Category Archives: Gary and Lissa

The Next Big Thing

You may have seen the blog chain winding its links around the Australian writing community lately. Tansy Rayner Roberts tagged me (read her contribution here) and here is my effort at answering the standard questions. I actually have two concurrent projects (actually, three, but the third involves short stories, so I thought I’d leave them out of it) so it got a bit complicated. Apparently, complicated and way too busy is my thing. Free time is anathema to me.

What is the working title of your next book?

I have a couple of projects going simultaneously at the moment, which is madness, I know. Believe me. They’re not even the only two projects I’m developing.

One project is the third Gary/Lissa vampire novel, with the working title of Beyond Redemption. The new project is being developed under the title Kitty and Cadaver.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Kitty and Cadaver came about basically because I love books in which rock and roll saves the world from monsters. There aren’t nearly enough of them, so I decided to write one.

Beyond Redemption is the third in a trilogy and will finish the Gary and Lissa’s story.

What genre does your book fall under?

Both of them are urban fantasy books. Well, I suppose Kitty and Cadaver is urban fantasy come rock opera.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Toby Truslove

For Gary and Lissa, I’ve been thinking lately that Toby Truslove (Outland, Laid, The Strange Calls) would make a good Gary, if he chubbed up a bit. For Lissa, an actress named Maya Stange (Garage Days) has a great look.  (Actually, I think they’re both older than the characters, but they fit with my ideas of the characters.) Magda Szubanski was always the model for the vampire queen Magdalene, of course.

I haven’t got that far with the characters for Kitty and Cadaver yet.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

I will cheat by writing very long sentences.

Beyond Redemption: Gary is at the end of his tether, then he gets an idea that is either completely brilliant or completely stupid, particularly in light of the latest ructions in the vampire community and the return of Lissa’s mother.

Kitty and Cadaver: The surviving members of the rock band with a mission to save the world from monsters stumble across the zombie apocalypse in Melbourne, but need to find a new lead singer with a magic voice before they can confront the undead as well as their own demons.

Maya Stange
Maya Stange

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Beyond Redemption will come out with Clan Destine Press. I don’t know what will happen yet with Kitty and Cadaver. I’ll be approaching an agent when I have a completed manuscript ready to go, but Clan Destine has expressed interest in that as well.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

I’m still working on them both, but first drafts usually take me 12 to 18 months, since I write them outside my day job hours. I’m hoping to go down to three days a week in day job hours in 2013, so maybe I’ll get these ones done more quickly for a change.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Obviously Beyond Redemption is on a line with the other vampire novels, The Opposite of Life and Walking Shadows.  Comic, non-romance urban vampire books in general, I suppose.

Kitty and Cadaver will be a bit like other rock ‘n’ roll saves the world books: Scott Westerfeld’s Peeps and The Last Days, and Emma Bull’s The War for the Oaks come to mind. (If anyone has recommendations for other books along these lines, I’d love to hear about them!)

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

For Kitty and Cadaver Rock ‘n’ Rooooooooollllllllll!!

More helpfully: I’d been noodling about writing lyrics (and a bit of music, but it’s been a long time since I played an instrument) to stretch myself and I loved doing it. I last wrote songs for some Blake’s 7 filk about thirty years ago, though I’ve dabbled a bit in the interim. But I loved doing it so much that I wanted to do a story that used music a lot more.  Music, magic, monsters: a perfect combination, surely?

What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

Music will be an integral part of Kitty and Cadaver, and I’m working with my niece, who is a musician, on developing songs that will be used in the stories. So it’ll be a multimedia bonanza!! Woooot!

Read other Next Big Thing entries in the blog chain!

Narrelle M Harris is a Melbourne-based writer. Find out more about her books, smartphone apps, public speaking and other activities at www.narrellemharris.com.

The Mid Year Review

2012 has been an interesting year so far. By interesting I mean, of course, ‘astonishing’, ‘fantabulous’, ‘exhausting’, ‘exhilarating’ and, quite possibly, ‘TOTALLY ACE!”

2012, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

ONE. March 2012: Showtime

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned how excited I was to have Twelfth Planet Press invite me to submit to their Twelve Planets series. It was nothing compared to how excited I was to have my submission accepted. After months of work with the publisher, Alisa Krasnostein (a World Fantasy Award winner for her work with TPP) and my editor, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Showtime was released on International Women’s Day. It’s had some great reviews, but more importantly, I’m personally very proud of the work that went into those short stories. For fans of The Opposite of Life, there’s a Gary and Lissa story set at the Royal Melbourne Show. The book also contains a zombie story, a ghost story and a more traditional vampire story set in Hungary, inspired by my travels to that country in 2010.

You can buy Showtime from Twelfth Planet Press.


TWO. April 2012: Melbourne Peculiar

When I’m not writing fiction (or doing the day job) I’ve been known to create apps. My first one, Melbourne Literary, came out a few years ago. Clearly a glutton for punishment, this year I finally finished my second app – Melbourne Peculiar, a guide to everything that’s a little bit strange about this town.

I’m fond of the tagline: Melbourne is stranger than you know. Because it really is.

The app is a fairly personal collection of the things I find odd: things like floral clocks, and hidden anti-consumer messages in shopping malls, and arcane shops and memento mori jewellery. You can even learn about the resting place of the inventor of Vegemite, discover where to get spam, get eggs and truffle oil for breakfast or find a famous composer’s whip collection.

You can download Melbourne Peculiar for Apple iDevices or for Android devices.

THREE. May 2012: The Witches of Tyne

A little while ago, I had the great good fortune to win cover art by the fabulous Les Petersen. Since all my other projects already had covers in the pipeline, I thought it would be the perfect time to release a special omnibus edition of my out of print fantasy novels, Witch Honour and Witch Faith, which had been released in hardback in the US in 2005-2007.

So in between writing and editing books and apps, I set about editing the two novels (doing a bit of an adjective and adverb cull, since I’d become a more concise writer since these were published) and adding several short stories and even song lyrics as extra. The result is The Witches of Tyne. It looks terrific, and I’m proud of the result. Extras will be forthcoming in the shape of an actual song to go with the song lyrics, in due course.

In the meantime, you can get The Witches of Tyne from Amazon.com

FOUR. June 2012: Walking Shadows

And hello June! On Friday 8 June, Clan Destine Press and I will be launching Walking Shadows, the long-awaited sequel to The Opposite of Life.

Walking Shadows will be available as an ebook as well as a print edition: stay tuned for links post-launch!

The cover blurb is from Charlaine Harris’s blog about The Opposite of Life:

“A most unusual vampire novel…if you can get this book, do. It’s really a refreshing take on a common theme.”

Which is pretty darned cool.

So thank you, first half of 2012, for being especially fantastic. The latter half may be technically a little quieter, but I’ll be hard at work on the third of the vampire books, so with luck 2013 will contains booky goodness as well.

Narrelle M Harris is a Melbourne-based writer. Find out more about her books, iPhone apps, public speaking and other activities at www.narrellemharris.com.