I have the great pleasure of knowing Aiki Flinthart, who has been kind enough to agree to an interview about her upcoming anthology Relics, Wrecks, and Ruins.
Aiki is an incredibly talented writer and editor. She has published 14 sci-fi/fantasy novels, 2 non-fiction books, a collection of fantasy and sci-fi short stories, and a collection (with Pamela Jeffs) of sci-fi short stories not to mention the plethora of short stories she has published in Anthologies through a multitude of Publishers. She has also edited several anthologies with her writing group The Springfield Writer’s Group.
So on to the questions:
How did you first come up with the idea to do Relics, Wrecks, and Ruins?
Funnily enough, I was sitting around with a couple of writer friends chatting about our upcoming projects. I really wanted to do the sequel to Blackbirds Sing: which is meant to be Blackbirds Return. But the painkillers and anti-cancer drugs make it really difficult to concentrate and a mosaic novel like that is hugely complex to plot and write. So I jokingly said I should do a ‘last hurrah’ anthology and reach out to the biggest possible of my favourite authors who would answer my emails.
The others encouraged me and I went ‘what the heck’ and sent emails out that night – starting with the hugest names on my favourite authors list that I could find contact information for.
One of the marks of a great writer is their willingness to help lift up other writers. They remember what it was like. So many, if they possibly can, will help someone who asks politely. A lot of writers didn’t answer, a few regretfully and politely declined due to time and work constraints – which is understandable. But so many agreed that I actually got a bit worried I’d end up with a brick-sized book in the end.
Can you tell us a little about some of the stories readers can expect to find in Relics, Wrecks, and Ruins?
I deliberately left the theme fairly open to interpretation (Relics, Wrecks and Ruins – things left behind, or rediscovered etc). And requested stories from sci-fi, fantasy, and horror writers.
It was fascinating to see the differences and the similarities in the stories that came back. I didn’t want the book to be too dark, so I’d asked for mostly hopeful endings. There are a smattering of darker ones, but generally the tone is hopeful rather than depressing.
So many resilient heroes/heroines. Many stories about people and relationships, too – which was wonderful and perfect.
You’ve edited a few anthologies now, can you talk about the differences and/or similarities in this experience?
My first few anthologies were mostly working with newer and emerging authors. So they
involved a lot more story development – where you’re working closely with the author on bigger structural issues and plot and character development. Every one of those authors was extremely professional in accepting editorial input, too. And I must say that the end results of most of those stories are works that each author can be extremely proud of. Those stories are strong and well-written.
Relics was great because most of the stories didn’t require much beyond pointing out a few continuity errors or typos. Which is not surprising, given the excellence of the authors involved. They, too were (unsurprisingly) wonderfully professional to work with. And the resulting stories are fabulous, interesting, fresh, and highly varied in tone and content.
The profits for this anthology are going toward The Flinthart, can you tell us a little about this?
The Flinthart is a writer residency and mentoring program set up by the Qld Writers Centre. Each year, applicants will be assessed and a writer will be chosen for the Flinthart program. They will be funded to help them focus on writing for a short amount of time. They’ll go into the Qld Writers Centre regularly, sit down, and just write. No distractions, no work, no phone ringing, no kids complaining. Just time to write and a mentor to help them through.
I’m thrilled that the How to get a Blackbelt in Writing online workshop will also help to fund this program. Hopefully, between these, we can keep enough funding coming in to keep the residency going for years.
You are both a writer and an editor. Where’s the best place people can find your work?
All my novels, and short story collections and anthologies are available at the usual places online. You can start at www.aikiflinthart.com – browse through the Books menus, read the blurbs, see what you fancy. Click the Buy ebook link (and maybe refresh it because it can be a bit dodgy). Then choose the retailer you prefer to buy from and grab a copy.
If you’d prefer a paperback, just either send an email through the website, or order one through your online bookstore or local bookstore.
And don’t forget to leave reviews on Goodreads etc if you enjoy the stories.
Good reviews help other readers find good stories – and help authors not die of starvation.
Very exciting news, there is also a LIVE Pictionary event with the amazing Annie Bucknall as she has special guests Aiki Flinthart, Garth Nix, Juliet Marillier, and Alison Goodman, just a few of the exceptional authors from Relics, Wrecks, and Ruins joining her on the 28th January 2021. To sign up for reminders of the event, just click here
A huge thank you to Aiki Flinthart for taking the time to do this. To pre-order your very own copy of Relics, Wrecks, and Ruins you can go here https://books2read.com/Relics and help support The Flinthart.