Kim Wilkins is the author of more than 20 novels across a range of genres and age groups, though her heart belongs to adult spec fic. She has a PhD from University of Queensland, where she teaches in their award-winning writing program. She researches in the field of medieval literature and medievalism, writes about vikings a lot, and is too busy for hobbies.
1) I remember reading The Infernal 15 years ago – Christ has it been that long!? – and finding it so compelling and readable and exciting. Did you change it in anyway for Ticonderoga Publication’s 13th anniversary re-release of the novel?
I changed nothing but the acknowledgements page, which you can find reproduced here (http://fantasticthoughts.wordpress.com/2010/07/13/the-infernal-thirteen-years-later/). I have redeveloped a soft spot for that book, after rejecting it violently for about 7 or 8 years. I used to be so embarrassed about it. But it started it all.
2) Going by your website, it looks like you haven’t written an adult novel as Kim Wilkins for 7 years. Is this because “Kim Wilkins” is seen more as young adult / middle grade writer? Or are you just having so much fun writing your “Kimberley Freeman” novels?
After I wrote “Rosa and the Veil of Gold”, every idea I came up with sounded too familiar. I felt as though I really needed to leave the field fallow for a while. I cooked up the idea to do the Kimberley Freeman books for fun, with no idea how successful they would be. Like infinitely more successful than my spec fic novels. Infinitely. I have two small children and a job at University of Queensland. The truth is, when Kimberley Freeman started paying off my mortgage, I simply didn’t have time to write anything else. I took 2010 off to write a fantasy novel (straight-up epic fantasy), and have just got around to polishing it up in the last few months. I hope that it might come out in 2013.
3) This year sees the publication of your latest Kimberley Freeman book, Lighthouse. What can you tell us about it and what’s coming next?
Lighthouse Bay. I’ve just put the copy-edit in the express post bag. It’s about a shipwreck in 1901 and it’s a bit of a high-seas adventure with romance and bodice ripping and a contemporary story about sisters overcoming a dark secret. It was heaps of fun to write, but I’m enjoying not being Kimberley Freeman this year. I’m writing a collection of novellas for Ticonderoga, which is coming out next year (more here: http://fantasticthoughts.wordpress.com/2011/12/17/the-year-of-ancient-ghosts/). They are all spec fic, based on medieval stuff. I scared myself to death writing the title story, “The Year of Ancient Ghosts”, which is set in the Orkneys. It’s the scariest thing I’ve written since “The Resurrectionists”. I can’t wait for people to read it and shit themselves.
4) What Australian works have you loved recently?
“Bitter Greens” by Kate Forsyth. Kate and I met at the 1997 Aurealis Awards and have had a 15-year friendship that involves occasional catch-ups with lots of champagne. Since we met, we’ve written dozens of books and had a handful of children, and we’ve gone from being “new, young” writers to being the old hands in the genre. “Bitter Greens” is an extraordinary book, set across two time periods, with characters I loved so dearly. It has a fairy tale heart, but an experienced writer’s head. It appealed to me on every level, and I am so proud to call her a dear friend.
5) Two years on from Aussiecon 4, what do you think are some of the biggest changes to the Australian Spec Fic scene?
To be frank, at Aussiecon I hid in my hotel room because my marriage was on the rocks and I couldn’t face anyone. And in the two years since I’ve been going through a divorce and recovering. I’m not actually sure who various world leaders are at the moment. I do hope, however, that the spec fic scene has continued to thrive.
This interview was conducted as part of the 2012 Snapshot of Australian Speculative Fiction. We’ll be blogging interviews from 1 June to 8 June and archiving them at ASif!: Australian SpecFic in Focus. You can read interviews at