An interview with Thoraiya Dyer
Thoraiya Dyer is an award-winning Australian writer based in the lush, sweeping NSW Hunter Valley. Her short fiction has appeared in Clarkesworld #75, Apex #35, Redstone SF and Nature; it is forthcoming in Cosmos #51 (full list). Her collection, Asymmetry, is out now from Twelfth Planet Press.
Thoraiya, you’re the next cab off the rank in the Twelve Planets series from Twelfth Planet Press. How does it feel to be part of the Twelve Planets gang?
It feels even more intimidating now that I’ve read the first seven volumes than it did when I was first asked to contribute. I already knew then that everyone else was a real writer. They had all published book-length work, with the exception of Cat Sparks, and Cat had just stolen the (2009) Aurealis out from under my nose. Fat lot of comfort she was! No, really, it feels brilliant. I feel lucky.
I’m holding off on reading Asymmetry until I have holidays, but I’m going to guess it’s a set of four stories, since the others have been… did you have a theme in mind when you started writing for your collection? Or particular stories that you’d been wanting to write?
I didn’t have a theme in mind. I suspected from my track record with Twelfth Planet Press that I would have to write four times as many stories as were needed and that guess wasn’t far wrong! I don’t think anyone else did that but me, but I had no confidence in my ability to pick my own best stories, while Ms Krasnostein’s good taste was on record.
It did get discouraging at one point. I never directly discussed it with her, but it’s possible she grew discouraged at the same point – the point at which some of John West’s rejects started to do well, elsewhere. But I think the ease with which I picked the title goes to show that these four stories are united by something deeper than style or basic proficiency. Dichotomies are a fascination of mine; how could they not be of fascination to a feminist press?
Does the title Asymmetry relate to one of the stories, or all of them? or don’t I want to know the answer to that before I start reading?
All of them (see above)!
You’ve had a good couple of years with publications, it seems to me – stories appearing in several anthologies, a story in Cosmos magazine, and now this. Do they look good from your perspective? or does the hard work involved prevent that?
Other people make me look good! Certainly, I am grateful to everyone who has helped (nagged/dragged/slashed thousands of words) me into print in all those venues. Having “The Wisdom of Ants” appear in Clarkesworld was a real high, a baby step towards one of my career goals of bringing the natural beauty of Australia to a wider audience. People tend to protect what they love. As for hard work, writing about what you love isn’t nearly as hard as all the waiting. Waiting is hard!
I’m guessing you’ve got plans underway at the moment – anything exciting you can warn me about?
At the moment…you guessed it…I’m waiting. Waiting! And writing my next novel-length manuscript. The world building I did for “Wish Me Luck,” one of the stories in Asymmetry, was too intriguing for me to stop there. So that’s where I’m setting my science fictional Little Mermaid retelling.