1. Zombies are a passion of yours <http://undeadstudies.wordpress.com/> – where does this interest stem from and where do you hope it will lead?
I think it started when my mother died when I was 8. I went through quite a few years reading horror magazines and R L Stine. Then I got into fantasy and really didn’t do any horror for quite some time, but in recent years I’ve been thinking more about why I’m interested in what I am and what roles spec fic plays in society – and it’s very much greater than just cheap escapism that a lot of people claim! I’m sure I won’t find any disagreement here that it is more than that!
Researching the evolution of zombies is so much fun, particularly looking at zombie romance which freaks most people out. I’m working on getting into a Masters of Research next year and turning my zombies into a 20k word thesis. I keep teetering between “Yay 20,000 words!” and “Oh crap, ONLY 20,000 words!”
I tried to keep the fandom online presence (apart from my personal Facebook) more neutral, and when working in publishing, it was even more important to be neutral and try not to get too political (in industry terms). Now I revel in just tweeting random things from comment on politics to talking about favourite recipes. Opinions on ebooks, DRM and parallel important restrictions I still rage on about, particularly as there’s movement in the industry about it, but I can feel free to get more into it.
3. What’s next for Nyssa? Anything you can tell us about?
Although I was more into writing fiction (really quite terrible!) as a teen, and I know for sure that I’m interested in books, I’ve been navigating for years where it is I fit in terms of skills and interests. Pretty much what everyone goes through at some stage! Right now, I’m very happy where I am. I work for Campus Wellbeing at Macquarie University, and am currently waiting for applications to open for the new Masters of Research that starts next year.
4. What Australian works have you loved recently?
Most recent reads have been older books or academic essays, but I have to buy Jason Fischer’s next Gravesend novella, and both Juliet Marillier and Kate Forsyth’s latest books. I also really loved the Business of Death by Trent Jamieson. New takes on Death interest me, and Death as a corporation is just awesome.
5. Two years on from Aussiecon 4, what do you think are some of the biggest changes to the Australian Spec Fic scene?
I think the scenery is changing quite a bit. The resigning of Stephanie Smith from Voyager/HC was a particular shock. She has helped the Aust spec fic scene for so long and given us such wonderful authors. I do wonder if we’ll be able to recognise a difference in the tastes of the new head, Deonie Ford.
The adaption of ebooks is still in flux in Australia, but the changes have been dramatic. I was just wondering the other day about how my own perceptions have changed and how essential ebooks are now (reading an article on Stephen King’s next book and how he’s not planning an ebook to go with it had me spluttering). They’re still not perfect, and we all have different opinions on how they can be.
This interview was conducted as part of the 2012 Snapshot of Australian Speculative Fiction. We’ll be blogging interviews from 1 June to 7 June and archiving them at ASif!: Australian SpecFic in Focus. You can read interviews at: