Search This Blog

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Light Touch Paper Stand Clear: Kathleen Jennings Kindles!

Today’s guest blogger is Kathleen Jennings, author of ‘Kindling’, the perfect round-off story to the anthology. As someone who has worked with Kathleen before, in her capacity as an artist, I have to say, some people have all the talent! You see, Kathleen can both write AND do art, both delightfully! Unfair to the rest of us! But I’m very glad we’re lucky enough to have Kathleen in Australia. Oh - and by the way, I asked her for a photo of herself and got three illustrations instead, which you will see below, and understand why we’re all in awe of her abilities.
The editors
Simon says:
Kathleen’s ‘Kindling’ is, in my mind, an utterly brilliant bit of work. It’s the sort of story for which any kind of description I could offer would prove misleading, inadequate, and counterproductive. About the best I can do is to say “You know the kind of story which is more than the sum of its parts? Yeah, this is like that kind of story, done exceptionally well.” I got to read this one before Edwina, and I suggested that whatever else we did with the ordering of the stories, this one needed to go at the end. Happily, she agreed. It is, I think, the perfect closer.
Edwina says:
During one of our many phone calls discussing Light Touch Paper, Simon asked me,"Have you read Kathleen's story yet? I think it will make a great ending to the anthology."
I made it my priority to read her story next. I immediately liked the main character, Minke, not only because it's a breed of whale I'm yet to see! By the time I got to the end of the story I was punching the air. Simon was so right, of course this would be the perfect ending to the anthology, and weren't we so lucky to have Kathleen's contribution?  
And now, take it away, Kathleen! 
Once I parsed the subject of the anthology, I was delighted and threw myself into one story. After another. After another. I ended up with five story outlines which had potential for stories (an outback Aladdin, several variations on a Nightingale, a Lion Day) but didn't suit the theme at all. Eventually (I'm a slow learner), I worked out it was not enough to come up with a cool "spark". (Almost) all stories have a spark. This story needed to be about the spark.
And suddenly Minke (a name which had been in the back of my mind for various reasons) occurred, meshed with an old idea of those places where so many stories seem to start, and gave a reason for that statistical anomaly. 
‘Kindling’ began as a straight high-fantasy tale, but I had been trying to write a few stories set in cafés, so the Inn became Ye Olde Owle Café and bar, and bits of other settings and genres were grafted in as I went. I don't see it as steampunk, although it has some of that flavour. Steampunk, however, is a tinkering, cobbled-together aesthetic, and this story is (to an extent) about constructing stories from the bits and pieces that are lying around, so the comparison is justified.

I usually write very linear plots, but I wanted to try my hand at a more structured style. It suited the nature of a story about several beginnings, and a reflection on their consequences. I liked, too, being able to imply a lot more than I usually would (I'm a lawyer by day, so my instinct is to cover off in writing on every possible contingency).
That said, I still like the idea of this fragmented, burning world, and particularly the corrupt, noisy, ghost-ridden city, and perhaps one day I'll revisit it to find out more about what happens in the spaces between.
Also, as a bonus, here is the illustration which gave rise to one of the side-images in the story, and the first draft of the bio I wrote late at night:

Kathleen Jennings is a writer and illustrator in Brisbane, Australia.
Her short stories have appeared in publications including Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine and After the Rain. Her comic "Finishing School" (which she wrote and illustrated) in Steampunk! An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories was shortlisted for best YA story in the 2011 Aurealis Awards and won the 2012 Ditmar for best art(she likes to cover all bases). Often to be found drawing in corridors
at conventions, in cafes and online at:

Tomorrow's guest post is by Thoraiya Dyer - come and check it out!

No comments: