Trudi Canavan

bestselling author of The Black Magician Trilogy

Trudi's Blog

Conflux9 – The Diary

Last weekend the Australian National SF Convention was held in Canberra, and sf fans, writers and publishers from all over the country gathered together for four days. I arrived mid-afternoon on the Thursday, but my official duties began the next day.

On Friday I started with a panel I’d suggested: “Where have all the Australian female fantasy writers gone?” Fellow panelists were Jane Routley, Karen Miller and Keri Arthur, and Glenda Larke filled in for Jane when she had to leave early. The answer to the above question seems to be that nearly all of us are still writing, just some have moved into other genres or subgenres, some are seizing self publishing opportunities, and that, while the the two main big publishers are taking on fewer new authors other companies, large and small, are now publishing fantasy. Women still outnumber men here, and there was a general ‘WTF?’ reaction to the lack of support for female fantasy writers overseas.

Speaking of wonderful Aussie fantasy writers, I was delighted to catch up with Anna Tambour:

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I loved her first book, Spotted Lily, a tale of a woman who wants to be a famous writer but can’t be bothered putting in the work so she hires the devil to write one for her. I’m holding Crandolin, her new book, which I’m looking forward to delving into.

After lunch there was a Mass Book Signing during which I chatted to K J Parker and the lovely new editor at HarperCollins Voyager, Rochelle Fernandez. Then I caught the latter half of Marc Gascoigne’s Guest of Honour interview. I love that Australian cons invite editors and publishers as guests as well as authors, as they are always so passionate about publishing and books.

Next I did my first reading at a convention, and chose the chapter 1 of Thief’s Magic to test out on the audience. It turned out to be just a few minutes longer than the half an hour I had, and aside from a few typos I hadn’t caught it worked pretty well.

I then went to see the “Speculative Art” panel, containing Lewis Morley, Marilyn Pride, Kathleen Jennings, Shauna O’Meara and Les Peterson. (Les did the Australian covers of my first two trilogies.) During the discussion, which covered hand-made vs digital and reasonable payment for work, I sketched the panelists:

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That evening’s event was a fabulous Regency Banquet, which I’m going to compose a separate post about.

Saturday began early with my second panel: “The Ethics of Immortality”. Chaired by Jenny Blackford, the other panelists were Jane Virgo, Duncan Lay, and Ian Nichols. What seemed to emerge from the discussion was that, people being very different, everyone would react to having a long or endless life in ways that reflected their mortal personality.

After lunch I caught most of Nalo Hopkinson’s Guest of Honour interview. A lovely guest with a great sense of humour, her description of her sources of inspiration and the US SF writing community were fascinating and illuminating.

Then it was time for my Kaffeklatch, a half hour of nattering to four fans that turned into a very pleasant chatty hour – especially I had met and hung out with most of the attendees by this point.

The next big event followed: the Ditmar Awards. I’m going to save that one for another post as well. (I have a lot of photos from this con.)

Afterwards I picked up two books by local fantasy writers I hadn’t got around to reading yet: his charmingness Duncan Lay and her coolness K J Taylor:

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And then it was time to frock up for the last of the big events: the Masquerade Disco. Pics to come in – yes – another post.

Despite it following a very late night, I was up earlyish on Sunday to catch “Does a cover sell a book?”, discussed by Kathleen Jennings, Shauna O’Meara, Amanda Rainey, Cat Sparks, Mac Gascoigne and Rowena Cory Daniels. Lots of interesting anecdotes and examples. Marc told how one of his authors having a Pinterest board of inspirational images for her book made coming up with a cover so much easier – something I set up for Thief’s Magic as soon as I got home.

Straight after came the In Fabula-divino launch, an anthology supporting new writers that I have a small story in. (See previous post.)

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And my last panel of the convention was “The Secret Lives of Authors”, about the hobbies and/or jobs authors have on the side and how they influence their writing. Elizabeth Fitzgerald chaired and Nalo Hopkinson, Glenda Larke and Dirk Flinthart joined me in showing pictures on our laptops or iPads – and Dirk even did a quick martial arts demo with an audience member. Nalo’s craft is artistic and wonderful and Glenda was the envy of many in the audience for a job that has taken her to many beautiful places.

Then that was it. The closing ceremony wound up the con and, with many new fond memories, ideas, friends, photos and books, the attendees slowly dispersed and the committee packed up everything and left. Locals and those staying another night gathered for a dead dog party at a local bar. It was a lovely end to a fabulous weekend.

Since our flight wasn’t until Monday night we were able to visit a few galleries, so by the time we headed home this was how good at keeping to my book buying ban:

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But I don’t regret acquiring any of them!

Conflux Dance Card

Next weekend I’ll be attending Conflux 9, this years Australian national convention. Here’s where you’ll find me:

Fri:
11:30am: Panel: Where have all the Australian female fantasy writers gone?
1:30pm: Mass book signing
3:30pm: Reading

Sat:
10:00am: Panel: The Ethics of Immortality
3:30pm: Kaffeeklatsch

Sun:
11:00am: In Fabula-divino Launch
12:30pm: Panel: The secret lives of authors

Usually you sign up to the Kaffeklatsch at the registration desk. I’ll be bringing some bookmarks and such to give away.

In the Mailbox: Italian The Traitor Queen

The postman brought this one to my door last week:

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Italian readers can now find out what happens a the end of the Traitor Spy Trilogy, with the release of The Traitor Queen. Enjoy!

Musical Influences

Some years ago, when my website had a much simpler blog program, I wrote a blog post about songs and albums that have sparked story ideas or set the mood for writing particular scenes. Unfortunately those early posts are long gone, though I have a plan to add some of them to this site as pages one day, when I have time.

Since then wonderful sites like YouTube and Pinterest have come along, enabling me to create a page of links to music videos or audio tracks. Though I wasn’t able to find video for all the music in that original blog, I have pinned links to a few more influences that have come along since. No doubt I’ll add to it as I made new discoveries. My musical tastes are fairly eclectic, though generally what works best as story mood setters is more ballady/soundtracky.

So if you’re curious, head on over to my Musical Inspiration board.

In the Mailbox: Brazilian & Spanish Editions

A couple of foreign editions have arrived in the post lately:

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A Brazillian The High Lord

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… and a Spanish The Traitor Queen. Both the final book in their respective trilogies. I hope my Brazillian and Spanish readers enjoy them!

(And a little bird on Twitter tells me that La Regina Dei Maghi, the Italian The Traitor Queen, was also released last week.)

A Good Yarn – In Fabula-Divino

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A few years back, while having dinner with some publishing peeps in the USA, I jokingly said I was going to write a fantasy knit lit book next. What is knit lit? It’s a novel that features knitting. It’s not about knitting, it just happens to contain, say, a knitter. And plenty of yarns. (And bad puns.)

The marketing guys got excited because knitting is ‘huge’ – more people knit than play golf, and probably spend more on it too – and then disappointed that I wasn’t serious (though my editor was relieved). Though I was kidding about writing a knit lit book, I did have a great idea for a story and eventually got around to writing it down.

The problem then was finding the right market. From time to time I’ve looked around for a knit lit one, but it was a very specific market and I found nothing currently open. The story would fit just as well in a fantasy anthology, however, or even a romance anthology.

Then my friend and fellow writer, Nicole Murphy, asked if I had anything I’d like to submit to an speculative fiction anthology she was putting together that included the stories she’d published as part of her In Fabula-Divino project. I sent it to her and she pronounced it an ‘utterly gorgeous story’. “A Good Yarn” had found a home.

The anthology has been printed and Nicole will be doing a whole lot of cool things this weekend to launch it into the world, including giving away copies. So head on over to the blog or the Facebook page.

Here’s the table of contents:

Kevin J Anderson and Rebecca Moesta – Sea Dreams
Lily Ariser – A New Ever After
Trudi Canavan – A Good Yarn
A E Decker – In The Wood
Janett L Grady – Stay Out of the Park
Holly Kench – The Secret Life of a Zombie Fan
P J Keuning – Crossroads
S G Larner – Regret
Tony Owens – Digging Out the Ribs of Gold
Joseph W Patterson – Franklin’s Rainbow
Angela Slatter – Dresses, Three
Kaaron Warren – White Bed

With such a great mix of exciting new writers and fabulous established ones, it’s sure to be a wonderful collection.

Book Reading Order

“Which order should I read your books in?” is a question I’m often asked. Though I’ve answered it here before, I’m posting again for new readers. To someone wanting to try my work it’s not obvious where to begin.

I’ve tried to write most of my books so that if there are only a few in a bookstore you have a couple of starting point options. To get the most out of my books, you should read the ones within a trilogy in the right order. Otherwise, the only recommendation I’d give is that you read the Black Magician Trilogy before its sequel, the Traitor Spy Trilogy.

The Black Magician Trilogy consists of:
The Magicians’ Guild
The Novice
The High Lord

The Traitor Spy Trilogy consists of:
The Ambassador’s Mission
The Rogue

The Traitor Queen

The Magician’s Apprentice also relates to this world. It is a stand alone prequel to the Black Magician Trilogy, set six hundred or so years earlier. You don’t have to read it first, you don’t have to read it between the trilogies, or after. It can be read at any point and not spoil the plot of books you read later.

The Age of the Five is set in a different world and is aimed at a slightly older audience. It consists of:
Priestess of the White
Last of the Wilds
Voice of the Gods

So you have three books you can begin with: The Magician’s Guild, The Magician’s Apprentice and Priestess of the White. And soon there’ll be a fourth option: Thief’s Magic, the first book of the Millennium’s Rule trilogy, which is set in an entirely new universe.

You can find back cover blurbs and the first chapter of all currently released books under the Books menu above. But do remember that reading the blurbs and extracts of later books in a series can spoil the plots of earlier books. If you haven’t read a series, just read the first book’s blurb and chapter.

Sword & Laser Interview

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It’s up! It’s live and wriggling! The Sword & Laser interview is here!

Thanks to everyone who left questions. I had a ball answering them and chatting to the lovely Veronica and Tom.

And I have to admit, seeing as I was at my own interview and knew what happened, what I was most anticipating was seeing Aaron’s whiteboard review. I may be biased, but I think he’s outdone himself with this one.

I’ll be popping into the Sword & Laser Goodreads forum too, so head on over if you have more questions.

Got a Question?

Tomorrow morning (Melbourne time) the lovely Veronica and Tom from the Sword & Laser video show will be interviewing me. They have a forum over at Goodreads, and you can post questions for them to ask me. So if you there’s anything you’ve always wanted to ask me, head on over here.

Of course, I’d rather you didn’t ask spoilery questions. Well, not in a spoilery way. There’s always the ‘Why did you do you-know-what to you-know-who?’ option.

GenreCon

I’ve added another event to my list of events for 2013:

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A convention for “… types of fiction that get relegated to their own corner of the bookstore.” So science fiction and fantasy, horror, crime, romance and more. Even romance fantasy knit lit would fit in here. Last year’s GenreCon was raved about by many a participant. I’d have gone if it hadn’t been on the weekend before the Brisbane and Adelaide Supanovas, and I didn’t think I’d survive three fun but exhausting weekends in a row.

I don’t know yet if I will be there this year. I’m considering going to a convention in the USA that weekend on the way to World Fantasy Con in Brighton, UK. I’d love to go. Hmm. Decisions, decisions.