Tracie McBride is a New Zealander who lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband and three children. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in over 80 print and electronic publications, including Bleed, FISH and the Stoker Award-nominated anthologies Horror for Good and Horror Library Volume 5. Her debut collection Ghosts Can Bleed contains much of the work that earned her a Sir Julius Vogel Award. She helps to wrangle slush for Dark Moon Digest and is the vice president of Dark Continents Publishing. Visitors to her blog are welcome at http://traciemcbridewriter.wordpress.com.
You’re listed as the Vice-President of Dark Continents Publishing which is described as a writers’ co-operative. How is this different from the traditional model of a publisher, and what was the impetus behind going in this direction?
Dark Continents was born out of an informal conversation between authors on separate sides of the planet. One person was venting about the reluctance of his publisher to embrace modern technology, another concurred, a third suggested a writers’ co-op to do it “our way” and take back control of our work…and next thing you know, we were running a publishing company.
Soon after the company’s inception, we began to follow a more traditional small press approach by soliciting outside submissions. The spirit of the company remained the same, with a strong focus on giving our authors creative input and control over the publishing process as much as possible.
As well as being VP of DCP, you are also Associate Editor of Dark Moon Digest, a fiction quarterly. How has being on that side of the desk, as a publisher and editor, affected your own writing?
I find it difficult to be objective about my work, and I’m sure that’s a feeling many authors share; I lurch between, “This is the best thing I’ve ever written!” and, “This is utter, utter, utter crap!” So it’s hard to say how it’s affected my writing. Unless you’re talking about volume; the time I spend on publishing, editing and reading the slush pile means I spend a lot less time on my own work. (Excuses, excuses, excuses…)
Your work been recognised with awards and nominations on both sides of the Tasman, and we do love adopting talented New Zealanders here! Do you see many differences in the speculative fiction writing scene between the two countries? Has moving between the two influenced your own work?
The difference between the two scenes is mostly one of scale; New Zealand is tiny, both geographically and in population, and that is reflected in the number of speculative fiction writers and local markets available. Ironically, moving to Australia has made me more confident to give my stories Antipodean settings and themes; when I was in New Zealand, almost all of my work was aimed at American publications. Perhaps the move to a country with a small but vibrant and well-respected community of speculative fiction publishers is responsible for the change.
What Australian works have you loved recently?
The sad reality is that I don’t get to read nearly as much as I would like, so I’m sure that I’m missing out on a lot of sterling recent publications that ought to be pushed to the top of my TBR pile. I’m all about the short story, both writing them and reading them; at the risk of being accused of promoting my own interests, I was delighted to see contributions from Australian authors Rob Porteous and Simon Dewar included in Dark Continents’ latest anthology, “The Sea”, which was compiled and edited by South African author Nerine Dorman.
The actual writing process remains the same, but once a story is finished, I feel like I’m spoiled for choice. Submit to a publisher? Or self-publish? Go big and launch a Kickstarter campaign? Or cultivate a small yet dedicated fan base via social media?
Whatever changes are still in store for us in the next five years, I hope to be striving for the same things I always have – to find a thought-provoking story and to tell it well.
This interview was conducted as part of the 2014 Aussie Spec Fic Snapshot. In the lead up to the World Science Fiction Convention in London, we will be blogging interviews for Snapshot 2014 conducted by Tsana Dolichva, Nick Evans, Stephanie Gunn, Kathryn Linge, Elanor Matton-Johnson, David McDonald, Helen Merrick, Jason Nahrung, Ben Payne, Alex Pierce, Tansy Rayner Roberts, , Helen Stubbs Katharine Stubbs, Tehani Wessely and Sean Wright.
To read the interviews hot off the press, check out these blogs daily from July 28 to August 10, 2014, or look for the round up on SF Signal when it’s all done. You can find the past Snapshots at the following links: 2005, 2007, 2010 and 2012.