I had the immense pleasure of reading alongside G. V. Anderson at a recent Bristolcon Fringe, and following her World Fantasy Award-winning story ‘Das Steingeschöpf’ was pretty tough. She’s here to tell us a little about herself and her work and why you might like to give it a try!
Whose work has most inspired you?
She doesn’t strictly write speculative fiction – though I’d recommend her novel ‘The Little Stranger’ as a chillingly ambiguous ghost story – but Sarah Waters is absolutely my favourite writer. I love what she can do with atmosphere and setting, and how she explores the invisible, overlooked stories in our history. Her style has informed mine like no other writer’s I can think of. If she ever decided to try her hand at historical fantasy, I think that would be my favourite book of all time.
Short stories can be notoriously tough to get right. How do you go about writing one and why do you like the form?
Every story needs a slightly different approach. I’ve heard many writers say recently that they almost have to re-learn how to write with each new project, and I’m no different. Sometimes I plan, sometimes I dive right in; I’m still figuring out what works best for me, and I expect that’ll show as I produce more work.
Usually I’ll start with hand-written notes and light research, then I’ll draft on the computer. This can take anything from a few days to a few weeks, depending on how much time I have available. Then I send it off to a few trusted readers for initial feedback. I’d be lost without them!
I like short fiction because it lets me explore ideas and concepts that I love but might not have enough substance for a novel. It’s also a chance to practice the process of developing kernels into fully-fledged stories, on a tiny scale.
Your first published story won the World Fantasy Award. Congratulations! Where are you planning to go from here?
Thank you! It was a huge shock, and very humbling to have shared the ballot with such incredible writers. I have a handful of short works in progress which I hope to finish over the festive season. After that, I’d like to focus on writing a novel.
We’re a feminist podcast with an aim to open up the dialogue surrounding women in the creative fields. How do you approach female representation in your own work and / or representation of diverse communities?
Most of my main characters are women because it’s what I relate to by default, but I try to read widely and take note of the real women around me so that it’s not just my own experience or perspectives in my work.
I try to be as open-minded as possible in all areas of representation; I listen to diverse voices and read their stories before exploring them myself. I know I’ll inevitably get that wrong one day. I think it’s important to accept that, and be willing to listen to and learn from criticism when I do.
Why should a reader check out your work? (The dreaded pitch question!)
Uh-oh! I’ll do my best.
If you wish historical fiction had more magic in it (like Sarah Waters); if you like Gothic horror set against gloomy, windswept countryside (like Daphne du Maurier); if you want toe-curling body horror (like the art of Junji Ito); if you need to escape to another world for a bit, with your feet up and a cup of tea in your lap (like Garth Nix); if any of the above sounds appealing to you as a reader, you’d probably enjoy my work.
G. V. Anderson is a British writer whose professional debut, ‘Das Steingeschöpf’, won the World Fantasy Award for Best Short Fiction in 2017. Her stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Syntax & Salt, StarShipSofa, Strange Horizons, and F&SF. You can follow her on Twitter @luna_luminarium or visit her website.