My guest today is Dominica Malcolm, born in Australia, living in Malaya and incredibly well travelled. She describes herself as a ‘creative explorer’ having performed stand up comedy, written plays and screen plays, short stories, a novel and non-fiction, been a travel photographer and she cherishes an ambition to perform a one-person show. She is here today to talk abut her first novel, Adrift, a super combination of time travel and lady pirates which is released TODAY.
Elin : Can you tell me a little about yourself? For instance, do you have to have a day job as well as being a writer?
Dominica : When filling out immigration forms, I always write “Housewife” – I’m a stay-at-home mother, which has been my primary role for the last 6 or so years. But in the past I’ve been paid as a stand-up comedian, web developer, and videographer/editor, amongst other things.
Elin : When you aren’t writing, is there any other creative activity you enjoy? Have you ever written about it?
Dominica : It varies depending on mood. I’ve delved into a number of creative pursuits. At the moment, though, as I’ve just recently attended a “comedy bootcamp”, the plan is to try and get back into performing stand-up comedy, as well as finish off editing a music video that I filmed in Hawaii in February 2012. I’d love to do more film stuff and improvisational comedy, but it’s harder for me to organise creative activities that involve other people.
Elin : Can you name any author/authors, past or present, who have been a great influence on your work?
Dominica :I think that I’ve been more influenced by friends who are writers, rather than well known authors. People can look up the two I dedicated Adrift to – Jeremiah Murphy and Sally Bell. I love their work.
Elin : What are you reading? Something to be clutched to the bosom or tossed aside with force? Fiction or non-fiction?
Dominica : I’m in the middle of a few different books, but I’ll just list three.
1. The Fantastical Life of Serenity by Serenity Valle, which is a collection of short fiction.
2. I Too Had a Love Story by Ravinder Singh, which I believe is non-fiction/memoir, even though the back of the book labels it as fiction.
3. The Boy in the Dress by David Walliams, which I’ve been reading to my eldest son when he’s actually wanted me to.
Elin : Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Dominica : It depends what I’m writing. I tend to be a panther when it comes to short fiction, but I’ve never been able to finish anything particularly long that way. Adrift started out with me writing bits and pieces all over the place, but I eventually realised I had to come up with the overall plot before I wrote too much, or else I wouldn’t finish it, or at the very least probably wouldn’t have the kind of story I wanted. I have another novel that I plotted out not long after I plotted Adrift, which started out similarly. It’s nice to know I have a structure there waiting for me when I have time to go back to it.
Elin : Do your characters arrive fully fledged and ready to fly or do they develop as you work with them?
Dominica : They tend to develop as I work with them. I enjoy seeing how they respond to certain situations that I throw at them, because I don’t always know how that’s going to go. It makes writing more fun for me.
Elin : Do you have a crisp mental picture of your characters or are they more a thought and a feeling than an image?
Dominica : I think by the time I’ve finished writing them, I have a fairly clear picture of them, even if I don’t go into too much detail about what they look like for my readers.
Elin : Do you find there to be a lot of structural differences between a relationship driven story and one where the romance is a sub plot?
Dominica : Structure implies rules, and I don’t really believe in rules when it comes to writing. If people want to write something different from expectations – what others believe the structure should be – they should be free to do so.
Elin : Put together your ideal team of men – drawing from all and any walks of life, fictional or non-fictional – who you would want to come to your rescue if menaced by muggers/alligators/fundamentalists?
Dominica : Ah, let’s see. Wolverine from the X-Men. Steve McGarratt from Hawaii Five-O (new series). The Doctor (preferably Five or Ten) from Doctor Who. Do they have to be men? Buffy and Faith from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. River from Firefly.
Elin : Villains – incredibly important in fiction since they challenge the main protagonists and give them something to contend with beyond the tension of a developing relationship. What sort of villains do you prize? A moustache-twirling nightmare or … ?
Dominica : I like villains who are well developed – shades of grey, so they may have features audiences can identify with in a way. Characters that aren’t just caricatures, stereotypes, or seen as pure evil.
Elin : What are you working on at the moment? Can you discuss it or do you prefer to keep it a secret until it’s finished.
Dominica : I suppose the biggest projects would be a collection of mermaid short stories, which is a spin-off from Adrift, called Losing Prudence. Some of the stories I’ve already written have been published elsewhere, such as “Siren” which appears in Fae Fatales: A Fantasy Noir Anthology.
I’m also putting together an anthology of speculative fiction set in the Asia-Pacific region over at Solarwyrm Press (http://solarwyrm.com). Submissions close November 30, and I love seeing new submissions!
Elin : Could we please have an excerpt of something?
Dominica : An excerpt from Adrift:
“What year is this?”
“Two-thousand and eleven,” Dick says automatically, before realising the absurdity of the question.
Jaclyn bolts upright and runs out the door into the open hallway to look down at the street. Thinking this might be the best opportunity to lock her out of the room, Dick quickly follows her.
Unfortunately he doesn’t reach the door in time, and Jaclyn barges past him again, asking herself, “Three hundred and fifty years?”
Jaclyn is back at the window before Dick can say, “Eh?”
There’s a long silence before Jaclyn looks at Dick again. “When I awoke this morning, it was sixteen sixty-one.”
“Wait a minute,” Dick says, observing her with a skeptical eye, “let me get this straight… you’re saying you’re a time-traveller?”
“I am not sure what you mean by that,” Jaclyn says. “All I know is what I was doing in Bridgetown this morning, before finding myself here.”
“Are you having me on?” Dick asks. “Like, are you some actor who is out here for some fan convention and you’re… what’s the word? Method acting?”
“Preposterous! I have never heard of women actors. That is absurd.”
“And travelling through time isn’t?” Dick asks.
“Yes, I concede you may have a point there. Well, you could simply decide that I am insane… but what if I am not?”
It’s the 21st century, and Jaclyn Rousseau is not where she should be. 1661 disappeared before her eyes, and there’s no way home. That matters not to Jaclyn—she lost her lover, and everything else that meant anything to her, in the West Indies.
In an adventure that crosses time and the Atlantic, a murderous pirate must find a place for herself in this new world.
Can she escape her past, or will it catch up with her?
Adrift (paperback) on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Adrift-Dominica-Malcolm/dp/0980508428/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1378974245&sr=1-2
Details for where else to get it: http://dominica.malcolm.id.au/writing/adrift
Fae Fatales: A Fantast Noir Anthology on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Fae-Fatales-Fantasy-Anthology-Colour/dp/0473243172/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1378974245&sr=1-1
Blog/web site: http://dominica.malcolm.id.au