Maree Webster—an “almost-emo” from the western suburbs of Sydney—hates school, has few friends, and is obsessed with angels and fallen angel stories. Life is boring until she decides to steal a famous painting from a small art gallery that has been haunting her dreams: swirling reds, grays and oranges of barely discernible winged figures. There, she meets a stranger who claims to know her and stumbles into a world where cities float in the sky, and daemons roam the barren, magma-spewing crags of the land far below. And all is not well—Maree is turning into something she loves but at the same time, fears. Most fearful of all is the prospect of losing her identity—what makes her Maree, and more importantly, what makes her human. Guardian of the Sky Realms takes the reader on a journey through exotic fantasy lands, as well as across the globe, from Sydney to Paris, from the Himalayas to Manhattan. At its heart, it is a novel about transformation. Book two of the series will be released in 2021.
Which character would you like to be in this book?
The vast majority of the Sky Realm series is from the point of view of Maree/Mirriam, and it is she who has the greatest challenges, and has the resources and capability to overcome them. It is hard to not to want to be her, if this was real.
Do you always take a book/ereader wherever you go?
Absolutely. I feel lost without a book (or three) at hand. I like to have non-fiction as much as fiction on the go.
Say someone asks if they can use your name in a book. Would you rather be the ‘good one’ or the ‘bad one’?
Doesn’t matter to me. As long as the character is memorable!
Do you prefer to read/write standalones or series?
This is a difficult question. Let me first answer a linked, lower level question. If I was to be asked whether I like to write short fiction or the long form, my answer would be that I like all sizes because each story has “the sweet spot length”. If I hit the sweet spot, I’m content, and it is the right length for the story. The same goes with standalone and series – it may be that the sweet spot is standalone. It might not be. Either way I’m happy. Having said this, I know that I, like some other writers I have had conversations with, can fall in love with a universe they have created and want to write more – be it a sequel or an addition to a series. This is goodness as well.
Where can I find you when you are reading?
You might have to look around. I like reading in bed, but I’m just as comfortable sitting or lying on my sofa in my writing room.
Where can I find you when you are not writing/reading?
These days, when I’m not writing, you might find me behind the same MacBook, carrying out my tasks as a Publisher. This is a love that is a close second to writing and many writers rely on me to help them get their words out into the market. I also like taking time out to play some video games, and I especially like getting daily father and husband time with my family. Before and after the COVID crisis, travel is great too (including Cons).
Can you walk past a bookstore without going inside?
Yes, but it hurts.
What are you most proud of?
From a writing perspective, I am most proud of having built a body of work that is of sufficient quality and size that I feel comfortable with myself and can be involved in the industry at all levels. From a publishing perspective, I’m most proud of building a business that started rudimentary into a recognised quality small press, with the commensurate business partners, such as distributors.
What goes through your mind when you hold your new book in your hands for the first time?
Pure ecstatic pleasure. Writing is a long process, and getting accepted by a publisher can also be time-consuming. On top of all that, a good publisher needs time to get the ducks lined up in the project, which adds time again. There’s waiting, in other words, and holding the title in one’s hands is a marvellous culmination of all this effort. If the book is perfectly rendered, that is, from a quality book-making point of view, then so much the better.
What piece of advice would you give to aspiring writers?
A lot of advice is out there in the Internet and literature, but the most important advice I can give is work your way up from the ground, and take advantage of the learnings and growth needed to achieve a modicum of success. In other words, write short fiction and get them published in ever increasing paid markets. Listen to reviews and critiques and accept them as a way to improve your writing. Join writers groups and absorb the experience and wisdom that can come from them. Most of all, write, write, write.
Thank you, Gerry Huntman and Meerkat Press
About the author
Gerry Huntman is a writer and publisher based in Melbourne Australia, living with his wife and young daughter. He has sold over 50 short fiction pieces, most of which are dark and for mature audiences, but he also has a love for middle grade fiction. He loves travel and gets many of his story ideas from distant lands and culture, but is equally happy with the cafe set in his hometown.
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