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The very talented Tim Jones has recently published a new novella and kindly agreed to a blog interview.
Congratulations on your new novella, ‘Landfall’. I can’t help noticing it bears the same name as a certain NZ literary journal. Is there a connection?
Connection, guv? That was right out – I deny that completely!
There is in fact a connection, in that both the title of the novella and, I believe, the title of the journal both refer to Allen Curnow’s 1942 poem “Landfall in Unknown Seas”, which was then set to music by Douglas Lilburn:
Simply by sailing in a new direction
You could enlarge the world.
… which is a not an attitude that finds much favour in the world of my novella.
What’s the novella about?
I think the blurb does a reasonable job of summarising that:
When the New Zealand Navy torpedoes a Bangladeshi river ferry full of refugees fleeing their drowning country, Nasimul Rahman is one of the few survivors. But even if he can reach the shore alive, he has to make it past the trigger-happy Shore Patrol, set up to keep the world’s poor and desperate at bay.
Donna is a new recruit to the Shore Patrol. She’s signed on mainly because of her friend Mere, but also because it’s good to feel she’s doing something for her country. When word comes through that the Navy has sunk a ship full of infiltrators, and survivors may be trying to make their way ashore, it sounds like she might finally see some action.
To get more of a flavour, there is also a sample extract you can read for free: http://paperroadpress.co.nz/2015/08/01/free-excerpt-landfall-tim-jones/
Sounds intriguing! What defines something as a novella?
The good folks who administer the Hugo Awards, who as I’m sure we’ll agree are the ultimate arbiters of all such matters, define a novella as a story of between seventeen thousand five hundred (17,500) and forty thousand (40,000) words
So, in Hugo Awards terms (a boy can dream!) “Landfall”, which comes in at a tick under 11,000 words, is actually a novelette – happily, however, it met the requirements that Paper Road Press was looking for when it called for novella submissions.
In less mathematical terms, I think of a novella as a novel on a restricted diet, rather than as a longer short story. Novellas are like novels boiled down to the main plot and a few central characters. In my case, there are two main characters and for the most part the action is confined to the same location over a short span of time.
How is writing a novella different from writing a short story or a novel?
It doesn’t take years and years to finish the bloody thing! (Well, that may tell you something about my experience to date of writing novels…)
Although, having said that, the seeds of this novella were in a short story called “Pilot” that I’d had several cracks at writing over the years without success – I had three different partially completed drafts lying around. Each of these was from the point of view of a single character, Nasimul Rahman. When Paper Road Press called the first round of submissions for their Shortcuts series of novellas, I had the idea of adding Donna, the second viewpoint character, and alternating their viewpoints throughout the novella – and that’s what made the narrative work.
I believe it’s going to appear in print soon, too. Who else will be in the print publication?
Paper Road Press are putting out all six novellas in the first Shortcuts series in one print volume entitled Shortcuts: Track 1 – and if you preorder by 1 November, there are a couple of prizes on offer! Check out all the details here: http://paperroadpress.co.nz/books/shortcuts-track-1-collection/
I understand there’s a second Shortcuts series forthcoming from Paper Road Press, too. They are a very active Wellington-based publisher putting out some great work.
Where can I buy a copy?
What’s next? Will there be more novellas?
I like writing at novella length because it allows for more complexity than a short story – and because, as quite a slow writer, novellas don’t take me the agonising amounts of time that novels do! So, while I’m currently trying to finish a poetry collection, I do intend to write more novellas.
I already have one unpublished novella, but it’s an the unusual niche of “(association) football romance”, a market segment to which the publishing industry hasn’t yet turned its full attention. If anyone hears about publishers looking for Mills and Boon of the Rovers, please let me know.
Thanks Tim! Best wishes for your writing!
Tim Jones is a fiction writer, poet, and editor. He is also the author of two collections of short fiction, three collections of poetry and one novel. He was co-editor of Voyagers: Science Fiction Poetry from New Zealand (2009) with Mark Pirie. Voyagers won ‘Best Collected Work’ in the 2010 Sir Julius Vogel Awards, and in the same year, Tim Jones won the NZSA Janet Frame Memorial Award for Literature. The Stars Like Sand: Australian Speculative Poetry was published in 2014 and is co-edited by Tim Jones and P.S. Cottier. You can find Tim’s blog at http://timjonesbooks.blogspot.co.nz/
The latest reviews of Kingdom Animalia: the Escapades of Linnaeus come from Emma Neale in the NZ Listener (December 3 -9 2011):
“…Freegard is equal parts jester and scientist…the collection is as much about human follies, infringements, betrayals and tenderness as it is about the habits and habitats of our animal cousins.”
Sarah Jane Barnett in Landfall:
“There is a lot to enjoy in Kingdom Animalia. Freegard’s poetry is sharp and funny; she is the poet next door who I immediately like.”
and Joanna Preston in A Fine Line (the NZ Poetry Society magazine):
“At its best, Kingdom Animalia is delicious – often funny, frequently touching, unmistakeably modern, and full of swerves and quirks and strange reverses.”
Earlier reviews had this to say:
Paula Green in the NZ Herald (1 November 2011):
“…Freegard has glued the breach between poetry and science with lyricism, inventiveness, research, playfulness and miniature bursts of storytelling. Fascinating.”
Patricia Prime in Takahē 73 (Winter 2011):
“…Freegard’s is a restless poetry, expressing contemporary angst within a context of travel, or analyzing the stopping-places, trying to see clearly, and identifying with the flora and fauna. Yet there is also a need to try and anchor the poems to the modern world.”
Tedi Busch in the Nelson Mail (30 July 2011):
“…The author’s imagination is infinite. In just one piece a witch teaches her to fly like a humming bird while advising a man from Japan about his cup of spaghetti and notes that our minds have minds of their own. Hers certainly does; I think I’ll go and read this all over again.”
and Hamesh Wyatt in the Otago Daily Times:
“…There is plenty of subversive humour and a little self-indulgence but never a dull moment. …….Kingdom Animalia: The Escapades of Linnaeus will get under your skin something fierce. It’s neat to have something brand-new and shiny.”
An interview about the book with Veronika Meduna on ‘Our Changing World’ poetry-and-science.asx
and with Tim Jones on his blog.
Kingdom Animalia also has its own Facebook page.