think you will be publishing/writing/reading in five years from now?

Five years from now I will be writing what I love, I can guarantee that. Of course, no guarantee it’ll be published, but we can only try, right?

I think it’s important not to be too influenced by the industry. Of course you want to keep an eye on it, but ultimately you need to focus your writerly energies on what makes you happy. The best outcome is when what you love to write, and what people love to read, converge!

In five years time I hope even more people are reading stories, and buying them, in hard copy or digital, I don’t care which one. Just read, and enjoy!


This interview was conducted as part of the 2014 Snapshot of Australian Speculative Fiction. We’ll be blogging interviews from 28 July to 10 August and archiving them at SF Signal. You can read interviews at: 


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