Interview 4 with Angela Slatter

Angela Slatter’s story, The Hummingbird Heart, appears in the Spring 2007 issue of Shimmer.


Where did the idea come from?
I read an old Inca fairytale called “The Hummingbird’s Fear”, which is a South American version of the traditional good sister-bad sister story – the bad sister is burnt to a crisp but her heart remains and becomes a hummingbird … so somewhere out of that came the idea of a hummingbird as a heart. I wanted it to be in a Greek setting, to have some elements of Greek tragedy and defying the gods.

How did the story change as you developed it?
Not at all! It pretty much came full-blown.

How is this story like your other work? How is it different?
I think it’s like my usual work in that it deals with mythic themes but I think it’s more of a departure from the usual style and depends less on following a normal fairytale structure.

Questions About Writing:

What writing projects are you presently working on?
1. still trying to get the whole fairytale collection, Black-Winged Angels, published in its entirely;
2. finishing up a novel “Narrow Daylight” about suicide in families;
3. continuing to scribble short stories as I go…

What authors, if any, have had the most influence on your work?
Angela Carter; John Connolly; Emma Donoghue; Edgar Allan Poe

Favorite short story you’ve read recently?
“The Rememberer” by Aimee Bender (a woman’s boyfriend devolves into an amoeba…)
“The Ball Room” and “The Tain” by China Mieville

What people have helped you the most with your writing?
My family for all their support; Dr Nike Bourke, my supervisor and friend; my friend Anita Bell for believing in me…

What time of day do you prefer to do your writing?
Afternoon and night time.

Random Questions:

What was the last CD you bought? The last song you downloaded?
Mmmmm, is it too embarrassing to say Madonna’s “Confessions on a dance floor”? Yes, it is…so I’ll say “Tea and Sympathy” by Bernard Fanning, lead man of legendary Brisbane band ‘Powderfinger”.

If you could hop on a plane tomorrow and go anywhere, where would you go and why?
Paris – end of story.

Cat or dog person? (or birds, iguanas, or ??)
Cats, dogs, horses … anything cute with eyelashes…

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