In July 1997, I launched my first novel, The Infernal, at the University of Queensland bookshop on campus at St Lucia. The launcher was Frances Bonner, who was one of my teachers (she’s now an Associate Professor and she supervised my PhD); my bestie Kate Morton did a short reading for me (she’s now a super-famous internationally bestselling author and still my bestie); and my MC was Norman Doyle (he’s now a well-respected and busy actor). I was a third-year undergrad, and utterly clueless as to how publishing worked. But, yeah, I was pretty excited.
And I’m pretty excited all over again because, 13 years later, Ticonderoga Press has launched a limited edition signed & numbered hardcover of The Infernal. I received my copies today, and they are beautiful. To commemorate the occasion, I’ve included below the text of the foreword to the new edition. Every word is true and heartfelt.
It has been thirteen years since this, my first novel, was published. I look back on the story now with a mixture of fondness and embarrassment (all that sex and swearing!), but can’t deny that its publication was an event that changed my life. Up until The Infernal was published, I was a working class girl with dreams too big to come true. Afterwards, nothing seemed impossible anymore. The Infernal opened many doors for me, but the most important door was the one into the Australian speculative fiction community. I was received, and continue to be received, with such warmth and enthusiasm; I found “my people” and that is worth more than any financial success or critical acclaim. In the first edition of the book, I thanked many individuals, some of whom I’m still thanking twenty books later. But for this special edition I would like to simply thank the writers, readers, publishers, and thinkers that make up the Australian SF community, people who I am privileged to call my friends.