Sunday, March 29, 2015

Interview with Thoraiya Dyer - March 29, 2015

Please welcome Thoraiya Dyer to The Qwillery. “The Grudge” will be published in GENIUS LOCI: Tales of the Spirit of Place from Ragnarok Publications.

This is the eighth in a series of interviews with many of the authors and the artists involved in GENIUS LOCI. I hope you enjoy meeting them here at The Qwillery as much as I am!

I am a backer of GENIUS LOCI which is edited by Jaym Gates. You may check out the Kickstarter here.

TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery. What is the most challenging thing about writing for you? Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Thoraiya:  Thank you! The most challenging thing about writing for me is being patient. I am a pantser by nature, but the benefits of plotting are not unknown to me, and the more pitches I write, well, I can see plotting in my future. ☺

TQ:  You are an archer, as well as an animal doctor. Do you bring the discipline of archery to your writing? Does working with animals affect your writing in any way?

Thoraiya:  The discipline of archery is building repetitive muscle memory, while writing is building a varied repertoire, you would hope. But I bring native stubbornness to both, haha!

I think working with animals makes me reluctant to give them cutesy voices in my fiction. They’re more dignified than that. One of the techniques I use to build a sense of place in my work is to always be specific about local wildlife in a setting, whether it’s the focus of the story or not. And being a scientist certainly helps me to research and write science fiction.

TQ:  Which question about your writing do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Thoraiya:  What is more important, a tidy house or a fertile mind? To which the answer, obviously, in the words of Tansy Rayner Roberts, is “write like the wind and to hell with the washing!”

TQ:  Describe “The Grudge”, which will be published in Genius Loci, in 140 characters or less.

Thoraiya:  We all wish we could build to block our snooty, entitled brother’s prime real estate view of a mysterious collision of worlds, don’t we?

TQ:  Tell us something about “The Grudge” that will not give away the story.

Thoraiya:  There are old places that have the eerie sense of never changing. Then, there are those where humanity has just piled on and piled on and piled on until you feel dizzy, just standing in the street and breathing, knowing that your own era is only a quick, barely noticed gasp in between two other layers of the continuum. Old Australian places give me that first feeling. In the Middle East, I get that second feeling, and that’s the setting I decided to go with.

TQ:  What was your inspiration for “The Grudge”? Have you ever encountered a Genius loci?

Thoraiya:  My inspiration for “The Grudge” was a very real building in Beirut ( where the contested views are those of the Mediterranean (the sunsets are amazing!)

As for encountering a Genius Loci, I have a vivid imagination and many places seem to come alive for me, you know? Sadly, just wishing the kangaroo gargoyle at Sydney University could come alive, or that old Lebanese cedar trees could tell me what they’ve seen, doesn’t make it real. *sigh*

TQ:  Give us one of your favorite non-spoilery lines from “The Grudge”.

Thoraiya:  Mutt comes through the door frame, huffing like a boar that’s eaten another boar for breakfast and can’t breathe.

TQ:  In which genre or genres does “The Grudge” fit? In your opinion, are genre classifications still useful?

Thoraiya:  I think genre classifications are still quite useful. Prolific readers know what they do and don’t want. “The Grudge” is science fiction if you don’t need much scientific rigor in your fiction, and fantasy if you do, hahaha!

TQ:  What's next?

Thoraiya:  I’ll have a story in boutique Australian press Fablecroft’s upcoming unthemed anthology, “Insert Title Here.” ( The book is entertaining and refreshingly dud-free, but besides that I’m quite proud of my specific story, “The Falcon Races,” which is set in an alternative, non-colonised, future-Sydney, and which was four years in the making. Which is quite a long time, for a short story.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Thoraiya:  Thank you! I hope you enjoy "Genius Loci"!

About Thoraiya Dyer

Thoraiya Dyer is a three-time Aurealis Award-winning, three-time Ditmar Award-winning Australian writer. Her short fiction has appeared in magazines including Clarkesworld, Apex, Nature, Cosmos and Analog, and anthologies including “Long Hidden,” “War Stories” and “Cranky Ladies of History.” Her award-shortlisted collection of four original stories, “Asymmetry,” is available from Twelfth Planet Press. A lapsed veterinarian based in Sydney, her other interest include archery, bushwalking and travel.

Find her online at Goodreads, Twitter (@ThoraiyaDyer) or


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