Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Author Interview: Foz Meadows, author of Solace and Grief

Today, I be lucky enough to have the lovely Foz Meadows over to gab about her upcoming YA novel, Solace and Grief.

Foz Meadows is a bipedal mammal with delusions of immortality. Her first novel, Solace and Grief (young adult urban fantasy), has been picked up by Ford Street Publishing and should appear on shelves sometime in early 2010. She likes cheese, geekery, writing, webcomics and general weirdness. Dislikes include Hollywod rom-coms, liquorice and the Republican party. Her book reviews appear in Viewpoint, and she has a new column, Speaking to Geeks, with Trespass Magazine. She is also a member of the Melbourne-based SuperNova writers’ group.

Foz currently lives in Melbourne with two cats and a philosopher. Surprisingly, this is a good thing.

And so, without further ado, the witty and (I'm sure) talented Foz Meadows!

Hey there, Foz (if that is your real name), thanks for taking the time to swing by. Your upcoming novel, Solace and Grief, is set for release March 2010. Wanna give us a quick summary?

Sure thing! Solace Morgan is a teenage girl growing up in the foster system, a problematic situation compounded by the fact that she's a vampire. Given that sunlight doesn't so much make her burst into flames as bleach her skin and make her very, very woozy, it's something she's been able to keep secret - but then, just before her seventeenth birthday, a faceless man shows up in the alley behind her house and scares her into running away. Which is when things get weird, what with meeting seers and empaths and a guy who can change into a giant housecat. And then there's Professor Lukin, who wants to learn about Solace, her friends and their abilities - but can he be trusted? And who the hell is Sharpsoft?

For the record, Foz isn't on my birth certificate, but it's what everyone in my family has been calling me since I was a baby. I have my dad to thank for that - he once commented that I smiled a lot, like Fozzie Bear in the Muppets, and it's been my name ever since. Hardly anyone calls me anything else.

Your books about vampires--something that could either work for or against you. What compelled you to write about such a popular (one might say overused) subject, and what do you think sets Solace and Grief apart from the Twilight-fare?

I started writing Solace during a massive Buffy the Vampire Slayer binge about three years ago. I deliberately didn't read Twilight until after I'd finished the second draft, because I didn't want any more vampiric influences while I was writing, and when I first started, most of the current crop of vamp titles wasn't yet on shelves. As for what makes Solace different - it's not a romance story, it's not set in school, and the cast of supernaturals isn't limited to vampires and shapeshifters. It's also set in Sydney, despite the fact that I wrote it while living in Melbourne - we'd only just moved down, and I wanted to write what I knew.

Your novel, frankly, has a killer title. Did you choose it and, if so, why?

Glad you like it! The choice was mine, a play on Solace's name. That, and the fact that, when I'm working on a story draft, I inevitably name the document after my protagonist. Once I started shopping around, that aspect stayed.

What got you into writing?

It's something I've always done, ever since I was a kid. Growing up, my dad was always working on one novel or another, while my mother worked as an editor. Every room in our house was full of books and magazines, and I do mean every room: bathrooms, kitchen, dining room, laundry. I don't remember the first thing I ever wrote, but whenever it was I started, I haven't stopped since then!

Any major influences?

The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy radio series. Anyone who's known me for more than five minutes can attest to the fact that I love to quote Douglas Adams. Often. When I am king, or whenever I get round to it, I will print myself a Beware Of The Leopard t-shirt. (Don't ask. Google it.)

What do you do in times of severe writers block?

Whenever I get blocked, it tends to be because, on some deeper level, I've realised that the scene I'm trying to write doesn't actually work. Once my conscious brain catches up with this, I close the document, go away and do something else - frequently video-game related - until I can figure out why it doesn't work. And then, depending on how tricky a fix it is vs how absorbed I've become playing Final Fantasy, I go back to my computer. Eventually.

If you could pick one fictional fella (preferably of the supernatural variety) to chain to your ankle for the remainder of your days, who would it be and why?

Spike, from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. One of my all-time favourite characters, no matter his guise - villain, reluctant ally, bad boy, science experiment, crazy prophet, warrior-poet - plus a swoon factor of hell to the yes. How can you go wrong?

Sell your novel over Twitter.

Solace & Grief is a story about friends, vampires, sarcasm, alcohol, lies and mysterious strangers. Also, there are shenanigans!

What're you currently working on?

I'm prepping myself to edit The Key to Starveldt, which is the sequel to Solace & Grief. I've also completed an adult fantasy-slash-murder novel, so I'm hoping to do something with that, too.

One book, one movie, and one TV show--GO!

Book: The Gone-Away World, by Nick Harkaway. If you haven't read it, hie thee to a bookshop pronto, because it's absolutely mindblowing.

Movie: Kind Hearts and Coronets, a perennial classic. If you like black humour, murder, mayhem, revenge and a young Alec Guiness playing multiple members of the same family, this is the film for you.

TV Show: Bones, to which I am absolutely addicted. Geek jokes, awesome scripting, brilliant cast, smoulding chemistry and - oh, yeah - murder. Temperance Brennan and Seeley Booth FTW!

Any extra-weird interest/hobbies?

I collect weird hats, and have a surprising knowledge of British radio and music-hall comedy from about the 1940s onwards, with a smattering of television thrown in. Growing up, it took me a while to figure out that most kids had never even heard of The Goon Show, Anthony Hancock or Kenneth Williams. Their loss!

Advice for young writers?

Persevere! Don't be afraid to edit your work, know the story you want to tell, and never, ever stop reading.

Complete this sentence: when I see turtles, I ________.

When I see turtles, I think of Great A'Tuin, the Star Turtle, carrying the Discworld on his back. Chelonians are fascinating creatures.

Alright, sorry for that last one. Completly uncalled for. Thanks for stopping by, and good luck to you as well as Solace and Grief.

Thanks, and hope that suits!

You can catch Solace and Grief March 2010 from Ford Street Publishing.


Unknown said...

Hi :)
Thank you for introducing me to Foz & thanks to Foz for sharing here. I loved learning more about her and her writing. SOLACE AND GRIEF is definitely intriguing and I've put it on my list to get in March. I'm glad a sequel is in the works & that Foz has written a fantasy/murder mystery novel - one of my favorite types of fantasy novels (via PN Elrod, etc).
All the best,
PS - I really like the cover.

Paul Collins said...

Great book, title and cover. What's not to like?! :-).

Jodie said...

A paranormal book that is not a romance, set in Australia, written by someone who thinks of Terry Pratchett when they think of turtles? I may swoon, or at least pick up that copy of 'The Gone Away World' sitting in my house. Adding this book to my list.

The Erratic Writer said...

Someone else who loved "The Gone-Away World"? I'm amazed!

Awesome interview, sounds like a wonderfully interesting author with interests close to my own heart. Shall have to see if I can order this book in through work.

Template by:
Free Blog Templates