Sunday, April 8, 2012

Author Insides - Mitchell Edgeworth

Mitchell Edgeworth was born and raised in the cultural wasteland of suburban Australia. He graduated from Curtin University in 2008 with a double degree in Professional Writing and Creative Writing, which has somehow failed to secure him a career. After teaching English in South Korea in 2009 and backpacking across Asia and Europe in 2010, he has returned to Australia.

His debut publication, short story "The City," appeared in the Autumn 2011 issue of The Battered Suitcase.


Mitch, when did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? 

I have no idea; it extends beyond my youngest memories.

Why do you write?

Escapism and creation.

Is being a writer anything like you imagined it would be?

It’s hard. It used to be a lot easier, when I was a kid, and didn’t care about what other people would think of my work.

What do you think makes a good story? 

Intrigue. It has to have a fascinating premise. As a reader, if my attention isn’t grabbed in the first few paragraphs of a short story, I’m gone.

What's your favorite genre to read? 

I’d prefer a really good sci-fi novel over a really good literary novel, but really good sci-fi novels are a lot rarer than really good literary novels.

Who is your favorite author or poet?

David Mitchell, hands down.

What books or stories have most influenced you the most as a writer?

Hard to say. I read a lot and I think I’ve developed a writing style that’s fairly generic and can’t be traced to any one author. I know that as I was growing up I certainly tried ripping off John Wyndham, John Christopher, Philip Reeve and Philip Pullman a lot. Reeve would definitely be the author whose descriptive style I try to emulate; he’s a fairly low-profile author of young adult fiction, but as a former illustrator, his ability to paint a picture with words is amazing.

What books or stories have most influenced you as a person? 

That’s an easier one. My understanding of human nature was hugely influenced by Calvin and Hobbes and Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series. By the time I read David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas I was all grown up, but it lays out a manifesto for altruism that I greatly admire and would try to live by if I wasn’t so lazy and selfish.

Where/how do you find the most inspiration?

Other writer’s stories, and daydreaming.

What does your family think of your writing? 

It rarely comes up, which I’m fine with. I’m pretty self-conscious and I generally keep my writing to myself. My best friend is a musical composer and often gets annoyed at me because I’m the only other creative person he knows, but I feel uncomfortable discussing creative endeavours.

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?

I’m a night owl and tend to be most productive after midnight, when there are fewer distractions.

Do you have any writing quirks or rituals? 

No. I’m a pretty lazy writer and can’t really afford to have a set of requirements in place before getting some work done.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Motivation, especially in the last few years. I have plenty of ideas for stories but never the desire to sit down and write them. Now that I’ve received the sweet, sweet validation of a published story, I’m hoping that will change.

What are your current projects?

For the last five or six years I’ve been working on an online serial novel. It’s an objectively terrible novel (which I won’t link to here) and because I’m a stubborn person it’s also the albatross around my neck distracting me from working on better projects. When I can ignore the albatross, I’m writing a series of short stories revolving around the crew of a dilapidated spaceship two hundred years in the future. Not the most original idea, but there’s something really fun about that Star Wars/Cowboy Bebop/Firefly idea of collecting an oddball crew of misfits and criminals on a ship and sending them off to have swashbuckling adventures.

What are you planning for future projects?

I do intend to eventually expand “The City” into a full-length novel. I also have faint ideas about a young adult adventure set in an alternate universe Australia.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Bookmark Duotrope’s Digest (www.duotrope.com), a searchable database of pretty much every fiction journal and magazine. Way easier than trawling through Google and Wikipedia.

Where can we find your work? 

This is my first published story (thank you, by the way!) but I keep a blog at www.grubstreethack.wordpress.com. It’s mostly book reviews but there are also a few stories lying around there. I also kept a travelogue of my trip around Asia and Europe at www.gentlemenoftheroad.wordpress.com.