2010 Snapshot: Kaaron Warren

Kaaron Warren‘s first novel, Slights was published by Angry Robot Books in 2009. It was shortlisted for the Aurealis Awards and is on the preliminary ballot for the Stoker Awards. Her second, Walking the Tree, (which includes a free e-book, written from the point of view of a secondary character) has just come out and Mistification, will be out later this year.

Kolbe Catholic College


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1. Your debut novel, Slights, has received international acclaim since its release. This is not your first book though, as you’ve had a collection of short stories published in the past – what differences are there in producing a novel as compared to a short story collection?

Working with editors Donna Hanson on The Grinding House and Marc Gascoigne on Slights was actually quite similar. Both have great vision and intelligence when it comes to story telling, and both believed in my work. How lucky am I!

The stories in The Grinding House were written over a decade or so. While there are similar themes throughout, I didn’t write them with the idea that they would be collected, so they remain very individual.

Slights was written over three years and rewritten many times after that!

Writing a novel takes a lot more absorption in the life of your character. I do try to build strong characters in short stories as well, but you have room to explore in a novel.


2. You’re well known for your ability to scare the pants off readers, or gross us out in a major way, yet you’re such a nice person in real life! Where on earth does the scary come from?!

I get creeped out very easily. Just this morning on the bus, a man was picking at his fingernails and I wanted to hit him with my book.

I also tap into my subconscious very well. I think we all have nightmares under the surface. I can see what lies between, and I have these odd glimpses of dark truth.

Sometimes I feel the weight of the world on my shoulders, as many do. It’s all too hard. There are too many problems, too much suffering. I think my writing is the result of all that. It’s like the negativity translates itself into story. Like that man on the bus, the fingernail picking one; things are not going to end well for him in my next story. Not well at all.

3. You have a three book deal with Angry Robot (the second book, Walking the Tree, was released in early February) – what else are you working on at the moment that we might see in the next twelve months or so?

Russell Farr at Ticonderoga Press has just announced that he’ll print a second collection this year, to launch at Worldcon.

I have stories coming out in Gillian Polack’s Baggage, Datlow and Mamatas’ Haunted Legends, your YA anthology (Worlds Next Door), Alisa Krasonostein’s Sprawl, Pete Kempshall and Amanda Pillar’s Scenes from the Second Storey and Mark Deniz’ Ishtar (along with Cat Sparks and Deb Biancotti). Busy year!

I’m working on two novels because they’ve both got hold of me and also a couple or more short stories which have also grabbed me.

4. Which Australian writers or work would you like to see on the Hugo shortlists this year?

I’d like to see Deb Biancotti, Cat Sparks and Paul Haines recognized for their short fiction.

5. I know you’re heading to Aussiecon 4 in September – what are you most looking forward to about it?

Meeting people I only know online, catching up with friends I do know, catching up with Angry Roboteers, discovering new writers, cruising the dealer’s room, hanging in the bar, the launch of four collections by Australian women and having lots and lots of brilliant story ideas.

This interview was conducted as part of the 2010 Snapshot of Australian Speculative Fiction. We’ll be blogging interviews from Monday 15 February to Sunday 22 February and archiving them at ASif!: Australian SpecFic in Focus. You can read interviews at:


Will we beat 83 this time? If you know of someone involved in the Scene with something to plug, then send us an email at 2010snapshot@gmail.com.

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