As the year is ending, here is a short take on my bookish 2017.
Sadly it has been a year when not much has happened when it comes to my fictional writing. Though I have written some, including starting on a novel and several shorts, I haven’t finished anything for publication. I blame it on being a very tough year getting adjusted to both a new dayjob and being back in Norway. Moving between countries is not for the faint-hearted, I’ll say.
Anyhow, hopefully 2018 will be a more productive year. My fingers are really itching to get some writing done now, especially finishing the novel. I can reveal that the story takes place in Norway, with a few glimpses from Africa, and it is within an apocalyptic frame.
It has however been a year when earlier works have had a renaissance. Two earlier published short stories have been bought to two anthologies I am very chuffed to be in:
- Everyone. Worlds without Walls, edited by Tony Smith and published this December,
- and forthcoming Sunspot Jungle, edited by Bill Campbell.
In both books I share the table of contents with so many great speculative writers from all over world. It feels quite dizzying that little me is in such company.
2017 was also a year with shortlistings to awards, something I am very humble and proud about:
- The third monster volume, Asian Monsters was shortlisted to British Fantasy Awards 2017 in the category Best Anthology.
- One of the short stories from the second monster volume, African Monsters, the lovely dark story ‘Bush Baby’ by Chikodili Emelumadu, was shortlisted to the prestigous Caine Prize for African Writing 2017, a huge honour. I am very happy for Chikodili.
This year I was also a juror for the first time, for the British Fantasy Awards 2017, the category Best Magazine / Periodical.
As for editing the monster anthologies, it has been another hectic year since I have been working on three books at the same time (as I do every year nowadays):
Much of the start of 2017 went into getting the word about Asian Monsters, published in December 2016, out. Of the highlights I want to mention, the esteemed Asia Literary Review featured the book, as well as the lovely magazines The Future Fire, Mithila Review and The Asian Writer. Three of the stories from Asian Monsters were also included on Ellen Datlow’s list of best horror of the year – honourable mentions from 2016.
I have also been editing and finishing the fourth monster volume, Pacific Monsters, most of the year. It was published late in November. A very gorgeous book, I am so pleased with both the stories and the art in it. I will use much of coming months to spread the word about this book. Let me know if you want to review it or write an article, interviews etc.
I have also used some of the autumn on researching and starting to invite contributors to the next monster volume, American Monsters volume one, featuring stories from Mid and South America (not Mexico and Caribbean). It has been difficult to locate writers from all the countries and I will need to use January as well on finishing the table of contents.
In addition to editing the monster books I am always busy with other activities connected to monsters and monster tales.
To celebrate the monsters, Fox Spirit Books did a flash writing competition in the early summer, inviting authors to send in their best monster stories. It was a tough decision. I had to put many good stories aside. I wish to thank all who sent in their stories for the chance to read them.
One of the great benefits of editing the monster books, is that I get to have an opinion about monsters. I am currently invited to write two non fictional essays about monsters to two books published in UK next year.
I was also invited to the wonderful Norcon event in Oslo in November, where I had a fun panel chat (in Norwegian) about monsters, with professor in history, Erling Sverdrup Sandmo, who has studied the sea monsters on maps of the North Sea from the end of the 14th Century and onwards. Erling is an amazing personality and I was quite chuffed to be able to speak with him about monsters, who they are and what role they play.
This was also my first performance in Norway as fiction editor, and also my first author event, as I was giving a lecture (in English) about my debut book The Stars Seem So Far Away and post apocalyptic fiction. I think it went well. It was lovely to be able to read from and talk about my own writing. I also had a author table where I sold my book and the monster volumes. Great fun since these books mostly aren’t available in book stores in Norway.
I am happy I was able to attend the con in Oslo. I met old friends and made new friends, always a pleasure. It was also good, since I sadly had to cancel my travels to both Fantasycon in Peterborough and Worldcon in Helsinki this year.
2018 will be another busy monster year, both editing, marketing, writing non fictional articles and all the other monstrous ideas I have. I love to edit anthologies and I have ideas for several more anthologies that I hope someone will be interested in. In 2018 I also hope to be able to write some of my own stuff as well. It would be awesome if I could at least finish the novel I am working on.
Thanks for all the fun! Happy New Year!