We speak with another of our finalists from Remastered Words 2017 competition. Taria Karillion is a massive sci-fi and fantasy fan having written and published in both the short story and audio market in the past. With a degree in literature she juggles her writing in between caring for an extended family, working a day job, llama-racing and moonlighting for MI5.
How long have you been writing for and what first got you interested in the art?
As a child I was an incurable bookworm. I fell in love with science fiction and fantasy and fully intended to become an astronaut, but it turned out that I am to physics what Gordon Ramsey is to polite critiques, so I packed away my box file of NASA letters and decided that if I couldn’t do facts, maybe I could do fiction. A Literature degree and much gratuitous vocabulary overuse later, I’m earning nearly as much from writing as from the inevitable day job.
What memorable stories have you read that prompted you to continue writing and why?
Through my teens, the works of Asimov, Heinlein, Bradbury and Douglas Adams – among numerous others – were particularly inspiring. I also greatly admire the ‘big picture’ scenarios of speculative fiction and ‘cli-fi’ (climate-themed science fiction). I’m no politician but – like many writers and artists – I find myself exploring the big, philosophical ‘What if’s, albeit with a dash of comedic relief.
Tell us about what inspired you to write this winning piece?
If I was being profound, I’d say ‘Well-known tales told from an unexpected point of view can help challenge our negative stereotyping of societal groups’. A personal injury claims advert followed by an advert with a bad-tempered goat had nothing to do with it. At all.
Who is your favourite character in the story or your favourite part and why?
It has to be Urggl, the misjudged ‘monster’. I have a fascination for unconventional, heroic fantasy characters. Growing up in a castle cottage can do that for you.
Have you had anything published before and how has this competition boosted your confidence for the future?
I’ve been fortunate enough to have had twenty-something pieces published in the five years since starting to write seriously; over half of those in print.
Competition wins always boost confidence, as the Arts are obviously subjective in their appeal, but to win or be placed in a competition means that a judge/s of literary standing considers your work worthy of recognition, a tree limb to print it on, and a slice of a reader’s day.
How did it feel when you were shortlisted and were then notified of being one of the winners?
I was thrilled, honoured and pretty darn ‘chuffed’ (A brief aside for non-Brits – this means being pleased to a degree that causes involuntary grinning but stops short of slap-worthy smugness.) I’m also especially excited to hear the story come to life in audio form.
Where did you hear about Remastered Words and what made you enter this competition in particular?
Writing Magazines are a major source of calls for submissions, and I found RW helpfully listed in one of them.
I’ve always had a fascination for audio drama, and wrote a few pieces of radio drama whilst at Uni. Maybe due to a hearing loss, I relish beautiful sounds – stirring music and eloquent, mellifluous voices in particular. After The Gruffs is well-suited to a colourful character voice, so I hope (voice actor) has fun with it!
What can we expect from you in the future in terms of writing?
In the coming months I’m going to be working on a collection which I’m in discussions with a publisher over. Longer term, publication in the big SF magazines that even your SF-hating girlfriend / mother-in-law / milkman’s cousin will have heard of. Beyond that, maybe some screenwriting, in between caring for an extended family, working a day job, llama-racing and moonlighting for MI5. (…Ok, I was lying about the llamas…)
‘After the Gruffs’ will be available soon in the release of our 2017 audio anthology.