Category: All posts
Trudi Canavan is an international bestselling author whose novels have been translated into more than 20 languages. Following the paperback release of THIEF’S MAGIC (UK | US | ANZ), the start of Trudi’s brand new adventure series, she shares some thoughts on what it’s like to be an author based in Australia whose novels are sold around the world.
The Tyranny of Distance is the name of a history book published back in the 60s, and the title has become a phrase used whenever Australians discuss the difficulty of doing business – or anything, really – in a world where most English-speaking nations are far, far away. The difficulties of, for instance, trading with customers half a world away is one reason why Australia produced a lot of wool – it doesn’t deteriorate on long sea voyages.
Sometimes, when I’m abroad, I’m asked what it is like to be an Australian author who is a bestseller outside of my country, or why Australian fantasy is so good. I often think of this phrase, but don’t use it because I am unsure if anyone outside of Australia will know and understand it. Yet I think distance has a lot to do with the answer to both questions. These are some of the ways:
Since shipping is costly, not all books printed outside of Australia are sold here. Until ebooks were easily accessible we were only reading the most popular authors. Since authors draw, consciously and unconsciously, on what we’ve read and seen before, we have been emulating or subverting the best of the genre. Raised on the best, is it any surprise that Australian fantasy writers do well? However…
When it comes to who is writing fantasy, we aren’t as influenced by assumptions and attitudes in other markets. For example, I did not encounter anyone who thought that mainly men write epic fantasy until I ventured overseas in 2011. In fact, when it came to who reads fantasy, I grew up in an era and place where boys were more likely to read science fiction and girls to prefer fantasy. Little wonder, perhaps, that by 2012 two-thirds of traditionally published Australian fantasy writers for adults were women. However, when it comes to being published overseas, and now that the the local fantasy imprints are global, we have this and other differences in our markets to deal with.
Plane fares to and from Australia are expensive, and jet lag means Aussie authors can’t nip over to the other side of the world for a weekend and function as well as someone who hasn’t just had their sleep cycle reversed. So when we do travel overseas we tend to stay longer, which means taking more time away from writing. Even something as simple as giving away a signed copies of your book is more costly than it is for our overseas counterparts, because postage ranges from the same or double the value of the book. But on the other hand…
Email, the world wide web and social media have overcome many of the problems of distance. Only in the latter is it obvious that an author is Australian, because of the time difference. This can be a bit frustrating, as conversations on Twitter, for example, often begin and end (and are Storified) before we Aussie wake up and can contribute. (Though this can be an advantage if it stops us leaping in before knowing all the facts!)
Digital publishing has also made more books available to us – and a lot more Aussie fantasy available to the rest of the world through small presses and self-publishing. It doesn’t overcome all problems of distance, as there are still territorial issues and sorting out epub and reader issues means getting help from overseas, which can be more difficult, but it has generally made it easier to reach a global audience.
So you can see there are many aspects and both advantages and disadvantages to being an Australian author who is successful overseas. What I love most is, wherever I go readers are so welcoming. They will go to extraordinary efforts to come and see me whenever I am in their home country, because they know that it might be a long wait until I am in their part of the world again. And meeting readers is my favourite part of being an author.
Aside from the writing part, of course!
- - May 15th, 2015
Arriving at Orbit this summer from Waterstones Book Club author Louisa Hall comes SPEAK, a novel which will make readers everywhere question what it really means to be human.
Emily St. John Mandel, Arthur C. Clarke winner and author of STATION ELEVEN, calls SPEAK the ‘rarest of finds’, and it is already one of Huffington Post‘s Brilliant Books You Won’t Want to Miss this Summer.
She cannot run. She cannot walk. She cannot even blink. As her batteries run down for the final time, all she can do is speak. Will you listen?
From Alan Turing’s conviction in the 1950s to a Silicon Valley Wunderkind imprisoned in 2040 for creating illegally lifelike dolls. From a pilgrim girl writing her diary to a traumatised young girl exchanging messages with a software program, all these lives have shaped and changed a single artificial intelligence – MARY3. In Speak, she tells you their story, and her own. It the last story she will ever tell, spoken both in celebration and in warning.
When machines learn to speak, who decides what it means to be human?
[Cover design by Jack Smyth from the Little, Brown Book Group Design team.]
- - May 14th, 2015
Everybody’s favourite probability mage arrives on audiobook today! The complete Alex Verus series is now available to buy in audio. This London-based urban fantasy series by Benedict Jacka has a growing legion of fans including Jim Butcher, Patricia Briggs and Charles Stross. The sixth book in the series, VEILED, will be out in August.
Listen to a sample here:
- - May 13th, 2015
Please see the below for a press release sent out this morning, giving more exciting news on the upcoming film version of M. R. Carey’s THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS (UK | US | ANZ).
FULL CASTING ANNOUNCED FOR SHE WHO BRINGS GIFTS, PRINCIPAL PHOTOGRAPHY WILL BEGIN ON 17 MAY
ANAMARIA MARINCA, FISAYO AKINADE, ANTHONY WELSH, DOMINIQUE TIPPER AND NEWCOMER SENNIA NANUA WILL JOIN GEMMA ARTERTON, PADDY CONSIDINE AND GLENN CLOSE
WARNER BROS. TO RELEASE IN THE UK
SHE WHO BRINGS GIFTS is a post-apocalyptic zombie thriller adapted by acclaimed novelist M.R. Carey from his best-selling novel ‘The Girl With All Gifts’. The highly anticipated feature from Colm McCarthy, produced by Camille Gatin and Angus Lamont will start shooting on 17 May in the West Midlands.
Funded by the BFI Film Fund, Creative England and Altitude Film Entertainment the film is being sold internationally by Altitude Film Sales. The film will be distributed in the UK by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.
SHE WHO BRINGS GIFTS takes place a generation after the world has ended. Four adults and a unique child will decide the fate of humanity.
Newcomer Sennia Nanua will take the leading role. Also joining the cast are Anamaria Marinca (Fury, 4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days, Europa Report), Fisayo Akinade (Cucumber, Banana and Ordinary Lies), Anthony Welsh (Starred Up, My Brother The Devil) and Dominique Tipper (DMX, Vampire Academy, Montana, The Expanse).
Colm McCarthy says of his twelve year old star: “Sennia walked into the room as the last of 500 girls I’d met and just shone. She has taken being the lead actress in a film with Glenn, Gemma and Paddy in her stride and completely inhabits this amazing character. She’s a very special girl.”
The newly confirmed cast join Gemma Arterton (The Voices, Tamara Drewe, The Disappearance of Alice Creed), Paddy Considine (acting roles include the upcoming Macbeth, Pride, also the director of BAFTA award-winning Tyrannosaur), and the multi-award winning and six-time Oscar® nominated actress Glenn Close (who recently completed a run on Broadway in A Delicate Balance and will soon be seen in Anesthesia and The Wife.
Ben Roberts, Director of the BFI Film Fund says: “We’re thrilled that ‘Gifts’ is out of the box. Completely original, Mike Carey has adapted his own book brilliantly and found an inspired collaborator in Colm – who we’ve admired for some time. Camille and Angus have pieced it together with real ambition, and a first rate cast and crew.”
Richard Holmes, Senior Film Executive at Creative England, says of the project:
“We are truly excited about She Who Brings Gifts – it is a pure genre film with added heart and brain. It has a fantastic West Midlands presence with a hugely respected international cast and a spectacular use of locations. We’re very proud to support it!”
Creative England has announced support for the film through its West Midlands Production Fund, which supports feature films and high end TV drama from companies based in the West Midlands, or from producers looking to film in the region. In the last three and a half years the organisation has invested over £9 million in film projects and is backing She Who Brings Gifts alongside the BFI Film Fund.
- - May 7th, 2015
SNAKEWOOD tells the story of the Twenty, a band of mercenaries being hunted down one-by-one by an unknown killer. We’re so excited to have acquired this debut epic fantasy tale from British author Adrian Selby, coming in 2016 – almost twenty years after he first put pen to paper! Which, if you think about it, is one year for every dead mercenary. Or is it? Who’s killing them anyway, and why? You’ll have to wait until early next year to find out . . .
Adrian says: “SNAKEWOOD is set in a world where magic is in the plant-life, concoctions of which, known as ‘fightbrews’, radically transform the capabilities and appearance of warriors at a terrible cost. In conceiving of this all those years ago, I knew the story I wanted to tell was focused on these soldiers and the price they pay for their brews and their sins. I can’t describe how delighted I am to have my debut published by Orbit. Their passion and their support for SNAKEWOOD make me very excited about sharing the world that’s been in my head for twenty odd years with this other world I live in the rest of the time.”
And no, you won’t have to wait twenty years for the next one!
- - April 28th, 2015
Welcome to a behind-the-scenes post on how maps get created in the Orbit universe. I thought A CROWN FOR COLD SILVER (US | UK |AUS) was the perfect opportunity to do a write-up on, because the map design even made it to the cover. I’ll be your narrator, and welcome Author Alex Marshall, and illustrator Tim Paul.
LP: People often ask how we decide which books are going to have maps, and most times it is author-driven. Some authors use mapmaking as part of their worldbuilding process, and some authors only have a more general idea of geography as they’re writing. If a map or diagram comes naturally out of a story, then I always like to create something to expand the reader’s experience of the book. And sometimes a “map” is not really a map – for example we’ll be doing a process post soon on BLACK WOLVES (US | UK | AUS) by Kate Elliott – that book has tattoo designs for each important clan in the book in lieu of a geographic map.
In the case of A Crown for Cold Silver, I knew the author had a very specific concept for the map, and when I want the author and map maker to work together directly, my go-to artist is Tim Paul. I’d actually known Tim for a few years for his more stylized illustrations. One day we were sitting at the Society of Illustrators in NYC, at some art event or another, and he was saying he was dragging out all his old Dungeon Master props and maps to start up a Dungeons & Dragons campaign. He was talking about how much he enjoyed geeking out on the mapmaking, and my head snapped over to him and I said, so….you like making maps huh? Have you ever illustrated one for a client? (See, networking is real!)
TP: Hurray for networking, and talking about yourself!
LP: Map illustrators are a special – and rare – breed. You have to really be into the process of drawing the map out of the author, and tolerate a lot of fine-tuning. If you aren’t really excited by that, then you burn out quite quickly on all the revisions. You have to love the collaboration process. Many illustrators feel map work isn’t as creative as other types of illustration, but good mapmakers know there’s a lot of room for artistic license.
TP: It’s true about being a rare breed. I’ve had lots of illustrators tell me they won’t touch maps, and those few that do try, end up deciding not to do them again. As one person described, it’s like doing 50 – 100 little illustrations that are always changing. I actually find drawing thousands of little trees and mountains relaxing, even as I strive to make each mountain unique.
I’ve played D&D since I was 14. The maps in the books and modules were one of my favorite aspects. As a kid, I always made my own maps and worlds. Surprisingly, it took a long time to put my love of making my own maps into another way to making a living with my art. Read the rest of this entry »
- - April 21st, 2015
Today marks the publication of the first three parts of K. J. Parker’s brand new fantasy epic, THE TWO OF SWORDS – a war story on a grand scale, told through the eyes of soldiers, politicians, victims and heroes. A new instalment will be released every month.
To celebrate the launch of this new serial novel – and after keeping his identity a closely-guarded secret for 17 years – K. J. Parker has finally cast off his Cloak of Invisibility and revealed his true identity. Jared Shurin has all the details . . .
- - April 17th, 2015
We’ve announced the acquisition of two new science fiction books from Ann Leckie, the author of the award-winning ANCILLARY JUSTICE and ANCILLARY SWORD (US | UK | ANZ). One of them will take place in the same universe as the Ancillary books, while the other will be a brand-new science fiction novel. Both books will be published in the United States and the United Kingdom.
Check out the coverage at io9 and the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog.
- - April 16th, 2015
For all you Witcher fans out there counting down the days until the new game arrives, you now have TWO reasons to be excited for May 19th. Orbit is ecstatic to announce the acquisition of SWORD OF DESTINY, to be released in ebook simultaneously with the game. So much Witcher packed into one day!
In this collection of short stories, following the adventures of the hit collection The Last Wish, join Geralt as he battles monsters, demons and prejudices alike…
Geralt is a witcher, a man whose magic powers, enhanced by long training and a mysterious elixir, have made him a brilliant fighter and a merciless assassin. Yet he is no ordinary murderer: his targets are the multifarious monsters and vile fiends that ravage the land and attack the innocent. He roams the country seeking assignments, but gradually comes to realise that while some of his quarry are unremittingly vile, vicious grotesques, others are the victims of sin, evil or simple naivety.
For new and returning fans, SWORD OF DESTINY is the perfect new addition to The Witcher series! Look for the print edition online and in stores this December.
Also, check out CD ProjektRed’s trailer (NSFW) for The Witcher: Wild Hunt here!
Praise for the novels of The Witcher:
“Like Mieville and Gaiman, Sapkowski takes the old and makes it new.”
— Foundation (UK)
“The character interplay is complex, unsentimental and anchored in brutal shared history. All bodes well for twisty plotting to come.”
“Sapkowski revitalizes the genre with energetic and compelling writing. A breath of fresh air in a well-worn genre. Don’t miss it!”
— Dreamwatch (UK)