Today I welcome author and publisher, Steve Rossiter, to share some insights on the anthology, The Life And Times Of Chester Lewis and to talk about some of his other projects as well.
You are one of the Victorian authors, along with Michael Grey, Jo Hart, Louise D’Arcy, and myself, and also the publisher of The Life And Times Of Chester Lewis. There is a broad cross section of writing genres in that group, how did those particular authors come to be involved?
Of the Victorian authors, you were the first onboard. I wanted a children’s author to write a story with Chester between 0 and 10 years old. As a children’s author whose work I had some familiarity with and someone I had interviewed before, you came to mind. Jo Hart and Michael Grey had come to my attention by being finalists in short story competitions I had run. Louise D’Arcy had been recommended by novelist Gordon Reece. In each case, I had read at least a few short stories or a published book by each author
Quite a few of the Chester Lewis authors are from regional areas. Do you think that might have had an influence on the approach they took to their stories?
Not in the sense that I’d be able to read the stories and tell from the writing alone which had been written by a regional author. Individually, if you were to ask each author, I’m tipping at least some of them would attribute something about their life experience which happens to be a bit different from what they would have experienced living in a major city, but that doesn’t necessarily equate to an identifiable ‘regional influence’ in their writing.
The Chester Lewis authors are a mixture of emerging and established authors, did you see a difference between the elements each brought to the character of Chester Lewis?
Each story was primarily focused on a different decade in Chester’s life, different stories were narrated from different point of view characters, and there are numerous geographical settings. These factors, combined with the different writing style and personal background of each author, mean that each author brought different interests, knowledge and ways of writing their story. There is not necessarily a clear divide between the stories of established authors and emerging authors.
If the opportunity arose to write about one of the other characters in the Chester Lewis anthology, which one would you choose and why?
I wrote the final story in the book from the point of view of Chester’s granddaughter. Chester grows into a complicated and important man throughout his life, and writing from Chester’s point of view would provide a lot of great story potential. There are a variety of points in Chester’s life where it would be particularly interesting to go deeper into his life and personality at that time.
In addition to Chester, there are various other characters who may be just as interesting to write as or about, such as his mother, his wife, one of his work colleagues/employees in the family company, his son, or other characters who I’ll avoid describing here to prevent plot spoilers.
Just a week before Chester Lewis was released, the Melbourne-based YA short story collection Possessing Freedom was released. What can you tell us about it?
Possessing Freedom is a collection of 12 stories told by 4 authors, set in a fictional near-future Melbourne in 2026, where ghosts exist. The general population of the story-world can’t see the ghosts. When Alice, a 17 year old psychiatric ward patient, discovers her ‘hallucinations’ are ghosts, that not all of them are friendly, and that they want something from the living, the situation grows more desperate, for the living and for the ghosts.
There is a blog tour full of interviews about Possessing Freedom at http://possessingfreedom.net/2012/10/17/post-launch-blog-tour-with-steve-rossiter.
As well as The Australian Literature Review website, you also run the Writing Teen Novels site. What are your plans for the future of Writing Teen Novels?
Writing Teen Novels will undergo a big expansion from January 1st. It will feature:
- daily posts from novelists about writing teen novels
- a range of established novelists from North America, the UK/Europe, Australasia and India/South Asia as monthly contributors throughout 2013, including numerous New York Times bestselling novelists
- posts from guest novelists each month
I’m happy with the 2013 line-up of novelists. Some have had their novels published in dozens of languages or countries. Some have had many novels published over decades of writing. Some are early in their novel writing career, with several very successful novels, and movie adaptations on the way. Some have worked in senior roles with major publishers. Some also write and/or produce for film and TV. Some balance writing novels with being a high school teacher. The mix of novelists covers a broad range of teen novel genres. 2013 will see a large and varied range of great articles about writing teen novels.
What are you currently working on?
I am currently writing my own first novel, set in 1939 Poland with a teenage main character, with the intention of publishing in 2014. I am aiming for a novel which is both entertaining for teen readers and a serious historical novel for adult readers.
I also have a new site, Writing Historical Novels, launching Jan 1st along similar lines to what the expanded version of Writing Teen Novels, and I will be relaunching Writing Novels in Australia with a new line-up of novelists for 2013.
There’s a technical glitch with my links tab but you can copy and paste the link below to see more of Steve’s blog tour on other sites.