Interview: with Peter Ninnes
Peter Ninnes is based in Sydney. His stories have been accepted in Tincture Journal, Bewildering Stories, Literary Yard and Dimension6. His non-fiction includes The Nagano Onsen Guide, Legendary Nagano and the Hiking, Walking and Biking Nagano travel guides. Peter obtained his PhD in education from Flinders University.
Do you have any particular writing rituals you are comfortable sharing?
A writer friend once told me, "First think, and then write." A short story idea needs time to percolate, and for me that may take from a few days to several months. That's not to say the story is fully formed before I start to write it. But if I have a good sense of the main parameters of the story, then I can often write a first draft in a few hours.
Are there any horror/fantasy/sci-fi tropes or sub genres which you feel are played out? And vice versa, what tropes would you like to see more of?
I think there are few limits to the human imagination. Many horror editors say "No zombies!" Yet, there's always new ways to play with on an old trope by, for example, incorporating a new form of technology, weaving in a contemporary moral, social or political issue, or taking a trope from one genre and implanting it in another. In sci-fi, I enjoy stories with a biological theme. There's currently great scope to write stories around contemporary genetics and reproductive technology and new understandings of cell functions.
What books are beside your bed right now?
The Lonely Planet Guide to Rarotonga, Samoa and Tonga.
Haruki Murakami's The Wind-up Bird Chronicle
John Ajvide Lindqvist's Let the Right One In
Published or unpublished, what's the hardest scene you've written?
A scene where an alien gives birth. The species' biology was quite non-human, so I had to imagine new organs and systems and how they might work, in a believable way, and yet not let the story become bogged down in the details.
How important is social media to you as an indie author?
I've used Facebook to promote my non-fiction work. Being on Facebook is an adrenaline rush, like walking home from the train station late at night with a possible psychopath ten metres behind you.