If you back Kaleidoscope starting at the $5 level you can choose as your reward a tete-beche ebook containing two stories. One of those stories is “The Company Articles of Edward Teach” by Thoraiya Dyer. Today we have Alisa and Thoraiya to tell us about their experiences working on this story.
“The Company Articles of Edward Teach” won the 2011 Ditmar Award for Best Novella/Novelette and Thoraiya was awarded the Ditmar for Best New Talent the same year. Her urban fantasy short story, “Yowie”, was joint winner of the Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Short Story of 2010, and Thoraiya won this category again in 2011 with “Fruit of the Pipal Tree” from the FableCroft anthology, After the Rain.
A member of SFWA, Thoraiya Dyer is represented by the Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency. Stay tuned for her first novel. Her other interests include archery, bushwalking, travel, and trying to hold onto the veterinary jargon that is slowly but steadily leaking out of her head with every year she spends as a stay-at-home mum.
Twelfth Planet Press’s Kaleidoscope anthology asks explicitly for diverse perspectives. Readers of previous TPP anthologies will know that this is something Editor-Publisher Alisa Krasnostein has always supported.
So it was that in 2009 I sat down to write something for her suburban fantasy anthology, Sprawl, and asked myself if I was brave enough to write from a Jewish perspective. I was afraid that what came out might reveal something rotten inside of me; can you really have a migrant parent from a country that is at war with another country, and not internalise some of the bitterness, some of the anger, that comes along with that?
It was easier for me to write the parts of the story that were from the perspective of a Muslim teenager growing up in Sydney – remembering this is fiction, please do not think any of Leila’s experiences are mine! – and it was fun to write a pirate ship in a gritty, horrific way. I loved the adventure and I loved getting lost in the research. The story grew longer and longer, until it was no longer appropriate for Sprawl. But what about the main challenge? What about finding Avi’s voice?
It was my Dad’s voice I heard in my head, telling me that Jews and Muslims are brothers.
That was my answer. I didn’t need to panic. I would write Avi as though I was writing one of my own brothers. My brothers liked fast cars and pretty girls. They liked pizza, parties and escaping from under the thumb of their strict parents. I would put all that in. Then I would beg Alisa to have a look at what I had written, and if I’d revealed something terrible about myself, well, she could point it out to me and I could work on not only fixing the work, but fixing myself.
The jury’s still out on my secret heart – I keep a close, critical eye on it as it lives and grows and changes – but the story, happily, was deemed successful. After a few changes – I had gotten things wrong, despite my research – Alisa bought it for TPP’s novella doubles series.
My father had another well-worn phrase. This one followed someone’s angry response to his criticism of Israeli Government Policy. “How can I be anti-Semitic?” he would boom, embarrassing in the ears of my teenage self. “I am Semitic!”
Linguistic history lesson aside, that line sounds a different way to me, now. “How can I be anti-human?” he is really saying. “I am human.”
We all are. In any given lump of us, we find the same ratio of philanthropists to psychopaths. Even in a corporate boardroom. Even on a leaky fishing boat. Our hate or fear of other societies and cultures is magnified by failure of comprehension. Diverse fiction is a remedy for that.
Long live the free internet and Twelfth Planet Press, as they promote the spread of all kinds of stories. May future generations enjoy a worldwide, wall-less, open-plan life!
We have just one day left in our fundraiser! We’re $800 away from having some interior artwork, and $2,800 away from paying our authors seven cents a word! If you haven’t backed Kaleidoscope yet, this is your last chance!