This week’s interview in our Writers of Fantasy series is with Kelly Robson, author of Waters of Versailles, which won the Prix Aurora Award and was a finalist for the World Fantasy Award and the Nebula Award. We had a really great conversation about the ins and outs of writing, the life of a writer, and how the industry is changing its attitudes. Take a listen, or check out the key quotes below if you can’t listen right now.

“I used to work for an environmental consulting company… and the culmination of my career there was my editing a 500-page book called ‘Integrated Approaches to Riverine Resource Stewardship’ … Which is actually much more interesting than it sounds! It’s actually informing my current work in progress.”

On having worked for magazines as well as writing prose.

“It’s given me a great sense of how to edit my own work. I am currently the beloved of my copy editor!”

On developing as a writer.

“I always loved science fiction and fantasy and I also really loved animals. So, here in Toronto we have this great science fiction reading series. It’s this wonderful opportunity for all the writers in the area to get together. (Well, not all of them but hopefully many of them). […] They lost a portion of their funding this year, which is rough because one of the things that they’re very passionate about is paying the writers to read.

“So we did a fundraiser, and what we had to do was go up there and read from our childhood work. So I read from my Grade 5 horse book. (In Canada, that’s 10 years old). So when I was 10 I wrote a horse book called ‘Born Wild’! Complete with illustrations!”

“My goal is always to make the reading seamless for the reader.”

“I don’t want to make the reader work, I want the reader to have a very immersive experience.”

“I had been writing a lot of trunk novels… And when I came to write Waters of Versailles I knew I wanted something shorter that I could keep in my head all at once, that I could use to learn the skills you need to revise things.”

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Joel Cornah
Joel Cornah is an author, journalist, and blogger. He is the author of a number of novels and novellas including; The Sea-Stone Sword, The Spire of Frozen Fire and The Silent Helm, with the upcoming novel The Sky Slayer, expected some time in 2016. He is an editor for The Science-Fiction and Fantasy Network, head of the Doctor Who department, and member of the Tolkien Society. He is a frequent blogger for the Pack of Aces blog, focussing on issues of Asexuality in media, specialising in sci-fi and fantasy.