Australian Speculative Fiction: writers, editors, publishers
Interview by Ben Peek
The youngest of eleven children, Chris graduated from the University of Queensland with an honours degree in Chemical Engineering in 1986. He has a lovely wife, Sandra, and three young children, Aedan, Declan and Brigit, who are six, four and two years old.
He enjoys martial arts and has a first-dan black belt in Tae Know Do, although is a little too busy for formal training at the moment. He also loves movies, and has been accused of being a movie and video addict, but maintains this is all a terrible lie. He also loves music, and even entertained the idea of career as a rock musician at one point. These days he contents himself with singing in the Queensland Irish Club Choir, the Tara Singers, and playing classical guitar, and particularly music from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
Chris has completed four novels to date; The Calvanni (fantasy); Scytheman (fantasy); The t-Ceti Diversion (SF) and his latest book Warriors of the Blessed Realms, which is Science Fantasy. The manuscripts are currently unpublished.
Chris has published numerous short works up to novella length in SF&F, and his SF short 'Within Twilight' was short-listed for the 2002 Aurealis Award in both the SF and horror categories.
Chris has been a member of the Australian Society of Authors for thirteen years, and along with Rowena Cory Lindquist (The Shadow Kingdom trilogy as Cory Daniells), Marianne dePierre (Nylon Angel & Code Noir), Trent Jamieson and Lyn Uhlmann is a member of the Thursday Critiquers and the VISION Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror writer's community based in Brisbane.
Chris worked extensively in the Environmental consulting and Greenhouse fields until 2003 and now manages a private Speech Pathology Practice, SpeechNet, with Sandra.
For more information check out the website at www.chris.mcmahon.com.
1) You're a reasonably new writer on the scene, but you've got a batch of things out and coming out now. What would you say you goal is with your fiction and why does that mean people should bother hunting out Chris McMahon's work?
I've never really had a concrete goal as such, just a bunch of compelling ideas, characters and events that urged me to create the worlds they live in. Of course as the novels start to pile up, it would be great to actually see them in print!
Why should people read Chris McMahon's work? I'd say for no other reason than because they enjoy it. People forget that writing is this intense form of telepathy, a very personal communication. I'm sure my work will simply not resonate with some people, and I am damn sure some of them are editors! Apart from that, I get no greater thrill than to hear someone say they enjoyed one of my stories.
2) What's your long term plan? Do you even have one?
I started with novels, and that's really where I still become most involved with my fiction. Ultimately I would love to become a novelist, because that's the medium in which I have the most freedom. My stories often need room. I only have a very vague idea about cracking a novel contract (finally!) and trying to get my work to as many readers as I can. Nothing would thrill me more than to have people reading and loving my work -- enjoying the worlds that I have created and the journeys therein. I guess I would like to think people would take something away from that experience.
In terms of approaching stories, I have a very strong ethic of letting the story be what it wants to be -- of always returning to the core. I resist crafting that has its only end in creating a sale, and am highly suspicious of the ethics of others that do so; but that's just crazy old me.
3) Your honest opinion of the quality of the local scene, it's positives and negatives.
I think some of the fiction being produced locally is of an exceptionally high quality, and we are so lucky to have so many local magazines and anthologies to place this work in -- I don't know about anyone else, but I could have financed a great holiday off the money I have wasted on postage to the US & England and IRC's. I am just extremely grateful that those dearly beloved editors who have bought my work over the last few years did so (can ya' feel the love?).
We have some very dynamic people who had made tremendous strides in getting the work of local authors out there and recognised and raising the profile of the whole genre in Australia. Yet, I guess sometimes, on a national level, things can feel a little bit fractured. Although as a bona-fide hermit, I don't feel qualified to give lectures on co-operation.
4) You're dead. Abducted, probed, chipped, and then hit by a truck after they dumped you on the Hume Highway. Stupid aliens. Still, you go to Heaven and God is there, waiting. What do you say?
Dear, God. If I went back in a time machine and killed the baby Adolph Hitler, would that be a good act or would that act always be ultimately evil, no matter how many innocent people he was fated to slaughter or -- Oh, sorry God that was part of your plan, Hmmm next question
5) Favourite swear word?
Fuck. And I'm afraid the sanitised 'Frak' of Battlestar Galactica doesn't do it for me:)
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