Beyond The Cave: Meeting Readers at BSFA and SF Book Club

I’ve had a lovely start to 2015! I actually left my writing cave to meet readers.

Author and literary critic Adam Roberts interviewed me at the January meeting of the British Science Fiction Association. He pitched some challenging questions, which led to a lively and wide-ranging conversation. If you couldn’t make it to the meeting, this blogpost by Andrew Wallace gives a good impression of the subjects that Adam and I discussed. Thank you, Andrew, for this detailed commentary. Here’s a brief extract from his blogpost: Read more

47North Signs Up My Second Novel For 2015 Release

I’m delighted to announce that I’ve signed a book deal for my second novel with Jason Kirk, editorial director of 47North, Amazon Publishing’s science fiction, fantasy and horror imprint. As you know, 47North published my debut novel, A Calculated Life, and I’ve had a great experience working with the lovely 47North team in Seattle. I’m excited to be working with Jason who is the ideal editor for my current writing project as we share an interest in science fiction and history.

The manuscript is now close to completion and we’re working towards a release date later this year. And, I’ll let you know as soon as I have a title for this novel!

47North LogoSo what’s it all about?

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Endings For Novels: Is The End Always In Sight?

One of the most common questions I’ve been asked over the past 12 months has been, ‘When you start writing a novel do you know how it’s going to end?’

For me, there isn’t a simple Yes or No answer because so much depends on the individual writing project. In effect, pinning down the ending is less important in some projects than others. It’s an aspect of the writing process that I, too, find fascinating.

So in this blogpost I’ll explain a little further using my own experience of writing (a) A Calculated Life and (b) my current work-in-progress, which has the working title, The Academy. Read more

One Year Since Release Day: My Bookiversary Progress Report

Philip K Dick Nominees

Finalists and their representatives for the Philip K Dick Award, Seattle, April 2014.

It’s my first Bookiversary today! I can’t believe it’s a year since the release of A Calculated Life by 47North. And, since release day, I’ve made a bunch of new friends within the SF community and enjoyed the continuing support of friends who read my novel when it was self-published.

So thanks to everyone! It’s been so exciting to find new readers and receive positive feedback from reviewers. Here’s a review by literary critic Adam Roberts on Sibilant Fricative, which I particularly appreciated. Full review here.

Charnock’s Manchester is quite unlike Blade Runner’s hyperreal city, and her prose creates a much more rounded sense of actual life than the deliberately flattened paranoidal patterns of Phil Dick’s writing. What she shares with Dick is the ability to write unease.

Extract from Sibilant Fricative review.

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Author Charlie N. Holmberg: My Long Journey to Publication

CharliePic1.1

Charlie N. Holmberg

Welcome to Charlie N. Holmberg, the most tenacious of writers, who never gave up hope of seeing her work in print. I’m delighted to host Charlie in the week that her novel The Paper Magician is published.

Everyone knows it—the road to publication is a long and bumpy one, with few bus stops along the way. Mine wasn’t much different; it took me seven years before I reached any landmarks! But the advice that’s passed around the most is also the best: stick with it. Or, in the words of Jason Nesmith, “Never give up, never surrender!”

I’ve been writing since age thirteen, but I didn’t take it seriously until I started my undergrad at Brigham Young University. I was nineteen when I finished my first, way-too-long, truly awful RPG-style epic-fantasy novel. That burned up in a wild dumpster fire and was never heard from again.

I started a second book, one that I thought had a more original premise and interesting characters. Another epic fantasy. At this time Read more

My LonCon 3 and Nine Worlds Convention Panels

It’s a busy August ahead! I’m delighted to be taking part on panels at two science fiction conventions in London:

LonCon 3—The 72nd World SF Convention—is being held at ExCel.

Nine Worlds GeekFest, in its second year, takes place at Heathrow.

So here are my panels and events. Please come along and say “Hello!’ It’s always great to meet readers of A Calculated Life.

Nine Worlds Geek Fest 2014

8th-10th August 2014 at The Radisson Blu Edwardian, Heathrow.

Cyberpunk: exploring society in the corporate machine age (.net)
Saturday 9th August, 10.00am – 11.15am Room: County C&D
Anne Charnock (moderator), Fabio Fernandes, Laurie Penny, Paul McAuley Read more

Hay Festival: Michael Cunningham on The Snow Queen

Michael Cunningham

Michael Cunningham reads the opening pages of The Snow Queen

I had not one but THREE brief chats with my author hero Michael Cunningham at Hay Festival—at his author event, at his book signing and, by sheer coincidence, at the bar of the Old Black Lion. No, I wasn’t stalking!

Unbelievably, in my opinion, this was Cunningham’s first appearance at Hay Festival. He told me he’d been waiting for an invite.

Cunningham won the Pulitzer Prize for his exquisite fourth novel The Hours, which happens to be my favourite novel of all time. The film version of the book was directed by Stephen Daldry and starred Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore, Ed Harris and Clare Danes. In his Hay Festival conversation with Rosie Goldsmith he said, “I must be the only living author who’s happy with the film of their book.”

Incidentally, his fifth novel, Specimen Days, was written in three parts and included a science fiction element. I asked about this foray into SF because of my own writing inclinations and he said that science fiction was definitely part of the zeitgeist at the time he wrote the novel.

The Snow Queen is his latest novel and it opens thus: Read more

Norwescon Report — Near-Future Political Science Fiction

Social change is an important issue for me when I’m writing science fiction. When I look at emerging technologies and science research, I ask myself: What’s going to be the social fall-out from these technologies? How will they affect the way humans interact with one another?

So I was pleased to take part in a panel discussion at Norwescon 37 in Seattle on Near-Future Political Science Fiction. My first thoughts were: What counts as ‘near-future’? Does a story need to be overtly political? And, can I include a story in this particular niche if the setting is ambiguous? I reminded myself of the mantra from 60s feminism: ‘The personal is political.’ Read more

The Philip K Dick Award, His Legacy and His Surrealism

Philip K Dick Nominees

So here we have, from the left, Ann Leckie’s representative Ellen Brady Wright (Orbit), err…me, Cassandra Rose Clarke, Ben H Winters, Toh EnJoe (special citation), and EnJoe’s translator, Terry Gallagher.

What a thrill to be in this line-up. The lovely Ben H Winters won the Philip K Dick Award 2013 for Countdown City, sequel to The Last Policeman. Ben is a smart and witty writer so make a note of his two titles! This photo was taken at Norwescon in Seattle where the award ceremony takes place every year. Here’s a full list of the nominated works.

Award administrator Gordon Van Gelder (left) and T William Sadorus (right) ceremony coordinator.

Award administrator Gordon Van Gelder (left) and T William Sadorus (right) ceremony coordinator.

Each author read an extract before the award was announced and I have to admit I’m getting accustomed to reading in public, and I definitely enjoy the experience.  The award is administered by Gordon Van Gelder, award-winning editor of the New York based Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.

I was delighted to join Gordon on a panel discussion on Philip K Dick’s literary legacy, together with Toh EnJoe, Nick Mamatas (EnJoe’s editor), Jack Skillingstead and Cassandra Rose Clarke. We each talked about our connections with Philip K Dick’s writing. For me, Read more