Can you give us an outline of The Fading?
It’s a fast-paced story set in futuristic Brisbane, where a violent disease is rapidly spreading. Katherine has caught the disease, and her wife, Harriet, is searching for the way to save her. Scientist Dr Leena Kitt is attempting to understand the disease, and agents of the Australian government are working to prevent panic and save who they can. The disease’s destruction grows and the people of Brisbane struggle to keep their humanity in the face of an insidious, evolving force.
What drew you to writing speculative fiction and what role do you think it can play in literature?
Writing speculative fiction seemed instinctive to me as the majority of what I read is sci-fi/fantasy/fantastical in some way. Aside from the influence of two decades of ingesting SF books, I also love turning wild, dream-or-nightmare ideas into a world that exists, for a short time, in the pages of the book. The limits of reality need not apply.
How has your work as an actor and in neuropsychology affected your writing?
Acting helped me to activate the character-Spidey-sense – acting taught me to develop a character in my mind and body, and then follow any instincts I have regarding how they communicate, why they act the way they do, and so on. Plus, acting has shown me the joy in expressing the enormity of emotions, and that emotional truth is not small regardless of how it is expressed. This means I enjoy writing stories that explore humanity, the why of behaviour, and the fullness of emotion.
Neuropsychology, and psychology in general, feels like a natural extension of acting in that they are other ways to understand why people act the way that they do. Neuropsychology focuses in on the physical attributes of the brain and the changes to it affects language, self-awareness, personality, identity. Such ideas of a physical basis for consciousness and identity take my writing on some fun explorations of how humanity ‘works’.
Without wanting to give too much away, there’s a different kind of consciousness in your book. How did you find writing from the perspective and what does it contribute to the book overall?
It was fun! Fitting into its mind was an exercise in empathy and distilling how consciousness affects actions, learning, behaviour. I think it helps extend the idea of humanity to beyond just humans in the book, while adding the element of unknown danger, something creeping on the edges of what people find normal and understandable.
What are you working on now?
I am working on a few other short stories/novellas at the moment, again speculative fiction. I’m also continuing my psychology studies, and will be starting my thesis this year.