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Which is how we ended up with a heroine washed up on a beach with no memory of how she got there or why there was a dead man beside her. How dragons got into the equation I have no idea — other than the fact I have a very twisted, very imaginative muse. Dragons, Keri?

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Or have you taken a totally different slant on dragons? The books are also urban fantasy rather than fantasy. Q: Your Riley Jensen series is set in Melbourne. Was there any resistance to the Australian setting when you pitched the idea to the publishers? We were totally expecting resistance, and I had in fact began researching places in America that I could use instead of Melbourne. But it never came up with any of the three publishers who were bidding for the book.

Of course, the Melbourne I use is very Americanised, so that might have made the setting less of a problem.

The US ones look more sensual, while the UK covers play up the strength of the female character and the threat. Would say that that this is the difference between the two readerships? And how much input do you get in your covers? I have no input on the covers—although if I have occasionally asked for some minor changes.

Q: I see you watch a lot of TV series.

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I must admit I like to get the whole series of something like Deadwood and have an orgy of TV watching. I like to be able to watch the narrative arc for the series, plus the development of the characters. Do you have any specific TV series that you watch, that are guaranteed to switch off your internal editor? God, how much time have you got?

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TV has become my escape—more so than books these days. And on. I think female fantasy writers approach a novel on a more emotional level than most male writers. Keri has a signed copy of Darkness Unbound to give-away or a copy of one of her books to complete your set, subject to availability. Give-away Question:. If paranormal creatures existed and humans were lowest on the pecking order, which kind of paranormal creature would you like to be?

Catch up with Keri on GoodReads. See Keri Arthur quote on GoodReads.

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Q: Where to begin, Isobelle? You have four fantasy series, numerous stand alone novels, collections, short stories and picture books. Your whole life seems to have revolved around writing. No, but I wish I had worked harder at school and learned to be something else as well.

A doctor or something really practical so I could sometimes do something decisively about the things that trouble me in the world. I envy Ian Irvine his marine science back and Nick Earls his ability to heal. But in truth, I am pretty happy with what I have done with my life, because I do think writing matters. It certainly mattered to me — It built me — my mind and my imagination. It saved me….

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This stretch of coast, known as the shipwreck coast, is stark and beautiful. Do you find the isolation and beauty help you to focus and write? Both are essential, and for me beauty is often found in starkness. I have always found really desolate places visually appealing — sandy deserts, arctic , industrial wastelands. I suspect I am attracted them because there is less or no sign of humanity- no people or shops or signs.

Somehow I am very attracted to wastelands- dumpsites, nuclear drop zones like Chernobyl, end of the world scenarios with a touch of dystopia. The coast along the Great Ocean Road is beauty in its wild and savage and dangerous mode. And Prague is like a fairy tale with its cobbled twisty streets and buildings.

Q: You are married to a Jazz musician from Czechoslovakia and spend half the year in Prague.

I really enjoyed the photos you posted on twitter of the snow and ice at Christmas time. We were enduring humidity and floods in Brisbane and those pictures helped me get through summer. I guess your daughter is bi-lingual. Do you find that the insight gained from living in Europe, in a society very different from Australia, has helped you create different worlds? It is lovely here in Winter. There is a very black and white and grey poetry about the city, cloaked in snow. Not that we are having much snow this year- it is very, very mild so far.

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In some ways I think I have always felt myself to be a stranger in a strange land. I was one of those kids who was a total outsider. At least, I thought myself so, but the reality was more that I felt so out of place that I probably ensured it. I mean, to some extent we are how we see ourselves. So I felt I did not fit in and I guess a lot of my writing comes from that feeling of not fitting in. But they are searching pretty much always for a place they can feel ok. For me, Prague is one of those places.

Because here I am truly an alien, a stranger and after all these years, I guess in a weird way THAT is what feels comfortable to me. I think it is always good for writers not to be totally comfortable with their surroundings- at least some of the time.

Does this mean that you are a visual person? I have a background as an illustrator, so I tend to collect images to create a resonance file.

Do you collect music or images when you write? I always have in mind the next illustrated thing I am going to do- right now it is The Cloud Road and I know there will be clouds and mountains and maybe some kind of monkey or monkey-ish thing and cats and desert so those are the images that I am collecting. It is too intense for me to be able to draw. It has to be something I like a lot but maybe have listened to a lot as well so it does not demand too much attention…. You say write fantasy:. Like what it means to have free will and yet to co exist with others who also have free will that might infringe upon mine; about why some people are cruel and why some are courageous; about how it is that someone grows up to be Mother Teresa while someone else become Hitler; it is about what makes a person able to sacrifice themselves for others; about what is required of me if I want to be a friend to someone; about what the difference is between a human who is cruel and the cruelty of a cat to a mouse it has caught; about how important powerful people can make decision that a child can see will cause great harm, as if they and their children were going to be exempt from the consequences.

To me the fantasy genre, like the science fiction genre, gives authors a chance to hold a distorted mirror up to society sometimes distortion can help us see things more clearly. The writer can use these genres prompt the reader to think about things that seem normal in everyday life. Terry Pratchett does this with his books by pointing out how ridiculous certain things are. Is this a recurring theme in your books? I want to say yes, but somehow talking about themes always feels as if I am planning them, like using them as the bones on which to hang my story.

For me the themes usually rise out of a question I am wanting to think about- something that bothers me or has come to my attention and stuck like a burr, and finally I take it into the arena of writing, to see what I can work out. It is absolutely not ever for me, about wanting readers to think or think about anything. It is always an inward journey for me. I am not criticizing writers who set out to say something to their audience. I think a lot of good and great literature comes about by people wanting to flesh out a theme, wanting to make a point, wanting to make a statement to the world.

But that is just not how it is for me. I am more self-centred as a writer. It is all about what I am thinking about and trying to figure it out. I dislike unfairness and injustice, but all too often, when I start looking into an issue, I can see mostly, how the person in the wrong has got into that position.

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I guess it is trying to navigate the greys. And the reason I write fantasy is because the tools that work best for me, produce work that fits into that category. Externally, I can see how what I write can be seen as making a statement, but the reality is that I am only trying to figure things out for myself. Then it gets published and it has this whole other life as whatever it becomes when people take it into their minds and imaginations. I get really sore elbows and back.