Aftermath: Tales of Survival in Aotearoa New Zealand is SpecFicNZ’s new anthology, available here.
The anthology explores Aotearoa in a post-apocalyptic world. Disasters have occurred around the country and the world. New Zealand, in our isolation down under, may have escaped most of what happened around the world, but it was pretty bad out there. As Kiwis are apt to do, though, we’re “getting over it”. You know, she’ll be right …
This is not just an anthology of disaster stories. The pages are filled with hope in the form of short stories, poems, flash fiction and artwork about what comes afterwards. The contributions are exclusively from SpecFicNZ members and reflect the diversity and breadth of this country we love to call home … even if the edges are a bit torn and tattered.
We’re interviewing all the contributors to the anthology so you can get to know the brave souls who’ve battled zombies, aliens, earthquakes, volcanoes and more to bring you the stories you’ll find between its covers.
Aftermath includes a variety of disasters set all around Aotearoa New Zealand. What disaster / location combination did you write about and why?
I wrote about an alien invasion in Christchurch. It seemed to me that every other form of disaster had already happened to poor old Christchurch, so why not give them aliens?
How do you think the Kiwi approach to life after disaster is unique?
In the wake of the Christchurch earthquakes and in the face of Covid-19, I’ve realised that, even in the midst of disaster, when things are looking really grim, Kiwis don’t take themselves too seriously—we’re always willing to have a chuckle at our own expense. Kiwis are also incredibly community-focused after a disaster. We look after one another, and we do what’s right for the community.
What are your most valuable post-apocalyptic skills?
I’ve been growing most of my family’s food for many years now, so that skill would definitely come in handy. I also raised dairy goats until recently, and I make a mean goat-milk mozzarella. I also have two year’s experience cooking over a traditional three-rock fire, so I don’t really need the mod-cons to turn my produce into a meal. I can spin, weave, knit, and sew, too. Oh, and I own three machetes in case of zombie attack. You definitely want me on your post-apocalyptic survival team.
They say the pen is mightier than the sword. Being a writer, you must have lots of pens. What creative use would you put them to in a post-apocalyptic New Zealand?
I’d write bad, humorous poetry and post it in random locations along the streets to make people smile. Okay, so maybe you don’t want me on your post-apocalyptic survival team …
Tell us a little about your other writing?
I write fantasy, science fiction and non-fiction for children and adults. My books include a middle grade fantasy series that puts dragons in modern day New Zealand, an urban fantasy for adults, and a YA epic fantasy. I’ve also published two non-fiction books about insects, and a book of poetry written during our first Covid lockdown. My short stories have appeared in a variety of magazines and anthologies, and some of them have, to my great surprise, even won awards. I blog about gardening and cooking, and someday will write the cookbook/gardening guide to go along with the blog.
What are you working on now?
I am working on Book 2 of my Fatecarver trilogy—epic YA fantasy. It should be out in May this year. I’m also finishing up a novel study guide for The Dragon Slayer’s Son.
Where can readers find out more about you and your writing?