16 Australian authors.
Austin P. Sheehan is a writer of speculative fiction, a lover of language, literature and ’90s TV.
Armed with a psychology degree, he went out into the world to further study humanity, and now prefers the company of his wife and their greyhounds.
He grew up in the valleys of Victoria’s high country, and despite living in Melbourne for the past decade, he always feels at home amongst the mountains. In fact you’ll often find mountains in his stories, whether they’re sci-fi, fantasy or alternative history.
Austin has also been getting coffees and doing photocopying as the work experience kid at the Aussie Speculative Fiction group.
Q. What sentences in writing have changed your life?
“Two possibilities exist; either we’re alone in the universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.”
Q. Which book left you empty inside once you finished writing it?
My novel tentatively titled ‘Emma and the Madhouse Kids’ was the first book I’d written, it was a bizarre feeling of elation and exhaustion when i finally wrote ‘the end.’ I thought I’d finally be able to return to a normal life and see my friends and family again.
Q. What don’t you want to see in a well-written villain that happens frequently?
Usually if they’re written well, they aren’t one-dimensional stereotypes. or completely flawless except for one glaring weakness.
Q. Best closing scene, you have written?
The ending of ‘Emma and the Madhouse Kids’ still brings tears to my eyes, but people have also reacted rather strongly to the end of ‘A Song for Ganymede’ so I can’t wait to share those with the world.
‘The Teacup’ is a story set in an alternate-history Germany, where something particularly nasty is hiding in the mountains near Rettenberg. It focuses on Franz Kessler, the village repairman, his wife Marguerite, and their daughter Astrid, who enjoys reading Franz’s tea leaves.
EXCERPT FROM THE TEACUP
Franz Kessler gave his teacup to Astrid, who smiled back at him before examining its contents. This was their ritual. Every morning she would whisper a word to him, over breakfast he would consider it while he sipped at his tea, and pass the teacup back to her when it was almost empty. Today he was meant to focus on the future, but his thoughts kept returning to his work.
While Astrid had a keen interest in reading tea leaves and fortune telling, Franz just did it to make her happy. The older he got, the more important his bond with his daughter became. His wife Marguerite, on the other hand, wouldn’t have a bar of “that silly hocus-pocus,” as she called it. She wanted Astrid to focus on finding a full-time job and a decent partner, both of which were in short supply in their village.
Seeing the exchange, Marguerite picked up her sudoku book with a huff and shuffled out of the room, shaking her head with disdain. Franz watched his wife leave, perplexed as usual by her deep-seated dislike of Astrid’s harmless hobby. When Franz looked back at his daughter, her free hand covered her mouth and her face was ashen. His eyes caught hers, deep green and full of fear. Turning to the sink with trembling hands she emptied and washed the teacup. Franz joined his daughter to dry the remaining breakfast dishes, looking out the window which offered a view of their small yet well-kept front garden. A faint frost still covered the grass, the warmth of the day’s sun hadn’t reached them yet.
TWITTER – @AustinPSheehan
FACEBOOK – @APSheehanAu
Thank You for taking the time to chat to us about your writing and your book.